Areopolis is a town on the Mani Peninsula in the region of Laconia, in Peloponnese. According to tradition, the name Areolopis, is attributed to the god of war Ares. The village used to be called Tsimova before being renamed to Areopolis in 1912. It is the seat of Oitylo municipality and has been listed a protected settlement. Like the rest of the Mani settlements, Areopoli is known for its major contribution in the Greek War of Independence against the Ottoman Empire. The Greek War of Independence started in Areopolis on March 17, 1821 by Petros Pierrakos, also known as Petros Mavromichalis, the last bey of Mani.
Areopolis is a well preserved historical town with stone paths and traditional tower houses which were built for social and defensive reasons. At the central square of the village “Platia Athanaton” you will come across the statue of Petrompeis Mavromichalis, the famous chieftain and offspring of the Mavromichali family. Mavromichalis family originated from Areopolis and is widely known for their fighting spirit during the battles of Greece. Around the central square there are a lot of traditional restaurants and cafes.
Walking in the old part of the village you come across the Mavromichalis family tower, a historical monument. According to inscriptions, the tower was built in 1760 and the house in 1839. It is a four-storey tower surrounded by a building complex. The building housed the secondary school of Areopoli from 1890 until 1930. The Pikoulaki tower is also an historical monument of Areopoli. It was owned by the famous Pikoulaki family, known for the fighting action during the battles against the Ottoman Empire. The building complex includes the tower, a house and an ancillary building. There are indications revealing that the tower was built before the Greek War of Independence. The house according to engraved inscription was built by Pikoulakis in 1850. This tower houses the Byzantine Museum of Areopolis with exhibits from Mani and the wider area. Around the village you will encounter even more traditional tower houses. Some of them have nowadays been reformed into beautiful hotels and guest houses.
Scattered round Areopolis there are many remarkable churches such as the church of Taxiarchis with the impressive bell tower which is the landmark of the city. It is located in the historical square (called 17th March 1821) and it is widely known for being the place where the residents of Mani participated in the liturgy before they swore “Freedom or Death”. This phrase was the motto of the Greek War of Independence in 1821 against the Ottoman Empire and reveals the determination of the Greeks to finally get rid of the Ottoman rule. The flag of the Greek Revolution was raised on this historical square. If you take a closer look, you can still see the hole where the flag had been placed, which is the only spot of the square that hasn’t been touched since the 17th of March, 1821.
In the Niarchakos square you may visit the churches of Panagia (Virgin Mary) and Agios Charalampos. There, you will see wall paintings from 1869 and the bell tower with the stone reliefs. In the west side of the city, you will see the small austere churches of Agia Triada (St. Trinity), Agios Petros and Agia Kiriaki. In the Athanaton square you will find the church of Agios Athanasios. Amazing wall paintings of 1746-1868, there are on the church Ai Giannis Prodromos of the Mavromichali family. The same family also owned the church of Panagia Georgianiki which is known for the remarkable icons of the iconostasis and the stone reliefs on the outside walls. In the wider area of Areopoli there are even more religious monuments that you may visit, like Panagia Tsipiotissa with wall paintings of the 18th century.
The port of Areopolis is the coastal vllage of Karavostasi, a small tourist resort with nice hotels and tavernas. The neighboring picturesque village of Limeni is a must stop for some tasty sea food right by the sea in an idyllic setting with backdrop the tower of Mavromichalis.