Memories of the Struggle for National Independence
The history of the Kalavryta area is enriched by its residents’ contributions to the struggle for National Independence in 1821. Nearly every stone in the region has its own story to tell about events during this period. Apart from the historic Monastery of Saint Laura where the revolution began (at least officially), we have also described many places where events occurred during the revolution or where fighters lived at that time. We refer to the most important of these in the following paragraphs.
In Chelonospilia, one of the oldest villages in Achaea (10 kilometers southwest of Likouria and 2 kilometers from the source of the Ladon or Ladonas River), the first pre-revolution incident took place on March 16, 1821. The same day, other similar incidents occurred in Froxylia (12 kilometers farther north, just outside Kleitoria) against the local administrator of Kalavryta, Arnaoutoglou, and his followers.
From his tower in beautiful Livartzi on March 14, 1821, Xadakis Tomaras killed the threatening and swearing Ottoman tax collector on the opposite hill. This signaled the beginning of the Revolution in the region.
The house of the Greek fighter Anagnostis Striftompolas in Kertezi, which was given to the community in 1876 by his son Georgios for use as a Greek School. Striftompolas was killed at the battle of Levidi in 1821.
In Lechouri, the Tower of the chieftain of the Revolution, Captain Georgios (Papadopoulos) Lechouritis. It was here that the Ottoman administrator of Kalavryta, Ibrahim Arnaoutoglou, was imprisoned after the liberation of the city on March 21, 1821. Today it is a museum. Southwest of Lechouri at 1,100 meters altitude, we find the little church of Saint George (Agios Georgios), a small 16th century monastery with a beautiful view of Lechouri. During the time of the revolution of 1821 it was a refuge, an observation post, and a base for Lechouri’s revolutionary fighters.
Northeast of Lapanagoi is the steep hill of Kafkarias (between Lapanagoi and Ano Mazaraki). An important Greek Revolution battle took place here on August 26, 1827. The entrenched, vastly outnumbered Greeks under the command of Koliopoulos repulsed and defeated the forces of Deli Achmet Pasha of Patras, whom Ibrahim Pasha had ordered to strike the forces of Kolokotronis at Petsakoi. The Greek victory was attributed to the aid of Saint Paraskevi. (A church dedicated to Saint Paraskevi is found in Mazaraki).
The vertical rock cliff of Gerakovouni on the west side of Lapanagoi. During the years of Ottoman Rule, the locals opened a passage into the rock that reached caves where there was also a small church of the Virgin Mary (Panagia or Katafigiotissa). They used this passage to hide in the caves during Ottoman raids. Today, the passage has been destroyed by landslides.
The Petmezaion Tower in Kato Lousi. Proclaimed a historical monument, it is one of the oldest towers in the Peloponnese mountains (17th century) and a typical example of a fortified residence. It was a center of resistance against the Turks.
On the rock of the Virgin Mary (or Panagia) just outside Drovolovo, embedded in the rock with a boundless view, we see the church of the Life-Giving Spring (Zoodochos Pigi). Also called the church of the Virgin Mary (or Panagia) Spilaiotissa, this site was a stronghold during the Revolution. Bishop Germanos III of Old Patras was temporarily held here when he was imprisoned by Greeks in 1825.
So the younger generations will remember all these struggles, a striking monument has been erected on the hill north of Saint Laura (Agia Lavra) 5 kilometers from Kalavryta, in honor of all the Greek fighters who sacrificed their lives in the war for national independence 1821-1828. Inaugurated in 1971.