Folklore Museum in Stemnitsa
Stemnitsa, known from its history, day by day began to change in a deserted city rather than rewarded for its contribution in the struggle. Reasons, such as the mountainous terrain and the conditions of access to major centers, resulted in stagnation and in a high current expatriation. This created the need for the revitalization of the site, which led to the founding of the Folklore Museum of Stemnitsa.
The Folk Museum of Stemnitsa opened on September 1, 1985. The work on the organization began two years earlier with the aim of highlighting the society of Stemnitsa and the arts, and of familiarizing Stemnitsa's people with the modern works of craftsmanship.
Having this in mind three themes were formed:
The rich, numerically and qualitative, collection of the founders, which includes items from many places of our country.
- The rich history of growth and development of arts.
- The internal architectural layout and decoration of houses.
On the ground floor, a representation of the workshops of artisans is presented. At the mezzanine and at the staircase leading to it, the traditional architecture and the equipment of Stemnitsa's house are exhibited. At the single first floor, the diverse original collection of Savopoulos is exposed in showcases, which is composed of Byzantine icons, weapons, pottery, metalwork, woodwork, needlework, textiles and accessories from traditional costumes.
The Folklore Museum of Stemnitsa is housed in a three -floored building of the 18th century, which was built, according to tradition, to serve the needs of a large family. The tradition attaches to it a historical significance because there the chieftains meetings took place in 1821and also the convening of the First Peloponnesian Senate on May 29, 1821.
This building has rectangle ground plan and is three-floored.
The ground floor or basement served as a stable and there the wood and the wine in a huge "cask" were stored.
On the mezzanine or Messiano, there were "Yukos" and the food.
Finally, the top floor or upper floor was the principal area of the residence.
The house originally belonged to the Tsepre family. Then, came to the Alexandropoulos family and lastly to George Hatzis, whose six sons donated it to Trikolones association, which, in its turn, donated the house with full ownership and possession for the purpose of establishing the Folklore Museum of Stemnitsa.
The house, with the passage of time was collapsing, but thanks to the willing assistance of donors, Hatzi's brothers, the assistance of Evangelos Kallaniotis and the noble patriot Athanasios John Martinos, became the renovation of the building by the architect Mrs. Sula Moutsopoulou.
On the same time done the formation of the outer part, while the interior design was done by architect Mrs Eleni Economides.
Stemnitsa, a beautiful town of Arcadia, is built on the slopes of Mainalo Mountain. The first post-Byzantine period of Stemnitsa is lost, and only in 16th century we find the first written references to it. From the 18th century, with the population growth, Stemnitsa developed into an important village, into a Chora as it was called, while presented intellectual, artistic and economic development.
During the struggle, Stemnitsa offered much, along with its neighboring cities of Gortynia. Typical is the address that the Prime Minister Th. Deligianis gave to the residents of Stemnitsa: "The residents of Peloponnese are the smartest among Greeks. Arcadians are the smartest in Pelloponnesse, smarter than Arcadians are Gortynians and smarter than Gortynians are Stemnitsa's residents".
Stemnitsa's prosperity continued throughout the 19th century and the first decades of the 20th century, when the emigration to foreign countries and also to Greek urban centers was generalized, and then began the wilting of Stemnitsa. The old Chora Stemnitsa with 3,000 residents is today a village with a small population, which, however, keeps alive its rich history.
Stemnitsa's residents, famous artists, especially from the 17th century to the early 2nd century, were distinguished especially in the processing of metals, from which every kind was used, from the simplest to the most valuable.
The result was Stemnitsa to experience a great glory, thanks to coppersmiths, the bronze-smiths and especially the goldsmiths.
Coppersmiths, Kalantzides or Kazantzides are the artisans of copper. They were making whirring constructions, collages with rivet or links, having as basic tools the hammer and the anvil.
Bronze-smiths are the craftsmen who were working with bronze, the brass. The bronze objects (such as bells, the candelabra, the weights and a group of exquisite in tone bells) were manufactured with the cast technique.
From these items of construction and from their specialization in each one, the bronze-smiths are known also as bell-smiths.
"Goldsmiths" were called the craftsmen who made the most small and precious objects of silver and gold. The quantity of goldsmiths of Stemnitsa was numerous, and their fame was spread throughout the Balkans.
Apart from the artisans of metals, in Stemnitsa flourished also and other traditional craftsmen. These artisans were mainly concerned with the manufacture of clothing accessories such as pasades for the thick woolen clothes, the tailors who sewed and embroidered costumes, and even the cobblers, or others that made these necessary items for the various occupations of the residents, as the saddle makers or Samartzides, the farriers, and the coopers.
Many craftsmen from Stemnitsa were practicing their art in permanent workshops, but they were also itinerant workers. They traveled the longest time and they reached far beyond the boundaries of Arcadia and Peloponnese. They even arrived in the Ionian Islands and to the famous Istanbul and from Egypt and Cyprus to Danube.
These trips were being made by organized groups of artisans, the Kompanies or Bouloukia as they were called. Those travels were divided into two kinds, the long trips of many months and the trips lasting a few months. But there were also the artisans who made very close and short trips, just to meet temporary needs.
For your stay in Arcadia, you can book a room in one of the hotels and Bed & Breakfast inns.
In Stemnitsa, as well as in many other areas of the island, there are hotels and accommodations of various categories and types (rooms to let, residences, Bed & Breakfast inns, studios, hostels, guesthouses and furnished apartments) that can satisfy every visitor's demands and needs for a pleasant and enjoyable stay.
You will find wonderful hotels, rooms and apartments to let of all categories and price ranges.
Access to Arcadia is possible through the existing road network. The best way to explore Arcadia is by car so as to visit places that the local transportation cannot reach.
Tripoli has regular bus routes that connect Athens with all the areas of Arcadia.
Athens - Tripoli: 2,5 hours duration.
For your convenience, you can use the route map on the field “Routes” with information about the mileage, the time you need and the route you will follow, selecting the points of interest.