The Library of Dimitsana is an important stop for the visitor of this historic area. It was founded in 1764 by two monks, Gerassimos Gounas and Agapios Leonardos, from the School of Smyrna. Initially it functioned as a theological school, and many important Greek prelates studied here during the Turkish rule.
The largest part of the Library’s rich material was sacrificed on the altar of the Greek Revolution of 1821, when the books’ pages were used for the making of cartridges. Of its old volumes, around 600 were preserved. Through the years the library’s material was enriched with various donations, so that today it has approximately 35,000 volumes. Apart from books, the Library is also home to rare documents, codices and manuscripts, as well as various mementoes from the Revolution.
The scenic and historical village of Dimitsana is one of the custodians of the historical and folkloric traditions of the Greek people. Apart from the beauty of the landscapes, the visitor can also admire important heirlooms and souvenirs from various moments of the Greek past, which are safeguarded in its museums and in its historical library.
The Library of Dimitsana, today also known by its official name, the Public Library and Museum of the Greek School of Dimitsana – Local Historical Archive of Gortynia, is located on Agias Kyriakis Square, where the old schools used to be, taking the place of the Dimitsana School in 1845. It is a beautiful location, “looking out” over the impressive gorge of the River Lousios with its historical monasteries, the Filosofou, Prodromou and Aimyalon Monasteries.
The library was founded in 1764 by two monks of the School of Smyrna, Gerasimos Gounas and Agapios Leonardos. During the years of the Greek Revolution of 1821, it played an important role as a teaching and theological school, where important people of the church studied, such as the Ecumenical Patriarch Gregorios the 5th, and Palaion Patron Germanos.
The Library contains the office, the study room, a large circular room, a small room with a collection of archaeological findings, as well as basements where its invaluable treasures are kept. These treasures include a rich collection of manuscripts and codes, which comprise the historical archive of Gortynia, and manuscripts with a variety of content, not only theological. They also include various study books, patriarchal documents and Turkish firmans. Beyond these, the library also holds various heirlooms from the Revolution: here the visitor can see the saddle of the horse of Papaflessas, the bones of Palaion Patron Germanos, kept in a bronze reliquary, which were moved here from Patras in 1930; various portraits of important figures of the revolution, as well as a small collection of various folk art objects.
Of the rich collection of the library’s old books, unfortunately many were destroyed when, during the Revolution, their pages were used to make cartridges. Only 600 were saved from the original books. Gradually its content was enriched once more through donations, and today it counts more than 35,000 books, while the famous collection of manuscripts has reached 200. In 1977 the Library of Dimitsana was honoured by the Academy of Athens with a gold medal and a diploma, in official recognition of its important contribution.