The mountain mass of Mainalon (1980 maximum altitude) occupies the center of the Peloponnese and the largest part of the Prefecture of Arcadia. It extends from the plateau of Tripoli to the river Lousios in the west and from Megalopolis to the lake of Ladon in the north, in an area of about 1,500,000 acres. Its purely mountainous zone exceeds 700,000 acres and makes it one of the most extensive mountain complexes in Greece. The continuous alternations of dozens of peaks and ravines with hundreds of mountain meadows and plateaus give an impressive relief. The fact that most of its highlands show a negative slope (sinks, goupata, lakkas), makes Mainalos a unique geomorphological formation in the whole of Greece. The natural relief is complemented by many springs and water flows, especially in its western part due to the tightness of the rocks (flysch, slates) where a rich biomass is formed and one of the largest underground aquifers of the Peloponnese. A magnificent fir forest covers about 65% of the mountain zone and together with stands of oaks, lindens, pines, cedars and all forms of vegetation, forms the background of a rich mycoflora. The flora is complemented by a wide variety of shrubs, herbaceous plants and flowers on the plateaus and on the peaks, which, especially in spring, give beautiful lawns with rare natural compositions.
Countless legends and stories are heard about the mountain, where heroes and gods of mythology lived, first of all the cloven-hoofed god of goats and sheep and shepherds, Pan. According to Virgil, Mainalo "always listens to the love songs of the shepherds and of Pan, who plays his flute". In winter, covered with snow, it offers a spectacular sight and is an ideal place for winter holidays, sports (Ostrakina) and hunting. Abundant herds of sheep and goats are housed in its area. Animal husbandry has always been intertwined with the economy of its mountain inhabitants.
Mainalo is a vast park of culture and history. It is dotted with many picturesque and historical villages: Dimitsana, Stemnitsa, Vytina, Alonistaina, Limbovisti, Levidi, Magouliana, Piana, Zygovisti, Pyrgaki, Roino and others. Scattered by remains of ancient, medieval and newer traditional settlements, temples, monasteries, hidden schools, stone bridges, water mills, cobblestones and paths. A simple tour of the mountain, recalls historical memories from '21 when Mainalo was the theater of the Revolution of the Greek nation. In and around the mountain of Pana, whose idyllic landscapes were praised by Goethe, Virgil and Poussin, unfolds the historical route of tens of centuries of Greek history.
The avifauna and fauna of the mountain, despite the degradation due to human disturbances of various kinds, is still fighting an unequal battle for survival. It has rightly been included in the Natura 2000 network.
Mainalo is a single natural, cultural and historical area. Its pristine and primordial landscapes, its biological diversity, its position at the junction of the communication axes of the flora and fauna of the Peloponnese, combined with its historical - residential face, constitute an important ecosystem and a high-level natural and human environment.
There are plenty of enchanting routes and sites in Mainalo. In particular, the routes Piana - Alonistaina - Vytina, Stemnitsa - Chrysovitsi, Vytina - Pyrgaki - Elati - Chrysovitsi, Vytina - Dimitsana and Magouliana - Valtesiniko will be unforgettable for the visitor. Among the locations, Arkudorema near Libovisti and areas near Alonistaina, Pyrgaki and Elati have a special place.
At the location of Ostrakina, near the highest peak of Mainalos, there is a remarkable ski center and shelter.
Discover Mainalo with the Ascent map
Cover Photo Victor Manolis (@victor_manolito) from Stemnitsa