Elafonisos (Island of the Deers), is propably due to the rich hunting that existed in the region in the antiquity as it is reported by Pausanias (Greek: Παυσανίας) there was a statuary of Artemis (Greek: Άρτεμις) (Goddess of hunting) in the region. In Venetian and Portolan maps of the 15th century, Elafonisos is impressed as CERVI and as CERIGO (a name that the locals use up to today for Kythera (Tsirigo, Greek: Τσιρίγο).
Viglafia (Greek: Βιγλάφια) draws its name from Vigla (observatory) and Elafia (Deers). Viglafia is a natural observatory for the surrounding fields, the lagoon Stroggyli (Greek: Στρογγυλή), and Elafonisos island. The isolated population of deers in Elafonisos could well be observed from there.
In the antiquity, the current area where Elafonisos lies did not constitute an island but a peninsula bearing the name “Onou Gnathos” (Greek: Όνου Γνάθος) (Donkey Jawbone) as it is reported by Pausanias (2nd century AD) who in his tour describes the city of Voiai in the sunken region of island Petri (Pavlopetri, Greek: Παυλοπέτρι) where even today the ruins of houses and roads are still distinguishable. The region between the island and Peloponnese that sunk in the aftermath of an earthquake and other smaller pieces of ground around the island today us reward with splendid azure colours in their waters.
During the 16th and 17th centuries CE. the island was used as a base of operations for Pirates and Corsairs, since the “Elafonisos Channel” constitutes even today the main passage of vessels in the Eastern Mediterranean where hundreds of ships pass each day and night.
On 1837 the Greek government approved the application of the Maniot Tzanetaki Grigorakis for the formation of the modern settlement of Elafonisos. Additional settlers from the surrounding coastal area came in 1850, when the Hellenic Navy put an end to the Piracy of the Aegean. The Hellenic Kingdom exploited the omition of Elafonisos and Sapienza from the treaty of sovereignty of the “Ionian Republic” in which both islands where part of.
The entire coastal region of the area had observatories (called Vigles, Greek: Βίγλα), where the Observers could watch ships approach the shores, and warn the local population. The observers shift (called Vardia in Greek, Greek: Βάρδια) thus became the name of the mountain in the middle Elafonisos (276m height). It was used as an Observatory by the current residents during World War II to protect the civilians from air raids and the firepower of German high-speed boats that were stationed in the German Naval station at Gytheio (Greek: Γύθειο) aiming to scare the residents of Elafonisos into submission. The locals used the hidden caves at the Mauroudi (Greek: Μαυρουδί) region to hide and protect from the aggressors.
The Peloponnesian War (431-404)
Two principal cities, Sparti and Athens, with clear political and culture contradiction, stroked each other in that war. Elafonisos, Vatika, Kithira, acceded to the Peloponnisian alliance.
430/429 b.C. Operations from the side of Athenians through the channel of Elafonisos, under General Formion.
426 b.C. Operations from the side of Athenians through the channel of Elafonisos, under Generals Dimosthenes and Proklis.
425 b.C. Athenians rushed out with forty ships under the command of general Dimosthenes, on the south of Peloponnisos, through the channel of Elafonisos.
Athenians conquer Elafonisos on 413 b.C.
After the invasion of Spartins in Attica, Athenians in order to take revenge, equipped two squadrons under the leadership of Harikles and Dimosthenes and with 95 trireme and 25.000 men captured Elafonisos on April of 413 b.C. The inhabiting of Elafonisos, in that time, mainly was built on Isbtmus, which because of it’s sinking, is today a straight and Thoukidides mentions it as ‘Isthmus village”. Athenians desolated one part of Isthmus and fortified it in order to use it as a base and also as place where Ilotes (slaves) could desert. These walls today, lay in the bottom of the sea. The possession of Elafonisos, was fatal for Athenians, because of the inexcusable delay of the military reinforcement they had their worse defeat of their history in Sicely, Dimosthenes was executed there and Peloponnesian war, turned in favor of Spartans.
406 b.C. Aristophanes mentions Elafonisos in his drama “Vatrahi” (=frogs).
336 b.C. Date of the formation of the Greek alliance under the leadership of Filippos. Elafonisos, Vatika and Kithira remained between the neutral Greek states.
Roman and Byzantine years
146 b.C. The Romans occupy Elafonisos.
32 b.C. The united navy of Markos Antonios and Cleopatra comes in the channel of Elafonisos before the naval battle in Aktio.
22b.C.Date of the formation of the Union of Free Lacons in which participated Vatika (Voies) and Elafonisos.
Stravon (66 b.C.- 23 a.C.), the famous geographer of antiquity, visited Elafonisos and mentions that, there, was a harbor. Is the first person, that mentions Elafonisos with the name of those days as peninsula of “Onon Gnathos” (= donkey’s jaw-bone)(V1115. 1.).Ptolemeos mentions it as “Onou gnathos acra”. (Peninsula with the name “jaw of a donkey”).
The terrible earthquake of 375 a.C.
In November of 375 a.C., after the death of Onalentinianos, an earthquake, that according to Zosimos was ecumenical, agitated from the ground the beaches of Laconia, many parts of Elafonisos and buildings as well went down to the bottom of the sea while the branch which was bridging Onou Gnathos with the opposite land, started to overflow from water In this way an “Hellenic new island” was born, “The newborn island of the azure spring”, “Walking on the wave Elafonisos”.
386b.C. Saint Jeronimos, in his letter to Marcella, says that the course of the ships t Jerusalem is the same in the Hellenic- roman years as it was during Middle ages, that is t say through the Channel of Elafonisos.
535a.C. The navy of Joustinianos (60( ships) with Velisarios overflows the Channe of Elafonisos, in his expedition to Carhedona The Byzantine Castle of the island
The island has an important castle, that dominated on the overseas road between Easi and West and was built between 6th and 7th cent.a.C., as we are informed from the Arabian manuscript no 276 of the National Library of Paris. The castle was called Ashab al Baqar, which is interpreted as the “Island of those with the dears” and is the first historical evidence for the name of island.
The temple of Saint Valerios, Vikentions and Evlalia
A sarcophagus from Varchelona with holy bones of saints came to the island in a miraculous way, according to what is written in the holy text of the bishop of Monemvasia Paul, was the cause for the building of a very beautiful temple.
The destruction of the island from the Sarakinians
In the middle of 9th cent., Sarakini, after Crete’s possession (824a.C.) under Abon Hafs Onlar A’, invaded in Elafonisos that was destroyed in a non similar way, not only in its own history but even in the whole Greek history.
Sarakinians possessed the island, destroyed its strong fortification and exterminated the inhabiting. A civilization of 4000 years was destroyed and Elafonisos will be deserted and uninhabited for hundred years. The bay of Bmrakiniko, that is an uncontradicted witness all these, which have the name of the pirate, for more than a hundred years the “Nest the Sarakini pirates”.
Domination of Franks – Enetian -Tourks
1203 The 4th crusade with leader Erico Dandolo goes through the Channel of Elafonisos, before it invades in Konstantinoupolis.
1207. Elafonisos comes under the possession of M. Venieris, who ruled Kithira in a feudal way. Elafonisos will follow the historical course of kithira for more than 600 years.
1316: A big part of the island was transferred to Leon Kasimatis.
1364: Elafonisos and Kithira came under Enetians.
1385: Elafonisos and Kithira are attributed from the Enetians again to Venieri’s family.
16 cent.: In the beginning of the century Enetians take again possession of Elafonisos and Kithira when the Enetian domination really started.
1501 The French navy under admiral Filippe Klevin wrecked in the Channel of Elafonisos after the blockade of Mitilini.
1544 The French traveler S. Maurand, escorting the turkish ship of Hairentin Barbarossa, refers Elafonisos, Kithira and Kayo MaIm.
15 cent.: Portolanes mention (15-18 cent.) to Lafonisia, as reference point of sea-courses.
1572: The first Venetiantourkish naval-battle on 7th and 10th of August between the Spanish prince and triumphed of Naupaktos (1571) Don Zouan and the notorious Algerian pirate Ulutzali whom after his brave resistance in Naupaktos, the Turkish promoted him as admiral. The most important persons of the naval-battle of Naupaktos, one of the biggest of the international naval history, fought again in the bay of Sarakinico and in the Channel of Elafonisos with their two huge fleets. After a wild fight which lasted many days, Don Zouan managed to drive the strong and new built tourkish fleet (250 galley, 8 smaller ships and many supporting smaller ships) to Mani. The naval-battle of Elafonisos, was the last worldwide naval-battle, between big fleets navies, that took place with rowers.In that naval-battle, with the powers of Don Zouan participated, and was a great hero, although he was injured, the author of the famous novel of the international literature “Don Kihotis” M. Thervantes. He has included certain persons and events of this in the chapter “The captive says in history” where also is mentioned Ulntzali (Abuts Alis).
1685: Hasan Pasas, administrator of Mani, ‘gave up the Castle of Zarnata to the general commander in chief of Venetians, Fragiskos Morozinis with the trim: 1000 persons of the garrison to be transmitted safely in Elafonisos.
1699: With the convention of Karlovitz is recognized the domination of Enetians in Elafonisos (like Kithira, Antikithira, Vatika).
1715: The Turks conquer the island.
1717: The second Venetiantourkish naval-battle of Elafonisos.
Pizanis, the admiral of the Enetians invaded with 33 ships from Mani in order to meet the turkish fleet (52 Sailing vessels, 4 galleys and many supporting small ships) in Sarakiniko of Elafonisos, where it was anchored. At last they were met outside of Agliftis and Nisia of Panagia of Elafonisos and after eight hours of intensive and murderous fight, Pizanis, sent the Turkish fleet once and for all down at the bottom of the sea with the help of the Greek fireships. Head pirate of Kanka Moustis, who was rescued, arrived to Strofades (small islands) mangled 20 hermits, Saint Dionisios’ holy body and robed the Monastery of Pantocrator. Since then the Holy body carried to Zakinthos and Saint was recognized as the protector of the island.
1718: The third Venetian tourkish naval-battle of Elafonisos.
The tourkish fleet under the leadership of Souleiman Kotza, with 36 sailing-vessels, on the 20th of July gave a battle fight with a part of the Venetian fleet (26 ships) under the leadership of Markandonis Diedos in the sea area which is extended from Lepto Akrotiri to Mavroudi and Piso Kalogira and was destroyed from Enetians, while the rest of the fleet was rescued to Kithira. This naval-battle was the last operation of the Venetiantourkish war, one of the biggest and long-lasting wars of the world, which was ended on 21st of July 1718 with the convention of Pasarovits.
1790: The legendary admiral Lampros Katsonis, after the distraction of his ships from Turks and Algerians in Andros, was rescued in Elafonisos, where 300 persons of 4 his crew stayed there for ever. At the end of the Enetian domination, the famous Italian Jiakomo Kazanova passed through the Channel of Elafonisos, and stopped in Kithira, where he liberated Enetian exiled.
1797: With the convention of Kaboformio, Elafonisos (together with lonian islands) is given to the French. Napoleon the Great, for expediency reasons, established Aegean Perfe-cture where were included Elafonisos, Kithira and Antikithira as well as Zakinthos
1800: Russia with Turkey signed on 9/21 March the convention of Konstantinoupolis, which was recognized the establishment of the Autonomous state of Eptanisa. In that was included Elafonisos as well as Kithira and Antikithira.
1803: In the first, officially established Greek state “Democracy of Seven Islands” Elafonisos was participating.
1806: On 25 March, Th. Kolokotronis, the General in command of the Greek revolution was rescued in Elafonisos in Kato Nisi.
1807: with the convention of Tilsit, Eptanisa came again to the French and with it Elafonisos, Kithira and Antikithira
1809: English take Kithira, Elafonisos and Antikithira under their domination.
1815: Elafonisos comes according to the convention of Paris to the English.
1816: The leader of Mani Theodorobeis Grigorakis is arrested with guile from the Turks, in Elafonisos, and is killed in the prison of Konstantinoupolis.
1821: On 25th and 26th of September Spetsiotika ships of the revolutional struggle come into the port of Elafonisos for supplies. In the autumn, Karavas’ of Kithira inhabitants killed 50 Turks, that were on a ship and the responsible took refuge in Elafonisos and were the new inhabitants of the island.
1822: On 11th of February A. Miaoulis undertakes the general admiralty of the united Greek fleet (63 warships) in Elafonisos. Since that time the Greek navy visits Elafonisos and very often and uses it as a base, while during the years 1825-1826 Elafonisos and bay of Vatika in front of it, are the marine Basis of the Struggle.
1825: On 12th of June in front of Elafonisos in the gulf of Vatika the ship “Nireus” from Hydra exploded with more than 50 dead, while the whole leadership of the Greek navy was expected on board for lunch. On August, the fleet returns from Elafonisos after the capture of Mesologi.
1826: On the first day of the year the Greek fleet is in Elafonisos for the last expedition to Mesologi.
1827: The war council of admirals in Elafonisos.
On 30th of September Henrie Derigni with the French squadron came in Sarakiniko of Elafonisos for repair of his ships. On the 8th of October 1827, early in the morning, English admiral Eduard Kodrigton, the leader of the Russian squadron rear-admiral Logginos Heiden and rear-admiral Henrie Derigni, in a council of the admirals, aboard the flagship “Asia” on the blue sea of Sarakiniko of Elafonisos took the most serious decision of the New Greek history:”Hebraem stops every military operation or he’ll be attacked from the allied fleet”. A few hours later the naval-battle of Navarino, was caned out, the Turkish and Egyptian fleet was destroyed, and Greece was liberated after 400 years of slavery.
1828: Announcement of the “de facto” annexation of Elafonisos in Greece by Kapodistrias.
1839: The English high commissioner Douglas visited Elafonisos and was impressed from its strategic location and it’s good harbor and then English demands for the domination of the island, according to conventions, started.
1841: Revolutionaries, who gathered in Elafonisos, proclaimed the Revolution of Crete.
1849-1850: Heavy aggravation of the Greek-English relations for the matter of Elafonisos and island Sapientza. The English demand that the inhabitants of Elafonisos should leave, and without a serious reason they block the Greek ports (1850) and follow”Parkerika”. France reacted badly and Russia through Persiani announces that it protects Elafonisos and Sapientza. The English stopped the embargo and on 6th of July 1850 ambassador Whish and the Greek minister of foreign A. Lontos, signed a treaty, which was ending the English claims.
6th of July 1850 (historical anniversary of the island) is the most important date of the History of Elafonisos, because at that time ended the foreign domination of the island, that lasted for more than one thousand years from the middle of 9th cent. to the middle of 19th cent.
1940: Elafonisos was occupied from the Germans. The people from Elafonisos with their boats rescued many people from Crete transporting them into Crete thus contributing to the resistance of the large island.
The residents of Elafonisos posses one of the largest fishing fleets in Greece with boats suitable for coastal fishing. Most of them are wooden “Trehandiri” (Greek: Τρεχαντήρι) but also “Paragadia” (Greek: Παραγάδια) and various types. Elafonisiotes, are famous for exceptional woodwork shipbuilding as genuine descendants trireme from the Spetses, Hydra, Koilada but also Samos and elsewhere.
Rumour has it that Elafonisi in Southwestern Crete owes its name to the Elafonisiotes when at their passage they called the place (E)Lafonisi , the resemblance of colours of sea with splendid goldgreenblue waters of Simos, Saracenico, Pounta and Virgin Mary Islands is more than evident.
In mythology according to Kostantinos Mentis’ research: Foskolos mentions that goddess Aphrodite separated Elafonisos from Kythera in order to protect Harietes.
Odyssey – Land of the Cyclops
The Odyssey begins with the Channel of Elafonisos. When Odysseas was returning to Ithaki from Troia he reached cape Maleas. There he was defeated by the elements of nature. He unsuccessfully tried to enter the channel of Elafonisos. After his navy was banished he arrived at the land of the Cyclops.
As local tradition has it, Kato-Nisi is known as the Land of the Cyclopes. The islands of Panagia are called “Cyclopetres” (Stones of Cyclops), while the front cave in called Polifimos’ cave.
The Phoenicians often visited Elafonisos (and Kithera as well). Traces of porphyry were found in the prehistorical town of Elafonisos called Pavlopetri.
A rare discovery of a prehistoric harbor-town of mainland Greece has been described by maps from the institute of oceanography of the University of Cambridge in 1968 Pavlopetri of Elafonisos.
The submerged town of the age of copper is found at the northeast side of the small island Pavlopetri in the opposite side of its cemetery in depth of the 2 or 3 meters and the buildings which can be seen from above with naked eye, when the sea is calm, cover a submarine area of 300X100 meters.
The main part of the town lays about 200 meters southwest of the islets, that are opposite of the channel and 70-100 meters away from the coast of Pounta.
Plan of the town: A rare plan, almost unique in continental Greece offer to us prehistoric Pavlopetri. 15 separate buildings, 5 roads, 2 tombs and at least 37 graves were identified and studied. The architecture of its houses has 5 styles and is divided in 10 town sections.
Impressive are the palace of the town, with four rooms (building VII). A building, possibly the temple of the town, on which were found 3 conic cups 4000-5000 years old (building IX), the front yard, the platform of the ceramics, the size of the buildings and the stone roads of the town.
Pavlopetri islet. There are Roman and Byzantine wall remnants.
The cemetery at the coast (4000-5000 years)
An impressive cemetery of firsthellenic period in front of the channel which links the lake with the sea. It has 60 tombs (some of them are now below the level of the sea) and the roads of the grave are rectangular or sphenoid. Impressive is the big tomb which is preserved in an almost good condition. It has a road 2,12 meters long, a tomb with the shape of a kidney (5,22 X 2,95 meters) which communicate internally with the next to it grave. Near the sea, there are 4 graves of children.
The channel and the bridge
A Roman bridge (recently destroyed) was on the channel to link Vies – Onon Gnathos.
The brilliant civilization of Elafonisos
The firsthellenic period is the brightest page of the diverse history of the island. Towns with plans, transportation and communication with kithira, Crete, Cyclades e.t.c.,impressive, for the time populace, high financial level, pottery art in the early time of copper among others prove this fact.
Pavlopetri and Atlantis
Deukalion’s flood and the fable of Atlantis are results of the volcanic explosion of the island, at that time called Stroggili (Santorini) in 1500 b.C. According to the English N.C. Flemming, that fact is clearly related to the destruction of the brilliant civilization of the prehistoric town in Pavlopetri.
The findings of the prehistoric town
Many prehistorically findings have been found in the submerged Lakonian town of the age of copper. The following were among those collected: Little idol of an animal from perfect orange-red colored clay, counter weight of loom made of dark dark red clay, counter weight with conical holes made of grey limestone, twenty blades of obsidian and a small cylinder (in island Pavlopetri), small blade made of flint (island Pavlopetri), an object from copper and a little idol of a woman made of copper with hairs binded on the head and a digging up might reveal treasures in this prehistoric area. In Pavlopetri, the waves of the sea rush out of goblets, amphoras, water-jars and cups.
A pole of attraction for the visitor of Laconia, is the New born Island of the azure spring, the “on waves walking” Elafonisos.
Through the course of Saint Apostoli, Saint George, Viglafia, an asphalt road with 6 km length, leads to the harbor of Antinognathos (hangar), which is the shortest passage to the island.
A travel into the time, that lasts 6 minutes and is lost in the history and the prehistory, over the immerged part of the island and through the azure-emerald waves of the channel.
From east Periavgi beach of Pounta accompanies the trip and the carriage history-pointers to the west through the bottom of the seas.
Approaching the island, we meet, to the east, a remnant of the immerged area, the small island Stavros, with Spitha (light-house) and its ethereal sea-gulls and to the west the divine Gull of the island, Saint Spiridon, decorated with the rays of the sun and perfumed from the breath of Zefiros and the seatrickles of the daybreak. We get into the harbor of the island and our sight is overfilled with the strong traditional insular pictures, to erase them later will a painful process. The island has one of the biggest fishing fleets in Greece, which very rarely is gathered in the island due to to its spread in the south coasts of Peloponnesus in Kithira and Antikithira. To the right and to the left of Kefaloskalo the picturesque beach of the island with the fish taverns and the traditional ouzeri (shops offering ouzo and meze only), where is offered the opportunity of enjoying the delicious fish soup (kakavia) and the octopus of Elafonisos near the cables of the caics and the swinging of the fishing boats and next to the calm silver colored waters of the sea while the rays of the sun are walking on the waves.
At the end of the north part of the beach, a picturesque bridge, that reflects it’s beauty on the calm waters around it, leads us to the church of Saint Spiridon, where appears its shadowed, from the rosy elafonisos St Spiridon.jpg (9148 bytes)colors of the afternoon, figure under the purple covered stars, which decorate the silver laying of the East. Next to it, the almost fallen down wind mill counts in the pass of time the speed of the wind. Saint Spiridon was built 1852 by the fighter of the revolution of 1821, Pashalis Gerakaris and his wife Florou Grigorakis in a notable position. I was completed on 1856 and renovated in 1862. In the temple, we see icons of Panagia Vrefocratousa, St John Prodomos, Christ Pantocrator, St. Spiridon , the gathering of the Archangels.
Settlement of Elafonisos
On the northern part of the island lays the picturesque fishing village of Elafonisos wit 649 inhabitants.
Inhabitants of the island.
The first inhabitants of the, nowadays being, island were Leleges and later or Ahaians and Dorians. The close relations of the island with the first cycladic and minoan civilizations do not exclude the partial at least colonization of Cycladians and Cretans. The contemporary inhabitants of the island are mainly Kithirians and from Vatika and Maui.
Names of the island
As peninsula and as island it was known at different times with the following names:Onou Guathos, Ashab al baqar (island of the deers), Tsevri or Servi (enetian or slavian name), Lafounisia, Lafonisia, Elafonisia, elafonisos, Alafonisi, Elafonisi, Lafonision, elafonisi and Elafonisos. With the name Onou Gnathos” except Stravon, Pausanias and Ptolemeos, is mentioned from Isihios and using the later years from Meletios (Onou Gnathos) and Corais.
On the island’s west coast is the seaside of Panagia. It was probaly here that Kinadis’ monument was constructed (Kinadis was the captain of the ship of Menelaos).
The church of Panagia: The church was renovated in 1928. An inscription of various names located above the entrace dates back to 1825. Preserved stones with rough casts and pans of paintings in Fresco can be found in the sactuary. The icon of Theotokos was created in 1855 while the bronze bell (which stands outside the temple) was erected in 1878. The church was built where an older Byzantine church once stood. Standing outside the church and looking toward Leptos Kavos, one can see traces of the old carriage roads.
Mucenean cemetery: Remnants of Panagia’s (a small Mucenean town) cemetary can be seen 200 meters west of the church. Small caves were used as tombs during the years of 1600 – 1100 b.c..
Early Christian cemetery: It was discovered on 1993 by Christoforos Melas in Kato – Nisi, along with other Byzantine findings.
The tower of Melas’ family in Mani.
This traditional castle was built in 1863 by Michael and Dimitrios Melas. It represents the island’s inhabitation by elafonisos Castle.jpg (18477 bytes)Maniates. The name Melas means dark colored (Melanias – Melas [black]). The famous Melas family is a continuation of the Stratigopoulos family which lived in Ipiros until 1625. The family was chased out of Giannena by the Turks.Family members escaped to non Turkish areas such as Transilvania, Eptanisa and Mani. The following are famous Melas family members: I. Melas (Captain – Jannos) the guerilla, Michael. Melas the Baron and chief in command of the Austria-Hungarian powers which fought against Napoleon, and Pavlos Melas the Macedonian fighter. Members of the Melas family moved to Elafonisos (Kato – Nisi) from Spira because of the “Psaromatis” vendetta. The castle was renovated 1993 by Christopher P. Melas and is open to the public during limited hours. For informantion you may contact the bakery shop, at tel: 61-213.
While in the area, you will probably be impressed by the natural beauty of the “Islands of Panagia” (islands of Virgin Mary). Cedars and sandy hills are the landmarks of this pretty location.
Sarakiniko: Almost adjacent to Simos’ bay lies Sarakiniko bay. Here one can hear the screams of the pirates and corsairs which brought brutality and violence to this beautiful bay. Cilicians, Sarakinians, Turks, Barbarians, Malteze, Knights, English, French, Maniates and others have sailed in Sarakiniko’s azur waters. Graves of broken human scalps have been found close by. Victor Hugo, in his poem for Kithira talks of the area’s pirates. Similarly J. Verii talks of the Aegean sea’s wild corsairs who loved the waters of Tsirigo.
In 16th century maps (Agnese) Sarokiniko is called Porto di Cervi. At this port Venetians and Turks once enagaged in a naval battle (Don Zouan – Ulutzalis). One the most important decisions that shaped Greece’s Modern History was made here. It was the decision to fight the naval-battle of Navarino.
The first inhabitation of Elafonisos took place during the Neolithic period, in which is noticed the first inhabitation of people in Greece. Elafonisos is the first area of Vatika, that was inhabited 8000 years ago, (6000-3500 b.C), when Neolithic settlements were noticed in the areas of Saint Andrew and Agia Trias, in the land opposite of it, with which the island was united at the time until 375 a.C.
THE AGE OF COPPER (3000-1100b.c.)
FIRST-HELLENIC CIVILIZATION (3000-1900 b.C.)
About 83 settlements were noticed in that period in whole Peloponnesus. In Elafonisos was noticed the First Pre-Hellenic settlement of Vatika and also that of South Laconia. Findings of the First-Hellenic period were discovered in the positions: Pavlopetri, Foudianika, Lefki, Kournospila, Kato-Nisi, Vigla e.t.c. that prove that Elafonisos disposes civilization of 5000 years. Prehistoric Elafonisos was related to Kithira, the islands of Aegean Sea, Crete and Evia (Manika), as is proved from the relevant findings. The first Hellenic civilization of Elafonisos is in same period with the first Cycladic and the first minoan civilization and Mr. Siriopoulos in his book “Prehistory of Peloponnesus” mentions that civilization came in Peloponnesus and Continental Greece from Elafonisos Monemvasia and Plitra.
Middle Copper Age (1900-1600 B.C)
In that period it is not noticed appearance of new settlements in Elafonisos and Vatika. But still exist some prehistorical inhabiting of the first Hellenic and especially the very important settlement in Pavlopetri.
Later Hellenic or Mycenean period (1600-1100 b.C.)
Is one of the greatest periods of the civilization of Peloponisos and Greece. In Elafonisos was developed a great Mycenean town during this period, that in the area of Panagia (Kato-Nisi), while findings were discovered in the settlements of Elafonisos and in Pavlopetri.
The pottery art during the period of copper
The ceramic frunctions belong to the Firsthellenic II with obvious the brims of the cups sandy made and of sparkling technique, with thick horizontal widened brims lower down, where often have straps of engraved decoration. The technique is smooth and there are signs of “Urfirnis” paint (first polished -bright dark varnish) of dye, that was the most developed technique of Neolithic period.
TEMPLE OF ATHENA, APOLLO AND POSEIDON
Temple of Athena: The Great traveler and geographer of antiquity, Pausanias, who visited the island in 155-160 b.C. gives us a significant information about the existence of sanctuary of Athena in Elafonisos, which was built by Agamemnon, King of Mycenae, on the 10th b.C. century. The location, where it was, probably in Vigla, 2 km from the village and didn’t dispose statue and roof when Pausanias visited it. The inhabitants of Elafonisos, adored for 1000 years the goddess of wisdom and their high civilization level, impresses, considering that Athena’s adoration started in Vigla 300 or 500 years earlier than other places, like Athens (Erehthion, Ekatobedon, Parthenon), Rhodes (Lindos) e.t.c.
Paris according to the tradition took refuge in the sanctuary of Athena together with beautiful Helen, when they left Kranai, where they stayed until the time they left for Tria.
Temple of Apollon: The great historian of antiquity, Thoukidides mentions the existence of the Sanctuary of Apollo in an area exactly opposite of Kithira. The temple was built before 6th or 5th cent. b.C. probably in the area of Lefki, where many ruins from antiquity have been found.
Temple of Poseidon: There are trustworthy indications for the existence of the temple in the island, which at that time was at the west part of cape Maleas.
The grave of Kinadis
Sparti’s king Menelaos built in Elafonisos, monument for the governor of his ship Kinadis as Pausanias, who visited the area informs us. As the most possible area for the construction of the monument, is regarded to be the area of Panagia in Kato-Nisi.
1834. Η Σπάpτη ξαvαγεvvιέται. Εκεί όπου τη δόξα κάλυπταν ελιές και καλάμια οι Νεοέλληνες φιλοδοξούν να στήσουν μια Νέα eurotaspaliagefira.jpg (13964 bytes)Πόλη. Ο Γιόχμους, μένοντας στη Μαγούλα, τοπογραφεί την περιοχή. Τα αρχαία λείψανα λιγοστά. Ο Τάφος τουΛεωνίδα, το κοίλο του Θεάτρου, τα ρωμαϊκά λουτρά. Ο Καποδίστριας το είχε φοβηθεί. Θα σκάβουμε για τα θεμέλια και θα βρίσκουμε αρχαία λείψανα. Δεν το αποφάσισε. Ο ‘οθωνας όμως υπέγραψε το διάταγμα της ανίδρυσης με το σχέδιο του Στάουφερτ. Φιλόδοξο σχέδιο. Υ πολόγιζαν η πόλη να μαζέψει 100.000 ανθρώπους. Σήμερα η πόλη έχει 20 .000 ανθρώπους. Το σχέδιο πάντως ωραίο. Ιπποδάμειο το σύστημα. Φαρδιές λεωφόροι. Μεγάλες πλατείες. Χώροι για δημόσια κτήρια. Εμπορικά κέντρα. Βιοτεχνική περιοχή.
1837. Οι αρχές έρχονται στη Σπάρτη. Γίνεται πια πρωτεύουσα. Πρώτος Δήμαρχος ο Μελετόπουλος. Το Διοικητήριο έχει ήδη κατασκευαστεί στην επάνω πλατεία. Δωρικό. Τα πρώτα κτήρια αρχίζουν να κτίζονται γύρω από αυτό. Απλά,σαν και αυτά που κτίζαν στα χωριά. Ελληνικά, με το χαγιάτι στο νοτιά, το τζάκι στο χειμωνιάτικο.’Ομως οι μεγάλοι θέλαν να ξεχωρίζουν. Τους αρέσουν τα ψηλοτάβανα, με τα συμμετρικά παράθυρα, τα μικρά μπαλκόνια με τα φουρούσια και κείνα τα διακοσμητικά κάτω από τη στέγη. Και τα κτίζουν. Τα παράθυρα έξω έξω με ξύλινα διακοσμητικά, όπως στα σπίτια του Μυστρά.
1840 . Η πόλη ζωvταvεύει. Ο Δουρούτης φτιάχνει την πρώτη φάμπρικα για το μετάξι. Σπουδαία δουλειά. Πολλά τα λεφτά. Γίνοντται και άλλες φάμπρικες. Τίποτε από αυτές δεν έχει μείνει
1860. Η πόλη απλώvεται. Στην κάτω πλατεία φτιάχνονται τα spfinikesprin.jpg (18084 bytes)μαγαζιά. Τα μαγαζιά με τις ψηλές στέγες και τις στοές. Στα νότια έχουν κανονικές στέγες και όροφο. Εκεί είναι τα εργαστήρια. Κυριαρχούν οι τοξοστοιχίες στις στοές. Για να βρουν λεφτά για τα δημόσια κτίρια Σπάνε στη μέση την κεντρική πλατεία. Μας μείναν τα ιδιωτικά κτίρια πάνω οτην Παλαιολόγου.
1870. Η πόλη εκπολιτίζεται. Φτιάχνεται το Mουσείο Ιωνικού ρυΘμού. Με μάρμαρα. Σήμερα τα μάρμαρα τα έχουν αλλάξει με υπετόν . Ξεκινά να κτίζεται η Μητρόπολη οτην κορυφή του λόφου. Νεοκλασικό το σχέδιο κατά τα πρότυπα Αθήνας. Χωρίς αρτιφισιέλ φυσικά.
1890. Η πόλη μεγαλώvει. Δεν τους έφτανε ο χώρος. Κάναν επέκταση και προσ τα πάνω, την Ακρόπολη, και προς τα κάτω, το Παλάτι. Θα το πληρώσουμε αργότερα. Οταν θα σκάβουμε και θα βρίσκουμε αρχαία. Το είχε πεί ο Καποδίστριας.
1900. Ο vεοκλασικισμός κυριαρχεί. Τελειώνει το Δημαρχείο, gortzologos.jpg (10888 bytes)το Βλασακέικο – Πινακοθήκη- και πολλά άλλα σπίτια των τότε μεγάλων της πόλης.Ακόμη και όσα δεν είχαν φτασίδια της νεοκλασικής αρχιτεκτονικής τα αποκτούν )
1930 . Το Bauhaus αρχίζει vα ξεγυμνώνει τα κτήρια απο τα φτιασίδια τους. Οι άρχοντες εξακολουθούν να εκφράζονται επιβλητικά αλλά πιο απλά. Κτιζεται το Γυμνάσιο Αρρένων. Εργο του Κ. Παναγιωτάκου. Το μετάξι αρχίζει να εξαφανίζεται. Κλείνουν οι φάμπρικες. Ο Γκορτσολόγος φέρνει το νερό στη Σπάρτη.
1940. Ο πόλεμος. Οι Γερμανοί σκοτώνουν τους 118 στο Μονοδένδρι
1950. Η Ανάγκη για δουλειά φέρνει τους χωρικούς και στην Σπάρτη. Αρχίζει να κτίζεται η περιφέρεια. Απλά spartiplatiaprin.jpg (16221 bytes)ορΘογώνια σπίτια στην αρχή με στέγη. Σιγά σιγά, βοηΘούντων και των μηχανικών, γίνονται πιο περίπλοκα. Οχι και κατ’ ανάγκη πιο όμορφα. Γίνεται και κάτι όμορφο. Το Ξενία, που μας περιμένει καρτερικά να το φροντίσουμε. Γίνεται και κάτι πρωτοποριακό. Το σπίτι απέναντι από το 3ο Δημοτικό. Εργο του Τάκη Ζενέτου. Ακόμη και σήμερα φαντάζει πρωτοποριακό.
1970. Το μπετόv έχει πια καθιερωθεί.Μαζί με την πολυκατοικία αρχίζουν να κατατρώγουν την κληρονομιά. Την Επαγγελματική Σχολή τα ρίχνουν. Τα νεοκλασικά γκρεμίζονται. Οι γραφικές τοξοστοιχίες της πλατείας εξαφανίζονται.Τα αυτοκίνητα γεμίζουν τους δρόμους. Η εικόνα της ήρεμης πόλης αρχίζει να ξεΘωριάζει.
1997 . Οι φοiνικες στηv Παλαιολόγου παραμέvουv Τα σπίτια των πετρομαστόρων από την Πυρσόγιαννη spartiprin.jpg (17609 bytes)παραμένουν.Τα νεοκλασικά πουμείναν αναστηλώνοντται. Ο πεζόδρομος είναι γεμάτoς κίνηση. Τα πάρκα ξαναζωντάνεψαν. Η πλατεία αναμορφώνετται. Θέλουν να αναδείξουν την Αρχαία Σπάρτη. Θέλουν να κάνουν το Φιξ –έργο του Τάκη Ζενέτου και αυτό- Μουσείο .Ακoύμε ότι Θα μπορούμε να περιδιαβαίνουμε στις όχΘες του Ευρώτα. Της Σπάρτης οι πορτοκαλιές μοσχοβολάνε ακόμα κάΘε Πάσχα.
Γιώργος Γιαξογλου – Λακωνικόν Ημερολόγιον.