Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Mani- one of Greece's wildest landscapes

The Mani is a region located on the middle peninsula of the southern  coast of the Peloponnese, legendary for it's harsh, rocky landscape. The Maniates, as the inhabitants are called, are said to be some of the proudest people of Greece, and also some of the most untamed and fierce.
Greek history tells us that the Maniates were not subjugated by the Ottomans but retained their internal self-government in exchange for an annual tribute, although this was only paid once. Local rulers, called beys, governed Mani on behalf of the Ottomans.
We were lucky to spend a few days traveling around the Mani area. Elies, a hotel set among the olive trees in Kardamyli, was one of the magical places we stayed in.
Every morning we had breakfast on this patio overlooking the olive trees.

Ancient Olive tree
Just across a quiet street from the hotel was a beautiful pebble beach.
A dawn swim

Swimming with cousin Anna
One of the hotel complexes along the Mani Coast.
The view from our terrace in Limenas Geraka

Stone towers or Pyrgospita were the bastions of the beys. Locals would take refuge there during attacks from pirates, Ottomans or Venetians.

A Byzantine church within the stone tower compound.

A view of an ancient stone Mani village.
Traveling to the Mani area is a must if you have time while visiting Greece. It's off he beaten track, with haunting landscapes, rocky beaches, and delicious local food.

We stayed in a renovated mill.

At the end of our Mani trip we stopped in Monemvasia, a medieval fortress with many Byzantine churches. 

Stone pathways in Monemvasia

The road to the fort

View from the fort