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Old Kardamili

Skardamoula

Nestled on a gentle slope just behind the main street of the modern village is the mystical setting of Skardamoula (Old Kardamili): a small collection of abandoned fortified tower-houses clustered around a beautiful 18th century church. During the 19th century, Kardamili was the stronghold of the Troupakis-Mourtzinos clan, arch rivals of the Mavromihalis clan from Limeni, a seaside village further south in the Mani, both of which played very important roles in the Greek Revolution of 1821. The fortified tower-houses are fairly well-preserved and the Tower of Mourtzinos (Mourtzinos was the Troupakis family nickname) has been recently renovated.

A walk in the past

Old Kardamili can today be reached on foot by leaving the village main street just next to the bridge and following the path that leads up to a main gateway. You quickly arrive at the 18th century church of Aghios Spiridon (Saint Spiridon), whose slender 17 metre-tall bell tower bears ornamental designs depicting the sun and moon, the stars, concentric circles and a double eagle. Further along, there are more fortified houses and the small chapel of Aghios Theodoros (Saint Theodore). As you walk back down towards modern Kardamili, you pass through enchanting olive groves and fruit orchards and see the last tower-houses that now belong to the descendants of the Troupakis-Mourtzinos patriarchs: the Dimitreas, Petreas and Theodoreas families. The fortified enclave has been recently converted into a beautiful museum.

The ruins of Lazos

Located atop the first foothill just behind Ritsa Beach are the ruins of Lazos: a cluster of small stone buildings and foundations in decay. The remnants of these ancient houses date back to the turn of 20th century, and it is said that some of the first settlers of modern Kardamili originally came from this now-abandoned outpost, their eventual move from the hillside hamlet perhaps stemming from the age-old tradition of spending summers on the beach in large family tents. Nowadays, the ruins offer an interesting glimpse into the past and marvellous views of all Kardamili. On 8th September, the fest of Panaghia Tou Lazou is celebrated, although somewhat privately. To reach it by foot, there's a path just behind the old bakery on the last bend leading to Kardamili; to go by car, head north (towards Kalamata) and turn left just before the village of Prosilio.