Arks of tradition – Halls of Culture
Mani has rightly been described as an outdoor museum and an open window into legend and history, which keeps the traditions and the customs of a distinguished people alive. One can encounter tesserae of the mosaic of the past of this land in the area museums that host exhibitions dedicated to local history and religious tradition. Start at the CIIEM and continues with the Mani Museum Network: first with Pikoulakis Museum and then with the Museum of the Equestrian Club at the central square of Areopolis. After Areopolis, in Diros, you can visit the Neolithic Museum that hosts the collection of the findings at the caves.
Information for visitors
The exhibition at the CIIEM, the exhibitions hosted in the Mani Museum Network (“Stories of Religious Faith” in Areopoli, -“Settlements in Mani” in Kardamyli) as well as the collection exhibited at the Neolithic Museum of Diros, all give a coherent and comprehensive picture of the history of the place. The Pikoulakis museum is open all year round (Tuesday – Sunday 8.30-15.00) and the Diros Neolithic Museum is open May to September (9.00-18.00) and October to April (8.30-15.30)
For your holidays choose among the beaches of Oitylo, of Limeni and of Diros bay. Visit Karavostasi at Oitylo bay, also called small Algiers, as this area was once packed with pirate ships. Select one of the boat trips to the sea caves that used to be pirate coves and have a swim in the crystal clear waters. Finally, enjoy a meal and savour images, tastes and smells from Mani….
Point of interest A – Pikoulakis museum
Pikoulakis Tower in Areopolis hosts the exhibition entitled “Stories of Religious Faith in Mani”. Both this exhibition and its equivalent, presented at the Mourtzinos Tower in Kardamyli, belong to the Mani Museum Network. The exhibition presents and interprets the churches of Mani in terms of two thematic bases: the one that is associated with the terms of the emergence and consolidation of Christianity in the area and the one that analyzes the dual role of the church as a place of worship and communication. The museum is a short walk from the main square of Areopolis. Educational programs are available upon request.
Point of interest B – Diros Neolithic Museum
The Diros Neolithic Museum collection consists of findings that show the activities and daily occupations of the people living inside the cave during the Later and Final Neolithic period (4800-3200 BC). In separate sections, you have the opportunity to see tools, weaving paraphernalia, jewelry, clay and marble figurines and human and animal residues found during the excavations.
Points of interest C and D – Libraries
Visitors or researchers who wish to seek further information on the history and culture of Mani can use the material offered by the Kapsaleios Public Library of Gytheion and the Public Library of Areopolis. Both these libraries include books on local history, traditions and folklore. The Kapsaleios Municipal Library is in Vassileos Pavlou Street in Gytheio and the Public Library of Areopolis is at the central square of Areopolis. A book can accompany you during your escape in Mani and can be your guide to towers that stand proudly bearing the scars of warfare, Byzantine churches decorated by local painters, and cobbled roads leading to the courtyards of ruined castles.