Today the Mani Peninsula had to be discovered! We drove most of the way and hiked the last part to the cape where Greek legend placed the home of Hades.
Mani is the central peninsula of the three which extend southwards from the Peloponnese. The landscape is dry and mountainous. Not so long ago access to the villages was only by sea, nowadays a good road leads there.
|Tower houses @ Vathiá|
|Recently abandoned tower ?|
This village has only few inhabitants but some of the towers are being restored, and some are even in use again, mostly as holiday homes.
|Driving south through the Mani|
Cape Tenaro was the site of the ancient town Tenarus, near which there was a cave that Greek legends claim was the home of Hades, the god of the dead. The ancient Spartans built several temples there, dedicated to various gods. On the hill situated above the cave, lie the remnants of an ancient temple dedicated to the sea god Poseidon. Under the Byzantine Empire, the temple was converted into a Christian church.
|Remains of a mosaic floor of one of the houses|
Cape Tenaro can only be reached after a 45 minute walk, it is the southernmost point of mainland Greece, and the second southernmost point in mainland Europe after Tarifa in Spain.
The Californian, the ship that warned the Titanic of its dooming icebergs, sank at Cape Tenaro in 1915 after being torpedoed by the German fleet. The wreck of the ship was not found until today. Maybe because the Mediterranean is very deep here, the Calypso Deep with a maximum depth of 5267 m is not far from here.
A main route for ships coming from Piraeus, Istanbul and the Black Sea leads past the cape. I love to identify them with an App called Marine Radar, which tells me the name, what type of ship it is, under which flag it sails, where it comes from and where it goes to.
At the Temple of Poseidon visitors devote strange things from cigarettes and lighters to pictures and letters. Maybe it is considered a place where you can connect with the dead as there was a death oracle in ancient times?
|Looking back to Cape Tenaro|
|This plant forms round bushes which dot the landscape|
|Typical Mani village|
|Flower of the Day|