The linked pages to this section tell you something about getting about, looking at the outside of churches, getting into churches and what you will see when you do. If you want to skip the text the links are here.

A word on words

My transliteration of Greek words and names into English is very much hit and miss and although I believe I have been consistent to my own interpretations there is considerable variance from the various experts who have laboured long in the groves of academe. That said these self same experts contradict one another and different generations have transliterated things differently. Even today you will find Taygetus, Taiegetos and Taygetos - Kardamyli, Khardhamyli and Kardamili - as long as it sounds right…I have also not added the Greek stress marks to names. This may cause problems when asking the way as stress can easily change meaning and comprehensibility. I once spent five minutes asking the way to the village of Ochia of an old lady and until I and my companion realised that the stress is on the last 'a', with a rising intonation we were all at sea. Ochia was about 500 metres down the road and the old lady was probably an inhabitant!

Bee hives stacked in Kardamili

Mani honey has been long lauded for its flavour and is well worth bringing home. Two Englishmen who visited Kardamili in the same year,1795, but separately, John Sibthorp and John Morritt, both described it and both compared it to Hymettus Honey. Morritt thought the Attic honey slightly the superior but Sibthorp claimed the, "Hymettus yielded in point of flavor and pureness…"

Similarly translation has changed throughout the years and often follows the law of least resistance. In this matter I am confused and ultimately inconsistent with my use of the word Mani. Does one say "The Mani" or "Mani"? Does one say "Cornwall" or "The Cornwall"? Well obviously the former but logic and the flow of language are poor bedfellows and in Greek it is 'H MANI'. And when it comes to the people who live there - well… you get Maniots, Maniotes, Maniates… the last of which I prefer.

In general I have used the commonly held name for a church (Ag. stands for Agios, Agia or Agii - male saint, female saint or dual saints - it literally means 'holy'). However there has been a fair amount of mis-naming of churches by past travellers, corrections by later scholars and, if one was to ask a sample of locals, as Peter Hartleb points out, it is quite possible to be given different saints' names for the same building. Many churches are dedicated to the Virgin Mary - The Panagia - but there are many variations of the complex symbolism of the Mother of Christ. The Panagia Niameri, the Panagia Giatrissa, the Koimisis Theotokou and so on. Kyriakos D. Kassis' book "Anthes Tis Petras…" (Athens 1990 - out of print - see bibliography page) attempts to list all churches in Mani but even he is sometimes stumped to give a church a saint's name.

Finally I have written this as an British English speaker. This may annoy, perplex and confuse others but but my vocabulary and cultural reference points are, I'm afraid, ineffably British.

Links to other pages in this section

Getting About How to get to Mani and move about in it and things not to tread on

Getting into churches The travails of locked doors and how to live with them

Church Architecture A simple guide to what a Greek church looks like

Church interiors A simple guide to what the inside of a Greek church looks like

Frescoes and Iconography A slightly more detailed guide to church wall paintings

The Ainoi paintings One of the most common wall painting iconographic themes in Post-Byzantine churches depicting the last Psalms - explained