ARHONTIKO

 

…”First is Kastanitza

renowned all over the world

Turks think

it’s drunk.,

Then, poor Selegoudi,

Kokkina Louria, Agios Nicolaos

and two other villages,

Maltzina is the one,

Arhontiko is the other

and there are no more”…

This is how Nikitas Nifos or Nifakos (1740-1818), the national poet of Mani, as he is called by the great Maniot poet Panos N. Panagiotounis, finishes the description of the villages of Exo Mani.

According to Nik. Nifakos, Arhontiko is the last village of Exo Prosiliaki Mani. Built on the right side of Smynos River, it is one of the villages of Dothe Riza, as we call the villages at the right side of the river. Arhontiko is the only village that has a direct view to the tranquil river after its wild course in the precipitous gorge.

Arhontiko is a Municipal Compartment of Smynos Municipality. Since 1912, it was a self-sufficient community. Village Sina that is opposite Arhontiko, next to the left side riverbank and above the riverbed of the tributary of the torrent Kolopana, used to belong to the community. Close to Sina, there are the impressive remnants of the ancient multi arched bridge, which was 100m long and served as the canal of the water from Smynos River -above Kolopana-up to ancient Gythion.

Since 1835 and until 1912, it was one of the villages of the old Melitini Municipality. It is a relatively small village, with 124 residents in 1835, 249 in 1907, 332 in 1940 and 102 in 2001.

Although it is a Maniot village it isn’t rocky. On the contrary, it is earthy, fertile rather flat and watered from drillings. In the past, it was watered by canals that led the water of the river to the furrows of the mill.

The villagers produce olive oil, olives, corn, vegetables, dairy products and meat.

In the village, there is the fountain that used to cover the needs of the village, whereas today Arhontiko is watered by the spring of Smynos, that is, Agia Marina.

It is 13km away from Gythion. It is amphitheatrically built on an olive trees hillside with wonderful view. The village is tidy, even though it doesn’t have tourist infrastructure.

Historically, it appears in the Muazzo Code in 1695 as villa Andronie, as well as in other Venetian documents of 1703 and 1705 as Arcodico and Arcondico.

It belongs to the low alpine zone of the Municipality and covers an area of 3.500.000m2. The 1.400.000m2 is cultivated area and the rest is pastoral land.

The parish church of the village is devoted to the Assumption of Virgin Mary and celebrates on the 15th August with a big feast organized by the Local Cultural Association.

Aristeidis Grafakos

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