Ancient Mantineia

Mantineia was one of the largest and most significant cities in antiquity and it became an important centre of historical developments not only in the area of Arcadia, where it belonged, but in the whole of Greece. The ancient city is located 14 kilometres from Tripoli, in the area called Paleopoli. The first excavations began at the end of the 19th century and around 1960 other parts of the city came to light.

mantineia2The most important monuments that the visitor to the archaeological site of Mantineia can see are the ancient theatre, the Bouleftirion, parts of the ancient Agora, Roman baths and a temple which was dedicated to Artemis Mesopolitis. Across the archaeological site one can also visit the Christian church of Aghia Fotini, a combination of Byzantine and Greek architecture, the aesthetics of which are a source of conflicting opinions.

Regarding the preserved monuments, our best source of information is the traveller Pausanias, who visited the city around 170 A.D. and refers to them in detail. The archaeological site begins from the hill Gortsouli, where the acropolis of ancient Mantineia was located. From the top of this hill the visitor has a great, panoramic view of the whole valley of Mantineia, with the remains of the ancient city.

Video by fabdrone

mantineia3The ancient city of Mantineia is situated approximately 14 kilometres north of Tripoli, at Palaiopoli, one of the largest, most important and best preserved cities of the ancient world. Pausanias reports that Mantineas was the city’s legendary settler, grandson of Pelasgus, primogenitor of the Arcadians. The city is also mentioned by Homer, who calls it Mantinei eratinei, meaning “beloved land”. As this ancient reference reveals, Mantineia was a city already at its peak during the Archaic period, playing an important role in the events, not only of Arcadia, but of the entire ancient world.

The first excavations in the region started between 1887 and 1889 by the French Archaeological School, led by Gustave Fougères, and they brought to light the Ancient Agora. Later excavations were undertaken in 1960 by the Greek Archaeological Service and revealed even more relics of this glorious city. The testimony of traveller Pausanias, who visited the city around 170 AD, helped in the identification of these discoveries as the main temples and public buildings of the city.

Mantineia had an impressive fortification wall, the agora, a theatre from the early Hellenistic times, a bath complex dating to the Roman period, the bouleuterion, a temple of Artemis Mesopolitis, as well as two temples which were possibly related to the worship of Zeus and Hera. Residences and tombs have also been located, but they are still well protected underground. Close to the archaeological site lies the Christian church of Saint Foteini, which combines Byzantine and Greek architecture. North of the ancient city, at a distance of approximately one kilometre, is the hill of Gortsouli, which has been identified as the administrative centre of the ancient city, known in ancient texts as Ptolis. A temple was discovered on this hill, which marks the beginning of the archaeological site.

Mantineia had significant presence and power in ancient times, also owing to its strategic position. Its perpetual competitor was Sparta; both cities claiming control of the wider region. This competition resulted in the city’s first destruction in 385 BC, by Agesipolis, King of Sparta. The residents then abandoned their destroyed homeland and scattered into the surrounding areas until 370 BC, when the city was re-established by the Theban general, Epameinondas. In 223 BC the city was destroyed once again by the Macedonian king Antigonos C who, together with his Achaean allies, conquered and looted the city, and massacred its population. The city was again rebuilt in 221 BC under a different name: it was named Antigonia, from the Macedonian king. It kept this name for some centuries, before the Emperor Hadrian gave it back its original name.


Posts for Arcadia

Mt. Parnonas

  • Aug 31,2016

Parnonas also known as “Malevos” is the mountain range which divides two large counties of Peloponnese, Arcadia and Laconia. The highest peak of Parnonas is called “Megali Tourla” also known as “Kronio” and has 1936 meters altitude. The mountain ends in Laconia at the Cape Maleas, south of Peloponnese. The natural beauty of the mountain and the traditional villages attract many travelers... read more


  • Jan 21,2016

Peloponnese’s longest river (111km long) has its source in Arcadia and its mouth in the Prefecture of Elis. According to mythology, Apheus was one of the river-gods of antiquity, worshiped mainly in the regions of Arcadia, Elis and Messinia. Son of Oceanus and Tethys, he killed his brother Cercaphus and haunted by the Erinyes, he leapt into the river which was later named after him. Source: [vc_row][vc_column][ivi_nbcaj... read more

The Gorge of Lepida

  • Jan 20,2016

The gorge of Lepida is one of the numerous, impressive natural formations of Mount Parnon, which stands between the prefectures of Arcadia and Laconia. Its length is 500 metres and it is relatively flat. Two hours are required to cross it, during which visitors will have the opportunity to enjoy the unique natural beauty of the landscape, which is filled with rich flora and fauna and boasts two gorgeous... read more

Mountain biking

  • Jan 20,2016

A great way to discover a new place is actually on two wheels. Arcadia, with its stunning nature, does offer visitors this unique opportunity. The changes in the landscape, the lush vegetation, the dense forests and the hidden traditional settlements are only few of the natural attractions a visitor can enjoy with just a bike and the desire for exploration. Around the city of Tripolis, as well as in the Arcadian... read more

The Ski Center in Mainalo

  • Jan 20,2016

The Mainalo ski center is situated in the location Ostrakina of the homonymous mountain, approximately 30 kilometres from Tripolis and 162 kilometres from Athens. The roads and consequently the access to the ski centre are easy, making it a very popular destination. It isn’t one of the biggest ski centres; however, it is ideal for families with children, since the mountain is not steep and is perfect... read more

The Monastery of Eloni and the Gorge of Leonidio

  • Jan 20,2016

The Monastery of Eloni is a pretty old convent in the prefecture of Arcadia, built in the steep slope of Mount Parnon, at an altitude of 650 metres and about 17 kilometres from the town of Leonidio. Due to its exceptional natural beauty, the area around the monastery has been declared as a protected zone and it’s included in the European Network Natura 2000 under the code GR2520005. It has a long... read more

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