Exploring a mythical land – Spring tour in Arcadia, Greece


Every place carries its own history. The latter is in some way influenced by every land’s very morphology, which creates needs and bears fruit, inspires myths, and weaves stories. Some places carry a remarkably long history and mountainous Arcadia falls into this category.

Mount Menalo has been associated since antiquity with countless myths because the Arcadians – the ancient inhabitants of the mountain – apart from the Olympian gods, they also worshipped Pan. The goat-footed god was the protector of the cattle breeders, fishermen, hunters and shepherds who lived permanently in mountains, forests, caves and gullies.

The Arcadians believed that Pan had been born on Mount Kyllini in ancient Arcadia and was the son of the god Hermes and the nymph Penelope, whom the god – transformed into a goat- deceived, which is why Pan was born with horns and goat’s feet, bearded and with pointed ears. The myths about Pan seem to have first appeared in Arcadia in the 7th century BC before spreading throughout Greece.

From the mountain of Pan, the rivers Lousios and Elisson, tributaries of the Alpheus, originate. The former runs through an impressive 15 km long gorge.

Although it is not one of the largest rivers in Greece, Lousios flows all year round. According to Pausanias, the river was named thus after the nymphs Neda, Agno and Theisoa bathed the newborn Zeus at its waters as they believed the river to be the source of immortals.