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Mount Mainalo is situated in the heart of the Peloponnese and dominates almost the entire northern part of Arcadia. It has played a substantial role in the Arcadian history since antiquity, as it is thought to be the home of the goat-footed God, Pan, who was then worshiped throughout Greece. It is also said that Mainades, followers of Dionysos, also frequented Mainalo. Besides, their ecstatic frenzy (mania) was the reason the mountain got its name.

Mainalo fascinates visitors with its truly unique natural beauty. Its northwestern slopes are covered mainly by firs and its southern side by pines and cypresses. It hosts a wealth of rare fauna and flora, while its gorges and natural passages are surely imposing. For those exact reasons, the ecosystem of this Arcadian mountain was justifiably included in the European Network Natura 2000.

Mainalo has an altitude of 1,980 metres and its highest peak is Ostrakina. The villages which are built at the higher altitudes are Magouliana, at 1,365 metres and Alonistaina, at 1,220 metres respectively. However, there are several incredibly beautiful and historic villages built on its slopes: Dimitsana, Vytina, Stemnitsa, Limbovisi (the village of Chieftain Kolokotronis) and Lagkadia are only few of the best known and popular. At the foot of the mountain lies the city of Tripolis, which is the biggest in the prefecture of Arcadia.

Around the 10th century, asceticism begun to develop in the area and especially in the gorge of River Lousios. Monasteries, like that of Philosophou, Aimyalon and St. John the Baptist, also substantially contributed to the Greek Revolution, serving as refuges for the persecuted, as bases of operations for the fighters and as places where the Greek language, culture and religion were nurtured together with the burning desire for a liberated Greece.

Today Mount Mainalo is ideal for a plethora of activities – from hiking along the lovely trails to winter sports at the ski centre at Ostrakina, where there is also a lodge. Visitors will most certainly enjoy the delicious local specialties at the numerous taverns scattered around the villages, the exceptional local wine and of course the warm hospitality.

#mythicalpeloponnese

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