Karytaina (spelled Karitaina incorrectly, because the word comes from the word karyon = nut) is a village in Gortynia in the prefecture of Arcadia. It is built on a hilltop around the medieval castle. It is located in the area of ancient Brenthi. The settlement is particularly distinguished for its medieval character given to it by the houses, the castle and the Byzantine style churches. It has been recognized as a traditional settlement.
Karytaina is mentioned for the first time in
the 13th century, during the Frankish rule in Greece. During this
period it was the capital of one of the barons of the Franks. In the
French version of the Chronicle of Morea it is referred to as
Caraintaine. In the early years of Frankish rule, the Baroness was
held by the de Bruyère (or De Brielle) family. The construction of
the castle of Karytaina, which was built in the middle of the 13th
century, is also attributed to this family. The ruins of ancient
Brenthi, which was built on the same site, were used for its
construction. The impressive and powerful castle of Karytaina gave
the city strategic importance and secured it effectively. Later,
Karytaina came under the rule of the Despotate of Morea, as in 1320
it was acquired by Andronikos II Palaiologos.
From 1461 it was conquered by the Ottomans. During the Turkish occupation it remained an important commercial center, which was liberated in 1821 by the Greeks. On March 25, 1821, rebels from Zygovisti under Theodosios Kardaras and from Stemnitsa and Dimitsana under Konstantinos Alexandropoulos came down to capture the Turks there, but they were caught and locked in the old fortress of the city where they were besieged. In 1826 Kolokotronis used her castle as a stronghold against Ibrahim and as a refuge for women and children.
After the founding of the Greek state, Karytaina was the capital of the local municipality of the region, the Municipality of Gortynos, which initially operated in the period 1835-1912. In 1912 the municipality was abolished and Karytaina became the seat of the homonymous community. In 1999, with the implementation of the Kapodistrias program, the municipality of Gortynos was re-established with its seat again in Karytaina. The municipality was abolished for the second time in 2011 with the Kallikratis program and was part of the Municipality of Megalopolis.