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Arcadia (Greek Αρκαδια) is a region of Greece in the Peloponnesus that was named after the mythological character Arcas. Its present-day capital is in Tripoli. It is the largest prefecture on the peninsula. It covers about 18% of the entire peninsula, once covered aout 20 to 25% of the peninsula.
According to Greek mythology, Pan the shepherd goat lived there. The roman poet Virgil was inspired by the Greek myths when he wrote his Eclogues, a series of poems set in Arcadia. As a result of the influence of Virgil in medieval European literature (see, for example, The Divine Comedy), Arcadia became a symbol of pastoral simplicity. The theme was often revisited by European Renaissance writers (for instance, the Spanish poet Garcilaso de la Vega), and the name was given to any idyllic location or paradise. Unlike the word utopia (after Thomas More's book), Arcadia does not carry the connotation of a humanly designed civilization.
Modern Arcadia has a skiing resort on Mount Maenalus. Arcadia is linked by the GR-7, E-55 freeway. Its length extended after 1997. A nuclear and coal station produces electricity for most of southern Greece is powered from south of Megalopolis along with a coal mine.
Arcadia has now two tunnels. One first opened with the highway names Artemisio Tunnel, and the other is the tunnel east of Megalopolis both connecting traffic from Messenia and Athens.
The chief cities and communities in this prefecture are Tripoli, Astros, Vytina, Dimitsaina, Langadi, Leonidi, Leontari, Levidi, Megalopoli and Stremnitsa.
A region of Nova Scotia was known for some time as Acadia; its discoverer, Giovanni da Verrazano, was so impressed by the natural beauty of the region that he named it 'Archadia', after the Greek Arcadia.
It is also the name of several places in Canada:
- Arcadia, Nova Scotia
- Arcadia, Alberta
Arcadia is also the name of a number of places in the United States of America:
- Arcadia, California
- Arcadia, Indiana
- Arcadia, Louisiana
- Arcadia, Michigan
- Arcadia Township, Michigan