Thursday, September 25, 2014

The Mani ~ The Greek Land of the Towers

From our room in the hotel on the hill in Kardamyli we looked out over the old town’s church and war tower. The two structures are prominent remains of the Troupakis Complex that dates back to the late 17th and early 18th centuries.
Legend has it that the family known as Troupakis were refugees from  Mystra (ancient inland city) when it fell to the Turks in 1461. The family lived in caves (called ‘troupas’ – thus their name) in the Taygetos Mountains behind Kardamyli before arriving here and building the family complex – now a treasured part of history.
The complex was a mesmerizing sight whether in the early morning sun, the mid-day’s blaze or in the evening shadows. The morning our summer sojourn in Greece came to an end, I took this photo from our deck.

I wanted to remember that tower the way it looked in that July’s morning sun.

I wanted to remember this enchanting history-laden Land of the Towers.

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Troupakis Complex - Kardamyli, Greece
The Mani – in the north called the ‘Outer Mani’ and in the south the ‘Deep Mani’ – located in the southern part of the Peloponnese peninsula is the home of ancient towers. (Lovers of Italy’s San Gimignano’s towers in Tuscany would go nuts here!)

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DSCF8282A drive through The Mani (the area is only four hours from Athens via freeway) takes one from olive grove-covered hills and gorges to barren, windswept hillsides on a narrow, lightly-traveled roadway.

You don’t travel far before spotting a tower on a far-away hill or in the midst of villages.

Often times the road slices through stone villages, the old stone buildings so close you could reach out and touch the walls.

A road trip here is guaranteed to offer surprises. Sometimes goats or cattle in the middle of the road, or stone tower towns so picture-perfect they simply don’t seem real.

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Deep Mani Tower Town - Peloponnese
The towers played an important role in this area’s turbulent history. Some freestanding towers were built as village’s war towers and others served as both homes (in the lower level) and a tower for defense in the upper levels. First used when the Turks invaded; later they were used as local clans fought against each other.

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Even today homes built here are constructed using the area’s stone. And some, (like the middle photo above and to the right below illustrate) are being built incorporating the tower design of old.

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Old Tower on the left, new homes on the right
Towers, towers everywhere and most are well preserved.  Standing in the Troupakis Complex (which is a museum area now) in Kardamyli, I took the photo below back towards our hotel on the hill and yet another the tower just behind it. There was a time this harbor town served as Sparta's port.

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Troupakis Complex - Kardamyli
IF YOU GO:

The Mani – a part of the Peloponnese peninsula which is generally thought of as mainland Greece and separated by the narrow width of the Corinth Canal.

There’s a modern divided freeway between the Athens Airport and Kalamata. From Kalamata the state road becomes a two-lane paved roadway. 

There are seasonal flights from various gateways in Europe to the Kalamata Airport and rental cars are available there as well as Athens.

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I’ve mentioned ‘that hotel on the hill’ several times in recent posts. It became our home away from home this past summer and soon I’ll introduce you to the people who run it and our travel lifestyle there. Until then, we thank you for the time you spent with us and hope you enjoyed today’s journey. 

Happy – and safe - travels until we are together again ~

Joining in the fun at:
Travel Photo Thursday – Budget Travelers Sandbox
Weekend Travel Inspiration - Reflections En Route
Mosaic Monday – Lavender Cottage Gardening
Travel Photo Monday - Travel Photo Discovery

35 comments:

  1. Some beautiful views here, Jackie, and those towers are fascinating!

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    1. Thanks so much for stopping by Andrew and glad you enjoyed this tower tour! You would go nuts here with some of those spectacular B and W's you shoot!!

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  2. Interesting. Very much like Tuscany where you find towers in big cities and little villages, too.

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    1. Very much like Tuscany, Dick. The nice thing here is that tourism isn't running rampant - yet - and you feel as though you've discovered a new treasure with each sighting. Thanks for commenting today!

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  3. So many towers!! What a turbulent and scary history. I can't imagine surviving battle with the Turks only to have your neighbors turn on you. I'm glad it's a much more peaceful region now. :-)

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    1. It really was a turbulent history and the region still speaks of 'vendettas' but I can assure you the people who we've met there are among the warmest, most welcoming of any we've met anywhere in our travels! Thanks for the visit, Krista. hugs, J.

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  4. What a surprise. I knew about the towers in Italy but never in Greece. It is wonderful that they are preserved as well. I once considered staying in a similar tower in Liguria in Italy but it did not have good reviews so we chose elsewhere. I wonder if you can stay in these towers?

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    1. Jan, some of them are for rent and just do a quick Google search of Mani tower homes for rent and you will find them. Also Vera Marie at A Travelers Library blog stayed in one once so she would be a great resource as well. Thanks much for your visit today!! Have a great week -

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    1. Yes, Lilli, the area - its history, its residents and its architecture is simply amazing! Thanks for your visit today~

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  6. Very interesting. I especially like the photo of Deep Mani Tower Town and that modern buildings are constructed incorporating the traditional tower design. I look forward to reading about that hotel of yours.

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    1. Thanks for the visit, Michele! Those tower towns are pretty spectacular alright. And I promise the hotel story is coming this week!

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  7. What a great view to wake up to and see. This was very interesting and I love little towns like this with so much history. Looking forward to the hotel story.

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    1. Hi Mary and thanks for stopping by! There is so much history in The Mani that sometimes you just can't wrap your head around it all. . .it was nice to sometimes 'veg out' at the hotel and just stare at the scene before us.

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  8. Hi Jackie, I love the tower town of San Gimignano and I'm glad to learn there's a tower town in Greece as well. They were like the Manhattan of the olden days:) It's interesting to have a home that is a defense as well. And what a fascinating history. Love the photos, especially the Deep Mani on top of the hill.

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    1. I thought of you two when I mentioned San Gimignano! You would love this area of Greece as well. Thanks so much for stopping by. I am heading over to your blog later today~ Have a great week! (And you won't believe where we are heading for Christmas!)

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  9. I love the beautiful views.The tower town is interesting. The hotel sounds nice too. Thanks for sharing, wonderful photos from your trip! Have a happy new week!

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    1. Thanks so much for stopping by Eileen and glad you found the tower town interesting. It was an incredible trip and I loved sharing the photos with you all. Happy week to you as well~ Jackie

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  10. Thank you so much for your visits (please do excuse me for being late with a message!!) I love your lovely way to see things through your lens, such beautiful sights aspects and views in all of your posts! So thankful for sharing them with us! Toate cele bune! And a sunny week ahead!

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    1. Oh thank you Alexa. So glad you enjoy our blog and thank you for following! I just saw you among our followers - I will be doing the same for your blog as well! Take care and enjoy the week~

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  11. War towers sound ominous but at least they are being put to use today.
    Thank you for linking to Mosaic Monday Jackie.

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    1. I suspect in their day they were pretty ominous, Judith, but now they are lovely adornments in this beautiful part of Greece.

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  12. I've been all over Europe, but Greece is one place I haven't really explored yet. Your photos are lovely. Maybe it's time to go revisit. :D

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    1. Oh Veronica, if you loved the other places you visited in Europe, I know you would love Greece. I think you should try it out! :-) Happy travels and week ahead~

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  13. Nice mosaics of this area. I like how they are incoporating old style architecture into modern homes.

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    1. It is interesting to see the old, carried forward in the new, Ida. Thanks so much for your visit today!

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  14. I am always touched by how the Greeks pay homage to their history. Whether in their architecture, their music, or their food, the salute to their roots is heartfelt and usually has me in tears. Sorry for being a little emotional, but considering the state of things today in this beautiful country, my heart aches. Thank you, Jackie and Joel, for keeping the faith, and posting such wonderful presentations of my adopted land, and the birthplace of my expat parents.

    An expat myself,
    xx
    Poppy

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    1. We are always impressed by both the importance of history -- and family -- in Greece, Poppy. And it seems the two are intertwined with generations continuing the wonderful music and foods and architecture. I have no doubt Greece is going to come out on top one day (hopefully in the not-too-distant future)! We look forward to returning next spring!!!

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  15. Oh my the pictures of these towers both up close and far away are magnificent...what a beautiful place.

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    1. Donna, as always your visit is most appreciated. Glad you found the places as beautiful as we did! Happy week to you~

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  16. Wonderful travels and great history lessons ... love those towers! Happy Mosaic Monday!

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    1. And Happy Mosaic Monday to you! Thanks so much for stopping by and glad you enjoyed both the travel and history in today's post!! Hope to see you again soon~

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  17. Those towers stand as mute witness to the events of history and the people who built them and used them. Magnificent structures.

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    1. Hi Lorrie - you have said it so well in your comment. . .what a story these towers could tell, right? Thanks so much for your visit. Happy week ahead to you~

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  18. The views and the towers, Wow! I've never been to Greece, but it's definitely somewhere I'd like to discover more of having read your post today :)

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So happy to see you took the time to comment. We read them all - and each is much appreciated. We hope you will be a regular here and comment often!

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