It’s said that Vathia is the most photographed village in Greece. I realized that when after many turnovers a fairy tale picture was revealed in front of me.
Vathia is built on a prominent position on high hill above the sea. The power of the picture comes from the tall stone towers. The whole scenery is magical; it’s a landscape coming from the past. Vathia has been located on this peak for centuries, according to historical sources from the mid-16th century. During the 19th century the population was about 300 residents. During the first decades of the 19th century the residents’ exodus to cities began due to poverty. As a result, in 1979 the whole population of the village was 11 residents, mostly elderly poor women, surrounded by ruins. Electricity arrived there in 1980 when an effort was made by the Greek Tourist Board to restore the towers in order to exploit them for holiday accommodation, but this effort didn’t come true as just a few of them are inhabitable today.At first glance Vathia looks like a ghost village, many of the houses are empty and others are ruined. However, the few of them which have been restored are in the same imposing style, with their small windows which were used as embrasures to keep away intruders either from the sea or from land. You can walk into the abandoned towers and admire their architectural design, which represents the traditional architecture style of Mani.
Getting there: Vathia is a little village in Mani Peninsula, Peloponnese, close to Aeropoli and quite close to Cape Tenaro. Drive through Gytheio-Aeropoli and Aeropoli – Vathia is 37km
words Sonia Farasopoulou
photos Kiki Kapasakalidou & Sonia Farasopoulou