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Arini has to show us several geographic data and cultural heritage data, to which we will refer. From a geographic point of view, to the west and at a short distance from the village, the two fast-moving rivers that are full of water in winter are met: Anigros that springs from the location of the village Trypes (Chrysochori) and flows to the west and Golemeiko that springs from the location of Rodina (Golemi) and flows from the Southeast to the North, until it is joined with Anigros. Both rivers, at a distance of about one kilometer from the point that are joined to each other, accept also the waters of river Bokarinos, which springs from the village Smerna and flows from the North to the South. Bokarinos is a Latin world and means “mouth of a pinewood”. According to another interpretation, the area of Bokarinos took its name from an Italian engineer that constructed the bridge therein. 
















Passing through the bridge of Bokarinos and making our way towards Arini after the olive presses, we encounter the new bridge of Skouteris (it took its name from the house that lies near the bridge), where if we stop we can see the old bridge exactly next to it, from which the sightseer may start his walk in the Gorge of Arini, with the wonderful waters, the marvelous morphology of the ground, as well as the amazing landscape. 
















The old bridge of Skouteris

Along the river Anigros in the location of Arini, three privately-owned water mills of Georgakis Nikolakopoulos and Fotis Misichronis the first one, worked with the water of the said river. The second water mill was owned by Georgakis Nikolakopoulos and Michalakis Polychronopoulos and the third one by Konstantis Nikolakopoulos. From historical sources, we learn that during the 19th century, 4 mills were grinding, three of which were water mills and the fourth one was the windmill. It seems that during the summer period, the water mills were not always operating, either because the river waters were drying up, or because they were dropping away with the watering of the field and the inhabitants of the village and the surrounding area, were grinding their cereals in the windmill. Of the four mills, for the windmill, the ruins of which are preserved until today, we have not found out until when it worked and which the reason for its destruction was. The three water mills worked until the 50s and with last owners, the first one near Spilia with Thanasis Floros as an owner, being known under the name “Mill of Vitsas”, while the second one in the middle of the other two was called “Mesianomylos” as the location in which it lied is called until today, with Thodoris Vasilopoulos (Barbathodoris) as an owner, and the third one was situated in Katalatsa and fell into disuse much earlier than the other two. 























Watercourse that led the water to a water mill.

There had also been two hand-turned millstones, used for grinding salt and wheat. The one millstone was situated a little farther up from the communal office and the other one is preserved, even in our days, on the low side of the village, after the church of Zoodochos Pigi.










Hand-turned millstone

At a near distance from the village, on the right and the left of the paved with asphalt road that passes through Arini and connects Andritsaina with Zacharo, the small built-up areas Mama Vrysi or Prassaika (the fountain took its name from some person under the name Mamas, who had a vineyard there), Spilia or Kopanitsanaika, Bokarinos, Lefkia or Dalianaika, Ai Nikolas and Panagoulaika or Galanaika exist. Along the road, there are also other interspersed families as well.

It is estimated that more than 30 families reside outside the village, in order to be near their farms.

The road Zacharo-Arini-Andritsaina is crossed at the location of Arini with other roads that lead to the surrounding villages: Rodina, Kostomera, Koumouthekra, Makisto and Smerna. As we have foretold, the place-names: “Fournoi”, “Skozes” and “Kaloupakia” also exist within the boundaries of the community of Arini. According to the local tradition, elaboration of zinc was taking place at these places in the very old days.

Aritsa

At the Southwest of the village and very near to Anemomylos, there is a small hillock that bears the name Aritsa, after the old oak that existed in that place for many years.


The sandlot of Aritsa


Aritsa has its own history too, which directly or indirectly connected to the folklore (manners and customs) of the village. From Aritsa, the view of the village is breathtaking, and from there, the young adolescents and sometimes the older adolescents, were singing the best afternoon and evening serenades, as if they would be in the “Scala of Milan”, sending love messages to the young girls of the village, who, listening to these serenades, they were giving up any household works and running with the jugs to the fountain for water! This had been the signal that the messages reached at their destination, were made accepted and each girl individually judged the situation for herself.

Aritsa was not only a place from which the young people were sending love letters, but also a place of entertainment in the old days. Every year, on the Clean Monday (the first day of the Greek Orthodox Lent) and throughout spring, everyone was playing with kites, which were flying higher than the summit of Anemomylos itself. However, it was in Easter when Aritsa was living days of “glory”. All the Passion Week until Maundy Thursday was lapsing with the use of “light armour” (the triangles). On the Good Friday and the Holy Saturday the festive atmosphere was changing and becoming more serious, because the bullet-guns (“sferokoumpoura”) were put into action, which were in fact, automatic guns”. The residents of Kopanitsanaika, Panagoulaika and Galanaika were holding the first place in using these guns, since they had acquired a specialization in these. However, the person that had invented the best techniques in the “sferokoumpoura” was Taxiarchis Goutis, while in the triangles (dynamites), father Spyros (in his youth) and Nikos, Kostas and Lampros Dagaios. The protagonists of the battle were being divided in two groups. The one group used Kompori as a fort and the other group, Aritsa. Upon the exodus and procession of the Epitaph, as well as during the night of Holy Saturday when the priest was saying “Christ is Risen” (Christos Anesti in Greek), an absolute pandemonium was taking place. The group of Kompori returned the volleys from Aritsa. Thus, Aritsa was giving the impression that was at the first line of the Front, between two fires. But also inside the village too, sparse gun fires were heard uninterruptedly. Therefore, Aritsa lived hand-to-hand the manners and customs of the village, the “beating” and the heartthrobs of the young generation of every period, pleasant and unpleasant incidents from the life of its inhabitants, as well as the historic holocaust of the village by the Turks. 

Production

The products produced by the area of Arini are cereals, citrus fruits and oil. In the old days, the cattle-breeding had been developed and from the late 19th century until the early 20th century, the entire road (as it had been then) was planted all over with mulberry trees at its length and the entire village was occupied with sericulture (production of silk). At the location of Prasa bridge in Vigles, a little farther down from the mill of Vitsas, a Gallery-Mine existed at the same period (and for this reason we can observe hollows at this location), in which coal was extracted. After its rough processing, the coal was being transferred to the train station of Zacharo, via a small rail-rolling mine-wagon and they used it as a fuel for the movement of the trains. At the location of Hantakia in 1956, a gallery was opened up from which coal was being extracted for two-three years. The transfer to the train was effected with a truck. After Hantakia, the same crews continued to extract coal in Asikelos for another two-three years. There, the old galleries have been preserved until today. In those days, our fellow-villagers were provided with the opportunity to work and improve somehow their financial condition.

Entry for the coal-mine in the location of Asikelos










Psili Petra (High Rock) (Roloi [Watch]), was useful so as the farmers to find the hour of the day, according to its shading from the sun.

The financial recession of the past, forced many inhabitants of the village to emigrate and try their chances in Athens and abroad. Many have settled in the USA, Canada, Australia and Germany, where they achieved to make a brilliant career. But also today, many other inhabitants of Arini, who are hardworking and active, have made a career in Greece either as businessmen, craftsmen and merchants in private economy, or as militaries and civil servants in the wider Public Sector. Some of them are non-commissioned officers on active duty or retired and others (on duty or retired) managers, deputy managers and executives of the Public Administration and the Public enterprises and organizations. Several of them managed to reach to the highest and upper grades of the military and staff hierarchy.

Entertainment

From the old days, a festival was being organized in the village, which was taking place on the 21st of May, on the very day of Saint Konstantinos and almost always we had had more than one orchestras, close to each other. The historical folk orchestra of the village, Trio Belcando of Arini, as we would call it today, well known to the province of Olympia, will remain unforgettable. The orchestra consisted in the unforgettable clarinetist Mitsos Mallios or Iliopoulos, the violinist Paraskevas Danes and the sweet-voiced singer and lutanist-guitarist Nionios Misichronis. These days, the festival in the village is organized on the 15th of August, where the inhabitants of the village find the opportunity to show to the visitors from other places, their traditional and hospitable feelings


The folk orchestra of the village, the celebrated and known to our province, “Trio Belcando” of Arini. We can see in the middle, Mitsos Malios or Iliopoulos with the clarinet, on the right the singer with the guitar Nionios Misichronis and on the left the perfect violinist Paraskevas Danes and besides him the coffeehouse keeper of the village for many years, Yiannis Skouteris. In the marriages and the festivals or other events with particular significance, the orchestra was joined by other musicians who played traditional musical instruments, like Zois and K. Kyriakopoulos, Avgeris and Fotis Lampropoulos from Smerna etc.

The customs of the marriage

However, the loveliest of the customs was the matrimonial ceremony. The marriage was taking place following a matchmaking or mutual abduction of the lovers, when the parents of the one or the other or both, were not in favour of the marriage. The marriages were always taking place on weekends and it was a thorough and grueling ceremony. The matrimonial ceremony began on Friday and ended on Monday and sometimes on Tuesday. On Friday, the relatives and friends of the couple, singing marriage songs, clothed the trousseau of the bride, counterpanes, mattresses, pillows, and they packed them properly in order to transport them on Sunday to the house of the bridegroom with the cattle. They exchanged the renowned bread rolls (“sweet breads”) that symbolized the new bond of the two families of the persons about to be married. On Sunday evening, the valedictory dinner was taking place in the house of the bride, with revelries and feasts, in which all the guests were participating. The bridegroom was sending as his representative the person laden with the “basket” of the bridegroom, full of meat and wines, for the valedictory dinner (in the Greek language this person is called “fortomatiaris”). This person laden with the basket should be strong in drinking, because the guests of the bride were trying to get him drunk. On Sunday, the matrimonial ceremony reached its peak. The guests of the bridegroom that is the relations by marriage, with the company of folk songs and musical instruments hit the road along with the best man, riding their horses or mules, with the plumed blankets, to go to bring the bride. If the bride was from another village, all the relations by marriage formed a type of a pageant. When they arrived at the house of the bride, they stopped the revelries and all the guests of the couple accompanied the couple to the church, when the father of the bride gave her away to the bridegroom and he welcomed her with flowers and kisses. The sacrament of marriage followed and after the compliments and the wishes, the dance outside the church with folk songs. The newly-weds started first to dance, sustained by the best man. Afterwards, the bride wished goodbye her parents and relatives, rode a white horse and the bridegroom followed with another horse and after them the best man, and the entire pageant hit the road, returning to the house of the bridegroom with songs and revelries. The bride should enter the house with the right foot and step on an iron part of the floor. The same did the bridegroom in order their life to always be “made of iron”. Afterwards, the feast followed, which was nightlong with an abundance of foods. The cheerfulness peaked and the renowned “little glasses” started to be passed to the table companions by the best man. There were 5-6 little glasses full of wine and each guest should pay a compliment to them and drink the content of all of them to the health of the newly-weds, the in-laws, the best man, the guests etc. and to give them with compliments to another guest. On Monday morning after the couple woke up, the bride with the company of her relatives and songs, was going to bring water from the fountain, for the first time to her new home. There, she treated all of them sweets and pastries and received the necessary wishes. With this stage, the matrimonial ceremony ended.