Lighthouse of Cape Maleas

Photo: © Βελανίδια Blog

Μετάφραση Greek Version

Lighthouse of Cape Maleas 4010

The lighthouse sits on a steep gray rock face at Cape Maleas on the southern tip of the peninsula of the same name. It was built in 1883 and at that time it was considered very important for the safety of passing boats as many ships were wrecked in their attempt to pass the Cape that was given the nickname Xylochaftis, from the Greek words for 'wood' and 'gobble up.' The sea around the cape is notoriously difficult to navigate, featuring variable weather and sometimes very powerful storms. In 2006 the lighthouse was designated a listed monument and in 2009 was restored with funds from the Ekaterini Laskaridi Foundation.

This beautiful structure has been a reference point for ships sailing these treacherous waters that once inspired the ancient Greek writer Stravon to write of the place’s dangers: “If you decide to cross Maleas, forget that you have a family”. The lighthouse guides shipping through the Elafonisos strait and marks a critical turn into and out of Myrtoo Sea. It once had a first-order lens, but now operates with a solar-powered beacon with a range of 17 nautical miles. The majestic square tower, connected to a single-story dwelling is 15 meters high and seems to grow from the rocks beneath it. The keeper’s house is a ground-floor dwelling of a total area of 100m², consisting of four bedrooms, kitchen, hallway and a storehouse. The last lighthouse keeper left at the beginning of the 20th century after serving there for 23 years.

The lighthouse is a wonderful sight to behold, but it is not open to the public. It is accessible by an 8-kilometer (5-mile) well-worn trail from Velanidia, a small village tucked in a gorge on the slopes of Mt. Krithina. Generally considered a moderately challenging route, that takes an average of 2 hours and 30 minutes to complete. The trail is open all year-round and is great for hiking at the southeasternmost edge of the Peloponnese.

Photo: Velanidia Blog