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Because of its geographical position, as the middle finger of the southern Peloponnese, the peninsula of Mani, which is 75 km long and spreads over a surface of 1800 sq. m., is washed by the waters of the Messinian and Laconian gulfs. It has crystal clear waters and is free from pollution and uncontrolled development. It begins north of the Taygetos mountain range, the western spine of the Peloponnese which separates East Mani from West Mani, and ends at Cape Tainaron, the southernmost tip of the Balkan Peninsula.

It is a rugged and barren place, bathed in merciless sunlight and dominated by stone, framed by cypresses, olive trees, bushes and all sorts of wild flowers. Over the centuries, it has shaped its own history and organization, which is unique in Greece. A base for pirates, impregnable to all sorts of raids, this free and proud land has been inhabited from prehistoric times until today.

The old houses, the numerous caves, the isolated fortified towers, the tower houses, the huts, the fountains, the bridges and the numerous narrow roads stretching from the most inaccessible mountains to the beaches, connecting the different parts of the region, bear witness to the special history, social organization and lifestyle that developed in Mani.

Countless Byzantine churches, some dating to the fifth century and most built between the 11th-14th century, with beautiful frescoes and parts of ancient temples, are scattered across the countryside and the settlements.

The masterful use of the stone in each structure, with the characteristic cornerstones, carved stones, domes, turrets, murder-holes, cages, etc., lend a peculiar morphology to the region’s unique and fascinating architecture. It is one the most traditional areas of the Peloponnese with 800 towers and tower houses, more than 1000 Byzantine and post-Byzantine churches, 8 castles, 98 out of 118 traditional settlements of the Peloponnese, and more than 100 caves, including the world-renowned Diros Caves.

The region is home to more than 1000 plant species, over 120 Greek endemic plants of which 32 are locally endemic and unique in the world. The climatic conditions favour the development of olive trees, which produce superior oil. The rich vegetation of herbs and aromatic plants help to produce high quality honey. Many fish can still be found in the pristine crystal clear waters of the area.

All those convert Mani into an open-air museum, which combines in a unique way its wild nature, beautiful sea, good climate, culture, architectural heritage, traditional dishes, fresh fish to tranquillity and seclusion far from the city, particularly during the low season.

The above, coupled with the good road network that connects its settlements and the great ease of access from both the entire Peloponnese (Kalamata, Sparta, Tripoli, etc.) and Athens via the main roads (especially after the construction of Attiki Odou, which connects most areas of Athens with Mani in about 3 hours), make Mani a very attractive holiday destination, not only for the summer but also for every weekend round the year.

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