Megalópoli (Μεγαλόπολη) is a
town in the western part of the prefecture of Arcadia.
is located in the same site as ancient
. "Megalopolis" is a Greek word for
. When it was founded, in 371 BC, it was the
first urbanization in rustic and primitive Arcadia. In ancient
times, the town grew very large. Its theater, known to have a
capacity for 20,000 people was one of the largest known. In
times the city was known as
(Σινάνο) until the 19th century.
The population in 2001 reached over 5,000. It is the only growing
community in western Arcadia. Megalopoli's distance from Tripoli, Greece is 30 km (18 miles). Megalopoli is located
33 km (19 miles) SE from Andritsaina and 55 km (35 miles) NE from Kalamata on Greek
National Road 7, and E65.
mountains surrounding Megalopoli are Taygetus, and
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 people. It is one of the most
underpopulated areas in the Peloponnese. It is situated between the Alfeios and the Elisson
Megalopoli has three schools, lyceums, gymnasia, churches, banks,
hotels, a post office and squares (plateia
). It also has a train station with a
freight yard 1 km from downtown. The track does not pass through to
Tripoli. The line for Kalamata – Tripoli – Argos – Corinth is 4 km (2
A wider highway opened southwest around the 1980s.
Megalopolis is now bypassed by a new freeway
connecting Kalamata to Athens, which was
opened to traffic in 2002.
The freeway runs between the
little villages Perivolia and Routsi, near Alfeios river.
In the mid-1960s, the Public Power
Corporation of Greece
(DEI) and the government started
construction on a power plant which took several years to complete
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 (0.08 - 0.12 square miles).
It provides electric power
southern 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). Part
of the population are employees of this plant.
In 1993, a brush fire burned much of eastern Megalopolis and the
area. It burnt approximately 50 to
60 km² (19-23 square miles) of land.
Megalopolis is famous for its ancient ruins situated northwest,
which include an ancient
that used to hold up to 20,000 people and was 30 m (100
feet) tall. Other landmarks include the Thersileon with 67 pillars
and a temple (11.5 m × 5 m, 37 feet x 11 feet). 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
are prone to catch fire in summer and can smoulder and scorch the
earth for weeks (Zeus
is supposed to have slain
with lightning bolts;
see also below), coupled with the presence of fossil
bones of prehistoric elephants
. 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.
was founded in 371 BC by the Theban general
Epaminondas in an attempt to form a
political counterweight to Sparta.
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 had an ancient
theatre. In 331 BC, Megalopolis was invaded by the
Spartans and there was a battle with the Macedonians who came to Megalopolis'
The Macedonians defeated the Spartans. In 223 BC, the
Spartan king Cleomenes
burnt down the city
but it was reinstated by Philopoemen
Greek General of the Achaean League
The city fell during the Middle Ages
was refounded after the Greek
In 2005 and 2006 the Public Power Corporation 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 12 July 2004
The municipality of Megalopoli is subdivided into the following
municipal districts (villages within the district in brackets):