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The islet of Monemvasia was originally a cape and it was cut off from the mainland after a devastating earthquake in 375 AD. Gradually it developed into a strong fortress and became a strategic base of the commercial and military fleet of the Byzantine Empire from which they could control the Eastern Mediterranean sea.
We will start from Gytheio, a picturesque port of the 19th century and the official capital of the area of Mani. It was an important port of the Spartans, also during the Roman era, but it was destroyed by an earthquake in 375 AD.
We will first visit the modern statue of the famous ancient king of Sparta, Leonidas, influenced by the original ancient statue found on the Acropolis of Sparta, which we will visit later, with the ruins of the famous ancient theater and other monuments.
The islet of Elafonisos was originally connected to mainland with a thin zone of land, where the prehistoric settlement of Pavlopri dominated, until it sank due to earthquakes and sea level rise. The access to Elafonisos today is by ferry and it is famous worldwide for its beaches of Simos (Sarakiniko). The two beautiful beaches are linked to each other with a thin strip of sand and protected by the program Natura 2000 because of their beauty, exotic landscape and dunes that are unique in Europe. Afterwards, at the picturesque harbor of the island, we can taste local appetizers and fresh fish.
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