Karyes

Discover Sparta / Modern Day Sparta

Details

Karyes is located in northeastern Lakonia on the foothills of Mt. Parnonas at an altitude of 950 at a location forested by chestnut and walnut trees.

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.

In the north-east end of the main settlement, four (4) eternal plane trees are known as the Plane Trees of Menelaus in the courtyard of the Church of Panagia. Their age can not be determined with precision, but according to the traveler Pausanias they were planted by King Menelaus about 1100 BC and for this reason they have been named. Characteristic is that their logs have been dug up to such an extent that one can get into the trunk and climb comfortably at the higher points of the trees.

Karyes is an ideal place to start exploring the hiking trails of Mt. Parnonas, as the European hiking path E4 passes by the village.

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.