Posted by: DG MARYOGA | 01/08/2018

In the footsteps of Patrick Leigh Fermor


 

Exploring the Mani Peninsula in the Peloponnese …

Walking into the city of Ancient Messene in Ithomi and following the footsteps of Sir Patrick Leigh Fermor into the peerless sights of the Mani,where his heart lies.

He loved the jagged cliffs falling away into the vastness of the blue archipelagos and all the wild,remote of the Peloponnese.

 

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My story starts outside a fortified tower and a church under the dazzling blue Mediterranean sky in Tzokeika and around the wild,stark Mani,which was for centuries the inaccessible domain of the reputed latter-day Spartans …

It was a setimental journey in the footsteps of Patrick and his Greek hideaway.

A tribute to Sir Patrick Leigh Fermor (1915 – 2011)

– knighted in the 2004 New Years Honours –

* In the early 1960s on his travels around the southern Peloponnese he stumbled upon the exotic Mani peninsula and found a place to create his own Elysian Fields, (the final resting place in Greek mythology) ,built on a Maniot cliff top surrounded by olive groves where a new era in his life started.

“We saw a peninsula ending in crescent-shaped beaches.
We walked down into a gently sloping world of the utmost magical beauty.The Mani feels like another world,a reclusive patch of land where fortified medieval towers and a craggy coastline mix with Christian Orthodox churches and the fruity smell of Mediterranean olives.” Patrick Leigh Fermor

The Mani has some of the most dramatic and varied sceneries in the Peloponnese.

It’s a wild,rugged region with steep foothills running down to the pristine coastline.Tiny villages and Byzantine churches nestle amid olive groves and centuries-old olive trees.

 

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Sir Patrick Leigh Fermor,universally known as Paddy,was one of the most charismatic and adventurous personalities of the last century.An author,scholar,decorated hero,and a daring adventurer;he was widely regarded and celebrated as the finest travel writer of his generation.As a member of the British Military mission to Greece,he played a prominent role in the Cretan resistance during the Second World War.A great admirer and lover of Greece,he chose to live in the Mani for the rest of his life.

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The Journey Continues to the 2,000-year-old city of Ancient Messene

Everything about Ancient Messene is monumental.I stepped back to time and walked the paths of the archaeological site.

Korai & Priestesses statues in Artemisio started narrating history and describing moments of past glories.All the statues in the museum were eager to make my journey memorable.

 

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It was a visit to Artemisio with a view to Asklepieion complex and the Sanctuary of Artemis Limnatis.The catalogue of the Museum includes more than 12,000 findings.

Nontheless,given the building’s restricted space,they are not all exhibited at the same time.

Artemis Limnatis is identified with Lafria,an ancient pre-Hellenic goddess of nature,life and death.Korai statues were votive offerings to deities,mainly goddesses such as Athena and Artemis,and showed off the economic and social status within a polis (city).

The old city with the construction of the Arcadian Gate,founded in the 4th century BC by the Theban general Epaminondas,is situated on a fertile valley under the southern slopes of Mt Ithome,once the strongest manmade fortress of the Ancient Messene.Excavations in the site began in 1828 in connection with the French Morea Expedition during the Greek War of Independence,and continue up until the present day.

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Ancient Messene,which is not destroyed by other settlements,is one of the most important cities of antiquity.I followed the signs and walked around the columns of the Asklepeion,the Ecclesiastereion,the Theatre,the Bouleuterion,the Arsinoe Fountain,the Stadium and the Gymnasium in all its grandeur.

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Archaeological Site & Museum of Ancient Messene – Ithomi – as a cultural and artistic center of the Ancient Hellenistic World.

A sign showed the way out to Meligalas & other beautiful places near the ancient city.

 

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I spotted an Arboreal Structure with a View to the Messinian Mani

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I had to give it a title, ” Two’s Company, Three’s a Crowd … ” , popped into my head.

The Topiary trees were overlooking the unspoiled Pantazi beach,or Plati Ammos in the Messenian Gulf.

We were all very happy then,it was in the middle of June,there were no deadly wildfires in Greece,California US,and Sweden …

The next day I found a couple of boats in a nearby fishing village.The name of the lady under the flag was ” ΥΠΑΡΧΩ ” = “I EXIST “.She gave me hope …

 

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I approached the other lady on the rocks,her usual winter home,she was wearing her colourful clothes to welcome summer …

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The voice of the sea was seductive …

Never ceasing,whispering,murmuring,inviting the soul to wander the blue archipelagos  …

 

Summer 2018

It was a scheduled post – Thanks kindly for your visit  ♥

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