We continue our itinerary to the ProsiliakiΣ Sunny Inner Mani and the Municipal District of Kotronas, Municipality of Eastern Mani. Today, Loukadika is well known for its  narrow central road, through the village, and its dangerous bends (this is the reason why big buses, lorries, tourists, etc. avoid Eastern Mani!), so  only a few people  can come to see its history .

Loukadika, built on the hill, dominates the villages of the region. It is a real traditional jewel of a village, well situated and with a marvellous view. This place, in olden days, was the citadel of the ancient Tathronis, the famous town of the Freelacons (Eleftherolakonon) and the continuity of  its history can be seen with the subsequent Byzantine castle-fortresses. One can make a tour of the abandoned ruins of the castle, steeped in lingering memories of its heroic past, now lying neglected by indifference; the ancient walls left from the Byzantine fortifications, the ruined fighting tower of Gola, the foundations and remains of the old buildings… surely these deserve not only our admiration, but also the will to preserve them for the future. They are important treasures of our country.

In Loukadika, as in the most of the villages  of Mani, you can easily find the large foundations of the commodious houses and buildings of previous generations. Nowadays, new houses are constructed on these bases and the traditional tower houses still adorn the village showing that the village has been continuously inhabited.

There are many churches in Loukadika. First of all, the church of Saint Georgios the Knight, built close by the castle, a bulwark against storms and always protecting the village. On the east side, Panagia Spilaiotisa, in ruins, is inside a natural cave. At the end of this cave there is a tunnel which ends at Tathroni. We must also mention the Panagia of the RougaΣ

(Virgin of the Alley), Agio Theodoro – where, in pre-Christian times, some villagers were first stoned and then walled-up! On the north side of the village there is a ruined dry-stone wall where the church ofAgios Nikon lies, disused and forgotten for years and years.  They say that in this place, Loukadiotes  met the missionary who was responsible for the conversion of Mani to Christianity, 1000 years ago, and this country church is dedicated to his memory.

Ending with the final monument of the village, we must mention the ΤtreeΣ of Ai – Lia, the evergreen oak tree, where they say, under its shadow the fighters of the Eastern Mani, Tathronis and Lagias, met before going against the dynasty.

Loudika is the origin of Kanavos, a famous fighter against the Turks, renowned for war exploits and bravery at sea. The first targets were the ships under the Turkish banner.

Loukadika are also known from the poem of Nikita Nifaki (1800)….

Loukadika and Kabalos, Himara and Skoutari,  all these, among the other villages, bright like the moon…

We  are not sure of  the etymology of the village name.  We meet the name in the chronicle of St. Magno in 1463, in a document of 1618 it is mentioned as a castle-settlement, and  in  about 1700, it is called as  Loukades villageΣ.

There are only a few residents in Loukadika today (about 30). Their main occupation is cattle breeding and olive tree culture. During the summer they have much more  work because many people who originate from here come back to their village. There is an active Association in Athens. This is the motherland of the well known philologist, historian and writer, Sarantos Kargakos.

The water supply of the village is from  a  bore-hole  at Kotronas, and there is a water shortage during the summer.

Loukadika has always waited for state and local authority interest to develop in its cultural heritage, especially in the preservation of its archaeological remains. It will be useful to have the by-pass road which will help a lot the residents in Eastern Mani and its visitors.  There must also be construction planning for the area, to keep the characteristics of the region, the stone construction of the traditional houses which make this village special.

(This special text  is based on information taken from the Calendar of the Association of Loukadioton, 1989 – text Dim. K. Manolakos)

G.P. Dimakogiannis