Karyes

Discover Sparta / Modern Day Sparta

Details

Karyes is located in northeastern Lakonia on the foothills of Mt. Parnonas at an altitude of 950 where chestnut and walnut trees abound.

The area has been inhabited since antiquity and existed as a stronghold for the Spartans as the ancient town lay to the north of the modern village. Originally an Arkadian town, Karyes later went to the Spartans. The city was known for its sacred enclosure dedicated to Artemis and her Nymphs. Artemis was called Karyatis and her statue stood in the open air where the new maidens, the Karyatides would dance in her honor. The Karyatides became the inspiration for the construction of statues to support the entablatures of many buildings, rather than using columns. In Karyes, archaeologists have discovered copies of the famous Karyatides statues found at the Erechtheion temple on the Acropolis.

In the Byzantine era, Karyes was named Arahova and kept that name until the 20th century. Its residents were distinguished for their independent spirit, as they took part in the Revolution of 1821 and were ultimately torched by Ibrahim Pasha.  They fought against the Germans, who burnt the village to the ground. It was only after the Civil War that this once thriving community met its decline.

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Today, Karyes has 927 residents, who mainly engage in livestock farming, beekeeping and agriculture (cultivating mostly chestnut and walnut trees). Very good local cheeses are also produced. There is an active agricultural association, a livestock farming cooperative and a producer group for the processing and packaging of chestnuts. Karyes has been included in a national development program for mild agricultural tourism. In addition to the traditional tavernas of the village, there are three guesthouses open all year long. Karyes is an ideal place to start exploring the hiking trails of Mt. Parnonas, as the European hiking path E4 passes by the village. Every year on July 26th and 27th, a great festival is organized with the assistance of the cultural association. The local band headlines the event and is a crowd favorite.

Traditional homes and a picturesque square with the perennial plane tree, friendly people, the surrounding forests of Mt. Parnonas with amazing color variations  depending on the season, beautiful and comfortable accommodation, as well as excellent dishes made with traditional, local products… All these things and more entice visitors who wish to discover the hidden beauties of Karyes that will make every day of his stay memorable.