Travels in Greece

Dimitsana Open-Air Water Power Museum

The open-air Water Power Museum just outside Dimitsana opened in 1997 after ten years of restoration work and is the first open air museum in Greece. It offers an excellent display of fully restored pre-industrial milling installations which operated from the 16th to mid 20th century.

Powered by the Ai-Yiannis Spring rushing down the side of the Lousios gorge the exhibits include a flour mill, a tannery and a (gun) powder mill along with two restored houses. Information is plentiful and includes a decent audio visual projection in both Greek and English describing the tanning process (they cure the skins at one point using animal pee, I didn’t know that!). Kids will enjoy throwing the supplied corn into the flour mill and watching it come out the other end in pulverized form. There is also a small gift shop with a few nicely priced books available with more information.

The museum is also a good starting point for hikes further down into the Lousios gorge. Following the path through the museum takes one past the main projects, past several non restored installations which are mostly overgrown and continues down in the gorge itself. The path will take you to Paliochori, over the stone bridge at Monopori and all the way on to Gortyna if followed to its end. The museum has several guides with maps available for those that fancy an extended walk, which in the spring would be absolutely lovely I would think.

Partially funded by the EU, the restoration is truly a shining example of what can be done with a bit of good planning and received a Europa Nostra award for heritage in 1997. For anybody in Dimitsana or passing through the area it is thoroughly recommended, and the kids will love it!