Konakia is the Municipal compartment of Gythion Municipality that consists of the villages Konakia and Pilala. It is 8 km after the intersection of the country road Gythion-Areopoli. It has 183 inhabitants (census 2001). It sits on the west side of Gythion on the SE foothills of Taygetus. It is built inside olive groves, whereas in 1928 it had 445 inhabitants.

Since then, many things changed in Mani and in Greece, in general. Memories are weaker, the sense of measure is lost and the tiles were replaced by concrete and machines. Konakia didn’t escape the modern changes. However, there are still some traditional houses and stonewalls.

The fortresses at Pilala and the Hatzakos castle are of exquisite architecture.

In a green area, in the entrance of Konakia, there is the church Agios Jeorgios of the 12th century with a tower bell. It is a sample of artistic architecture that incites the senses.

In these places, history is alive. Earthly colors constitute a scenery of scattered chapels that guard Christianity. Stone fortresses take us back to old times. Life is calm and time is slow. In full harmony with the environment, the stonewalls follow the morphology of the ground enriching the landscape and protecting it from erosion.

Animals and plants find shelter in the rocks. Lizards, spiders, snails, snakes, birds and porcupines find haven there, when the weather conditions are bad. These walls are a smooth intrusion to the environment of multiple use, ecological and aesthetic value, which is part of our inheritance.

They are slowly abandoned, since the occupations of the villagers are mainly connected to tourism and other services. Traditional professions are replaced and people lose connection with the earth.

Konakia and Pilala are two wonderful villages. Scattered castle houses and fortresses are connected in a harmonious way with the landscape. They entice the eye creating impressive images up to the peaks of mountain Taygetus and down to the sea of the Messinian Bay.

Ant Roumaneas