The Proposed Parrhasian Heritage Park
An Invaluable Place
The mountainous landscape of the western Peloponnesos, in western Arcadia, northern Messenia and southern Elis is a spectacularly beautiful region of Greece, worthy of preservation and protection. It is characterized by forested hills, river valleys, peaks, mountain meadows, springs, isolated but attractive and welcoming villages and towns and winding roadways. The area abounds with native flora and fauna, and large parts of the region remain largely undisturbed by modern civilization. It is this region that is proposed to become the Parrhasian Heritage Park. The name of the park, “Parrhasian,” refers to the ancient name associated with the eastern part of the proposed park area.
In the Heart of the Peloponnesos
Natural Beauty, Living Traditional Culture, Important Archaeological Sites
This region of the Peloponnesos has a rich history and mythology going back thousands of years with vestiges of many important ancient temples, sanctuaries, and cities. Beautiful villages nestle into mountain terrain, intertwining with the cold waters of springs and rivers that meander through the landscape. The local people continue traditional uses of the land for agriculture and stock breeding, adding another dimension to the remarkable character of the region. Protecting this unique combination of natural and cultural resources lies at the heart of the idea of a heritage park. The proposed park with its educational materials and visitor services will make this particular landscape more accessible to visitors, local students and the general public alike.
The idea for this proposal emerged during the work of the Mt. Lykaion Excavation and Survey Project, a collaborative project under the direction of the Greek Archaeological Service, the ΛΘ’ Ephoreia of Prehistoric and Classical Antiquities in Tripolis, together with the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology and the University of Arizona, under the auspices of the American School of Classical Studies at Athens. The work of this large international interdisciplinary project has been on-going since 2004 and has brought together archaeologists, anthropologists, architects, geologists, geophysicists, historic preservationists, forestry scientists and landscape architects to study and protect the Sanctuary of Zeus on Mt. Lykaion, and, through scientific excavation, to learn more about the history and activity at the site and the surrounding area. The creation of this heritage park is just one example of the many goals of the Mt. Lykaion project.