LEFKTRON

On the road to Kalamata on the right side and on the NE part of Stoupa, lies the small village called Lefktron (Xorioudaki), which has taken its name from the ancient Lefktra.

Pausanias, who passed by the area during the end of the 1st AC Century, places Lefktra within a distance of 20 stadions from Pefno and 60 stadions from Kardamyli. Pefno was situated at the place where the village Ag. Dimitrios is today. Concerning the name Lefktra and its origin Pausanias declares ignorance. Those from Messinia sustain that they come from Lefkippos, who is Periirus’son. For this reason, the residents used to honour Aesculapius, who is considered to be Arsinois’ son, who is the daughter of Lefkippos. Pausanias says that in this area there was the statue of Aesculapius and Ino.

There is also the famous small altar of the Roman times, with a dedication to Aesculapius from someone called Tiberius Claudio Leonida.

Somewhere else there is the statue of Cassandra, Priamos’ daughter. The Spartans also called her Alexandra. In addition, there were the wooden statues of Karnio Apollon, which were similar to the ones of Lacedaemon, as well as the temple of Athena and the statue of Erotas. Those from Messinia supported the view that the boundary of Messinia-Laconia was the gorge of Milea that ends up to Pefno (Ag. Dimitrios) and was called Pamisos, the small, in contrast to the big Messinian river.

In between Lefktron and Stoupa there is a steep hill 30-50 meters high (the castle), which was used as the citadel of the ancient Lefktron.

The families who lived there were the following: Barbetseas, Georgileas, Jiannouleas and Theodorakeas. In the ancient times, most of the inhabitants lived in Lefktron, whereas in Stoupa there were only a few.

The houses were three floor towers. Nevertheless, the earthquake of 1227 destroyed everything and obliged the villagers to build up two floor houses. Later, when the danger of pirates diminished, they moved to the coast.

Inside the church of Ag Nikolaos (Theodorakeas), which is built on the east side of the castle and on the road Kalamata-Areopoli, there was a Doric capital and many ancient stones, which come from another temple, while on the foot of the hill there was a temple of Mycenaean times.

Pausanias also notes that in the area there was a grove, where there was the statue of Erotas.

In winter, a lot of water flows through it, while the leaves of the trees are not swept by the waters, no matter how many they are. He found out from testimonies that in his age, fire burst out somewhere far way, which was swept from the wind and burnt most of the trees on the coast. The statue of Ithomata Zeus appeared, which is, according to the Messinian people, the proof that the area belonged to them. Yet, it is also possible that the people of Lacedaemon also honored Ithomata Zeus.

For this reason, both the Messinians and Lacedaemonians acclaimed Lefktra or Lefktron and, finally, Filippos II gave it to Messinia.

Even though, Pausanias presents Lefktra as the city of the free Lacedaemon, he also mentions the presumption of the Messinian people that Lefktra belonged to them.

During the medieval times and the French Empire Gullielm B Villardouine won the battle with Miligi in 1249 and built the BEAUFORT castle, which means beautiful castle, on top of the hill of Lefktron. In the ruins of this castle there must be the remains of Athena’s temple. The castle belonged to the French for 13 years. In 1259, Villardouine was defeated from M. Paleologos and was put to prison along with his 12 Barons. In 1262, when he was set free, he gave as ransom, amongst others, the castle of Lefktron.

Then, the residents of Zygos won the French troops and conquered the castle. Mesopotamitis became the leader of the castle.

According to tradition, in the end of 18th Cent or in the beginning of the 19th Cent, Lefktron was inhabited by the sons of Maurikos Panagiotis, Jeorgios, Jiannis and Theodoros. The following churches were built by them: The church Ypapadi Sotiros, which is very beautiful with a panoramic view and the old cathedral of Lefktron, Panagitsa.

In the last years, the village was abandoned by the locals, who moved down to Stoupa and most of the houses were sold to foreigners.

Today, it is getting full again. The old houses were renovated and new ones were built with respect to tradition.

The above passage is part of the book by Jiannis Kiskireas, “Stoupa: the Fairy of Mani”.

It has to be mentioned that the income from the royalties is donated to the Ecclesiastic Council of the Church Agia Triada in Stoupa.

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