THE  ANCIENT  PAST  SURROUNDING  LEONIDIO

 

 

Many do not realize the mountains outside Leonidio are the legendary home of Dionysos, God of Wine and Commerce.  Many also do not realize that scattered within and outside the town of Leonidio are unobvious markers of it's ancient past.

 

The legend is that princess Ino of Thebes, raised her nephew Dionysos in the Cave of Sintza.  Semele had put her son, Dionysos, in a container and threw it in the sea.  The dolphins found the container drifting in the sea and they pushed the container with the baby Dionysos to shore, the ancient port of Prasies/Vrasies, today's port of Leonidion.  As Dionysos grew up in the care of Ino, he planted a Fig tree in front of the cave's entrance.  It should be noted here that Leonidio is frequently referred by locals as Dionysos's Garden.

The monastery, which today is only for women, is accessible by a dirt road from Leonidio, about an hour and a half on foot or much faster by car.  The monastery of Sintza, which means "Fig tree" is dedicated to Saint Nikolas.  It is found "hanging" on the peak of the formidable mountains west of the Leonidio plains, in a rough and inaccessible area marked with deep ravines.  Standing in a small courtyard surrounding Saint Nikolas church, one can admire the plains of Leonidion.  The monastery library includes some rare hand written Bibles adorned with decorations and motives.

To the left is the ancient  cave of Dionysos with the fig tree at it's opening.
Monastery Agios Nikolaos ths Sintzas

 

Down at Plaka, the port area of Leonidio, is where the ancient port of Prasies or Vrasies used to exist.  The ancient Greeks of that time came and traded many of their goods at this port.  All that remains are a few ancient walls and hidden monuments.
On the road towards Plaka from Leonidio

 

 

 

Another Legend regarding the Monastery Agios Nikolaos tis Sintzas relates to a giant Serpent which roamed the lands around Leonidio, putting all the people inhabiting this area in great fear for their lives.  It is said that the horrendous serpent was killed at Plaka by the fishermen of Spetses, Hydra and Poros.  All that remains is a small fossilized tail end part of the serpent, located at the Monastery Agios Nikolaos tis Sintzas Leonidion.

 

An Ancient Bridge found in Agios Andreas with Korakouvouni in the background.

 

 

Did you know the Greek God "Pan" was from Arkadia?  An interesting character he certainly was, see this link to learn more:  http://www.lugodoc.demon.co.uk/pan.htm