The charming and historic landscape of Dimitsana is home to the Lousios Gorge and remnants of the pre-industrial age. One particularly interesting attraction in the area is the Open-Air Water Power Museum, part of the Museum Network of the Piraeus Bank Group Cultural Foundation. Situated in a verdant landscape surrounded by an abundance of running water, traditional installations and water-powered mechanisms have been carefully restored while each of the old workshops hosts an exhibition exclusively devoted to its former use.
The first building houses a fulling tub and a flour mill with a horizontal paddle-wheel. Outside you will see the still, which would be set up outdoors to make tsipouro (a fiery pomace brandy) from the skins of pressed grapes. Exactly opposite, a two-storey building served as both the tanner’s home and the tannery itself.
A stone-paved path leads to a flat area, where a natural reservoir has formed, before ending at the gunpowder mill. Gunpowder, an emblematic part of the region’s cultural identity, remains very much alive in the locals’ collective memory. During the Greek War of Independence, their forefathers supplied the insurgents with this vital ordnance. In his memoirs, Theodoros Kolokotronis, commander-in-chief of the Greek forces in the Peloponnese, wrote: «Gunpowder we had, Dimitsana made it». Here, you can see the still-working mechanism of a gunpowder mill with pestles (or pounders), which had disappeared in the rest of Europe in the 18th century, while at Dimitsana it was used not only during the independence struggle but right up to the early 20th century.
After visiting the Museum, you might like to continue your tour of the area in the stunningly beautiful Lousios Gorge.
“The museum showcases the importance of water power in traditional societies, with a focus on pre-industrial techniques that utilize water as a source of energy for the production of numerous goods.”