Mani – Lakonia – Greece
In Peloponnese there is a specific region named Mani. This region is on the peninsula of Taygetos. The region of Mani includes provinces such as Gytheio and Oitylo in Lakonia. The region ends in Cape Tainaro which is know for its highest peak on Mount Taygetos which is called Prophet Elijah.
The municipality of Oitylo took its name from the ancient Oitylo. Since it was an area inhabited from the ancient Homeric era. It is located 7km from Areopolis which is that capital of this municipality. It was founded from a mythological hero Oitylo who came from Argos and was the son Amfianaktas.
During the Homeric era Oitylo was a part of the kingdom of Menelaos. Later on it was stated as VOitylo from Stravonas and Pafsanias. There are reports that it was one of the leading cities of ” The republic of Free-Lakonists”. The remains of ancient monuments and signatures were rescued. Specifically, around its shore where it was considered to be in ancient time the Temple of Serapidos.
In 1770, the admiral of the Russian fleet, Theodoros Orlof set anchore on its shores. Theodoros with the family of Mavromixalis and the rest of the residents of Mani commenced the revolution of 1770 (Orlofika). The agreement was signed in the monastery of Decoulou. Oitylo played an important role in organizing the revolution of 1821.
When someone visits Oitylo first they will see the castle of Kelefas that is located in the west entrance inside Mani. It was build in the 17th century in order to defend its port which was important for the trade of goods. In 1685 the castle was concurred by the Venusians. In 1715 the Turks concurred it from the Venusians. In the East entrance the castle of Passavas is located 12km after Gythio, ensuring the control of the entire peninsula of Manis.
As visitors go down the hill they will find themselves in a magnificent landscape with a view of the sea, the traditional settlement, the towers and the famous prickly pear cacti. Reaching this point, visitors will have reached the Homeric Oitylo. Other places of interests in Ithio are; the caves of Diros, the Cape Tainaro (which is the gate of Adis according to Greek mythology), the traditional villages inside Mani, the city of towers in Vathia and Gythio and many churches and monasteries.
Caves of Oitylo and Diros Municipality
In the Municipality of Oitylo a famous speleologist named Anna Petricheilou explored over 70 caves. Even though most of these caves are remarkably decorated tourists do not visit them. The reason for this is that most tourists are attracted to other caves located in Diros, where they receive thousands of visitors every year.
The caves in Oitylo were used as housing for a variety of animals/insects as well as the first people. This is the reason that these caves have paleontological and ethnographic interest. The caves are still being studied for its geological, hydrologic, anthropologic and historic point of view, as well as, they present special interests for climatic studies. They also present biological interests and to these special conditions different kind of animals have been adapted to these settings.
The caves that are located in Apidima and Kalamakia present scientific interest, as well as paleonthropological and Neolithic housing findings in Alepotripa of Diros. Visitors are able to see these magnificent findings in the museum of Diros.