Kyllini and surroundings

Kyllini, the old port city of Elis, has not been identified with complete certainty. The antique remains of the modern town are so poor that it is often doubted whether the antique city should be searched here or a bit further north. Nevertheless, Papachatzis, among others, assumes that the identification is correct. The medieval remains are more interesting, although the old capital Clarentia of the “Principality of Achaia” was demolished so thoroughly after the Byzantine conquest (1430), that little or nothing remains of the Frankish glory. Still worth seeing are the remains of a large Gothic basilica and the small castle, which once was connected to the city walls. The remains of this castle are still quite impressive, especially from the air. Originally Clarentia (Greek: Glarenza) was an important port city, with its own currency and castle. Since the castle did not occupy a strong position, the Franks have  built the huge castle of Chlemoutsi  6 km beyond (marked as Kastro on the map).

Of great interest to Kyllini itself is the church of the monastery of Vlakhernai just outside the modern town. Built around 1200, this church is a beautiful mixture of Byzantine and Western (Frankish) technology. The most likely explanation for this building is that when Franciscan monks arrived on the spot in 1205, they found a half-finished church and they finished it  to their own taste, but by local construction workers. The church (restored since 1989 after some earthquake damage) is worth a look because of the many fine details. The monastery currently serves as a home for the mentally handicapped, but is simply accessible.


Also noteworthy are the remains of the Gothic church of the Agia Sophia in Andravída, built around 1250 by the Dominicans. In the so-called Chronicles of the Morea (which recounts, among other things, the conquest of Greece by Godfried de Villehardouin), Andravída is praised as “the best city of the Morea”, partly because it lay in the plain. Originally, the Gothic church of Andravída must have been part of a monastic complex, but there is nothing left of it. Since the other Western churches in Greece (Zaráka and Tripití) have suffered even more, only the small remains of the Gothic vaulting technique can be found.

Loutra Kyllinis

In the village of Loutra Kyllinis, the hot sulfur springs are particularly important, which in ancient times led to the construction of a Roman bath house, but are also important in the current village. The remains of the Roman bath house are regularly found with people rubbing themselves with the sulphurous mud and rinsing it off over time. There are also the old modern baths.