THE VILLAGE



Kosmas Kynourias is a historical village in the province of Arcadia. It is built on top of the mountain Parnonas, 1150 m above sea level. At the point where it lays geographically, Kosmas crosses through Parnonas Mountain, from eastern Kynouria, Argos, Athens towards Lakonia and vice-versa. The distance from Athens is 236 km. It is built amphitheatrically amongst fir and chestnut trees, with an open horizon looking towards Argosaronikos sea, with fresh cold water and the dense forest is in abundance.

POPULATION The developing of the village's population since 1851 was:

1851 = 1543 residents,1861 = 982, 1896 = 2187, 1907 = 2468, 1920 = 738, 1928 = 2039, 1940 = 1492, 1951 = 1147, 1961 = 686, 1971 = 632, 1981 = 539, 1991 = 665. Today during the summer months, the population increases to 1500-2000 inhabitants.

HOUSES The houses on the village are built from local special stones. Tradesmen from the region Lagadia, Makedonia and from Kosmas are the only ones with this skill. Before the war in 1940, Kosmas had 505 houses. On the 29th and 30th of January 1944, 498 houses were burnt down by the Nazi invaders (98.61% destruction). After the war and mainly the civil war, Kosmas has been rebuilt continuously, as a result today has 425 houses.

KOSMAS'S INHABITANTS: They are peaceful, hard working, with a special bond for mountain life, hospitable, and affable to everybody. They are engaged in agriculture, stock farming, apiary and commercial enterprises (shops, restaurants, taverns, cake shops, guest houses with rooms to let, etc.) In the old days they had Greece's exclusiveness in the trade of comb making (Htenades), producing combs from cane for the loom. These people had a special name "Giorgatzades" and a specific dialect "Giorgatzeika". Another trade they were engaged in, during the Turkish occupation, was the trade of "Lithotomos" stone-cutter and the "Lagoumitzis" or "Minadoros" ( builder of an underground cellar with arches "Lagoumia").

FOLKLORE- POPULAR ARTS: Kosmas's hand woven cloth-materials and embroidery, made by women in the looms or by hand, are famous everywhere. There are also the combs from cane for the looms, made even today by a few remaining craftsmen, who know the trade and call themselves “Giorgatzades”., Contrary to the 1944 village's destruction a lot of items have survived. Today skilled young people from Kosmas are making items of another popular art in woodcarving.

MANNERS & CUSTOMS: The inhabitants of Kosmas are trying to keep the old customs in the social and cultural festivities alive, full of traditional picturesque and local colour.

CHURCH: The village's main Church is sacred to the memory of Agioi Anargiroi, Kosmas and Damianos. It was built more than 100 years ago (the church was inaugurated in 1884 or 1886), bearing the style "royal dome". A historical icon of Agioi Anargiroi from the post-Vyzantine era, is housed inside the church.

MONASTERIES: Close to Kosmas there is a Monastery sacred to Panagia Elona (15th to 16th century), housing the historical icon (one of the Evangelist Lukas's 70 icons) and the marvelous woodcarved Temple (iconostasi) by an unknown artist. There is also another monastery in the area, the monastery of Saint George the runner, which flourished during the 15th to 16th century.

FESTIVITIES: The local festivities on the 1st of July (Agioi Anargiroi), and 15th of August (Panagia Elona), gather many pilgrims. These are well-known festivities in the South Pelloponese, for the special traditional picturesqueness and the rich contents (religious, festive, etc). There is another smaller fair on the 1st of November, for Agioi Anargiroi.

SCHOOLS: Prior to 1821(1815-1818), there was a "School of Scholars" in Kosmas with a teacher from a village Sopotos kalavrita by the name Ioannis Sakelariadis. During the 1821 uprising (1821-1828), the school lessons were interrupted and in 1829 appears again by the name "School of Public Scholars". The first Public School was housed in the old pilgrims sleeping quarters house (Metohi),which was owned by the monastery of Panagia Elona in Kosmas (reconstructed in 1865) and since 1915 it is housed in today's building. Today there is a two form Public School.

LIBRARY: In the community's office operates a lending library very large in books, with 3500 books, magazines and other publications. Since 1991 a juristic person runs the library, by the title "Community library of Kosmas", having under his wings the Library, the historical folklore records, the photographic records and at the moment a small art gallery of Greek painters. The showing and the running is expected to be in the unused rooms of the village's Public School soon. The small gallery with the paintings is housed in a room inside the community offices.

GOODS (PRODUCTS, COMMODITIES): Kosmas produces horticultural products, fruits, stock farming, honey, agricultural products, walnuts and the famous around the markets "chestnuts from Kosmas".

OPPORTUNITIES FOR EXCURSIONS - MOUNTAINEERING: The excursions among the fir trees are spectacular, full of cyclamen all around the hill tops of the mountain Parnonas (1600m above sea level). The special place called "Berkia", on a hill top, where according to tradition, there is a huge precipice that leads to Skala Lakonia. Inside the village there is a cave, with interesting stalactites and in a hill side towards the hill top "Madari" there is an old hermit's house.

Other regions for visitors to see are: Chestnuts forest, the St John's area of "nightingale's ravine', St George the runner's canyon, the gap of the "Kosmas's gallantry" for the visitor to see the place of the Festoutsios 's battle (1943). The plateau "Mazaraki" where the English parachuted the first lot of weapons, for the guerrillas (ELAS) during the German occupation (Easter 1943). The place with the wonderful spring the "Potistres". From Kosmas by taxi or a small rural motor car, through Parnonas's forestry road, to a village, St Petros, kynourias. Visitors can watch the spectacular sunrise from the village. They can travel to the nearby villages of Kynourias, Paliohori, Agios Vasili, Platanaki, to the South Kynouria, to the Kynourias's capital Leonidion, to Lakonias's capital Sparta and other country towns Geraki, Vrontama, Monemvasia etc. Spending the summer in Kosmas, make the visitor free to choose also beaches for swimming in Leonidion, Poulithra, Tyros, etc.

KOSMAS'S ASSOCIATIONS: There is one Association "Agioi Anargiroi" in Chicago - USA with substantial activity since 1903. Kosmas's Association in Athens from 1936. In Roumania and in Sydney Australia. There is also "Kosmas's cultural and ecological movement" since 1996.