KASTANIA

“Right after Izina, I want to go up and walk around Theouses, Kastania is the name, to write about their birthplace, and then to go away.”              Nikitas Nifakos

Built on the slope of Taygetus, it was the fortress and refuge of the klephts during the Turkish occupation. It is 8 km away from the country road Kalamata-Areopoli, whereas the transportation is via bus two times per day, morning and afternoon. However, there is still more to be done, in order to improve the road, which was constructed by the locals themselves in 1969 with little financial help from the Prefecture. We shouldn’t forget to mention the president of the community, Panagiotis Lybereas, who fell on duty and was trying to make the dream of the villagers of Kastania come true.

Kastania is a traditional village, distinguished by the tikles roofs that now tend to be replaced by tiles, which are easier and cheaper.

In the past, there were 7 watermills, but today there are only the ruins. The villagers have decided to open one of them to become a place of visit and historical testimony.

The five floor Dourakis tower sits in the center of the village abandoned and deserted in the mercy of the weather phenomena, hiding danger for the passer by and the near by properties, although there is a study of renovation since 1990. It is said that Kolokotronis found refuge there, at the persecution of the klephts in 1803.

Kastania used to be the headquarters of the Episcopate; it is full of worth mentioning Byzantine churches, such as Aghios Petros (12th Cent.), Aghios Ioannis (13th Cent.), Aghios Nikolaos (13th Cent.), Aghios Jeorgios, The Assumption of the Virgin Mary, etc. These churches are of superb architecture with wonderful frescos that have unfortunately been ruined, by time and humidity.

The taverna-cafeteria opened 15 years ago with the initiation and financial help of J.Koutrouvidas, as well as by the donations and personal help of the villagers next to the public water supply reservoir and is a pole of attraction for the visitors of the sea coast, who come to watch the sights, to rest and satisfy their appetite.

Nevertheless, life here is difficult, as in the rest of the mountainous villages of Mani. The population is 196 villagers (census of 1991), but the permanent inhabitants are less.

Big part of the population is pensioners, whereas the others occupy themselves with olives cultivation and cattle breeding.

The transportation of the students (3 at the Primary school of Stoupa, 9 at the Gymnasium and High school of Kardamyli) is a big problem. However, this is already solved by the buses, which are provided by the Parent-teacher Association of Stoupa to the Municipality.

The road and water system are also problematic. The country roads are few and not well preserved and consequently transportation, especially during the olive picking, is difficult.

As for the water system, during the summer, it is not enough. At this moment, they are taking water with a simple pipe from the fountain at the monastery of Aghios Konstantinos.

The water supply from the community water network is inappropriate. It

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