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I am pleased to announce that the program ΑΠΟΣΤΟΛΗ-MISSION, which can be viewed on the web sites of the National Herald(www.thenationalherald.com, www.ekirikas.com ) is also available on the STAR network and will be shown from now on at ODYSSEYTV in America, as well as in Greece on Zina Koutselini’s show ‘Truths with Zina’.
We now journey to another part of Laconia, spreading our wings and travelling to places like the extraordinary cave of Diros of Laconian Mani, and a little further…to the edge of the Peloponnese…to Elafonisos and Monemvasia – the Rock of Gibraltar of Greece. We will also enjoy two great events – the annual festival of the dance, sports, and cultural club RIZES, and an impressive presentation of the ‘Liberation of Monemvasia’.
The “bare of vegetation” image of the natural landscape of Laconian Mani charmingly reveals the etymology of the regions’ name since in ancient Greek the word ‘manos’ refers to a place’s barrenness.
Nevertheless, the experience is unforgettable thanks to the rugged beauty of the mountains and the noble beasts of the land and air – various kinds of eagles and birds and snakes – who, along with their human neighbors, call the place home.
The villages of Mani preserve their traditional architecture and their special way of life. Nestled among the impassable mountains is the much-photographed ‘Vathia’ – beautiful and imposing – that is waiting to tell its own story to visitors.
There is Gythio with its port and its distinctive architecture… The caves of Diros, Limeni across from the Homeric Oitylo, Gerolimenas, Kotronas with its beaches and traditional architecture, Drymos, Porto Kayo, Laia, Akrotiri Tainaro, and Kotronas the attractions that will leave a ‘portrait of Eastern Mani’ in your mind.
Patrick Fermor, a British writer who lived for many years and settled permanently in Mani until the end of his life at the age of 96, writes:
“As a passerby you need three days to see Mani,
as a visitor you need three months,
but to see her soul you need three lifetimes.
One for her sea,
one for her mountains,
and one for her people.”
Although it was known to the Franks as ‘Malvazia’, the term ‘Monemvasia’ is clearly explained in the Chronicle of the Morea, a historical document of the late Byzantine period that describes the ‘only entrance’, i.e. the only entrance to the island over the land bridge.
We were blessed to witness ‘its sunset’ thanks to the ‘pretty picture’ of our journey, the ALKINOI Resort and Spa.
Monemvasia is the “living Kastropolis”, “the stone ship” of our great poet Yiannis Ritsos who grew up and lived there and of which his words sing:
«Κυρά Μονοβασιά μου, πέτρινο καράβι μου. Χιλιάδες οι φλόκοι σου και τα πανιά σου. Κι όλο ασάλευτη μένεις να με αρμενίζεις μες στην οικουμένη»
“My Lady Monovasia, my stone ship. Thousands are you masts jibs and your sails. And all the time you remain still, yet still taking me on a journey around the world.”
It is ‘hidden’ city, a huge Byzantine fortress on a rock which broke away from the land after a terrible earthquake hundreds of years ago, creating a small islet 400 meters long that is now part of the connection between the fortress and the old town of Laconia… it is one of the few habitable castles in the whole of Greece and the whole world.
A little further… after a short half-hour road trip… the ‘Emerald island of the Peloponnese’ is revealed in front of us: Elafonisos!
Formerly a ‘Den of pirates and corsairs; with its rich cultural history, its central position on the routes of the ships of the Eastern Mediterranean, and its natural and archaeological wealth… make it one of the most important places worth visiting with you “gaze fixed on the treasure of delight’!
Whichever route you start from, among the impressive dunes of Elafonisos… you will end up in its wonderful turquoise waters, erasing your cares… “intoxicated by the sun”!
FLORENCE, Italy (AP) — Visitors to one of Florence’s most iconic monuments — the Baptistry of San Giovanni, opposite the city’s Duomo — are getting a once-in-a-lifetime chance to see its ceiling mosaics up close thanks to an innovative approach to a planned restoration effort.
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