The text from the brochure describing our park planning activities for 2013 will be uploaded at the end of the 2013 field season. A full color version of the brochure with Greek and English text, photographs and maps can be downloaded here.

Park Planning Efforts

The summer of 2013 saw many important positive developments toward the creation of the Parrhasian Heritage Park of the Peloponnesos. The newly established Parrhasian Heritage Park Society (PHPS) had its first meeting in Athens in the Old Parliament Building on June 7. Photis Zois led the organization of this meeting and through his many efforts strong ties have been created with the International Society for Arcadia and with its director, Angelos Dendrinos. Representatives from Messenia were present at the meeting as well. The Third Parrhasian Heritage Park Field School was held in Ano Karyes between July 14-24 in which Greek and American students took part in the planning and creation of trails for the park. The Field School worked on the western portion of the Zeus Trail including trail construction and signage design. During the fall and winter, regional meetings have been held in Elis, Messenia, and Arcadia to spread information about the Park and to raise support for the Parrhasian Heritage Park Society. On July 21, the Parrhasian Heritage Park Field School took part in the opening of the Vastas -Aghia Theodora Trail.

Parrhasian Heritage Park Field School

The Third Parrhasian Heritage Park Field School was run for two weeks between July 14-24, 2013, under the direction of the Mt. Lykaion Excavation and Survey Project. Pat Playdon organized the laboratory and the trail work of the Field School while Nota Pantzou directed the organization of the lectures and the field trips around Arcadia. She also worked and lectured on her study of the ethnography of the region, which she conducts in collaboration with Stelios Lekakis. Six American students and two Greek students took part in the field school and the work was divided into several categories that included the creation of a section of the Trail of Zeus on the west side of the mountain. In addition the students studied landscape and village character, creating the designs for trail signs, as well as gathering information on the history, geology, and archaeology of the region. Nota Pantzou, originally from the village of Lykosoura, introduced the students to her family including a lovely traditional dinner and a tour of their property.

Professor Costas Cassios lectured on the history of national forests and parks in Greece with specific examples including the Samaria Gorge Trail in western Crete that he designed over 30 years ago. David Romano spoke on the origins of the Parrhasian Heritage Park since 2004. Kyriakos Karagiannis, President of the Society of Lykaion Zeus in Ano Karyes, spoke about the history of Ano Karyes and its relationship to the region and to the excavation. Thanasis Christeas, President of the village of Kastanochori, described the history of his village. Photis Zois spoke about the Lykosouras Society and its member villages as well as the new trail of Vastas-Aghia Theodora, opened in July2013. Nota Pantzou also lectured on examples of Cultural Heritage management in Greece.

Trail of Zeus

The Trail of Zeus is the second trail that the Parrhasian Heritage Park Field School has initiated (the Pan Trail was the first). Under the direction of Pat Playdon, students focused on the study, design and creation of section 5 (western portion) of the Zeus Trail. The team completed a trail assessment, and developed a plan that would make the trail safe and useable to the general public. A plan for the placement of signs and markers was also developed, and was begun by the team. For this purpose, the students used a combination of cairns made of local field stone, and wooden posts that were placed at strategic points (including the section ends and points of interest). Graphics were created for these posts and manufacture is scheduled for summer, 2014.

During the Zeus Trail work, Nota Pantzou collected information regarding the local history and economy of the study area, as well as the traditional paths, their usage, and abandonment. Thanasis Christeas, President of the village of Kastanochori, assisted the team in the cleaning of the trail and the installation of trail signs. He also provided the team with valuable information about land use, place names, and local traditions. Apart from field and lab work, students had the opportunity to attend lectures by the initiators for the creation of the Park (David Gilman Romano), local stakeholders (Photis Zois, Kyriakos Karagiannis) and specialists in Landscape Architecture (Costas Cassios), Archaeological GIS (Matt Pihokker) and Heritage Management (Nota Pantzou), visit important heritage sites (historical, archaeological and natural) of the Park, participate in local festivities and attend the inauguration of the third trail of PHP at Vastas.

Vastas Trail Opening

On Sunday July 21, 2013 a new trail opened as a part of the Parrhasian Heritage Park of the Peloponnesos. It is a trail that links the village of Vastas with the nearby 11th or 12th century CE chapel of Aghia Theodora. The trail is 4.2 km. in length and passes through beautiful forests and along panoramic ridges from Vastas to the chapel at a lower elevation. The trail opening was inaugurated by the priest from Vastas. Seventy-three participants from the local communities, and from the Mt. Lykaion Excavation and Survey Project and the Parrhasian Heritage Park Field School, participated in the hike. Photis Zois was instrumental in the organization of this trail opening following the initial work on the trail undertaken by Mark Davison and the students of the Parrhasian Heritage Park Field School of 2012.

Following the opening of the trail there was a meeting held in the Vastas community center where practical aspects of the concept of the Parrhasian Heritage Park were discussed. The trail is intended to link Vastas and Aghia Theodora with a network of other trails that will include the ancient city of Lykosoura and other ancient sites in the Parrhasia, as well as villages and towns in both modern Messenia and Elis.

Several topics were considered during the meeting including the question of how local communities would profit financially from the establishment and development of the Park. The idea of selling locally produced commodities as value-added products of the Parrhasian Heritage Park was proposed. Other ideas included creating bed and breakfasts or simple hostels within the Park, hiking or equestrian tours of the Park, and promoting local village events. The importance of all of the villages working together in this initiative toward the institution of the Park continues to be critical to the success of the overall Park concept.

Trapezous Trail Planning

A proposed trail from the ancient city of Trapezous to the ash altar at the southern peak of Mt. Lykaion is a route that closely replicates the ancient route from the city to the ancient sanctuary. For the last two field seasons the Parrhasian Heritage Park Summer Field School Team has studied and surveyed the area to find the best trail between the two points (see graphic below). The new trail of the Parrhasian Heritage Park will begin at the site of the ancient town of Trapezous, passing across the valley floor, through the village of Kyparissia, before running parallel to the Alpheios River and ascending the lower foothills of Mt. Lykaion to Isoma Karyon. After leaving the village, the trail climbs though a lush limestone gorge to a well shaded spring. From here is possible to follow a steep path up to the site of the ancient Temple of Apollo Parrhasios at Cretea. The trail follows agricultural terraces, crosses another precipitous gorge, and crosses a dry river bed (see relationship diagram, lower left). The steepest section flattens out on a saddle that is dominated by the peak of Aghios Georgios. From here, the path follows an old wagon route up to Ano Karyes. Here, the trail intersects with the Trail of Zeus that has a spur road leading to the ash altar. At the peak, panoramic views of the Peloponnese cover two watersheds, distant mountain ranges and three prefectures that all lie within the boundaries of the Parrhasian Heritage Park.

The 16 km trail will utilize a combination of existing dirt roads and smaller trails that will connect the existing paths. On average the grade is 6% with some steeper segments in the gorge section. The trail passes through ancient sites, modern day villages with a rich diversity of habitats, and has an array of view points that afford spectacular views of the surrounding landscape. There are options to complete the route in a day, or travel leisurely in two or three days with time to spend in the villages, exploring the ancient sites. If funding can be secured to build and open the Trapezous Trail, it has potential to be a major attraction, engaging local people as well as European and world travelers to the outstanding scenery that this region affords.

Parrhasian Heritage Park Society

On June 7, 2013 in the Old Parliment building in Athens, the first public meeting of the Parrhasian Heritage Park Society was held. The president of the Society is Photis Zois, who organized the meeting. During the event there were presentations by a number of members of the Society including Mr. Angelos Dendrinos, presenting the International Society for Arcadia. An excellent lecture was given by Professor George Theodorou of the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens who spoke about the recent palaeontological discoveries that have been made near Megalopolis. Kyriakos Karagiannis spoke about the upcoming Lykaion Games in August. David Romano answered questions about the original concept and design of the park. Nota Pantzou assisted with the translations. Emily Graff of the Mt. Lykaion Excavation and Survey Project was also in attendance.

During the fall and winter, regional meetings of the Parrhasian Heritage Park Society were held in Andritsaina (Elis), Meligalas (Messenia), and Megalopolis (Arcadia) to spread information about the Park and to raise support for the Society.

The Parrhasian Heritage Park Society, an NGO, seeks to raise support for the development of the Parrhasian Heritage Park from local villages, societies, and other local and national organizations. There is interest in the park from local villages in the prefectures of Arcadia, Messenia, and Elis. The Park is promoting the creation of regional committees to address the needs of different regions in the park planning process. In addition, the Parrhasian Heritage Park Society is keeping in close contact with the Ministry of Culture & Sports, the Ministry of the Environment, and the Ministry of Agriculture.