Arna is a village (Greek: Άρνα) on the eastern slopes of the Taygetus mountain range, at an altitude of 700m to 850m (2,300 to 2,800 feet).
Location of Arna
Located in Laconia, in the Peloponnese, it forms part of the municipal unit of Faris. The nearest major towns are Gytheio, 35 km (22 mi) to the southeast, and Sparta, approximately 40 km to the north.
The area has a rich history. Near the village, at the Arkina site, a two Mycenaean-era domed burial chambers have been found, most likely built by Minyan or Boeotian settlers. Artifacts from many periods have also been found at Arna and Arkina, mostly ceramic containers. These findings support the conclusion that the site has been since ancient times a stop on the road connecting Sparta and Messinia.
Under Ottoman rule, the area remained free of Turkish presence. For the final years of Ottoman rule, Arna and the rest of the Mani region enjoyed a hard-earned special status of autonomy as they had throughout the entire Age of the Ottoman Empire. From that era, two defensive towers (pirgi) remain.
The residents of Arna featured prominently in the Greek struggle for independence (1821-1829). A close-by reminder of that struggle is the "Kolokotronis Cave", on the north slope of Mt. Annina. Folk tradition has it that Constantine Kolokotronis (father of famed hero Theodoros Kolokotronis) had sought refuge in this cave after being wounded defending the pirgos of the nearby village of Kastania, at the side of fellow revolutionary Panagiotaros Venetsanakos. He was discovered there the next day and killed; his body was thrown into the cave.
Today, Arna's population is on the decline, as is the population of the Greek countryside nationwide. The 1971 census counted 324 residents in the village; today, fewer than 150 remain. There are, however, positive signs of increased activity: The number of visits from emigrant Arniotes is on the rise, year round.
For visitors, there are five stores open year round, two of which serve food. A traditional guesthouse Geodi provides accommodation to visitors wishing to stay for any length of time in Arna.
The Arna Cultural Association Website.
Used with permission from The Arna Cultural Association.
http://www.arna.gr does not currently belong to The Arna Cultural Association
The Arna Cultural Association website is http://users.otenet.gr/~arna .
The same website can be also found at http://www.arna.org.gr
Giorgos V. Polymenakos, The Arna Cultural Association "O PLATANOS" Website manager
Medieval Greece / Byzantine Empire
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