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Peloponnese Tour  Classical Tour

Mani is the southernmost part of the Peloponnesus, a great rocky trident of land stretching into the Sea of Crete. Here lies the inhospitable region known as the "deep mani".

Mani...Vathia

Mani...the Rocky Land

Nominally part of the prefecture of Laconia, it is really another country, with its own customs, architecture and code of honor. In such fortified towns, their characteristic, Maniot tower - dwellings silhouetted against the clear  Peloponnesian sky , it is easy to see why the Maniates are considered the true heirs of the bellicose ancient Spartans, known as the Lacedaemonians.  This barren, rock - strewn and depopulated region is home to men whose pursuits, throughout history, were neither agricultural nor peaceful.

The maniates often have their own law. The women of Mani are as bold as the men. In life and in death. In the wild fastness of Mani the people have clung to such a faith in customs, traditions and the family as to traced the limits of courage. Throughout the following centuries of treacherous and violent "foreign intervention", it would be the thorny, independent Maniates, fortified in their characteristic, two - and three - stony tower - dwellings far to the south, who would symbolize the Peloponnesian resistance.

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Around Mani

Though the Ottomans and Venetians took the peninsula in turn; first one then the other seizing control, the Maniates never accepted defeat. Just prior to the outbreak of the Greek war of independence, the Peloponnese was in Turkish hands, administered from Tripolis: the Mani, however, had been a sovereign state within a state for six years, governed by the indomitable Petrobey Mauromichalis. Today by "Maniates" we mean brave man, stalwarts, heroes. The towers. There are about 800 towers, isolated or grouped in villages, the oldest go back to the 15th c, their height increased with the power of the family that built them.

They were constructed of irregularly shaped blocks of stone, about 15m-25m/50ft-80ft high and square in shape, they comprised three or four rooms. one above the other, linked by ladders and trap doors. Windows were small and few in number and the top floor was crenellated so that tower looked like a castle keep. The greatest concentration of towers is to be found in Kita and Vathia in the south.

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Mani...the Rocky Land

Mani - Vathia

Mani's history is a loose thread, interweaving itself with the multicolored strands from Sparta, Rome and Byzantium, the Franks, Venetians and Turks, but always creating a unique design of its own on the fringe of the main Greek pattern. It is a land of caves, churches and strange towers, of fortified villages on bare mountainsides, of Byzantine art and architecture of an extraordinary richness and importance, of feuds, fasting and lamentation.

Mani...Vathia

 Until the present century it was almost a living fossil of the Middle Ages. It was a region of institutionalized civil war and chronic internal disorder, yet its ironic glory was to start the Revolution of 1821 which created the nation-state in which Mani itself became an incongruity.

Mani...Cape Tainaron...Necromantion

At the southernmost tip of the peninsula is Cape Tenaron (Mattapan). In ancient times this was thought to be one of the entrances to the underworld, where Heracles descended in quest of the dog (Kerberos). Today the towers are mostly deserted. Byzantine churches of great beauty, often magnificently frescoed, are collapsing through neglect...

Mani...Cape Tainaron...Necromantion

Mani...Cape Tainaron...Necromantion

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NETWORK OF MANI MUSEUMS-AREOPOLIS - PIKOULAKIS TOWER MUSEUM

This Museum is located south of the 17th March Square and the Church of the Taxiarchon (Archangels).

 It is housed in the tower that was previously owned by the Pikoulakis family one of the most prominent families in Mani before the War of Independence.
The Pikoulakis family distinguished itself in the struggle against the Turks.
 

This complex is a typical example of the fortified residences found in the area and consists of a defensive tower and residential quarters arranged round a small central courtyard. It has been designated a historic, listed building.

Areopolis Museum is part of the "Network of Mani Museums", an extensive museum project being set up by the Ministry of Culture and founded jointly with the European Union.

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The project aims to present Maniot culture of the Byzantine and post-Byzantine periods through visible remnants of the local people's creativity, while also drawing attention to the numerous monuments scattered all over the peninsular.

 


Mani - Tower Houses

Mani - Tower Houses

Mani - Tower Houses


Private Tour in GreeceThe area may be depopulated today, but the beautiful large private homes and public buildings are a testament to the flourishing past. Their grey, heavy stone roofs rise over the thick vegetation. Stone-paved streets cross the villages. The houses are built with stones and wood, and their walls are thick to withstand the harsh weather conditions and the winter snow. Stone-built walls surround the yards, which are guarded by beautiful, heavy, wooden gates. Fortunately, many of these buildings now have been restored and modernized properly, and several have been turned into hotels and pensions, retaining the traditional style. What is more important is that the area has kept its serenity and is rarely crowded with people

You can view our portfolio of photos at http://www.panoramio.com/user/45649/tags/Mani

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