Stemnitsa is a mountainous village of the Municipality of Gortynia, Arcadia.
Built on Menalon and at an elevation of 1,080m, it is declared a traditional settlement.
Its distance from Athens is 220km and from Tripolis 45km.
The area has been known as Hypsus since antiquity. According to Greek mythology, the ancient town of Hypsus was built by Hypsus, one of the fifty sons of the King of Arcadia, Lycaon. Reference is made to Hypsus by Pausanias in his writings of the region of Arcadia. It is not known when it was renamed to Stemnitsa; it is assumed this happened in the 7th century AD, after the occupation of these areas by the Slavs, since the word Stemnitsa means wooded and shady place in Slavic. It flourished during the Byzantine period, when the bells of Stemnitsa were famous.
During the 1821 struggle, Stemnitsa played a major role. It was the seat of Theodoros Kolokotronis, who called it “country girl of Moreas”. As a result of its role in the National Liberation struggle, it served as seat of the first Peloponnesian Senate and first informal capital of the rebellious Greek nation for one day – May 27th, 1821 – the date when the 1st Peloponnesian Senate took place in the Holy Monastery of Chrysopigi at Stemnitsa. Stemnitsa was also the hometown of Dimitrios Sfikas, a fighter of the Greek Revolution of 1821, who took part in the famous Battle of Skoulenio (June 17, 1821), a village of present-day Romania. His book named “Memories”, that refers to the events of 1821 in Dakia, is of big historical importance. Due to the rugged terrain of the region, people turned to trade and silver-gold-smithery. In Stemnitsa there is also the Silver-Gold-Smithery School of the Technological High School (TEE) of Stemnitsa.
Stemnitsa is a popular tourism destination throughout the year. In Stemnitsa there are several traditional guest houses and a luxury hotel. Some of the area’s attractions are:
- The Folklore Museum of Stemnitsa
- The gorge of Lousios
- The monasteries of St. John the Baptist, one of the most important monasteries of the Peloponnese, the Holy Monastery of Panagia Filosofos and the Holy Monastery of Zoodochos Pigi (15th century).
- The fir forest of Menalon and its ski resort.
- The picturesque villages and traditional settlements of the area
In Stemnitsa, you will be impressed by the stone cobbled streets passing under arches.