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Things to do » Ilia » explore Archaeological Site



Chlemoutsi Castle

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The Chlemoutsi Castle known as Castel Tornese, was one of the most majestic castles in the Principality of Achaea. The castle was built in 1220 by Goeffrey I of Villehardouin and its advantageous position in the plain of Glarentza made it easier to control the opposite islands (Kefalonia, Ithaca, Zakynthos, Glyfada), as well as the sea area of Aetolia-Acarnania. It is one of the best preserved castles and it consists of two circuit walls. One of the walls is external and it has the shape of a horseshoe, while the other one is internal and it has a hexagonal shape. The walls are 1 km long and along the walls there are ruins of buildings, such as tanks and remnants of a pipe network, dating back to the same time period as the castle. Inside the fort there was the residence of Kastellanos, guest rooms, a kitchen with a medieval dining room, the guards’ guest house, while there was also a mint that was in operation and produced frankish coins called tornezia.




Municipal Market (Agora) of Pyrgos

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The Municipal Market (Agora) of Pyrgos was built in the late 19th century and it occupied a whole city block. It is a wonderful two-storey neoclassical building, which consists of a patio and four entrances in total. It is considered to be one of the most important listed buildings in the city.




Ancient Olympia

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In classical times Olympia was a city of Elis well-known for the Olympic Games that took place there. Nowadays Ancient Olympia is a village and a municipality of Elis and it is located in the valley of Alfios river. The archaeological site is nearby and it is flooded by tourists that come from all over the world every year. The first excavations in this area were conducted in 1829 and they continue to date, revealing amazing information about ancient times. The archaeological site consists of a lot of important buildings such as the gymnasium, the palaestra, the stadium, the temple of Zeus, the Bouleuterion, the hot baths, Pheidias’ laboratory and Leonidaion. In the centre of this archaeological site there is Altis, an area with the most important buildings. A majestic building in the area is the temple of Zeus, which is the most significant monument, since it is the biggest temple in the Peloponnese. In this temple there is the ivory and gold statue of Zeus, one of the seven wonders of the world. According to mythological tradition, the Spartans consecrated a gold shield as a gift and they laid it up on the architrave of the temple. The temple was built in 456 B.C. and it is a temple of the Doric order. To the north there are the ruins of an older temple that according to experts was built in 600 B.C. in honour of goddess Hera. The Olympic Games were hosted in the stadium which had a seating capacity of 45,000. The Archaeological Museum of Olympia is housed there today.




Ancient Elis

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During the archaic period Elis was one of the most significant ancient Greek cities. People first lived there during the prehistoric period, while during the Mycenaean period it became an independent kingdom. It flourished in the 6th century B.C. to the point that it started minting its own coins that were known for their artistic value. In its heyday Elis had four districts: Triphylia, Pissatis, Akroria and Lowland Elis, the fertile plain in the kingdom. Due to its great growth the city had a great deal of buildings, among which a palaestra, a gymnasium, temples, sanctuaries, shrines and arcades, all adorned with exceptionally beautiful works of art. The city was discovered by explorers who found the ruins of the city in the 19th century. The first organized excavations took place from 1911 to 1914. Research continues to the present day by the Archaeological Society. The excavations have brought to light over 120 settlements, while at the same time we have found approximately 200 locations.




Vlacherna Monastery

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In the area of Kato Panagia and at a distance of 2.5 km to the southeast of Kyllini there is the historically significant byzantine monastery of Panagia Vlacherna. The monastery is located 80 metres above the level of the sea and it was named after the well-known monastery in Constantinople. It is one of the oldest monasteries and it has a rich history. According to experts it was founded in the 9th century. The monastery consists of the catholicon which is a three-aisled basilica and the roof of the middle aisle is wooden without a dome. It is rectangular in shape and it is divided into the following parts: the outer narthex, the inner narthex and the main church. Inside the catholicon there are exceptionally beautiful wall paintings that were painted in the 8th century. Nowadays the library of the monastery has original patriarchic documents (sigillia), rare manuscripts, codices, books of great historical value and valuable artifacts including gospels, sanctuary implements, reliquaries and various other objects. The monastery celebrates on the 8th September.




The Monastery of Isova

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Coming from the western side of the village of Tripiti and heading towards Palatakia in the valley of Alpheios, one runs into the ruins of the holy monastery of Isova. This Gothic monument is considered to be one of the most significant monuments in Greece. It was constructed by the Cistercian monks who settled in the Peloponnese during the rule of the Franks. A group of these monks is also responsible for building the monastery of Zaraka which is located to the northeast of Ancient Stymphalos. The Gothic architecture of the monastery which was built in 1225 accounts for the impressively large structure, which is over 40 metres long. The monastery was burned down by the byzantine army 40 years after being built. Nowadays there are some remnants of the northern wall and the western arch of the building.