Mani is a place with great history. It was inhabited for the first time in the Paleolithic era, while the findings demonstrate the continued presence of settlement and civilization in the area. Notable facilities dated from the Neolithic era were kept up to the Bronze Age, whith most significant those of of Vitilon (Itilo), Kardamyli, and Githio – also mentioned by Homer! After the descent of the Dorians in the Peloponnese, Mani follows the fate of Sparta and the rest of Laconia, and in the Roman days participates in the “Kino Eleftherolakonon” (Society of Free Lakedemons). During the first Byzantine centuries the whole region is integrated to the provincial administrative system of the Byzantine Empire and belongs to the broader prefecture of Achaia. After their settlement in the Peloponnese, the Franks build three fortresses and castles in strategic points, which they give up to the Byzantine Emperor as soon as the Byzantine reign is restored and the seigniory of Mystras is established. After the fall of Constantinople to the Turks, the Sultan Mohamed II turns to the Peloponnese and his troops conquer Mystras – that’s when a new historical course for Mani begins. During combats between Turks and Venetians, Mani’s natives don’t cease revolting and struggling against Turkish subjection – and they keep fighting until the great uprising of all the Greek nation which Kolokotronis together with Mani’s fighters fired up.
FAIRS AND FESTIVALS
INTERNATIONAL SUMMER MUSIC FESTIVAL at LEFKTRO – lasts all summer (www.mani-sonnenlink.com, tel 27210-77711)
The Bläuel couple, Viennese residents of Mani and founders of the Sonnenlink (and Sonnenhouse, the art and spirituality venue), invite distinguished musicians from around the world to interpret Mozart, Brahms, and Greek composers at the outdoor amphitheater. Organic buffet follow each concert.
THE PYRAMID AT PROFITIS ELIAS – 19 July
According to Pausanias, during Antiquity, Taleton – the highest peak of Taygetos, later named Profitis (Prophet) Elias – was dedicated to the Sun. Today, the characteristics of the ancient worship revive in the small – roofless – brick-built chapel of Prophet Elias every year, on July 19th. Bonfires are lit throughout the night, while the bell rings at 2 am and the function lasts until sunrise. Only minutes before dawn and when the atmosphere is clean, hundreds of locals, as well as tourists, witness the shadow of the mountain’s peak reflect in the waters of the Messinian Gulf, forming the famous “phenomenon of the pyramid”- a rare and magnificent sight.
THE FAIR OF THE ASSUMPTION AT TRAHILA – August 15
The most atmospheric fair of the Assumption takes place at the picturesque stone built village of Trahila (7.5 km east of Agios Nikolaos).
We created a Fairs & Festivals’ brochure with detailed information on the events in the wider area – look for it in your villa.