Mani is characterized by a hard and rough beauty! Steep cliffs, winding roads over the blue waters, towers on mountain peaks, picturesque villages and many stories with pirates and treasures…
The most important and special places are:
Areopoli, built on a rocky plateau overlooking the Messenian Gulf, got its name from the god of war, Ares. At first, visitors will be led to the twin church of Virgin Mary and St. Charalamos, which has frescoes from1869 and an interesting steeple with stone reliefs. Built at the end of the central cobbled street that leads to 17th March 1821 square, Taxiarches Church, stands out for its rich relief decoration.
In the Diros Caves (diros-caves.gr) stalactites and stalagmites give shape to the stone, creating magical pictures and shapes inside the damp caves
The cave of Vlychada stands out for its rich decoration and ranks among the best lake caves in the world. An underground river flows inside, whose water meets that of the sea and has a salty taste,"vlyhi" as it is called in the local dialect, thus naming the cave.
Alepotripa is a cave with a length of 300 meters, with successive caves on the inside. At the far end of the cave, there is a lake with drinking water, which attracted the interest of its first inhabitants and became a place of worship, a shelter during winter months, a storage place for supplies, as well as a deposition point for the dead. Recent excavations brought to light the remnants of the oldest double burial in European ground: a couple that was buried in an embrace 6.000 years ago….
Excavations and research conducted by Ioannis and Anna Petrocheilos in Diros Caves unearthed a set of findings that enriched our knowledge about the life of the first inhabitants. Inside the same caves, its inhabitants from the Neolithic period made the first tools and utensils, which can be seen today at the exhibition of the Diros Neolithic Museum.
The Tower City of Vathia has been declared a protected settlement for the special Mani architecture and the special landscape! Makes the visitor feel like he has made a journey through time! One of the most photographed settlements built on the hill, is a living museum!
Limeni, Oitylo, Karavostasi, Gerolimenas, Mezapos, Porto Kagio, Tenaro* are just some of the distinct areas of the peninsula!
* Tenaro is not only the southernmost part of continental Greece, but of Europe as well. The Temple of Poseidon at Tenaro was the religious center of the Union of the Free Laconians. Poseidon was not worshiped here as the sea god, but as the chthonic god of the Underworld. The gates of Hades were said to be here, guarded by the terrible Cerberus, while, according to the myth, this was the point from where Hercules and Orpheus descended to the Underworld. There is a Roman mosaic in the same area, at a short distance from the Temple of Poseidon, along the path that leads to the lighthouse of Tenaro.