Megalopolis, Greece

Ancient Megalopolis, or now Megalópoli (Μεγαλόπολη) is a town in the western part of the prefecture of Arcadia. "Megalopolis" is a Greek word for Great city. When it was founded, in 371 BC, it was the first urbanization established in rustic and primitive Arcadia. In ancient times, the town grew very large. It was famous for its theater, known to have a capacity for 20 thousand people — one of the largest known. In Byzantine and Ottoman times the city was known as Sinanou (Σινάνο) until the 19th century.

The population in 2001 reached over 5,000. It is the only growing community in western Arcadia. Other villages towns reported a loss in population in 2001. Distance from Tripoli, Greece is 30 km from 33, SE of Andritsaina and from Kalamata is 55 km NE on Greek National Road 7, and E65. The city has a square in the heart of the city. Its area code is 27910 with 5 digits. The mountains surrounding Megalopolis are Taygetus, and Tsiberou. Its nearest television and communications tower are on top of mount Tsiberou. Much of the area is isolated, and the forested valley contains about 10,000. It is one of the most underpopulated areas in the Peloponnese. It is situated between the Alfeios and the Elisson rivers.

Megalopoli has three schools, lyceums, gymnasia, churches, banks, hotels, a post office and squares (plateia). It also has a train station which is also has a freight yard 1 km from downtown. The track is not through to Tripoli, the line for Kalamata – Tripoli – ArgosCorinth is 4 km S. A wider highway southwest first opened in around the 1980s. Megalopolis is now bypassed by a new freeway connecting from Kalamata and Athens. Construction began in 1999 in the southwest and headed northeast in 2001 and was opened to traffic in 2002. The freeway now runs between the little villages Perivolia and Routsi, and there lies the Alfeios River.

In the mid-1960s, the Public Power Corporation of Greece (PPC S.A.) (DEI) and the government started construction on a power plant which took several years to opened two towers? in order to increase power consumption throughout Greece. The power plant is approximately 8 km NW of downtown. It was first opened in 1969. The area is about 0.2 to 0.3 km². It serves hydro to the southern portion of Greece. A lignite mining area is situated around the plant. The power lines are near the plant. It is connected with GR-76 (Krestena – Andritsaina – Megalopoli). A part of the population are employees of this plant.

In 1993, a brush fire burned much of eastern Megalopolis and the Tsiberou area. It burnt approximately 50 to 60 square kilometres of land.


Megalopolis is famous for its ancient ruins founded northwest which features an ancient theatre which used to hold up to 20,000 people and was 30 m tall. Other landmarks include the Thersileon with 67 pillars and the temple (11.5 m × 5 m). Herodotus reported the ancient belief that the Megalopolis area was a battleground of the Titanomachy. The foundation for this apparently was the presence of lignite deposits, which are prone to catch fire in summer and can smoulder and scorch the earth for weeks (Zeus is supposed to have slain the Titans with lightning bolts; see also below), coupled with the presence of fossil bones of prehistoric elephants and rhinoceroses. Herodotus informs his readers that the bones of "titans" were exhibited in various places in the surrounding area at least since the 5th century BC.

The city was founded in 371 BC by the Theban general Epaminondas in an attempt to form a political counterweight to Sparta. It was one of the 40 places that were megále pólis (great city). Megalopolis became the seat of the Arcadian League in 370 BC which in the 3rd century BC became the Achaean League It used to be one of the about 20,000 places that have an ancient theatre. In 331 BC, Megalopolis was invaded by the Spartans and had a battle with the Macedonians which the Macedonians made it to help Megalopolis. The Macedonians defeated the Spartans. In 223 BC, the Spartan king Cleomenes destroyed and burnt the city down but the inhabitants were saved by Philopoemen. In 208 BC, Philipoemen as soldier of the Achaean League The city fell during the Middle Ages and was refounded after the Greek Independence.

Nearest places

In 2005 and 2006 the Public Power Corporation have used the Megalopolis Power Station as a site for a 60MW power rental plant during the summer months in order to balance the grid after a major blackout which affected Athens and Southern Greece on the 12th July 2004




Year Communal population Change (qty) Change (%) Municipal population
1920 1,776
1961 2,235 1,059 59.63%
1981 4,875 2,640 113.06%
1991 4,646 -229 -4.7% 8,888
2001 5,114 468 1.01%

Megalopolis is also a province. It contains the communities of:

It also contains the municipalities of:

Name of municipality Municipal code Seat Postal code
Falaisia 0522 Leontari 220 21
Gortynia 0505 Karytaina 220 22
Megalopoli 0516 Megalopoli 222 00

External links

North: Gortynia
West: Figaleia
Megalopoli East: Valtesi
South: Falaisia

See also

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