Tsopakas is a village at the local compartment Dryalos in Vytilo Muni-cipality. It counts 50 inhabitants (census 2001). It is the biggest village of the compartment with various population fluctua-tions at the census in 1920 (169 inhabitants), 1928 (91 inhabitants), 1940 (83 inha-bitants), 1951 (66 inhabi-tants). The glory of the past is still visible at the houses and the lanes of the village. Next to the imposing war-tower there is a hole in the earth the precipice “Agriot-sopakas”. There are still the signs of fortification, while it is surrounded by vast plantation. At the end, there is a cave with many stalactites which has been mapped by the Spelaeo-logy Club Taygetus Parnonas “O POSEIDON”. The church Agia Triada in Trisakia with the marble temple and frescos, as well as Agioi Teodoroi, the one-room deserted temple with frescos of the 13th century are dominant.

At the end of the country road that goes to Areopoli, there is a sign that leads to the monastery for women Faneromeni. The first constructions take us back to the 11th century. There is a one room church covered with an arch with simple tile decoration, bell tower and dome with noteworthy frescos from three chronological periods. At the yard of the monastery, there is a cave in the rock (the icon of Holy Mother was found there) which is used as a chapel creating a sense of worship that caresses the chords of the pilgrim’s soul.

The ground of the area is hard and covered with small olive trees, prickly bushes, lentisks and thyme; however it doesn’t lack creativity and inspiration. An original civilization sheds all over the area; it started a few centuries ago and lasts until today in the vivid form of tradition of men and their deeds. Towers pop up, in harmony with the natural environment surrounded by olive groves, stone fences and rocks with the few inhabitants that remain there as guardians of their land and tradition despite the times and present reality.

The place may be poor, but the local society is friendly and cordial. The beauty of nature that surrounds the area in combination to the cultural wealth could be the ideal destination for those who seek something different in their getaways.

Antonis Roumaneas