KALAVRITA- MONUMENTS OF CULTURE
Kalavrita, apart from its unique natural wealth, carries a long historical past that lives on in the memories of residents and visitors, thanks to the admirable monuments of the area. Monuments, which in their literal sense, manage to reproduce the memory of those historical times. Although it is a town in the prefecture of Achaia, its historical-archaeological background is rich. Typical monuments that every visitor should see are:
Municipal Museum of the Kalavrita Holocaust
The Municipal Museum of the Kalavrita Holocaust is located in the center of the village and is a place that is inextricably linked to the events of December 13, 1943. Date of total mourning for the people of Kalavrita. This school was considered a place of gathering and confinement of the inhabitants of the village, so that the German occupiers could bring about the death of the male population with full control. The Germans tried their best to avoid the failure of their plan and for this reason, holding the women and children of the village hostage was a safe solution. This building on December 13, 1943 was completely burnt down due to a large fire caused by the German army. With the beginning of the liberation, the school was rebuilt and opened its doors to students in 1950. In 1986, it was declared a historical monument of the Ministry of Culture.
Place of Sacrifice
East of Kalavrita, in the direction of the ski center of the town, on the hill of Kapi, there is a special monument, the Place of Sacrifice. Men and boys over the age of 14 were taken to this martyrdom hill where they were executed by the Germans. Today, in this place there is a large cross and next to it columns with the names of the families of the executed. On the 13th of December every year after the memorial service in the cathedral of the village, a memorial prayer is performed at the monument of the fallen.
Monastery of Agia Lavra
The Holy Monastery of Agia Lavra is one of the oldest monasteries in Greece and is considered one of the most important historical sites in Greece, as there the German of Old Patras raised the banner of the revolution on the feast of the Annunciation in 1821. The Holy Monastery was built in 961 AD by an ascetic of Mount Athos. Since then, Moni has been attacked by the Turks with the aim of destroying it. The last looting of the Monastery dates back to December 1943 by the Nazi troops of the Germans, victims of this destruction were three monks. Nevertheless, three others who had hidden, managed to hide important relics of the Monastery, but also the banner of the Revolution. To this day, the Holy Banner of the Revolution is located in the Monastery and is kept in a special case. Every year on March 25, in honor of the fighters of 1821, the representation of the swearing in of the fighters and the beginning of the revolution takes place in the Monastery.
Holy Monastery of the Great Cave
The Holy Monastery of Megalo Spilaio is located 10 km from the town of Kalavrita. The location of the monastery is located in a peculiar area surrounded by a cliff 120m high. It is built in the opening of an imposing natural cave of the Helmos mountain range. According to tradition, the monastery was founded in 362 AD. The katholikon of the monastery is located inside the rock. The frescoes of the main church date from 1653. The Great Cave played a decisive role during the Turkish occupation. It is known that the Monastery managed to save many Greeks from the fire of the Turks. It is important the fact that after successive destructions the Monastery managed to be saved. There is also a Museum in the Monastery, where valuable relics of the Greek Revolution are kept. The Holy Monastery of the Great Cave is open daily from 08:00 until sunset. It is a great opportunity for hikers in the area to visit the majestic Holy Monastery of the Great Cave, admiring the beauty of the Holy Monastery harmonized with the wild natural landscape, next to the ravine of Vouraikos.
Ancient Kleitor is located at a short distance (approximately 3 km) from the village of Kato Kleitoria in Kalavrita. It was founded by Kleitoras, the son of Azanos, and was an Arcadian city-state, which possessed great wealth and power in antiquity. Pausanias is the largest source of information on the topography, monuments and myths of the area. From the excavation data, the area had an ancient theater and an irrigation system, elements that show us its building history. The site of the ancient city has been found but has not yet been excavated. A visit will convince you of its archeological interest!
NATURAL MONUMENTS OF KALAVRITA
Each city or village leaves its own natural touch in the frame of the whole of Greece. Thus, Kalavrita abounds in natural wealth, which makes them one of the most popular destinations for nature lovers (and not only). Impressive mountain areas with wild green beauty and plenty of running water from the springs of Helmos. The endless natural landscapes of the area are a pole of attraction for winter hikers who do not hesitate to reach the top of Helmos doing their favorite sports. In a very short period of stay in Kalavrita, the visitor can experience:
At a height of 700m. and above the plane tree forest of the springs of the Aroani river is the Planetero, known for the trout fish farms that exist in this mountain village. The planetarium is only 25 km from Kalavrita. In this idyllic place visitors can admire to the fullest the grandeur of nature. Endless plane trees and rushing waters around the sources of the Aroani river become a reason to forget for a while the urban urn. The village is also known for the traditional watermills that exist there. For mountaineering enthusiasts, it is interesting to know the mountaineering trails that start from the Planetarium. Thus they will distinguish the rich vegetation of the area. It is interesting that the area of the village is located within the Natura 2000 area "Mount Helmos and waters of Stygos". If you like seafood, it is worth tasting the trout of the area. After your meal, you can admire the landscape by descending to the plane tree forest of Planetero and admire its centuries-old plane trees. Even a one-day trip to this village guarantees you absolute satisfaction.
2. Waters of Stygos
At an altitude of 2,100 meters at the sources of the river Krathi in Helmos are the Waters of Stygos. According to mythology, Styx was an Oceanid and had her palace in Tartarus. In the waters of Styga all the Gods swore. When the gods were punished in her water they committed their punishment. In ancient times it was believed that no living thing could live if it drank its water. Even the clay pots broke when they had this water in them. thus, the waters of Stygos did not fail to be associated with theological ideas, such as those from the Eleusinian mysteries. To reach this point one must be led to the village of Peristera, from where the ascent takes place.
3. Lake Tsivlou
Inside the forest, a few kilometers before the village of Peristera is Lake Tsivlou. A point of absolute beauty and quiet. Its name comes from the village of Tsivlos. In March 1913 a big landslide was caused in the area, as a result of which the bed of the river Krathis was blocked, a fact that was its creation. It is one of the most important wetlands of the Peloponnese as it hosts many species of fauna and flora. Near the lake there are restaurants, where the visitor can taste the local cuisine overlooking the green firs and the incomparable beauty of the lake. After your rest in this quiet place, you can visit one of the most famous villages of the prefecture, Zarouchla, with its small picturesque streets and stone settlements.
4. The Cave of the Lakes
Near the village of Kastria, on the road Kalavryta-Klitoria and at a height of 827m. is the Cave of the Lakes. This impressive Cave awe-inspiring the visitor as it is a unique geological phenomenon, since inside there are lakes. Its development began in 1981 by the Hellenic Tourism Organization. In addition to stalactites, the visitor will be able to see labyrinthine corridors and unprecedented arcades. Of course, apart from these, there is another unique privilege that does not exist in another cave worldwide. Inside, then, on three floors there are successive stepped lakes. The cave of the Lakes is one of the wonderful natural creations of nature. A visit will convince and impress you from the first moment you enter it.
5. Vouraikos River - Gorge
The Vouraikos river with a length of 40 km, has its sources on the mountain of Erymanthos. After the town of Kalavrita there is the well-known gorge of the river, in which the cog railway that connects Diakopto with Kalavrita moves. The gorge is 20 km long and is characterized by dense vegetation. Every year, mountaineering clubs organize mountaineering walks to enjoy the fresh air, the landscape and the peace of this part. During the walk, climbers face waterfalls, steep cliffs and caves. On the banks of the river, there is a cave, where according to mythology it was an oracle dedicated to Hercules.