Inner Mani (Mesa Mani). Hiking at the end of Europe (book)
Mani. At the end of the world
-Here’s your ‘diploma’.
Said Kostas, the chief of our hiking group, to each one of us who made that day’s program to the end. That is, made it to the Cape Tainaron, the redoubtable Cape Matapan of old sailors.
His inspiration was the diploma given to the pilgrims who arrive at Compostela, after the long trip across Europe.
After Compostela, it’s the Atlantic and Finis Terrae, the end of the Earth, as people thought before the discovery of America.
Okey, our hike was not THAT long.
Just the southernmost part of the middle peninsula of the Peloponnese. But it also happens to be the southernmost part of continental Europe.
Cape Tainaron, the southernmost part of continental Europe
So, to be exact, it’s actually ‘Finis Europae’.
But it looks final all right.
You feel here’s the End.
It seems ancient Greeks felt the same. That’s why they placed here one of the gates of Hades, the Underworld.
Tainaron, the star of Aria, a mosaic from a roman house
Inner Mani. The wildest, the most authentic
But it’s not only its geographical particularity that makes the peninsula of Mani unique.
Its history and monuments, closely related to its geography, will make you really feel you are somewhere final.
You will feel it’s the end, not only of Europe but also of time. And that’s because what you see is exactly what you would have seen if you had been one of the travellers of the past.
Apart from people. They have left.
This article is not about the Mani of the film ‘Before Midnight’, with Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke.
It’s not about the part of Mani where Patrick Leigh Fermor chose to live. That’s the Mani of Messenia, the Outer Mani (Exo Mani), the mild one.
It’s about the Inner Mani, the wild one. And more precisely, it’s mostly about the innermost part of the Inner Mani, the wildest part of the wild one.
That’s exactly why it feels so much being at the end of the world.
And that’s also why it’s almost empty now.
The rest of the article, in this book
About the author
Hello! I am Denis, an architect based in Athens, Greece. I teach history of art and architecture in higher education. That’s one passion of mine. The other one is hiking, in and out of town. If you follow me, I’ll share my discoveries with you.
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