Bridge of Karitena

Μετάφραση Greek Version

Bridge of Karitena

The five-arched stone bridge was also called the "The Bridge of the 5000 drachmas" because it was depicted on the back of the most famous banknote in the drachma years. On the front, Theodoros Kolokotronis was depicted and on the back, Karytena in Arcadia. The general of the Revolution is connected with the specific area, as he acted there and had set up his base. According to Geros manuscripts, there on March 26, 1821, militants killed a messenger who would warn the Turks of the neighboring village to leave it, because they intended to occupy it. Thus, the Greeks were the first to get the message and prevent the attack.

The legend connects its construction with human sacrifice, as well as the historic bridge of Arta and other stone bridges. According to tradition, the lord of the castle of Karytena, Godfrey de Brigier, "built" his wife on the foundations to dry up the bridge. Immediately after the sacrifice, stole the woman of Domestichos Katavas and left Karytena. Katavas himself took the place of the Frankish ruler and became the ruler of the castle.

The bridge was rebuilt in 1441 by a descendant of a great Byzantine family, Raul Manuel Melikis. At one point the lord found himself in the Alphios River, which passes under him and wanted to go from one bank to the other, through the bridge. However, the bridge was almost destroyed and Melikis fell into the rushing waters and almost drowned. Because he was saved at the last minute, miraculously, he decided to rebuild it. The Byzantines used to build small churches at the bases of the bridges, to guard them.

At one of the bases of the bridge of Karytena, is the small church of the Nativity of the Virgin, in which there was an inscription with the name of Meliki and the date of reconstruction of the bridge, which was destroyed over time. From 1830 engravings, it seems that the bridge then had a large curve like a saddle, while later it is depicted straight, which proves that other changes were made during the 19th century.
Tradition has it that there was a small slit in the bridge through which passers-by left their obol for the chapel. The coins ended up on the bridge, directly behind the icon of the Virgin Mary, which was inside the temple.

The bridge, after all the interventions, had five unequal arches between them, reaching 12 meters in height and 50 meters in length. Its largest arch was almost 9 meters wide. Today, three of the five arches survive. The middle one exploded during the Civil War. The part of the old bridge that is missing, has been completed by a wooden section, while the crossing is done by a new modern bridge.