Where history becomes a myth
Where myth becomes a legend
The history in the area starts in the antiquity when Sparta became one of the two most powerful big cities of Greece. The statue of Leonidas the Spartian is found at the edge of the city and the ruins of the old stadium are located next to the hill.
There is an ancient theater in Gythio which hopefully is going to open its gates to the public this year, for performances of ancient and modern plays.
On cape Tainaron the Temple of Poseidon is located and the sanctuary of the souls descending to Hades.
The latest Greek history of the 18th and 19th century has its origin in that area of Mani playing an important role, since it remained unconquered and untouchable because of the landscape peculiarity and the wild and undisciplined nature of its people. It retained its autonomy during the Osmanlis -Ottoman Domination after the Fall of Konstantinoupolis in 1453 by Mohammed B! the Conqueror. Meanwhile the rest of Greece was enslaved by them for almost four hundred years up to the 1821 when the Greek revolution burst out.
Mani as an independent state held the fronts and denied the Osmanlis’ domination thus retaining its independence through historical battles and glorious victories.
In fact resistance was a matter of honor and pride for its people.
Small armies were formed all over the area, consisting of men, sometimes women too, from the big families of Mani, noble and humble as well. The famous ‘Klephts’ and the ‘Armatolos’, together with their leaders, the ‘Captains’ who became later on legends in the hearts of the enslaved Greeks, the ‘ragiades’, had occupied the mountains of the area, Taygetos and Parnonas living in caves together with their ammunition and animals, hence attacking the troops of the enemy. The men of Mani were in a constant war with the Osmanlis Turks, resting their heads only on their guns. However the war and the peculiarity of the landscape, dry and devastated land, turned people into thieves, pirates and cursors in order to survive. For more than two centuries the Maniates have been the most famous pirates of Aegean.
During the Second World War Mani has also sheltered in its steep mountains and hiddeous caves the most famous heroes of the Greek resistance.
After the war many Maniates emigrated all over the world seeking a better life but in the last century most of them returned to their lands thus helping in the development of the whole area.