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Donnerstag, 16 Juni 2016 11:17

A trip back in time, from the ancient city Voiai to Neapoli in Lakonia

Neapoli is the southern city of Europe and a real gem for Monemvasia and Lakonia. A contemporary coastal city with a beautiful pier, exceptional town planning and very interesting nightlife, especially during summer time when it is experiencing a massive influx of touristic activity. The “Nymph of the Lakonian Gulf”, therefore, bears a long history dating back 3,000 years ago and more...

The founder of the town

Aeneas is a known mythical figure who took part in the Trojan War as the leader of the Trojans’ Dardanian allies. He was son of Aphrodite and a favorite of neapoli sto xrono1Apollo and Poseidon. After the fall of Troy, Aeneas along with some Trojans went on fighting for the city of Troy, an act which impressed the Achaeans, who allowed him and his comrades to make their exit undisturbed and gave them permission to take with them any treasure they could carry in their hands. Therefore, and while most of his comrades carried money, jewelry and gold, Aeneas carried old Anchises on his back and on account of his piety, he was allowed to leave the town. From then on, he wandered in the southeastern Mediterranean. Before finally arriving in Italy – where according to the Roman tradition his grandchildren founded Rome – he took to Voiai bay. There, he founded the towns Hitis and Aphrodisia, which along with Sidi comprised the “Lakonian Tripoli” of the Mycenaean era. Hitis is considered to have occupied the area where Paliokastro lies nowadays. Aphrodisia is said to have occupied the area where today’s Psafaki is located, a place where ancient tombs, buildings and walls of limestone have been found.

Ancient Voiai

These three towns were later united into one town named Voiai by Voia, a man coming from the mythical descent of Heraclides. The ancient city Voiai was created between 1050 BC and 950 BC and was situated at the exact place the contemporary Neapoli Voiai is located today, opposite Elafonisos, which used to be called “Onou gnathos” (the jawbone of a donkey) in ancient times. The city of Voiai was one of the most important ports of the Lakedemonians and one that the Athenians many a times had plundered during the Peloponnesian War. The city belonged (since 146 BC) to the Common of the Lakedemonians and later on (22 BC) to the Common of the Freelakonians and comprised of 18 towns. The city of Voiai flourished during the Roman times as a commercial port, but until late antiquity it had already declined. Later on, various settlements appeared, known as Vatika (a corruption of the word Voiatika).

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A special tourist destination

Contemporary Neapoli was designed in 1837 by the Bavarian architect Birmah, who also designed Sparta and Karystos. In 1845 the town was the headquarters of Voiai borough and remained so up until 1912, when the borough was abolished. It then became the headquarters of Neapoli borough. In 1994 it was the headquarters of the Municipality of Neapoli Voiai and in 1999 of Voiai. Since 2011, it belongs to the Municipality of Monemvasia, the capital of which is Molaoi.

The beautiful mountain at the background of Neapoli hosting a lot of little quaint, picturesque villages with sweeping views on the Lakonian Gulf is the massif of Krithina ending up in the Cape Maleas. Nowadays, Neapoli is a magnificent town that retains the prestige and grandeur of its past. Its charming pier is awash with scenic buildings that bring to mind the Aegean islands’ architecture. Coastally, there are swank cafes, farm-to-table restaurants, family-friendly taverns and a line-up of accommodation hubs. You will enjoy yourself on a cup of coffee, lunch or dinner relishing wonderful sea views. It is worth sauntering in the town’s interior – which as far as its colors and low buildings are concerned, brings to mind a Cycladic island’s atmosphere – to admire its impressive architectural design. At the central square squatting at the beach, the brass statue of Vatikiotis Thalassinos dominates. Another interesting sight of the town is Agia Triada church, visible from any part of Neapoli. It is noteworthy, that Neapoli is coastally connected to Kithira and Antikithira, so the visitors with a destination to these two pretty islands have the chance to visit and get to know Neapoli, too.

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