VATHIA

The Municipal Compartment of Vathia has 307 inhabitants (census of 2001) and belongs to the Municipal Compartment of Vitylo. It consists of 3 villages such as Vathia, Kapoi, Mianoi.

One could call it the perfect example of architecture in Mani. Vathia is built right on top of a hill and is surrounded by the ruins of old villages. It has a wonderful view to the deep bleu sea and to the rocky island Armenopetra that floats on the surface of the sea.

The impressive complex of 70 houses in an area of 17 cm2 was divided in parts dependent on the four generations. Its name comes from the morphology of the ground (it is built on a funnel).

There is evidence that Vathia existed since 16th Cent and reveals information about the population, the vendettas, and the pirate activity of the locals. It flourished after 1850 up to 1900. However, later, immigrations began, which led to the decline of the village. In 1975, the Greek Organisation of Tourism took over the renovation of Vathia to construct guesthouses.

On the SW, lies the small village called Goulas, which is a traditional secluded place. It is built 130 m above sea level, right on the opposite side, where the fertile earth takes the place of the limestones. 1km away, one can visit the ports Mesa and Exo Kapoi, which were used as pirate base; today, they are used by the local fishermen. Lagoudianos family from the family of Karabatianoi, was the first one to dwell in the area; they had houses and towers since the pre revolutionary times in an area of 50m2 which consisted of plots, fountains, threshing floors, beehives and the cemetery with the Byzantine church of Ai Jiannis. The steep and wild hillside just above Goula was used as a pasture and hunting land by that particular family.

On the SE of Goula, two small villages lie, the older of which is Kalyvia, which is full of stone houses. In this village, there is the church of Aghios Andreas and Petromaniatika, which were founded by Xypolitianos family from the family of Karabatianos.

The security and defence of the residents are the two main features depicted by the architecture of the area. On the southern part, there are the stone houses of Koutrigaros family and the small church of Aghios Nikolaos. In the cemetery, there is the temple of Prodromos, whereas in the centre to the west, there is the Pyrgogitonia (tower neighbourhood) of Kalionianos family with the church of Ai Lias. In the SW, there is the Pyrgogitonia of Karabatianos family, whereas the northern part consists of 40 stone towers of the Michalokianos family. In the centre, there are the stone buildings of Drakoularakos, Exarchakos and on the west there is the Antoniakos tower. An old small church Ypapandi and the new one of Aghios Spiridonas, as well as the olive mills complete the premises of Michalokianos family. Every family had its own gathering places and its own private lanes, which led to the farming places.

Vathia, with the imposing mountains, the beautiful natural surroundings and the sea breeze from Marmari and Porto kagio, on the eastside of the coast, is a tourist place, especially, during summertime. It was first dwelled hundreds of years ago and it has to show wonderful natural monuments and culture, which remain despite the old age, young and refreshing.

Ant. Roumaneas

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