398 Route 44. E1RA. From Megalopolis
Stala lies lfe hr. farther upstream, on the right bank, on the
slope of a long and broad spur of the Tetrasi range (see below).
Immediately below the village rises the copious source of the Gast-
ritzi river. An interesting antefixe is built into the wall above the
door of the church. The inhabitants are chiefly engaged in the
rearing of silk-worms.
A stony track leads from Stala via, the villages of Dervouni, which is
visible from Lykosoura, and Verekla to (4-5 hrs.) the village of Ampelidna,
situated in a lateral valley of the Neda, where we may obtain humble
night-quarters. — Thence the track proceeds via Sklirou to (2!/2 hrs.) the
Temple of Apollo at Bassae (p. 393).
We now cross the Gastritzi, climb gradually up a steep track
to (l-l1/; hr.) the summit of the pass between the S. spurs of
Lykason (p. 390) and the Tetrdsi Mts. (4555 ft.), the Nomia Ore of
the ancients. We descend through green woods to the sources of the
Neda. In llfe hr. we reach one of its head-waters, near a humble
mill, and in 3/4 hr. more the poor but picturesquely situated hamlet
of Kakaletri (2000 ft.), surrounded by fruit-trees.
The Hill of Hagios Athanasios (2835 ft.), which rises to the S. of
the village, is now usually identified with the ancient Messenian Eira,
the retired mountain fastness in which, during the Second Messenian
War(645-G28B.C), Aristonienes and his followers, with their wives
and children, maintained themselves against the Spartans for 11
years, until at last they were betrayed. Broad terraces extend round
the S. and E. brow of the Acropolis. On the summit is a double
girdle wall, the somewhat rough construction of which is supposed
to be the result of haste; there are also remains of other ancient
buildings and the ruins of a chapel of Hagios Athanasios and of a
mediaeval fort. The mountain scenery around us is magnificent.
On the other side of the Neda, the upper course of which lies spread
before us, our eyes follow the mountains of Hagia Marina, the rounded
Tourla, and the pointed Mt. Penidislra to the Lykaeon (p. 390); to the S.E.
lies the Tetrasi range (see above), of which Mt. Athanasios forms a spur;
to the W are the barren Xerovouni, rising above the hamlet of Stasimo,
and the dark, wooded hills of Tzordkos, near Sirji (p. 381).
Mt. Athanasios is connected by a saddle about 300 paces long
with the considerably lower eminence of Hagia Paraskeve, on which
are the ruins of some fortifications of comparatively recent date and
also of other buildings. Ross is of opinion that the Messenians, after
the restoration of their power by Epaminondas (p. 408), founded a
second Eira here as a more convenient site. The ruined fortifica¬
tions, which are of considerable extent, give evidence of having been
used in mediaeval and modern times. It is very probable that the
chapel of Hagia Paraskeve is built with the materials and on the
foundations of an ancient temple. — We take about 1 hr. to walk
Irom Kakaletri over Mt. Athanasios to the Paraskeve, where we
order the horses to meet us to continue our journey.
From the hill of Paraskeve? a steep path leads down to the bank
of the Neda, now generally called the Bouzikd Potdmi. We cross