VERGA

On the east side of Kalamata lies Verga, a small town of 2200 citizens, which tries to conserve its colour and picturesqueness.

Selitsa and Almyro are the two other quarters that constitute the Municipal  Compartment of Verga.

Selitsa is on the mountain Kalathi. The highest peak of this is called ΗBourolivasΘ (1350 m) and gives the impression of scraping the sky. The sight of the mountain is wild. It is full of canyons and steep rocks that suit the rugged environment. The view is fascinating, while the landscape reflects itself on the blueish waters of the Messinian gulf. The road to the village passes by Sotirianika. This quarter can be the starting point for the fans of paragliding who after their short aerial wandering, end up to the beach of Kalamata.

Selitsa is also the birthplace of the politician and Prime Minister Alexander Koumoundouros.

Almyro was named after the existing salty water fountain. Pausanias mentions that in between Fera and Avia Ηthe water is saltyΘ.

This area is the place of the ancient Gerinia, above which is the mountain Kalathio and the temple Klaia, which used to be the borders of Messinia and Laconia.

When the English wanderer Morritt visited Mani in 1795 said: ΗWe reached easily the area of Kalamata with the salty springs. These existed since the ancient times in between Feres and Avia and now they divide Kalamata from ManiΘ.

Similarly, the French Puqueville writes:

ΗAlmyron, 11/2 leagues away from Kalamata, is the stair to the village Selitsa, which has 300 houses the residents of which are strong and brave and they never come to wedding with the Greeks of the towns which are under the Turkish DominationΘ.

Before the Revolution, Almyro was the name of the periphery from the ΗKapetaniatikousΘ towers to the village Jiannitsanika outside Kalamata. It was divided in the areas of the mill stones, Almyro and Ajiaso.

The narrow road between mountain Kalathio and the sea, which is one mile long, used to be a place both of defense and attack since the ancient times, during the French and Venetian Rule and up to the Turkish Domination.

In 21-22 June 1465, when the Greek-Venetian Bodies were informed about the arrival of Tsourachan Omar Bey, they abandoned Kalamata and intrenched themselves in Almyro Ηso as to be helped by the energy of the place, although they did not have enough forces.Θ

In September 1685, the people of Mani and the mercenaries of Morozini confronted Captain Pasa. Also, here, there was the legendary revolution of the maniatic people, which was particularly brave although unlucky, in 1770.

Since, then, Almyro became the border of the liberal Mani, in contradiction to the enslaved Messinia. Close to Kalamata and near the gorge Xerila, there was a bridge and the Maniatic tower.  In 1781, when Mani became an independent sovereignty, there was always a Turkish and Maniatic guard controling each other. From this very place, also sounded the song of freedom.

Verga means a supple branch from a tree or bush. Meteaphorivally, Verga was called the fortification wall built on the east side of a shallow gorge by the Greeks so as to confront the Turks on a narrow road between the Kalathio mountain and the beach, which was 1,50-1,70 m tall and 0.80 m broad.

In memory of the event, the area was called Verrga.

This monument of modern history has been damaged and only a small part of it is reserved. However, we shall refer to this and to other monuments in a following issue.

The monument of Verga that prohibited Ibraym from entering Mani, despite the constant calls of the President of the local council, the constant calls of the deputies of our region to the Ministry of Culture for the conservation of the village and the promises of the Minister, is falling apart.

Time and human abandonment leave their trace every year.

Urban Planning: The delay of urban planning has delayed any constructing activity. Urban planning has been postponed for two years, since there is the issue for the bordering of the gorges and the issuing of geological research.

The weakness in finding solutions to problems, such as the contribution of land, the percentage of the shared maintenance expenses and the places of public benefit extended  this abeyance, which appeared in 1996 and goes on until today.

Landslips-Landslides: Nowadays, a lot of landslides have been observed in the area of the two rocks before the church of Evagelistria. The landslip was visible three months ago and it was provoked, according to special reports, by the erosion of the road. The particular road that leads to the upper village was constructed 25 years ago and at the spot of the erosion there was a hollow that was filled with debris to widen the road without the necessary works of support. Later on, however, there was a problem because of the rain, during the winter, and the road started sliding. If there are no interventions, there is a possibility for the road to collapse. Both the Local and the Municipal council were occupied with this subject. A temporary solution is the digging of metal pipes in the ground 30 m deep so as to lead the water deeper in the ground.

Drainage: The project on drainage is progressing and it will contribute to the maintenance of cleanness of the Messinian gulf.

Road construction: During the last decade, a lot of roads have been both opened and paved with asphalt. The road now connects the old village to Ano Selisa and it is 15 km long. It is a very important construction, which is going to solve a lot of communicative problems. The road of Agio Spiridon is widened and paved with asphalt after the installation of a water pipe, 3.5 Km long.

Shared maintenance expenses: The park in Almiro, after the tornado of the 16th and 17th March was destroyed. This image of abandonment can be replaced by a new image of tidiness and as a consequence, attract people to visit the place for rest and entertainment.

The cemetary is full, whereas its expansion is of first priority.

The construction of a football court for the needs of the football team that competes in the AΥ local category on the one hand, and for the rest of the residents, on the other, can now take place, since the appropriate place has been found and there are the funds from the Dragona inheritance.

Transportation-Water supply: Transportation by buses covers only 1/4 of the Municipal Compartment. However, there are possibilities for expansion and this is what the Prefecture must do.

The last works for the water supply are sufficient for the main part of the village, while in the rest, measures are being taken to deal with the situation.

The inclusion of Verga in the Complete Programs of Development will contribute to the development of the area. Efforts are being made for the characterization of Verga as a traditional village. It is a village created 300 years ago. It is of great history and remarkable traditional features, which will further help to the touristic development and to the improvement of the economical and life standards of the residents.

Antonis Roumaneas

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