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Old Stoupa

Zorba's Stoupa

Old Stoupa is characterized and often mentioned as being the haunt of famous Greek author Nikos Kazantzakis, who is in turn renowned for his well-known novel Zorba the Greek. The story goes that Kazantzakis came to live in Stoupa in 1917, settling down in Prastova, a hillside district on the outskirts of the village, where he attempted to establish a lignite mining business, in order to serve the severe shortage of fuel during the First World War. His speculation was unsuccessful, but it is reputed that it is here that he met Zorbas, recruited him as chief engineer and supervisor of his mining operations, and then eventually wrote the book. Part of the story in Zorba the Greek took place in Stoupa, and there is a large statue of Kazantzakis on the cliff that overlooks Kalogria Beach.

The ruins of Lefktra

Just outside and to the south-east of the village, on a gentle bluff that rises from the surrounding coastal plain, lies the small castle of Beaufort. Reconstructed by the Franks during medieval times, this was once the citadel of the ancient town of Lefktra but, according to ancient scripts written by geographer Pausanias, the acropolis was once also the sanctuary of the ancient Greek goddess Athina, a holy place decorated with a statue and a shrine. These are now sadly long gone, but the site offers interesting glimpses into the past and lovely panoramas of the ruggedly romantic Mani coastline.