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Latzounatou castle - Kyparissia - Stalaktites gorge

Trip Details

Trips inside Peloponissos
Date: Sat, 03/03/2012
Distance: 145km
Motorcyclists: Manolis, Stratos
Photographers: Manolis, Stratos
Authors: Manolis
Translators: Stratos
Map: Trip map

Sightseeing map

The sunny day was the best start for spring! The night before we slept very late us a result of this we woke up late and our departure was at 12 o clock.

Stratos visit in Messinia was the trigger to make a trip on the west side of the county and particularly to Kyparissia. Personally, although I have visit in the past the area around the city of Kyparissia, The city was one of the places that I hadn’t explored. So this trip was a good opportunity ...

I suggested to follow the route: Sterna - Paleokastro - Sella - Vrysses - Kyparissia. I would characterize this as an orient route based to the county elevation data, as it crosses the Cypresses Mountains, although the more hi elevation of all the route is possibly less than 850m.

We started our small trip with the temperature close to 20 degrees! Firstly we drove through olive trees. The scene was excited, the fields covered with green grass and small yellow flowers! The road especially after the village Strena was narrow with many turns.

After the villages Drainas - Koromilia and Palaiokastro (Xirokasi), we saw the Latzounatou fortress, dominating at the top of a big rock. Driving on a helical road without meeting any car we arrive under the fortress (we drive for more 200-300 meters on a dirt road in order to get closer) View was spectacular! From this point you could see snowy Taygetos and Messenian plain from the one side, and the Bay of Kyparissia from the other!

The fortress of Latzounatou (Saflaouro) is strategically located as it allows monitoring the Messinian valley and the mountains of Arcadia and Triphylia. It dates to the late of 13th to early of the 14th century. It shape is rectangular and consists from walls in multiple layers. Southwest, two symmetrical towers complete the fortifications.

Continuing on the same road scene, we reached Mouriatada village. A sign showing the direction to “Panagia Katsikada” Monastery (5-6km). The location of the monastery, offers a panoramic view to Ionian Sea... We made a short stop to admire the view and we continued to Kyparissia.

Having traveled 60km we arrived at the town of Kyparissia and inside the town we got the direction to the Upper Part of Town. This part of town is the most traditional part and it is very close to the castle of Kyparissia. In this part of town changes to the buildings allowed only if they respect the traditional character of area. We make a brake for a coffee in a very nice cafe named "Old Market". We sat there for some time enjoying our Sunday coffee...

Early in afternoon, we decided to explore more the part of town close to castle and visit the castle also. All buildings are Traditional, some are abandoned houses and some others have been remade according the traditional style of the area. The place can give you the impression that you're in another time. Also in this small area there are churches, fountains, and a museum of folklore art...

The castle is open for visiting at any time (there is not guard). The point of the castle offers possible the best view to the city of Kiparissia and to the Ionian Sea. Castle of Arcadia (as they call it) is the jewel of the town. According the researchers it was a Frankish construction. However, during the history, it passed under the authority of various conquerors. In the castle area, except the fortress, it is also preserved the tower of Justinian, the turrets, a cannon on the balcony of the castle, the vault and the hatch...

Time was approaching 6pm. we decided to depart and visit the Peristera archaeological site which is about 8 km northeast of the city. Peristera is one of the most important centers of early Mycenae civilization period. Following the signs (node Raxes), we arrived but we found the site close. We left and hop to visit the area in future time.

In reality that we wanted most, was to visit the "Stalactites" canyon. In past I had seen on the main road a sign informing about the canyon and I wanted to visit it. The little information about the canyon was not so encouraging for visitors... However, despite the fact that the day light had begun to disappeared, we decided to approach the canyon.

We followed a path (there are signs) which in the first meters is close to the fence of Peristra archeological site. We arrive at the gorge after about 10 to 15 minutes walking on very narrow path between tall trees. The start of the canyon is very narrow and the path inside it is covered with water, it looks likes as a small river coming through the gorge’s high rocks. The water on path and the little day light avoided us to walk through the gorge. The place is consisting of dense vegetation (mainly trees), a wooden bridge and some stone structures ... it is really so impressive so we decided to revisit it soon!

It was almost dark, we took the road back to home through the villages of Kalo Nero – Allagi. Once again, we discovered that as well as you know an area, you could always find beautiful unexplored corners...