The Stymphalian birds:
In the dense reed beds that still surround the lake Stymphalia, Herakles, the legendary Greek hero, defeated the Stymphalian Birds, thus accomplishing his fifth labour. The Stymphalian Birds were man-eating fowls with beaks, claws and feathers of bronze. Those rapacious birds had escaped a pack of wolves through a cliff near Orchomenus (Orhomenos) and found shelter in the Lake of Stymphalia. The birds, protected by Ares, god of war, were ravaging the crops, attacking the flocks and the people living in the area. Herakles tried to find a way to scare up the birds off the dense reeds in order to attack them. Goddess Athena helped the hero by providing him with bronze rattles. Herakles shook the rattles and frightened the birds out of their nests into the air. Then he killed most of them using his bow and arrows. The few remaining birds flew off to the Black Sea.
According to mythology, Artemis, goddess of the wilderness, enchanted by the unparalleled natural beauty of Stymphalia, has settled her divine realm in this region.
Stymphalia is one of the hypothetical birthplaces of Hera (the other two being the islands of Samos and Evvia (Euboea).). According to mythology, Hera was brought up by Temenus, son of Pelasgus.
The ancient city of Stymphalos, remnants of which can still be seen, was located on the north side of the lake, near the contemporary location of the village. Being encouraged by the presence of the remainders of an ancient stone wall, Anastassios Orlandos carried out an excavation in the area between 1924 and 1930. Many public constructions were brought to light, the foundations of a palaestra, the scene and tiers of a theatre, tombs, stoai and some fortification elements. The excavations continued until 1994 by the Canadian Archaeological Institute at Athens. The constructions that were revealed seem to have been built around 350 BC. This ancient settlement of special architectural interest has been continuously inhabited from 4th century BC until 19th century AD as it is attested by the embedded ruins on more recent constructions. Today, a big part of the excavation has been covered again by water and the rich vegetation of the lake.
Ancient traveler and geographer Pausanias, on his visit to Stymphalos, had been impressed by the Temple of Artemis, with the gold plated statue of the goddess, the reliefs depicting the Stymphalian Birds and the marble statues of bird legged women.
Stymphalia is also associated to the legend of King Aepytos. Aepytos, one of the first ancient settlers of the region, an avid hunter, was bit by a giant venomous snake. He was buried with full honors on Mount Gherontion but the archaeologists still seek the exact location of his burial.
By the 2nd century BC the ancient Stymphalos begins to pass through a period of decline. The city is partly destroyed by roman military activity on the area. A small scale resettlement follows during the next centuries.
PERIOD OF THE TURKISH RULE
In the years before the Greek War of Independence, Stymphalia, together with Feneos, was the breadbasket of Corinthia. Many traditional water-driven workshops and watermills could be found in Stymphalia due to the abundance of water in the area.
In October 1826, during the Greek War of Independence, Stymphalia became the site of a historical battle against Ibrahim Pasha. The Stymphalians attacked the army of Ibrahim Pasha by rolling huge stones down the hillside from Agios Theodoros, thus causing severe casualties to the army of Egyptians which was trying to plunder their harvest.
Between June 29th and July 3rd the 6th Regiment of the Greek People's Liberation Army or ELAS fought against the 117th Division of the German occupation army who was ordered to shoot fire at the grain harvest that had just been cropped from the fields of Stymphalia in order to destroy the Regiments of Corinthia and Argolis. The 6th Regiment under the command of lieutenant colonel M. Vazaios, managed to outflank the German Division by attacking their outpost, which was the only escape to the fields, and completely dispersed it.
Around this area, one can see low single-storied houses or two storied farm houses. The farm houses usually have a rectangular shape, an internal staircase to access the floor above, a stable, a sheepfold, a barn and a stone oven. Stone, wood (either pinewood or fir), lime and ceramic tiles are the staple construction material used to build those houses.