The Vatheia Mani
Vatheia, a tourist destination that is not to be missed. An amazing village! You suddenly see Vatheia in front of you as you round one of the bends in the road through Mani peninsula. From its vantage point at the top of a hill, it casts its imposing gaze out over the sea. Vatheia is a fine example of typical Maniot architecture and a real treasure in the history of Greek architecture as a whole. Leave your car by the roadside and walk along the narrow lane that winds through the village.
Towers and tower houses stand side by side and winding lanes thread their way between them. In addition to a church and a square, this village had fortified homes and turrets equipped with tiny windows, loopholes and scalding chutes so it could always be ready for battle at a moment’s notice if an enemy were sighted. It was, in effect, an impenetrable stronghold.
Building activity was fervent in the 18th century and Vatheia reached its heyday in the 19th. Most wealth in the village came from piracy. The village was abandoned and fell into ruins in the late 19th century, but was given a new lease of life when the Greek Tourist Board restored its towers and tower houses, making them into small hotels and guest accommodation. Ten years later the towers passed to the heirs of their original owners, only to be abandoned again as history repeated itself.