Welcome to Arna

 The village of Arna lies on the eastern slopes of the Taygetos mountain range, at an altitude of 700m to 850m  (2,300 to 2,800 feet). 

Administratively, it is part of the town (demos) of Faris, in the province (nomos) of Laconia. The nearest major town is Gythio, 35km (22 miles) to the southeast. Sparta lies approx. 40km to the north.

The area has a rich history. Near the village, at the Arkina site, a Mycenaean-era domed burial chamber has been found, most likely build by Minyaean or Boeotian settlers. Artifacts from many periods have also been found at the Spartia site between Arna and Arkina, mostly ceramic containers. These findings support the conclusion that the site has been since ancient times a stop on the road connecting Sparta and Messinia.

In later years, the village was relocated to its present location (which is not visible from the sea at night) in response to the threat of pirate raids.

During the long period of Turkish rule of Greece, the area remained almost free of Turkish presence. For the final years of Ottoman rule, Arna and the rest of the Mani region enjoyed a hard-earned special status of relative autonomy. From that era, two 'Pirgos' (Towers used as strongholds) remain.

The residents of Arna featured prominently in the Greek struggle for independence (1821-1829). A close-by reminder of that struggle is the "Kolokotronis Cave", on the north slope of Mt. Annina.  Folk tradition has it that Constantine Kolokotronis (father of famed hero Theodore Kolokotronis) had sought refuge in this cave after being wounded defending the pirgos of the nearby village of Kastania, at the side of fellow revolutionary Panagiotaros Venetsanakis. He was discovered there the next day and killed; his body was thrown into the cave.

Today, Arna's population is on the decline, as is the population of the Greek countryside nationwide. The 1971 census counted 324 residents in the village; today, less than 150 remain. There are, however, positive signs of increased activity: The number of visits from emigrant Arniotes is on the rise, year round. With support from the Cultural Association, numerous events have recently organized, with great success.

For visitors, there are five stores open year round, two of which serve food. A traditional guesthouse is soon to open, which will provide accommodation to visitors wishing to stay for any length of time in Arna.

Arna's Cultural Association

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