Community And Culture

Living Traditions

Local Foods, Annual Festivals, The Arts

The Parrhasian Heritage Park will enhance the region economically, as well as protect and renew the life and culture of this part of Greece. This landscape is for the most part a place remote from the modern sprawl of cities. Local population numbers have fallen significantly over the last century, and remaining community members are concerned about the disappearance of their local villages and local traditions, as well as economic sustainability. Many young people have left the mountain villages to find employment in cities. It is within the context of these conditions, and as a result of a few earlier initiatives, that a group of local people first championed the idea of a heritage park. Many see it as an opportunity to protect their traditional lifestyle, promote responsible tourism as a sustainable economic driver, and provide new recreational opportunities for the general public and community members alike.

Located in the center of the proposed heritage park, Mt. Lykaion has been in many ways the catalyst of the creation of the park both in terms of its own heritage and the recent archaeological work undertaken there. In the 1970s local residents of Ano Karyes reinstated a modern version of the ancient Lykaion Games, held every four years on the site of the ancient stadium and hippodrome. The event has become a major attraction for participants from all over the region and is a strong example of a living tradition at Mt. Lykaion. Now the festival includes a week of different kinds of events: dramatic, literary, musical, as well as athletic, and the venue moves each day to a different nearby town or village. In the area of ancient Phigaleia walking and hiking trails have been created in and around the ancient city and along the neighboring Neda River and Gorge. Excellent signs show tourists the routes of these trails and indicate the degree of difficulty of each hike; other signs explain the ancient city and its component parts.

Heritage Park Community

The Heritage Park affords an opportunity to preserve holistic, traditional uses of the land while promoting local economic recovery. Specialty goods such as wine, olive oil, chestnuts, walnuts, potatoes, honey, cherries, yoghurt, cheese and other goat milk products are still found in many villages, as are grass-fed goats and chickens. Regionally produced goods can help promote tourism throughout the Heritage Park as well as reinvigorate the production of traditional handicrafts. There are many products that have the potential to be branded as specialty items for value-added marketing and can help draw tourism to the area. Sustaining the production of local foods and other products, promoting local festivals, and sustaining traditional activities invites increased tourism and reinforces community pride.

Local Businesses and Commerce

  • Arcadia has wine production and associated wine festivals.
  • Arcadia is known for its chestnuts and walnuts, which are used for preserves and pies.
  • Arcadia is a stockbreeding region famous for its salted meats.
  • Excellent honey is still produced according to traditional methods in many areas of the region.
  • Regionally produced black cherries from Arcadia are renowned for their sweet taste.