The site of the ancient Alipheira has been well accessible and signposted since the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens. The antique remains are located on an elongated hill, directly above the modern village of Alifira. In ancient times, city and inhabitants were counted as Arkadia. The name giver was the mythological figure Alipheros, one of the 50 sons of Lykaon. The city flourished in the Classical and Hellenistic periods. It lost all significance with the foundation of Megalopolis and was abandoned in the early Christian period.

The wall of the old city has been excellently preserved in a number of places, while the best preserved tower still reaches a height of 6 m. The highest part of the hill is separated from the rest of the city as an acropolis. Here are the well-preserved foundations of a temple to the goddess Athena, which must once have been visible from a great distance. It was a Doric temple with 6 x 15 columns, dating from about 500-490 BC. From the location of the columns at the excavation (unfortunately all now removed) it has been concluded that the temple was probably destroyed by an earthquake. In addition to the remains of an elongated altar, several stone bases have been found at the front of the temple, which served as a pedestal for statues and other votive gifts. The largest of these, with a fragmentary inscription, probably served as the basis for the colossal 5th century bronze statue of Athena mentioned by Pausanias and others.

A much smaller temple of Asklepios has been found on the lower plateau west of the acropolis. In the middle of the temple is the pedestal of the ancient cult statue, and nine meters from the temple the remains of a rectangular altar. On the north-east side of the hill are the remains of many buildings of the lower town, as well as of the Tritonis well house mentioned by Pausanias. On the north and east side was also the antique cemetery, where some beautiful grave monuments can still be found. As with many smaller acropoleis, the magnificent view is more impressive than the preserved remains.

In ancient times, the inhabitants of Alipheira explained the traditional (and unexplained) cult title of the goddess Athena Tritogeneia, as ‘Triton born’ and created a myth that she was born (from Zeus’ head), on the banks of the river Triton, a small river below Alipheira, with a large waterfall: a special event deserves a special place!

foto opgraving