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Arna is a village on the eastern slopes of the Taygetusmountain range, at an altitude of 700 to 850 m. The nearest major towns are Gytheio, 35 km to the southeast, and Sparta, approximately 40 km to the north.

The area has a rich history. Near the village, at the Arkina site, a two Mycenaean-era domed burial chambers have been found, most likely built by Minyan or Boeotian settlers. Artefacts from many periods have also been found at 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 Messenia.

The residents of Arna featured prominently in the Greek War of 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 Theodoros Kolokotronis) had sought refuge in this cave after being wounded defending the tower of the nearby village of Kastania, at the side of fellow revolutionary Panagiotaros Venetsanakos, a Maniot from Mesa Mani. 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, fewer than 150 remain. There are, however, positive signs of increased activity: the number of visits from emigrant Arniotes is on the rise, year round.

The annual Chestnut Festival is held during the last days of October in the village of Arna. It is a 3-day festival that features artistic events and a charming open air market.

Arna is part of the E4 path. There are beautiful routes of Mt. Taygetos that are worth to follow.

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