Tripolis is the largest city and the capital of the prefecture of Arcadia. It is located in the central Peloponnese, at an altitude of 600 metres, and its population is 46,910 people. Administratively, it belongs to the municipality of Tripolis in the district of the Peloponnese.
Tripolis is mentioned for the first time in 1467 as Tropolitsa or Ntropolitsa. Before the Turkish occupation, however, it was not an organized community within the region. By the 17th century, Tripolis was already a big city, with a population of over 20,000 people, the majority of whom were Muslims and Albanians. The city suffered a great deal over the next century and on February of 1827 it was completely destroyed by Ibrahim. Over the following years it was deserted, and then gradually re-established at a very slow pace.
Today, Tripolis is a vibrant city with an intense cultural life and a plethora of attractions. The museums (War and Archaeological), the lovely squares and churches, as well as the numerous cultural associations and clubs complement its image as a cosmopolitan destination. It is worth mentioning that the archaeological site of Tegea is located nearby. This site is of great historical significance, as Tegea was one of the most important ancient cities in Arcadia.
Tripoli is the prefecture of Arcadia’s most important financial, administrative and commercial centre; it is also the base of the Peloponnese Region. Tripoli is surrounded by important historical and archaeological sites, beautiful nature, traditional settlements and a plethora of religious monuments, which include some of the oldest and most significant monasteries. Regarding the name’s provenance, some say that it is owed to the fact that it was inhabited by the people of three Arcadian cities in antiquity, Pallantio, Mantineia and Tegea (tris polis = three cities). According to others, it derives from a Slavic word for “oak tree”, since initially it was a small Slavic settlement and, as Pausanias, mentions, the area was full of oak trees.
Tripoli is a modern city today, which retains, however, its traditional element. In the centre there is the Areos square, with the bust of the great hero of the Greek Revolution, Theodore Kolokotronis, and the Monument of the Prelates and the Notables. In the central square stands imposingly the metropolitan church of Aghios Vassilios, the War Museum, which is housed in a beautiful neoclassical building, and the Big Café (“Megalo Kafeneio”), the city’s emblem, since it has had a constant presence in the city since 1910. The city also has a very interesting War Museum, which opened its gates in 2000. The aim was to create a space where heirlooms and mementos of various phases of the modern Greek history could be displayed. This Museum, one of the five war museums found in the whole of Greece, functions as a reminder of the difficult times that Greece went through in its course to become a free, autonomous country. A city, of course, surrounded by so much history cannot be without an archaeological museum: the Archaeological Museum of Tripoli is housed in a two-storey neoclassical building, created by Ernst Ziller, and it is an important centre for archaeological activities in the wider area of Arcadia. The Museum includes a remarkable number of collections, with findings that range from the Neolithic, the Geometric and the Mycenaean periods, up to the Hellenistic, Roman and Classical times, as well as a few from the early-Christian and early-Byzantine periods.
The Municipality of Tripoli organizes a series of events for a variety of occasions: Every year, on September 23, the Fall of Tripolitsa is commemorated in a grandiose way. Easter, also, the most important occasion in the Orthodox faith, is celebrated piously, with the participation of all the people. And let’s not forget the Carnival, celebrated in many parts of Greece; here, also, the local Carnival sweeps away locals and visitors in a frenzied party that lasts until morning.