Photographer's Note

Κάμπος, Δυτική Μάνη, Μεσσηνία.
Πυργοκατοικία Αλέξανδρου Κουμουνδούρου.

Kampos, West Mani, Messenia Greece.
Tower-house of Alexandros Koumoundouros.

The towers of Mani are military hallmarks of a glorious era. The first fortification towers appear in the 13th century and they are an expression of the fighting spirit of the region. The main reason for the imperative need of fortifying with a tower was the segregation of Mani society into clans or families. The building of the family tower was the great dream and final goal of the men of Mani and the common obligation of all the male members of the clan. The tower was the bastion of freedom but also the fort of the warring parties in the terrible Mani feuds.

The Mani region has a unique set of characteristics. It is a place that combines the beauty of the landscape with the simplicity and warmth of the people who inhabit it. Despite the dominance of the stone buildings it is a place that fascinates visitors. Until recent years Mani was a difficult place to reach and was characterised by the tower houses that the people built for refuge in times of trouble. The main feature that strikes first time visitors is the simple but rigid architecture of the buildings built mainly of stone. The imposing castles, fortified chateaus and mansions and cobbled streets make the Mani virtually an "open museum".

The tower house of Koumoundourou, in the village of Kampos, was built in the 1830s. It has two floors and a semicircular protrusion and its reputation is due mainly to the fact that Alexander Koumoundouros (1815 - 1883) was for many years Prime Minister of Greece during the post Greek revolution era.

More images from the region of Mani at my gallery: Kevrekidis Photography

2013 Jordan Kevrekidis

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