MELITINI

Local compartment of Smy-nos Municipality. It consists of the villages Melitini, Agia Marina and Lemonea. At the census in 2001, 242 inhabitants were recorded. At previous surveys, the population at times increased and decreased. In 1940, there were 546 inha-bitants, in 1961, 362, in 1971, 211, in 1981, 217 and in 1991, 184. It belongs to the semi-mountainous zone of the Municipality and covers an area of 13,6 km2. The 3 km2 is cultivated land, the 0.6 km2 is pastoral land and the rest is forest.

Melitini takes its name from the old Melitini Municipality. The first name was Zelina and then, in 1930, it was renamed. The name Zelina comes from the Slavic name Zlina which means green. It was dwelled in 750 AC from Slavic tribes (Miligi) that had immigrated to the mountainous areas of Taygetus after the permission of the Emperor Constantine V due to the desolation of the area and Laconia from the inhabitants that had been affected by the plague in 646 AC that had wiped out a big part of the population. The fact that the area has been dwelled by Slavs is confirmed by the names of the village and the surrounding ones (Rozova, Tseria, Pritsa, Liantina, Palova, Zerbitsa) as well as by the surrounding areas (Hadiakova, Filigrou, Avana). The first inhabitants were cattle breeders and later farmers.

Very fast the Slavs were assimilated by the locals and stopped being a Slavic part.

The village is at the centre of an imaginary circle that consists of the villages Petrina, Arna, Strontza, Pritsa. The strategic spot of the village helped the foundation of the first high school in 1926, whereas the primary school was founded by the General of 1821 Panagiotis Giatrakos. Nowadays, the school is open as the folklore museum and for social events.

Numerous buildings and ruins testify the history of the place. The temples of The Assumption of the Virgin (8th century) in Agia Marina and Agios Nicolaos in Melitini have been characterized as historical monuments by the Ministry of Culture. Agia Barbara is the parish church of the village.

Smynos River crosses Smynos Municipality and there are numerous springs that give the area a different view. The springs Paradi, Perovrysi and Pigadi are mentioned since ancient times and access there is possible through country roads.

The old Melitini Municipality had a stamp with “Hercules leaning on his club” and all around the words “Melitini Municipality” coming from a representation of an ancient coin 250-32 BC.

In the area, there is the Agricultural Cooperation of Olive Oil and the Cultural Association “Enotita” (unity).

Nowadays, the wind of change blows in the village. In this effort the Cultural Community Association plays an important role and contributes to the enlivening of the village.

The ornate bell tower of Agia Barbara and at the back Michaeleas tower which was the residence of the last Mayor of Melitini Kleomenis Michaelos.

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