An ancient hydraulic work that keeps functioning for 2350 years! The most ancient hydraulic work in the world that is still being used in Nestani of Arcadia!

An ancient hydraulic work that keeps functioning for 2350 years!

The most ancient hydraulic work in the world that is still being used!

By George Lekakis, independent researcher.

In Nestani, a city founded between Arcadia and Argolis in Greece, a source with four fountains, constructed by Filippos of Macedonia in 338 b.C. is still being used.

A source with four fountains, with a fitted superscription, that still maintains its ancient name (“Filippeios Krini” - in greek: Fountain) is still offering its water since exactly 2.350 years, which turns it to the most ancient hydraulic work of the world that is still being used!  At Nestani, on a hill, at the place that nowadays is called St. Nikolaos, Filippos of Macedonia, who had encamped at the area in 338 b.C., constructed this fountain for the needs of his troops… The city of Nestani is watered from it till nowadays!
Since then the fountain has suffered constructions and repairs, nevertheless what’s important is that it’s still going on flowing.
However there is another noteworthy hydraulic work in Nestani: The communication of its natural tunel-sinkhole with Dini[1], a sacred place of ancient Arcadians. When Rea gave birth to Poseidon, she left him beside a source, next to a sheepfold with lamps – that’ s why it’ s called Arna (arni in greek means lamp). Then she told Kronos, the father of Poseidon, that she gave birth to a … horse and not to a child! That’s how Poseidon was saved! (In the village named Milia in Mantineia, there are still the ruins of the Temple of Hippios Poseidon.  Furthermore in Dini, by the undersea sources near Kiberi, at the place called Genesio, (where there are sources of St Georgios or Mikros Anavalos and it communicates with the natural tunel-sinkhole of Nestani, which comes through a system of caves), the ancient citizens of Argos were sacrificing horses to the Hippios Poseidon, lord of the horses living in the sea… (hippos in greek means horse). Nestani, Kefalari in Argos, the sources of Lerna, the Stymfalia Lake, the river Feneos, the plateau of Tripolis in Arcadia, the cave of Kapsa and the Dini’s sources, are communicating vessels under the land of Arcadia and Argolis
It’ s very easy to reach Nestani, via National Road of Korinthos-Tripolis, 90 minutes away from Athens.
As to the civilized city of Nestani, it’s built amphitheatrically at the foot of Mountain Lyrkeio. Nestani is founded over the great place of Mantineia and was controlling one of the ancient passages of communication between Arcadia and Argolis.
This city of Arcadia is reported in the ancient texts as Nostia[2] and Nostea[3], which derives from “nostos”, charasteristic of the Greeks and especially of Arcades, who most loved travelling. (And they still do: Only in the years 1950-1970 more than 3.000 residents of Nestani emigrated!) The city was named Nestani in 1927. Since then it was called Tsipiana, which derives from the byzantine name Kipoi (> Kipiana). The place name Kipiana (kipos in greek means garden), is not strange in this mountainous place (place names like this are also given in other mountainous places in Greece). This area is particularly fertile. Nevertheless, the fields of Nestani, are placed on the ancient Argon pedion (pedion in greek means field) - the plateau, which one can see nowadays after the tunel of Artemisio (with direction to Tripolis), on the right, sometimes as a lake, covered with water, and sometimes as a wonderful plain… This water is collected from the plateau of Mantineia, and head to Argolis, through the river Fidaris and natural tunnels, many of which are ancient, and they were constructed by king Siranx – that’s why they are called tunnels (siranx in greek means tunnel)… The area’s products are wine, cereals, horticultural products, apples, honey, pears, grapes and others. The meat of hunting also abounds.
In Nestani the central square has such a dew, as if someone were seating under a plane tree, and traditional cafes. Another source with four fountains is flowing, the Kallirroi Fountain! There are also houses made of stone, as Nestani is famous for its traditional architecture. The building of the old town hall is a donation of the Central Club of Tsipians in Chicago. You can also admire the beautiful Primary and High School made of stone!

The ancient fortress of Nostea was built on a big hill with the shape of a table, which is nowadays called Goulas (or Koulas), under the hill of Panigyristra. It looks like a Cyclopian natural walls, which, in the popular legends, is described as a giant who became stone. Its ruins are kept in a good condition. The pelasgian walls of the Acropolis enclose an area of 600 square metres! The remains, that nowadays can be seen, were built in the 4o century b.C. There is also a temple of Dimitra, and in her honour the Mantinians performed the feast called “Dimitria” every year. The city was already destroyed and ruined in the era of Pausanias… On the 13th century the Franks entrenched Nestani and they used it as a military base.
On the top of this mount, that is stated upon the hole area, the little church of St George is found. And also the ruins of the Holy Church of Analipsis (there are still some of its wall paintings). On the same slope the Mitropolis is also founded (30 minutes from Nestani), imposing on a steep mount. In the west the Holy Monastery Panagia Gorgoepikoos or Holy Monastery of Tsipiana, basilica with three aisles covered with domes at a height of 680 m. in a forest of pines. The view to Mantineia is extraordinary. The church was at first built about 1015. It has been renewed many times, and once more in 16th century. The present buildings are modern, with fragments of ancient marbles and byzantine sculptures embedded. A staircase paved with stone leads to wonderful buildings of 1740. There are also two chapels, St Charalampos and the three Hierarchs. In its library old documents, seals, relics of Saints [as the cara (holy head) of St. Prokopios], and also a carved wood cross, a Great Aikaterini’s of Russia present, are being kept! The most important document is the Codex – Nomokanon donated from the one who paid to build the monastery (a same Codex is kept in the National Library of Athens - n.1917), sigilium of Patriarch Grigorios the 5th. A sigilium of the Monastery, dated of 1594, is nowadays kept in the National Library of Paris[4].
On the top of the other hill, named Stochos, (which has also slopes suitable for climbing), there is the deserted church of St John Prodromos Thermologos. During the conquest of the Othomans every time people suffered from elonosia (thermes) they asked for his intervention for healing. The ruins of the church can also be seen from the National Road

Since this ancient fountain keeps functioning for 2350 years, and it’s still going on flowing and offering water to the residents, there are many more ancient constructions in Greece, that it may still be possible to function. What we can do is search and discover them!

St. Byzantios
Lex. Souda
National Library of Paris, S. Grec 704 F8.

[1] reported also from Pausanias
[2] St. Byzantios
[3] Lex. Souda
[4] S. Grec 704 F8
Share on Google Plus


    ΣΧΟΛΙΑ ΜΕΣΩ Facebook