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Cultural associations in the Mani

Kalamata Municipal Organization for Cultural Development

Established in 1985 by the Kalamata Municipal Council and the Greek Ministry of the Interior in its constant effort to attain a cultural level of excellence and to shape cultural events, the Kalamata Municipal Organization for Cultural Development (DEPAK) today presides at the Kalamata Municipal Cultural Centre – a centre which has become of great importance. The DEPAK implements an integrated cultural development programme for the city of Kalamata and the broader region of Messinia by creating the necessary infrastructure to promote intellectual and cultural expression. The realization of its three artistic sectors (dance, fine arts and music) has proved extremely noteworthy – so much so that in 1995 the Ministry of Culture's plan for a Cultural Network of Cities included Kalamata as the City of Dance and through this emerged the Kalamata International Dance Centre, which sought to create institutions that would establish Kalamata as a point of reference in the field of Dance at a national and international level. To this end, the DEPAK hosts the much-lauded Kalamata International Dance Festival every summer (with performances by famous groups and ensembles from all over the world), organises the Kalamata International Documentary Film Festival, which is held in the city every October, and as of 2002 important works of art are exhibited at its Municipal Gallery. With a wide range of educational and informative activities (professional and leisure pursuits classes, lectures, publications, seminars, and workshops), as well as recreational events (exhibitions, film projections, productions, and symposia) available, the DEPAK is highly recommended.
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Originally created by Dr. Grigoris Orfanidis who for many years worked in Germany and Switzerland as a general practitioner, Gaia is a privately-funded association for the environment. Concerned primarily with the cleaning and conservation of beaches, paths, public sites and roads of the Municipality of Lefktro, the Association coordinates a variety of initiatives that have the aim of conserving the natural beauty of the Municipality and fostering a modern attitude and approach towards the preservation of this unique environment. With the generous contribution of many local sponsors and a subsidy provided by the Municipal Council, the Association employs a special team that carries out a variety of duties – including collecting roadside rubbish and gathering recyclable material – and organizes working groups for critical issues, such as conservation of water and property development management. All new members, contributive or proactive, are warmly welcome.
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Mediterranean Garden Society

The Mediterranean Garden Society is a non-profit making association founded in Greece in 1994, acts as a forum for everyone who has a special interest in the plants and gardens of mediterranean climate regions. The society publishes a quarterly journal, The Mediterranean Garden, and maintains a garden just outside Athens. The aims of the MGS as set out in the Charter were deliberately drafted broadly to cover all possible directions that the society might wish to go in its life. As an international society, the MGS has members in countries throughout the world and in many of them members have formed branches so that they can meet for various activities.
Further information: » Greece

Parea sti Mani (Together in Mani)

Villagers and visitors who would like to broaden their social horizons or get into something different will be happy to learn more about the wide variety of activities that are now being organized by the Parea sti Mani. With the general aim of building a community of sharing across different cultures, developing personal interests, and promoting the conservation of the Mani environment and landscape, the Parea Sti Mani (which from Greek can be roughly translated as "Together in Mani") is a new open forum that organizes a good number of events – from book club meetings and current affairs discussion groups to jumble sales and organic gardening workshops. Cosmopolitan and forward-thinking, this assembly is multinational and its participants warmly welcome newcomers who would like to join and contribute to the venture of forming an extended social network in the Mani.
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Taygetos Conservation Society

The Taygetos is a mountain range in the southern Peloponnese which extends about 100 km north from the southern end of Cape Matapan (aka Tenaro) in the Mani Peninsula. It rises to about 2,410 metres at its summit, Profitis Ilias (Saint Elias). Although from Byzantine times up until the 19th century it was known as Pentedaktilos (Five Fingers), the mountain is actually named after Taygete who, according to ancient Greek mythology, was a nymph and companion of Artemis. The goddess, however, turned Taygete into a doe after Zeus pursued and raped the nymph. According to Pausanias, through Zeus, Taygete conceived Lacedaemon, the mythical founder of the ancient city of Sparta. Today, the Taygetos is home to a wide variety of fauna and flora, certain species of which exist only on this specific mountain range. The Taygetos Conservation Society not only ensures that the environment of this unique range remains preserved, but also organizes special outings.
Further information: Tourism Bureau