History and museums
Heraia (Ἡραία, in Greek) or Heraea (in Latin), known as Αρχαία Ηραία (Archea Irea) in Modern Greek, was an ancient Greek city in Arcadia. It is located on the Alpheios river, a few miles south-west of the modern village of Loutra Iraias, in the municipality of Gortynia in the western Peloponnese, Greece. The modern municipal unit of Iraia is named after it.
According to legend, the eponymic founder of the city was Heraieus (Ἡραιεύς), son of Lykaion. By the 6th century BCE, Heraia was a major Arcadian city. The famous Tabula Peutingeriana shows a road system connecting Heraia with ancient Olympia, Melaneai and Megalopolis.
Famous Olympic champions from Heraia include Demaretos (520 BC), his son Theopompos (516 B.C.), his grandson Theopompos and others.
The cult of Pan in Heraia differed from similar cults in central Arcadia. A famous statue of Pan with the face of Apollo, created by Polykleitos, was located in Heraia and can be seen stamped on gold coins from the region dating to the 4th century BCE. Silver coins of that era represented Hera, the city's patron goddess.
The site of Heraia was excavated by archeologist Alexander Philadelpheus in 1931. Today, the site remains generally closed to the public.