The following text summarizes the work of the Parrhasian Heritage Park initiative conducted during summer 2011. A full color version of the brochure with Greek and English text, photographs and maps can be downloaded here.

The Parrhasian Heritage Park of the Peloponnesos - Park Planning Efforts 2011

One of the most important objectives of the Mt. Lykaion Excavation and Survey Project has been to propose, and now to work towards, the creation of Greece’s first national heritage park in the mountainous area of the western Peloponnesos. Our proposal for the creation of the Parrhasian Heritage Park of the Peloponnesos, now in its seventh year, is gaining momentum through education, public presentations and meetings.

The 550 km2 area abounds with flora and fauna and large parts of the region remain largely undisturbed by modern civilization. The area features pristine mountain landscapes, rivers, valleys and small villages that relate to countless examples of the rich cultural history shaped by years of occupancy rooted in deep-seated and intact traditions.

The creation of the park affords an opportunity to protect traditional lifestyles, protect the irreplaceable national heritage at archaeological sites, promote responsible tourism as a sustainable economic driver, and provide new recreational opportunities for the general public and community members alike. Park planning information and documents have been prepared and are available both in Greek and English on the website: parrhasianheritagepark.org

In the Summers of 2010 and 2011 important public meetings were held in Megalopolis, Arcadia at which private citizens, village and community leaders, archaeologists, mayors and governors attended and contributed to the creation of what is now called the Park Alliance, the governing body of the park. Supporting the creation of the park is the Ministry of Culture, along with the ΛΘ’ Ephoreia of Prehistoric and Classical Antiquities in Tripolis. Other Ephoreias around the Peloponnesos plan involvement in the effort to create the park.

During the summer of 2011 the Mt. Lykaion Excavation and Survey Project began a field school to train Greek and US students in the process of creating a large European cultural heritage park. During the Field School the first Park trail was opened, between the villages of Ano Karyes (Arcadia) and Neda (Messenia). It is planned that this field school will continue in future years and become an important training resource for Greek students and for students from the US and around the world.

This brochure presents a brief summary of the park planning efforts of the Summer 2011, including the formation of the Alliance, community collaboration, plans for a Mt. Lykaion heritage area, the inaugural park field school and the plans for the future construction of the Parrhasian Heritage Research Center.

Park Alliance

The first meeting of the Alliance took place on July 31, 2011 in Megalopolis at which the Governor of the Peloponnesos, Dr. Petros Tatoulis, presided. Plans for the future of the Park were discussed and it was decided that the Alliance would become the governing agency of the Park.

The Alliance will provide inspiration, guidance and direction for the creation of the Park and will:

  • Allow citizen and government collaboration on planning to share their concerns about localized needs
  • Establish guidelines for managing change in the region
  • Encourage economic growth associated with tourism, bringing in new visitors to the area
  • Highlight, protect, and link significant archaeological sites
  • Support the traditional culture that exists in the modern day
  • Protect the unique vernacular features of the region which have developed over time to exemplify local agricultural products and crafts
  • Preserve and provide access to the areas of outstanding natural beauty found in the area, such as the Neda River gorge
  • Protect the integrity of the existing cultural and natural landscape

Alliance Committees

Committees are being formed to oversee the creation of and fulfill the strategies and actions that will realize the Parrhasian Heritage Park of the Peloponnesos. The seven committees are: 1. Legislation Committee; 2. Towns and Villages Committee; 3. Archaeology Committee; 4. Natural Committee; 5. Recreation and Tourism Committee; 6. Agriculture and Food Committee; 7. Administration and Outreach Committee; and 8. Park Planning Committee.

Mt. Lykaion Heritage Site

The region around Mount Lykaion, includig the villages of Neda, Ano Karyes, and Kotilion, as well as the archaeological sites, has become a focus area for the park, where planning concepts are tested and actualized on the ground. Using this approach, the area can become a catalyst that will show the way for others areas in the park.

Future Catalyst Projects

Creating the park will lead citizens from the towns and villages, as well as business owners, farmers, and local and national government agencies and organizations to agree on ways to manage and enjoy the local natural, historic, cultural, educational, scenic or recreational resources that are important to the area. The Alliance will strive to introduce catalyst projects that will best fit the landscape and those who live in it. Below is a list of potential catalyst projects that resulted from informal discussions during the 2011 field school:

  • Develop Mount Lykaion Heritage Site (see below)
  • Create Mount Lykaion loop trail
  • Create Trapezounta – Mt. Lykaion trail
  • Adapt village houses for visitors overnight stays
  • Adapt shepherd shelters as camping huts
  • Advance Parrhasian culinary tour
  • Offer guided tours between ancient sites
  • Ride around Parrhasia in three days (RAPID3)
  • Promote horse trip around park in 7 days
  • Develop regional music festival
  • Open scenic driving loop
  • Create park-wide loop trail
  • Rotating village food market
  • Create Parrhasian food brand

Proposed Catalyst: Mt. Lykaion Heritage Site

Catalyst: Develop Mount Lykaion Heritage Site
Strategy: Conserve, promote, educate and provide improved public access to the ancient sites on and around
Mount Lykaion. Design and implement recreation opportunities for the public that compliment existing uses

Examples of Actions to Fulfill Strategy (with associated committee involvement):

  • Complete archaeological investigations of the site (Archaeology)
  • Plan, design, and implement a site program for public access to the sites (Archaeology, Park Planning)
  • Provide services for visitors in nearby villages of Neda, Ano Karyes and Kotilion (Towns and Villages, Recreation andTourism and Regional Planning)
  • Continue and relocate Modern Lykaion Games and promote festivals (Towns and Villages, Archaeology, Recreation andTourism)

The Parrhasian Heritage Research Center

The intention of the proposed Parrhasian Heritage Research Center is to create a comfortable and modern facility in Megalopolis to support archaeological research, community planning and heritage park management in the central area of the Peloponnesos, Greece. The Research Center would contribute to the creation and working of the Parrhasian Heritage Park as well as support the ongoing archaeological work and related research and study of the Mt. Lykaion Excavation and Survey Project, and other future archaeological projects in the area. This part of the Peloponnesos, the Parrhasia, is very rich in archaeological sites, many of which are within the boundaries of the proposed Parrhasian Heritage Park. It is anticipated that there will be increasing interest in the history and archaeology of this area and this will create a greater need for a modern Research Center. The facility would provide space for research and study, a place to sleep and eat, as well as a location for small public symposia and exhibits. The Research Center will also be a hub for the local populace to meet and share ideas about improving their community and environment as well as the development of the Park. We are currently working on locating the proper location for the Center in Megalopolis, designing the building, and raising funds to make the Center a reality.

Research Center Mission:
The intention of the proposed Parrhasian Heritage Research Center is to create a comfortable and modern facility in Megalopolis to support archaeological research, community planning and heritage park management in the central area of the Peloponnesos, Greece:

  • Become a focal point for the Parrhasian Heritage Park
  • Create a modern facility for archaeological research in Megalopolis
  • Establish an international center for teaching of park heritage management
  • Act as a hub for community initiatives across the region of the park

Park Planning at the Research Center

The Parrhasian Heritage Research Center will cover all aspects of park planning efforts including archaeological as well as heritage management. The Research Center will naturally also include the full range of typical park study areas including natural, recreation, scenic, and cultural attributes. Open to students and scholars as well as to local residents, the Center will be a resource to utilize and conserve the major natural, cultural and scenic resources in the park. In so doing, the Center will be a teaching ground for scholars and the local communities to understand how to benefit most from the surrounding resources. The Center will be unique in its commitmnet not only to researching and protecting the physical resources and landscape character of a region, but also serving to promote traditional ways of life, local festivals, locally made products, and strengthening of community identity. It will also be a place where international scholars and students can gather and learn about the heritage park approach and take it back to their own communities. The proposed Parrhasian Heritage Research Center will offer many amenities including a library, lecture room, dormitory for overnight accommodation, office space, research room, cutting-edge laboratory, photography room, garden, courtyard, dining area and kitchen.

The establishment of the Parrhasian Heritage Park offers great potential to revitalize an area through a grass roots movement that will increase pride in people’s home region and ensure the wealth generated from these efforts is returned back to the local community.

Community Partnerships

  • The Parrhasian Heritage Research Center in Megalopolis will act as a major gateway to the Parrhasian Heritage Park
  • The Alliance overseeing park strategies and development will have a base at the center
  • The Research Center will be the hub for developing community-based strategies for economic development projects, resource conservation and revitalization
  • In partnership with the community the center can provide a setting for programs and education showcasing the history, traditions and plans for the future of the area
  • Greek students, scholars and professionals will use the center to study and learn about the park and the planning approach used to establish it
  • Recreation opportunities within the park will be proposed as part of the park planning efforts in conjunction with local community needs

Multidisciplinary Collaboration

A multidisciplinary international collaboration will be the focus the Center, following the pattern set though the diverse parties that proposed the creation of the park including:

  • Local Community: Residents, Officials, Community Leaders, Elders, Youth
  • Park Planning: Landscape Architects, Architects, Regional Planners, Economists, Social Scientists, Computer Scientists, Engineers, Geophysicists, Graphic Designers
  • Cultural Resources: Archaeologists, Anthropologists, Historians, Historic Preservationists, Ethnographers
  • Natural Resources: Geologists, Hydrologists, Environmental Scientists

This collaboration will focus on developing projects and programs within the park as well as sharing this approach with other communities that are interested.

Proposed Courses and Lectures

  • Collaborative Community Planning; public involvement in the vision planning process
  • Communicating Ideas; envisioning a comprehensive plan for the park
  • The Heritage Area Phenomenon; emerging global patterns and solutions
  • Design + Build Studio; identify and implement community programs and projects
  • How do cultural landscapes preserve, provide and promote Heritage?
  • Why a Values Based System Supports Community Revitalization - universal and adapted values
  • Greek Vernacular Architecture in the Peloponnesos

Inaugural Field School 2011 - Goals of the Field School

The idea of the field school is to include Greek and US undergraduate and graduate students in the work of the creation of the Parrhasian Heritage Park. The first Parrhasian Heritage Field School took place during July 2011 and had several objectives. One of the goals was to begin teaching community planning and heritage park management, as it applies to the Parrhasian Heritage Park, to a small group of students. This brought together Greek and US scholars, professionals, and students to learn heritage principles and to share ideas and better understand the Parrhasian landscape. The field school is designed to provide theoretical training that is applied practically to the planning effort for the park. A group of four students took part in the 2011 field school and the work was divided into several categories: considering values or principles that will guide a regional vision for the park; describing potential catalyst projects that will serve the groups managing the park; studying landscape character, urban character, trails, and sign design; as well as gathering information on the history, geology and archaeology of the region. The conclusion of the field school was the opening of the first trail of the park, from the village of Ano Karyes to the village of Neda. Community leaders as well as local political dignitaries took part in the trail opening.

Field School Curriculum

The curriculum for the continuing summer field schools will include courses from a diverse range of national and international experts within their fields. This collaboration aims to teach younger professionals and students about wise stewardship of the land and a values based park planning method.

The major goals include:

  • Offer architecture and landscape architecture studios for credit at Greek and US universities
  • Organize lectures, talks and conferences
  • Organize volunteer work for the park
  • Organize field trips and classes for children of communities within the park boundary
  • Create fellowship positions for research and publications
  • Create work-share opportunities for professionals to study
  • Integrate archaeological field work and training with park planning and management

A Day at The Field School

A typical day for the field school begins with breakfast at 6.30 am; a short discussion on logistics for the day and a recap covering the previous days findings. Below is a description from one day, Monday July 25, which was the beginning of the second week:

7.00 am: Field Work: Lykaion to Kotilion Trail Assessment: begin field work with inventory and assessment of an existing trail that will be officially opened to public in 2012.

12.00 pm to 2.00 pm: Lunch

2.00 pm: Discussion Topic -- Planning for the Park Through a values-based approach: communicat- ing ideas and values; envisioning the plan through goals and strategies; and completion of a compre- hensive plan with macro and micro actions.
- Mark Davison, Ximena Valle and Nicholas L. Stapp

3.00 pm: Kotilion Design Sketch and Evaluation: do a charrette for the village of Kotilion with flash card mapping, opportunity and constraints mapping, and relationship diagrams. From evaluation create a preliminary site program and value based vision.

5.00 pm: Wrap up work and prepare for next day.

Opening the Trail of Pan

The inauguration of the first trail of the Parrhasian Heritage Park took place on Saturday July 30, 2011. Hikers assembled at the villages of Ano Karyes and Neda at 10 am on the day of the event and walked the trail that is nearly 6 km. in length. Participants from each start point met near the border between Arcadia and Messenia, where the inauguration ceremony took place and from which the Sanctuary of Pan could be seen.

Participants included the Governor of Arcadia, Mr. Evangelos Giannakouras, the Mayor of Megalopolis, Dr. Takis Bouras, the Ephor of Prehistoric and Classical Antiquities of the ΛΘ’ Ephoreia in Tripolis, Dr. Anna Karapanagiotou, together with local village and civic leaders and 35 residents and children of residents of villages within the park boundary. The Parrhasian Park Planning team together with the student participants of the field school were also in attendance. Short talks were presented by the dignitaries at the trail opening.

Park Signs - Goals for park Signage

  • Park features will be highlighted and explained through the use of unifying signs
  • Park signs will focus on identifying the history, significance and key information for archaeological sites, villages, trails, flora, fauna, geology, local festivals, produce, and other attractive features of the Parrhasian Heritage Park
  • A number of signs will also be created to indicate trail routes and direction to the major features of the park