3 Best Sights in Dimitsana, The Peloponnese

Dimitsana Ecclesiastical Museum

Manuscripts, a 35,000-volume library, and other artifacts here are from surrounding churches, monasteries, and the School of Greek Letters that flourished in Dimitsana in the 19th century. The school educated Germanos, a bishop of Patras, and other young men who went on to become Greek scholars and church leaders.

Dimitsana, 22007, Greece
Sight Details
Rate Includes: €2, Closed Wed.–Thurs.

New Philosophou Monastery

The "newer" of the Philosophou monasteries sits on the west side of the gorge, yet even this dates back to the 17th century. Its katholico (main church), dedicated to the Assumption of the Virgin Mary, has some beautiful illustrated hagiographies, though during Ottoman rule it is said their eyes were scrubbed out by the invaders. Like many of the sites in this region, the building had a part to play in the War of Independence against the Turks. It was a hideout for the Greek general Theodorous Kolokotronis and formed a meeting place for the chieftains to plot. Today, the only rebels here are the legions of cats, who bask in the shade like fallen soldiers. Exit via the black gates for an 800-meter walk to Old Philosophou Monastery, the bones of a 10th-century monastery dug into the walls of the gorge. It's a spectacular site, and rambling its crumbling stone remains and church, gazing out over the wild gorge, is exhilarating. It was reportedly home to one of Greece's "secret schools," where young Greeks would scrabble the ravine in the pitch darknesss in order to receive private tutoring in biblical studies, history, and the Greek language, away from the eyes of the Turkish authorities. Little evidence exists of such schools, and some historians argue they have been created as a nationalist myth.

Open Air Water Power Museum

A water mill, tannery, and gunpowder mill on the river Lousios below town provide displays and demonstrations that reveal why water power was the force behind the region's economy until the first part of the 20th century. Mills like the one here operated up and down the river and helped supply the forces who successfully fought the Turks during the War of Independence in 1821.

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