Located south of the Alfeios Plain and southwest of the homonymous modern town in the Elis Prefecture, ancient Alipheira was an important acropolis of Arcadian Kynouria (or Kynouraia). Its possibly Prehellenic name is related to Alipheros, the city's mythical founder, one of Lykaon's fifty sons. The city's surviving architectural remains date from the Late Archaic to Roman period, but archaeological evidence suggests that the city thrived in the Classical and Hellenistic periods. Alipheira is mentioned by Polybius (VI.78) and Pausanias (VIII.26.5-7).
Alipheira's acropolis occupies the top of a hill chain. Its most important monuments are the temples of Athena and Asklepios, which are also mentioned by Pausanias. No traces of prehistoric habitation were identified, and the earliest portable finds date from the Geometric period. Both the city and the sanctuary of Athena were probably already established by the sixth or fifth centuries BC. The sanctuary of Asklepios was founded in the west part of the fortified city in the fourth century BC. After the defeat of the Lacedaemonians at Leuktra in 371 BC, Alipheira probably joined the Arcadian Koinon and participated in the synoikismos of Megalopolis; this led to a decrease in its population.
The construction of magnificent tombs in the third century BC indicates that Alipheira flourished during this period. The city remained under Megalopolis until 244 BC, when it was ceded to Elis. It was besieged and conquered by King Philip V of Macedon during the Inter-Ally War (219 BC), and was annexed again by Megalopolis in 207. In 191 BC, Alipheira joined the Achaian League and subsequently minted its own coinage. In the Roman period, it was part of the great Roman province of Achaia.
The city was abandoned in the Early Christian period. The single-naved chapel of Saint Helen was later erected over the pronaos of the temple of Athena, and a cross-vaulted church of Saint Nicholas was built on the north side of the hill in the Ottoman period. Early travellers, such as William Leake, John Anthony Cramer, Ludwig Ross, and Ernst Curtius, identified the fortified acropolis as ancient Alipheira.
The city was excavated by Anastasios Orlandos in 1932-1933. Archaeological research has produced interesting architectural remains and a wealth of portable finds.