Ancient Tegea

Ten kilometres outside Tripoli, next to the village of Alea, in Mantineia, stands imposingly the ancient city of Tegea, fragments of which started emerging from the end of the previous century. Tegea was one of the most important cities of ancient Arcadia, with a remarkable course through the centuries, until 395 A.D., when it was completely destroyed by the Goths and subsequently abandoned.The excavations have thus far uncovered part of its ancient theatre, part of the ancient Agora, an altar for emperor worship, an early-Christian basilica and fragments of a Byzantine settlement. The area today can be visited and operates as an archaeological park. Nearby there is also the Archaeological Museum of Tegea, with findings mainly from the area around the sanctuary of Athena Alea, patron of Tegea. This sanctuary is no longer extant, it is said, however, that fragments from it were used to build the church of Panaghia, located near the archaeological site.

Tegea was one of the most significant cities of ancient Arcadia. It was founded by Tegeates, son of Lycaon and grandson of Pelasgus, and it was the last seat of the mythical kings of Arcadia. Tegea flourished during antiquity; it is said to have had several thousands of citizens, and it struck its own coins – an indication of its prosperity. The city was destroyed in 395 AD by the Goths, which led to its final decline.

tegeaThe temple of Alea Athena dominated the city, designed by the sculptor Skopas of Paros. Inside it stood an ivory statue of Athena, as well as statues of Asclepius and Hygeia, and the tusks of the Erymanthian Boar, which were taken to Rome when the city became part of the Roman Empire. According to mythology, the name “Alea” came from Aleus, the grandson of Arcas, who built the temple of the goddess Athena, protectress of Tegea. This temple no longer exists, but it is believed that parts were used to build the Christian church of Panagia, situated close to the archaeological site.

The excavations carried out at the site, initially by the French Archaeological School, and more recently by the Ephor of Antiquities, Theodoros Spyropoulos, brought to light temples of Athena Polias and Aphrodite, as well as a number of other buildings, such as the gymnasium, the agora, the stoa, the theatre, the stadium and the boule. Two paleo-Christian basilicas, an imperial cult altar and parts of a Byzantine village were also discovered in the area, from later periods. Only part of the one basilica is preserved, the so-called Thyrsos Basilica; the other is completely gone. The Norwegian Institute has been carrying out excavations since the 1990s, helping to identify buildings and roads in order to form a more complete picture of the area, while it also brought to light other findings, dating from the Byzantine periods and late antiquity.

The area today is an archaeological park of particular importance, with its own museum exhibiting the findings from the area.


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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