The European Gythio

Gythio, Greece

historistai

Stops

10

Stories

30

Distance

3km

Duration

1h10min

Description

The European Gythio invites you to explore the main gateway to Lower Mani. Gythio is the traditional regional capital and it has retained its distinct local identity over the course of two and a half centuries.

The tour begins at the old prison, built in the early 20th century and site of mass executions by the Germans in the Second World War, as well as clashes between the Communists and the government forces in the Greek Civil War. It seems this land was always destined to be a point of contention even since Apollo and Hercules fought over it. Zeus intervened and declared both contestants as patrons of the city, an honour that did not help the people when a strong earthquake struck in 375 CE and destroyed Gythio. The largest part of the town was lost beneath the waves, while twenty years later the raids of the Visigoths completed the destruction, leaving only a few traces of the ancient settlement, including the Roman conservatory.

Τhe town hall was built in 1891. It is a typical neoclassical building that marked the end of a cycle of reconstruction that endowed the developing city with a cosmopolitan air. The same process differentiated Gythio from the wild and rugged physiognomy of the other settlements of the so-called “Lower Mani”. The town’s prosperity was always linked to the port; all the local products were gathered here and forwarded to Piraeus, Crete, Kalamata, the Ionian Islands and Italy: olive oil, acorns used in the leather processing industry, and the red dye used in the making of the Ottoman fez and silk fabrics in Venice and Paris.

No tour of Gythio would be complete without a visit to the hill, at the top of which the castle of Goula was built. This was called “Melissi” (beehive) and offered great views of Gythio and the plain where local farmers cultivated the fields of the local bey. There is a tradition that the castle’s huge doors opened each evening as the sun set and food was distributed to the workers. In 1797 two emissaries of Napoleon Bonaparte were hosted here in order to explore the possibility of a military alliance and the provision of weapons to be used in a future uprising against the Ottomans. Unfortunately the Ottoman fleet arrived and burned the small castle. Since then Melissi hill is known as Mavrovouni (“Black Mountain”).

This tour is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 4.0. image/svg+xml

This tour is also available in the following languages: Ελληνικά.

Highlights

  • The old prison

    1. The old prison

    One of the oldest and few remaining prisons in Greece. The engraved inscription on the building’s façade is a reminder of the basic purpose and principle behind imprisonment: the prisoner’s "reformation”.
  • Girls' School

    2. Girls' School

    In the late 18th- beginning of 19th century, Nikitas Nefakis, a poet and teacher at the court of bey Gregorakis, criticised the lack of education in Mani at that time. According to his account, Gythio was the only exempt
  • Upper Gythio

    3. Upper Gythio

    At the beginning of Larisiou Street a rock inscription commemorates human activities and habitation from the 6th-5th century BCE. In the absence of flat land, Gythio’s growth depends on the geography of a seaside hill.

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historistai

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Details

Address The old prison
Starting point European Road 961, Tripoli – Gytheio
Finishing point Goula castle, Mavrovouni
Areas Gythio

Why take a self-guided tour?

This is a self-guided tour based on the award-winning storytelling concept developed by Clio Muse and the fascinating narratives prepared by our handpicked destination experts.

You can enjoy each multilingual tour by using your smartphone or tablet at your own pace even if you are offline. The interactive map on your screen will guide you step-by-step as you explore all points of interest along your route. Each stop comes with a selection of our signature stories allowing you to tailor the tour experience to your personal interests and schedule.

After downloading Clio Muse app, you can access this tour and activate it any moment you wish and also repeat it any time. To best enjoy our multimedia self-guided tour (comprising maps, video, audio and text) we recommend the use of headphones.