If you are one of those people who like to explore areas rich in culture, nature and history, then Mani is just right for you. Located in the southernmost peninsula of the Peloponnese, Mani is a compendium of incredible architecture and beautiful landscapes, as well as a unique group of people that is very Greek and very Mani at the same time.
Mani holds the distinct status of never having been occupied by the Ottoman Empire. Its people, descendants of the ancient Spartans, are proud to say they defended their land and kept it their own. Today, it is a rich landscape of stone buildings and towers that are built high in the mountains and solidly, as if still protecting themselves from any invasion. Nowadays many foreigners have picked Mani as a holiday destination because of its unparalleled beauty.
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Its architecture is not the only attraction. The mountains at Mani rise elegantly in the north and then seem to blend into the sea. One may want to start a trip in Kalamata, which is the entryway to Mani. Further distinguished by Exo Mani and Mesa Mani (outer and inner respectively), Exo Mani can be reached through a beautiful mountain road that regales the visitor with stunning views and a sense of contentment. Its beaches are among the most beautiful in the world.
More adventurous travelers may want to visit incredible caves that are easily accessible in Exo Mani. The area’s rich oral and archeological history both point to its settlement as early as the Neolithic. Urban legend relates that Mani was inhabited by outcast Spartans, which explains the defiant and proud nature of its people. As a matter of fact, piracy and raiding was well known among the people of Mani. Known by their reputation as pirates, its people has fought many groups wanting to take control of the land.
If you are seeking some time to clear your head, you may want to head to Messinian Mani. Yoga and spa experiences capitalizing on the clear waters and beautiful olive groves, will surely make an impact in your inner self. Indulge in delicious olive oil and local offerings that are sure to please your palate.
Aside from floating caves, homes and buildings in Mani offer the opportunity for a unique visit. Mostly built of stone, and designed with keeping the area safe and the enemy at a disadvantage, the architecture is impressive. Towers look like fortresses and churches in byzantine style are numerous. Each of these historical religious structures holds inside many works of art unique to the area and worthy of contemplation.
Some people have never heard of Mani, or only know vaguely all it has to offer. In fact, it is a destination that not only provides a peaceful outlet, but also the opportunity to explore and immerse oneself in a very special piece of history. Getting to know its people and their history, while visiting its many natural offerings, the traveler can lose himself in Mani. The caves, castles and churches all invite you to become one with the Spartans and their spirit to better understand as the land tells its story. Its clear beaches and peaceful mountainside can make Mani the perfect backdrop for some time alone, or to reconnect with a loved one.