HISTORY OF LEONIDIO

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Leonidio or else “Agielidi”, in the tsakonian dialect, is the capital of the province of Kynouria. It is said that it took its name from the church of Saint Leonidis, which was built to its beach. It is built in a fertile valley of the river Dafnonas, while on it lie the imposing and impressive red rocks.

The Tsakones, as direct descendants of the Dorians, were mentioned for the first time in texts written by byzantine authors and are described as elite force of castle guards. The strictness and the austerity of their morals and their customs were maintained until our days. The tsakonian dance is ancient. The characteristic of this circular dance is that men and “tzoubeloudes” are held tightly together, while the first person in the dance holds in hand a handkerchief.

It is a traditional settlement with classified historical monuments, mansion houses and towers which have been built before 1800, as well as neo classical buildings in the middle of the 19th century. It is about two storeyed and three storeyed mansion houses with paved and pebbled courtyard, cisterns and stone mouths, stone stairs, beautiful tiled roof hayats, high stone plastered stone fences, as well as carved and painted ceilings, which are characteristics of the Tsakonian architecture.

In Leonidio today are saved three of the grandiose monuments of Peloponnese before the revolution, such as the Tower of Tsikalioti (1808) and the Mansion House of Polytimos (1816) which are listed monuments with front doors equipped with arquebus embrasure. The third building is the Mansion House of Katsikogianni (1807) which is located in the north edge of the settlement.

A reference point for any visitor is the Monastery of Madonna (Panagia) Elona (1500 a.D), from which there is a magnificent view. It is said that the icon of the Madonna is a work of the evangelist Luke which came here from the chased residents of Elos in Laconia.

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