Mani fortification

The historic houses at the Mani peninsula are outstanding, and today we went to visit the Mourtzinos fortification in Kardamyli on the West Coast.

We had spent the night at the beach of Kardamyli and got ready to go on a hike where we would visit a typical fortified house and continue up the mountains to a monastery (what else ;-))

Getting ready
At the beach, I couldn’t resist finishing one of these stone pyramids
This is a road through the village – for cars! But certainly not for our camper ūüėČ

The fall of Mystras in 1460 caused many refugees to flee to the Mani. Survival in the now crowded peninsula depended on power, and that in turn depended on ownership of land and water. A unique culture with its own traditions evolved out of this constant struggle. It was undeniably violent, especially as the Maniots resisted Turkish domination fiercely, defending their land and succeeding in maintaining a degree of autonomy not experienced elsewhere in Greece.

Towers were built for military purpose and were an outward sign of clan strength and unity. The height, strength and armament of a tower was an open display of power. We visited the tower of Mourtzinos, who was the last captain of Mani. It was built at the end of the 17th century and consist of the tower, houses, an olive mill, a vegetable garden, an underground cistern, a forge and a church all surrounded by a wall.

Mourtzinos Tower
well restored
Church behind the gate
with a beautiful clock tower
In front of the entrance to the tower was originally a draw bridge

From here we would have continued to hike up the mountains, but very dark clouds were closing in and we could hear rolling thunder. So we decided to be clever and head to one of the bars of the village instead.

Coffee and cake
Capuccino Freddo

It didn’t take long and the thunderstorm was here, and the floodgates were opened. It was much more fun to experience this downpour from a dry bar than getting caught in it in the mountains, as had happened to us not so long ago in Slovenia.

After the worst had passed, we made our way back to our camper, hoping that we hadn’t left any window open. On the way, we had to cross a ford, which had been completely dry before. At home everything was fine, and we had a catnap before we drove on to Kalamata.

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