Areopoli

The entrance of Mani!

Built on a dry and barren landscape, completely unprotected from the fury of the winds, Areopolis stands at the entrance of Mani. The settlement was created at a very strategic position, on the rocky hill that lies at the foot of Mount Prophet Elias Sangiá to control the main road of South – South West Mani.
Once called Tsimova, it was renamed (after Ares, god of war) in honour of its role as the starting place of the War of Independence in 1821, when the Maniot clans laid their grudges aside to fight the Turks. Enough of its towers survive to give you a taste of its glory days.
Several elements (eg. campanile of the Archangels and the tower-houses of Mavromichali Kapetanakou and Barelakos) emphasize the vertical dimension. The tower-mansion of Kapetanakos (built after 1830) was gradually extended eastward to include a market, that΄s been important to all Mani region. During this period new larger two-or three-story buildings were built with shops on the ground floor and houses on the upper floors and thus the settlement got its small town character. The building activity continued until 1940, when it began to decline.
Among the historical landmarks stand out the church of the Archangels dated from the 18th century and the Stone that served to support the Greek flag during the Revolution of `21. Despite its serious decline in population after the War (1945), it still remains the largest town and the capital of Laconian Mani. It features several pre- and postrevolutionary monuments (large and interesting houses, houses of prominent generations). The nature coexists with the built environment: small garden with olives, figs and mulberries and various wildflowers grow in the gardens and walls of houses. Nowadays, Areopolis has a number of excellent traditional restaurants (taverns) and bars.
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