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Kastanitsa is a village in Arcadia, on the southern slope of Mount Parnon. It is noted for its production of chestnuts, from which it takes its name, and for formerly being a majority Tsakonian-speaking settlement.
Currently, the village contains around two hundred-fifty inhabitable houses, representing a significant shrinkage from Villehouson's figure of four hundred. (This is not unusual in the area: Many towns and villages in the area were ruined by the depredations of Ibrahim Pasha of Egypt and never fully recovered those that were spared eventually lost population due to economic migration in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries).
Most houses are built from local stone, and the village is classified as a heritage site by the Greek government, which places controls on external renovations. Most roofs in Kastanitsa are made of slate, which, because of its low water absorption, is more resistant to frost damage during the winter snows.
Wintertime population loss has accelerated in the automobile age, and the village presently has only around fifty year-round inhabitants, with a large influx of residents and visitors in summertime.
The village centre contains shops, cafes, taverns, a library, and the Church of the Transfiguration dating to 1780 and containing Russian woodwork donated by Catherine the Great. There are fifteen country chapels in the countryside outside the village and a church of Saint Pantaleon built on the ruins of the former monastery dedicated to Saint Nicholas, founded in 1628 and destroyed in 1826 by Ibrahim Pasha.
Automobiles, with few exceptions, may not be driven in the village, and visitors are asked to park in designated areas on its outskirts.
Important holidays in the village include the Feast of the Transfiguration (August 6) and the annual Chestnut Festival, held in October.
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