KOKKINA LOURIA

Kokkina Louria (=Red Stripes) is a village in Exo Prosiliaki Mani; it is the so-called old community and the present Local Compartment of Smynos Municipality.

It sits at 400 meters above sea level, on the rocky part of an earthy hill of equal height, approximately 2km long that starts at the northeast foothills of Tavlabas and Ziziali and ends vertically at River Smynos. It belongs to the semi alpine zone of the Municipality and covers an area 6,4 km2; the 1,7km2 is cultivated land, planted mainly with olive trees and vines, fig trees and other trees. The 3 km2 is forest and the rest pastoral land.

The construction of the village in the present place seems to be new -after 1400- when the villagers of the old village, Goulianika, dwelled there permanently; at the steady red earth.

It seems that the village took its name from the red berms. There is another version. The name of the village comes from the stripes of the villagers’ clothes, which they used in order to tie the wounds of their co villagers after a confrontation with foreign enemies; so the stripes became red from the blood.

The historic village Desfina (Tsesfina) belonged, until 1940, to Kokkina Louria, then it was transcribed to community of Agios Nicolaos, whereas the area with the vineyards was divided in the two communities.

Kokkina Louria is on the country road Aigies-Kastania within a distance of 19 km from Gythion and 17 km from the monastery of Panagia Giatrissa.

The population of Kokkina Louria has fluctuated similarly to the majority of the villages of Mani. In 1835, there were 259 inhabitants, in 1851, 286 inhabitants, in 1907, 426 inhabitants, in 1920, 416 inhabitants, in 1929, 453 inhabitants, in 1940, 414 inhabitants, in 1954, 350 inhabitants, in 1991, 203 inhabitants. In 2001, 242 inhabitants were recorded, both locals and foreigners.

In the last years, Kokkina Louria is considered to be and it is one of the most dynamic villages of Dothe Riza and Smynos Municipality (or Smynous as it was mistakenly recorded). The villagers participate greatly and efficiently to the local and national events.

The parish church Evangelistria celebrates on the 25th March. The Holy Temple of Agios Dimitrios is an important place of pilgrimage at the end of the village with valuable frescos.

Until recently, Kokkina Louria lacked two basic infrastructure features, such as water and square. The spring of Ritziava was not enough for the watering of the village, whereas the water supply of the scarce water in 1960 from the spring Avorna in Kastania didn’t solve the problem. The spring Petra in the nearby village called Melissa, which is two kilometres away, was, in a way, a solution to the existing water shortage. The problem with the water was finally solved in 1969-1970, as well as in the broader area of Mani, after the exploitation of the waters of the springs Agia Marina of Smynos River.

The spacious square was formed in the last few years; it has exquisite view to the surrounding mountains of Taygetus, whereas at the background there is the highest peak of Taygetus “The distant Elias”, as it is called by the national poet of Mani Nikitas Nifakos.

At the end of the square, there is a community shop, which is a modern cafeteria-restaurant. The local Cultural Association organises every summer a ball and other events to which all the people from Kokkina Louria, both locals and from other places, participate and so reinforce the energy of their village. Such examples should be imitated.

Aristeidis Grafakos

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