Severe, tall stone towers of Mani as symbols of guard and freedom stay against the limestone landscape of Mani. They guard the family’s honor, traditions, hospitality as well as the customs of Mani.


Towers of Mani

About 800 towers are scattered all over Mani, they are found everywhere in villages, mountains, on seashores. These monuments of folk architecture reflect the social and historical conditions of the Maniot life.

Some stone towers were many-storeyed, they are 20 meters high and have from 4 to 5 floors. They were used as residences and courtyards that were surrounded by walls. The towers were very carefully planned and were used not only as residential places but as military objects for protection. They were equipped with loopholes, boilers for water and special places at tower corners for throwing stones at enemies.

From time to time pirates, Turks and other enemies tried to occupy Mani, but all their attacks were in vain. Towers were also used as hiding and attacking places during different conflicts and clashes caused by vendetta. Due to towers Mani managed to save its freedom and independance.Ιt was a free place in enslaved Greece and many plans and decisions for the liberation of our Motherland were taken in these towers.

Western travellers used to compare the Maniot towers with towers and fortresses of Medieval Europe, of England and Scotland.

The height of a tower depended of the importance and significance of the family that lived in it. It was not a single case when a powerful family would not allow another family to build an equally high tower and in case that such tower had already been built they would force them either to low it down or to destroy it completely.

It was a duty of every Maniot to defend any member of the kin. Usually different families of one kin lived in the same neighborhood. A whole kin was involved in the construction and defense of a tower. A tower couldn’t be inherited by a woman. In certain cases it would pass to a closest male in the kin. Such ceremonies as weddings, births of children, baptizing and other celebrations as well as weeping over a deceased took place inside a tower. Old towers were built without plaster and were easily destroyed during often earthquakes.

Beginning from the 18th century towers turned into real fortresses since lame plaster was used for their construction and their  corners were strengthened with slabs.

Both Michael Paleologus in 1415 and Bavarian Regent Maner in 1834 tried to raise the towers to ground, but their attempts failed.

The construction of towers lasted until almost the end of the 19th century and stopped when the state administrative system gradually replaced the local patriarchal customs.

History ] Villages ] Customes ] Castles ] [ Towers ] Caves ] Taygetos ] Tourism ]