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Gythio: Nobility and island character

Gythio


Gythio is a historical town in the southern Peloponnese, amphitheatrically built at the foot of Mount Larysio (Akoumaros or Koumaria by the locals), which is 42 km from Sparta. It is the seat of the Municipality of East Mani, home of Metropolis of Mani and the main port of the Laconic Gulf.

According to Pausanias Gythio name meant “Land of Gods”, from the Homeric word tetragyon “Gyon” (Earth) + god. It is said that during the construction of the city, Hercules having stolen the prophetic tripod from Delphi, came into conflict with Apollo. But as the race had no result, instead Heraclia or Apollonia the named the city “land of gods” to be both honored.

The southern edge of Gythion city is joined via a jetty with a small island, ancient Kranai or Marathonisi. According to Pausanias Paris and Helen passed their first night there,  before arriving in Troy. Paris forgot his helmet and that’s how the island took its name.

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Gythio in antiquity was the seaport of Sparta and the period 195 BC – 297 AD was independent from Sparta and the seat of the “Koinon of Eleftherakonon”. In 1685 the Venetians who were at war with the Turks occupied the Castle Passava, ensuring the free communication of the residents of Mani with Marathonisi, whο gradually began to inhabit there. On March 23, 1821 Grigorakides together with other chieftains of Eastern Mani raised in Marathonisi – Gytheion the flag of the Revolution.

The port of Gythio despite its advantageous position, is shallow, so the big merchant or tourist ships can not bind to it. In July 2012 it was signed a contract for the upgrading of the port, however, both financial and technical issues have delayed its completion. According to the latest forecast it will be completed by the end of June 2016. The improved port is expected to stimulate financially Gytheio and the region.

In Gythio will find hotels, villas, apartments and campings for a comfortable and pleasant stay. Along the coastal area around the port there are taverns, restaurants, ouzo bars, cafes and bars for your entertainment.

Every year in September 14th, in the feast of the Holy Cross, it is organized a great festival with people from all over the Morea.

Attractions

This beautiful state impresses with its grandeur and insular physiognomy. Colorful classical houses are amphitheatrically built on the green hill of Akoumarou, reflected in the waters of the Laconian gulf. Hanging octopus bask with the sailboats and the fishing boats on the background. Narrow streets with stone stairs leading to houses with flower gardens. Spectacular views from the waterfront to the verdant island of Kranai.

In Gythio will see Parthenagogio, which was built in 1886 by the famous architect Tsiller and the Archaeological Museum which is housed the Town Hall. On top of Koumaros mountain is the church of All Saints with a panoramic view of Gythio and the Laconic Gulf.

Just outside Gythio lies the Ancient Gythio, where they are saved the temple of the emperors Augustus and Tiberius, the baths and the ancient theater of the city from Roman times. At 10 km from Gythio, on the road to Areopolis, you will see the Medieval Castle.

Do not miss the beautiful island Kranai which is connected to the coast since 1896. There, built in 1829, stands the traditional, stone tower of the chieftain and third bey of Mani Tzanetakis Grigorakis, which now serves as the Historical Ethnological Museum of Mani. At the northern end of the island, on the ruins of the Temple of Venus you will see the church of Ag. Georgios. The rock on which it was built in 1873, the octagonal lighthouse of 22 meters height offers panoramic views of the city of Gythio.

The closest beaches you will find are in the east, Selinitsa, a clean beach with Blue Flag, where the caretta-caretta turtles lay their eggs and 2 km south of Gythio the popular beach Mavrovouni with a sandy beach of 6 km., crystal waters, ideal for water sports. Five kilometers northeast you will find Valtaki beach where is the rusty hull of the shipwreck “Dimitrios.”

About 6 km from the city you will see the beautiful beach Vathi – Ageranos, a huge sandy beach with green, one of the best of Mani. Between Gythio and Kotronas, lies the bay of Skoutari, with its beautiful beaches Kalamakia, Vordona and the exotic beach of Agia Varvara. The idyllic beaches of Mani are countless and they will fascinate you!

Gythio is an ideal destination and starting point for excursions in Mani!

Gythio Photos