The region is particularly dear to YOGA lovers because of the casual beauty of the landscape and pure and wholesome local food products. The hotel ROCABELLA HELLINIKON COUNTRY HOTEL has all the necessary infrastructure and experience, as it happens in our other two hotels, the ROCABELLA SANTORINI and ROCABELLA MYKONOS.
Arcadia and especially the region of Gortynia where the village of Elliniko is located, is famous for its wonderful nature that turns ordinary visitors into fanatic lovers: hiking, rafting and kayaking on Lousios, perhaps the most beautiful river in the region, with "strong points" the monasteries of Lousios gorge, and the "green route" from Theologos Monastery until the bridge of Ancient Gortys. It is really worth standing at the balcony of Agia Sotira small church, from where you can admire the scenery of the Lousios gauge combined with the view of the two historical Monasteries, "Theologos" and "Prodromos" (who's monks created the first "secret school" in order to teach the Greek youngsters reading and writing which was forbidden during the Turkish occupation) and the caves right at the opposite steep mountain side where the Greek fighters of freedom were living. Rafting, monoraft and hydrospeed at Alfeios river, starting from Karytaina. The old Water Power Museum in Dimitsana village, which was used as powder mill during the Greek Revolution against the Turkish occupants back in 1821. A short drive from Hellinikon will take you to the historical village of Libovisi, the birthplace of General Theodoros Kolokotronis, the liberator of Greece from the Turkish occupation. At a short distance from Hellinikon, there is the small picturesque village of Stemnitsa which is really worth visiting. The village of Vitina can be the starting point of hiking routes in the upper and lower part of the E4 (one of the leading quality trails of Europe). Following the marking, and moving through trails and forest roads while enjoying the shade of Cephalonian firs and the calmness of the forest, you will arrive at the refuge. For the skiers, located about 60 km from Rocabella Hellinikon country hotel, is the ski resort of Mainalon with medium difficulty slopes. Make a detour to the top of Ostrakina, the highest peak of Mainalon mountain covered by frozen snow...
Mount Parnon is a real paradise for walkers and their ... 4X4 SUV's: the autumn forests of chestnut trees are gorgeous, and their orange-red highlights, create a strong contrast merging with the dark green firs .
The Baptist Monastery (Moni Prodromou) is built on the root of a cliff on the left side of the ravine of Lousios, near the villages of Stemnitsa and Dimitsana. The landscape is impressive and reminiscent of Meteora and Mega Spilaio.
The church of St. John the Baptist is a single-domed basilica and decorated with remarkable frescoes. Murals also exist outside the church magnetizing the look of every visitor. This monastery became a priory monastery probably in the 16th century. However by the 12th century flourished many important hermitages at that place, with most know, that of John the Baptist. During the Turkish occupation (16th cent.) The hermitages were combined and the monastery was founded.
During the revolution of 1821, the monastery became a refuge and hospital for the fighters. In 1834 the monastery closed due to a decree, which dissolved the monasteries which had less than 7 monks. However, in 1838, the monastery was repopulated and it flourished in both physical and mental aspects.
Workshops for painting and sewing sacred garments operate in the monastery today and there is also a remarkable collection of about 1000 books. The Baptist Monastery of, is continuing the old traditions and exist as a religious and cultural center of the region. The number of visitors who flock each year is huge, because apart from the spiritual uplift, the monastery is built in a landscape of indescribable beauty, on towering cliffs, inside lush vegetation and under the sound of the waters of Lousios River.
The canyon of Lousios is one of the major sights of Arcadia. It is a place highly charged historically and religiously, an area of rare and majestic natural beauty, one of the most impressive gorges in Greece. Also known as the Holy Mountain of Peloponnese, due to the many historic monasteries, hermitages and churches. The monastic life was very intense in the region, especially during the Turkish occupation.
The river Lousios owes its name to ancient mythology. According to this myth, and as mentioned by Pausanias, the newborn Zeus, bathed to the waters of the river's Springs of Immortals by nymphs Neda, Agno and Theisoa, hidden from Saturn who wanted to kill the baby. Later the river renamed to Gortynios, by the town of Ancient Gortys. Pausanias, the ancient travel narrator, described Lousios as the coldest river of the world.
The gorge has wild and unspoiled beauty and rich, lush vegetation which are ideally combined with the wildness of gray and sheer cliffs. It's full of evergreen and broadleaf species and in many parts there is cypress. Gorge's slopes are full of oaks, hornbeam, laurel, maples, oaks, willows, sycamores, osiers, myrtle, ospreys, alder, elm and various creepers. Especially in spring, the rich flora provides a wealth of colors and. At the eastern and northern slopes there are fir trees that form the edges of Mainalo forests.
Ancient Gortys is an acropolis high above the west bank of the Lousios (or Gortynios) River, with remains of walls and towers in trapezoidal masonry of the Macedonian period, a Doric temple, as well as foundations of a sanctuary of Asklεpius (god of healing). Asclepius is the ideal conception of healing power of nature as now perceived by people, who acts in "soft" seasons in the hills and in the fresh air under the soft glow and heat of the sun, at locations with cool springs, tall trees and clean atmosphere. Such was exactly the environment of places of his worship and this perception was reinforced by the various legends of his birth and origin.
A circular portico with round backed seats is believed to have been part of the therapeutic center here.
Remains of houses have also been found. The setting is truly remarkable, with the sound of the river rushing below.
The approach of the ancient city is possible from the village Atsicholos or, even easier, from a rural road west of the village of Elliniko, located on the public road Karytaina -Dimitsana. The distance from Atsicholos is about half an hour.