Stemnitsa is a traditional mountain village, built amphitheatrically on the western slopes of Mt Mainalon. An authentic village which maintains the traditional element and has not been modernized. It is a vivid village with unparalleled natural beauty situated in a very green area, offering stunning views of the Lousios Gorge. Stemnitsa is a typical example of traditional architecture with stone houses, imposing mansions, scenic cobblestone streets and quaint Byzantine churches. It is considered as one of the most beautiful and historical villages of Arcadia and the central Peloponnese, attracting lots of visitors throughout the year.
Its rich history goes back centuries. According to mythology the village was known as “Ypsos”, built by Ypsoundas, son of the Arcadian King Lycaona. It took its current name in the 7th and 8th century, when Slavs settled in the area. The name Stemnitsa has Slavic origin and means "woodland". Stemnitsa had a significant contribution to the Greek Revolution. Its location high up in the mountains encouraged prominent Greek families from other regions to seek refuge there to escape the Turkish yoke. This led to Stemnitsa developing into one of the major trade and craft centers of the Peloponnese. Its prosperity continued throughout the 19th century when it became an important center of gold and silverwork. Even today, there is a public school of jewellery, where the art of silversmithing is taught. The school operates since 1976 and is housed in an old mansion, in the center of the village. Visitors have the chance to visit the remarkable workshops in the village and buy unique hand-made jewels.
Stemnitsa has a folklore museum with various exhibits regarding the traditional way of life of the village. It is also home to some remarkable post-Byzantine churches, like Zoodochos Pigi (14th c.), Agios Nikolaos (14th c.), the Three Hierarchs (17th c.) and Panagia Bafero (12th c.). Do not measure to walk up to the castle. Walking through the alleys of the village, and at the end of the path, the unique view of the hill will really reward you. On the one hand the village and on the other the Lousios gorge.
Here you can stroll through the alleys, hike the many trails, taste good food and relax. You can also visit the neighboring traditional villages and the numerous stone fountains with clean and gurgling water. In the main square apart from the traditional Greek coffee you can taste the local cuisine and the famous “portokalopita”, a pie made of oranges, in one of the cafes or tavernas. Ιts proximity to some of the most important attractions of Arcadia, makes it an ideal choice for a getaway weekend or more. A perfect place to relax and enjoy the nature.
The Menalon Trail, one of only eight internationally certified trails in Europe, consists of 8 routes, among them the path that connects Stemnitsa with Dimitsana. Starts from the central square of Stemnitsa and crosses the Lousios Gorge, passing next to some of the most important sights in the area, such as the monasteries of Prodromos, the Old and New Monastery of Philosofos and the Open-Air Water Power Museum. Besides hiking, you can do rafting on the river and some goldsmithing lessons.