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|Gythio - Mani|
Gythio (26 Km from Areopoli and 46 Km from Sparta), Starta's ancient port, is the gateway to the dramatic Mani peninsula, and one of the south's most attractive seaside towns.
It was destroyed in 455 B.C. by Athenians, but Spartans rebuilt it again. In 195 A.D. occupied by Romans.
Out to the sea, tethered by a long narrow mole, is the islet Marathonisi, ancient Kranae, where Paris of Troy, having abducted Helen from Menelaus' palace at Sparta, dropped anchor, and where the lovers spent their first night. Paris forgot his helmet on the islet as he was leaving an incident which gave it its name (helmet = kranos in Greek).
Opposite the island in the Migonion, an open market with Oriental traders in what was a suburb of the ancient town, there was a sanctuary to Aphrodite Migonitis, founded by the Phoenicians.
Ten kilometres south-west of Gythio, the traveller returns to the medieval times. At a strategic position on the top of a hill rises the Frankish fortress of Passavas, built by the Baron de Neuilly in 1254. The appellation derives from the French military expression "passe avant", ie., go first, move up.
Gythio itself is an excellent holiday resolt, but also the centre of an impeccably organised tourist area extending on both its sides. There is excellent infrastructure in place for any requirement that a modern tourist might have, and innumerable possibilities for recreation by the sea.
For swimming, there are a number of coves within reach of Gythio. The beaches at Mavrovouni and Vathy claim to be the best. There are numerus hotels, apartments and rooms to let. Accommodation also includes campings in Vathy and Mavrovouni.
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