general information   accommodation   amenities   activities   rentals   travel tips
  stoupa   lefktro   mani   gallery   maps   directory
  today's village   the old village   history

Brief history of Stoupa

Stoupa during Ancient Greece

Although the ancient poet Homer cites the nearby village of Kardamili as being the main port of the powerful ancient Greek city-state of Sparta, and the ancient geographer Pausanias cites the ruins of Lefktra, atop the acropolis of Stoupa, as being a sanctuary dedicated to the ancient Greek goddess Athina, not much is known, unfortunately, about the state of the area during Ancient Greece.

Stoupa during the Roman Empire and Middle Ages

Greece prospered under Rome, but when the mighty Roman Empire was finally split into two, the country fell into the Eastern or Byzantine half. This Eastern Roman Empire was Christian, its official language was Greek, and its capital was in Constantinople (Turkey). Byzantine churches were built in villages all over the Empire, including the Peloponnese, and some of these can still be seen today in the neighbouring villages of Nomitsi and Platsa. With the conquest of Constantinople during the Fourth Crusade in 1249 however, the Franks, led by the Villehardouins, came to occupy the Mani. Near Agamemnon's ancient Sparta, they took residence at the magnificent palace of Mistra, considered as the second most important city in the Empire after Constantinople. This was the last centre of Byzantine scholarship and the primary influence of the Italian Renaissance.

Stoupa from the late Middle Ages to the early 19th century

The Byzantine Empire eventually disintegrated, leaving the area of Greece to be invaded by the Turks, and the Peloponnese to fall under the rule of the Ottoman Empire in 1453. Inaccessible and remote, the Mani however kept itself free from the oppression of the Turks: the Maniots continued to bear arms and refused to pay levies and taxes imposed by the Ottomans. They survived by becoming pirates. Closely-knit clans evolved, and these were much like those of old Scotland – united by blood and very ferocious. In Stoupa, the most powerful clan was the Troupakis-Mourtzinos: from their fortified tower-houses in Kardamili they ruled over the area for two centuries and played a leading role in the Greek War of Independence, when in 1821 Greece was finally freed from the Turks.