Dimitsana Library - The Oldest Library In Greece

  • by XpatAthens
  • Tuesday, 09 April 2024
Dimitsana Library - The Oldest Library In Greece
Nestled in the breathtaking region of Arcadia lies one of Greece's most treasured gems: Dimitsana Library. Here, amidst the wild beauty of the natural landscape and the charm of picturesque villages, visitors are transported through time, encountering relics and memorabilia that narrate the rich tapestry of Greek history.

Established in 1764 by two esteemed monks, Gerasimos Gounas and Agapios Leonardos, hailing from the School of Smyrna, Dimitsana Library stands as a testament to resilience and scholarly pursuit. Initially serving as a priestly school, it nurtured the minds of notable hierarchs, including Ecumenical Patriarch Gregory V and Old Patriarch Germanos, during the turbulent years of Turkish occupation.

As the flames of revolution ignited, Dimitsana Library bore witness to sacrifice and valor. Enriched by the tireless efforts of scholars and expatriates, the library amassed a collection of 5,000 volumes, only to see much of its wealth sacrificed during the Greek Revolution of 1821. Yet, amid the ashes, around 600 ancient volumes endured, preserving fragments of the past for generations to come.

Today, Dimitsana Library, officially known as the Public Library and Museum of the Hellenic School of Dimitsana—the Local Historic Archive of Gortynia, stands as a beacon of knowledge and heritage. Located in the historic square of Agia Kyriaki, it houses a treasure trove of manuscripts, codices, and artifacts, chronicling the region's rich history.

Within its hallowed halls, visitors encounter a myriad of treasures, from a rich collection of manuscripts to poignant relics of the revolution. The library's vast collection, totaling approximately 35,000 volumes, includes rare documents, patriarchal decrees, and a fascinating array of folk art objects.

Honored by the Academy of Athens in 1977 for its significant contributions, Dimitsana Library continues to serve as a bastion of learning and exploration. With its lending department, information center, and welcoming atmosphere for scholars and researchers, it remains a vital hub of intellectual exchange and cultural preservation.

As visitors immerse themselves in the timeless beauty of Arcadia, a journey to Dimitsana Library promises an enriching encounter with Greece's storied past. From the saddle of Papaflessas' horse to the solemn urn containing the bones of Metropolitan Germanos, each artifact whispers tales of courage, resilience, and the enduring spirit of the Greek people.

Originally published in Greek on: newsit.gr
Translated by Codico Lab