Experience it
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Stemnitsa is situated in the slopes of the Mainalo Mountain. While looking down the Gorge of the river Lousios the view towards Stemnitsa seems to be incredible as the beauty of the village in combination with the beauty of nature coexist harmoniously. Known as the country of the Goldsmiths, Stemnitsa was also popular for other crafts. There were fabled and prominent craftsmen like those who were making bells, polishers and steelmakers who over the years were processing silver, gold, and copper. As a result, their craft became legendary in the Balkans.  Also, there were confectioners who in the period of the 1990 supplied Peloponnisos with their wrapped syrupy sweets in little bites.

Stemnitsa is an ideal destination even for a day trip as it is situated in the heart of Peloponnisos and more specifically in the prefecture of Arcadia which is found a few kilometres away from Athens or Patras. Whichever route you go, either from Tripoli or Ancient Olympia or Patras it is an amazing experience. Mainalos Mountain significantly makes Stemnitsa beautiful either the wintery and snowy days or the sunny and soft hot days of the summer period. The highlight of all seasons is autumn. At this period of time, the leaves of the trees start to be drily and thus humidity in turn emphasizes the green, yellow and red hues of the trees’ foliage. 

If you have more time to spend, this beautiful place will definitely reward you as there are several places and activities you may visit and do, respectively. The breeze of the mountain will make you feel unconcerned. 

Photo credits: 
The view from the Gusthouse Belleiko. Photo © Christos Tzoutis

At first, you may go for a walk down the picturesque cobblestones which get lost into the foliage of the walnut trees and the cherry trees and cool off at the stone wellheads (seven in total) under the shade of the ancient plane trees.  

Then, you may walk next to the houses of the military commanders of the heroic period of 1821. What is more, you may look upon the artistic creations of the churches of Stemnitsa and visit the folkloric museum so as to learn as many details as you can for the people of Stemnitsa, the Gold Smithery School,the monastery of Zoodohos Pigi and the church of Aghious Anargirous. Moreover, you may walk to Heroon, a monument dedicated to the warriors of 1821, and watch not only the incredible view towards the village but also the Lousios Gorge which sprawls in front of it.

Later, you may go back to the square, where the pathway begins, and relax in the central coffeehouse called “H Gerousia” like the local people do. Drink some tsipouro and have a nibble or drink a cup of Greek coffee. “Gerousia” is a typical and traditional coffeehouse which is decorated with a brazier in the middle of the salon and classical square wooden tables.

For those who love nature and activities, there is a pathway in the central square that leads to the beautiful Dimitsana and the outdoor museum Nero through the Lousios Gorge. The route is about 12 kilometres far and lasts 5 hours. In the Aghios Nektarios bell tower which is located in the central square there is an indicative sign providing information for other routes, too.  You may get involved in other activities like going rafting in Lousio River, mountain cycling, hiking, archery, mountain running and horse-riding.

As far as the food is concerned, Stemnitsa is famous for the ribs. You may enjoy grilled meat in the tavern “H Stemnitsa” and traditional hotpot dishes in the tavern “Kastro” - both taverns are situated in the central square. If you have more time, visit the village named “Panagia”, which is 18 kilometres far from Stemnitsa.  “Zerzova” tavern which is at the centre of the village is famous for having the best food of the area; wild boar in tomato sauce is the best dish.

Concerning the accommodation, there are considerable guest houses in the village where you can relax. “Beleiko” guest house makes the difference though as far as hospitality and the incredible view towards the village are concerned. It is a traditional dwelling that has been modified the last few years in a guesthouse and offers its guests moments of relaxation and hospitality. In its kitchen – dining room you will have the chance to relax and gaze the village the moment that it is covered by fog and be next to the fireplace which smolders. You will also smell the natural scent of the mountain combined with jazz sounds and have homemade delicacies for breakfast. Even though the company is the one that importantly counts for the trips to be exciting, they surely become wonderful when they are combined with such lovely images and scents. 

I also lived in Arcadia even though it was for a few days. Please, take me back to Stemnitsa.

Photo credits: 
All images © Christos Tzoutis

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