Haravgi, 17km from Kalamata, is a mountainous settlement, which belongs to the Municipal District of Sotirianika. It is one of the oldest villages of the Municipality of Avia. During its peak period there were 350 inhabitants, but at the time of the 1991 census the number of residents who were registered was just 63.
As there are no fertile plains in this area, the main occupations of the few inhabitants are olive tree growing, cattle breeding and the construction business.
At a prominent place in the settlement there is the impressive fortress of Kapetanakides family inside which is the Chapel of Prophet Ilias. Unfortunately, the buildings are badly damaged, but all the necessary proceedings have been made close to the Archeological Service for its restoration. However, due to the prevailing bureaucracy, no start has been made on the restoration work. Through this newspaper, the Cultural Association of Haravgi would like to appeal to everyone who has the means, to press for action on this project – if only even to allow the restoration of the roof, which is in danger of falling down (it is the Association which will cover the restoration costs!).
Opposite the fortress, there is another castle named “Vardia” (‘watch tower’), which is fenced and not accessible to visitors.
Both of the fortresses were build at some distance from the seaside far below and became observation posts for invasions by pirates. From them the residents would be alerted of any attack giving them the time to take refuge amongst the precipitious mountain cliffs. Outside the castle, there is the grave of Kapetanakis.
The region is supplied with water from the springs of Kentro and Altomira. However, the drain is still uncovered and it is dangerous.
There is a serious problem with the transferring of the local cemetery to another place far from the village. There is land, which belongs to the church, which could be used for this purpose.
There is a plan, which reduces the distance to Kalamata by about 2,5km. The road begins at Haravgi and ends at Aloimoneika. There is no transport, however, because the road is too narrow. There is another road transport scheme for Haravgi – Sotirianika – Kentro. The residents consider that this road is of a great importance as it will prevent the settlement from being so isolated and it will help the development of the mountainous area. The works started on 1990 but since then only 1500m of road has been opened.
The rural roads are satisfactory. There is an important cobbled road that gives access to Agios Nikolaos Church. Half of it is in a good condition but the rest needs to be repaired. There is no signpost, so the village can only be discovered by luck.
An important even is the village fete, organized by the Cultural Association of Haravgi, “Agios Nikolaos”, which take place on the second Sunday of the Carnival. Many of participants come to the village from every part of Greece. In the olden days, the villagers wore disguises and used to make big fires. Now there is still a popular festival with folk dances and songs. Whilst there are other village festivals, this is the main fete of the region. It was held at the central place of the village until 1992. In 1993 the Association acquired a building with an area of 230m2, so since then this has been the location of the fete. Mr. Ioannis Panagiotou Mitseas donated the land for the building. The members’ subscription and other donations covered the constructions and the furnishing costs of the building.
The Association was established on 1992, and its activity increase year by year. The aim of the Association is to enhance the cultural level of the locality and to strengthen ties between the members.
We would like to thank Mr. Stelios Mitseas, President of the Cultural Association “Agios Nikolaos Haravgis” for the information he has given us.