Kardamili is a village by the sea, located in Messinian Mani, at south of Peloponnese, 35km south of Kalamata and has been an inhabited and active area for more than 3000 years. It is a charming place with history that still keeps its pre-Homeric name and is mentioned by Homer as one of the “seven well-governed and of good name cities” that Agamemnon would offer to Achilles as dowry in case he married one of his daughters.
Kardamili today is a touristic bathing-resort with many sightseeings appreciated both by Greeks and foreigners and verifies a pleasant and comfortable accomodation to the visitor.
Kardamili is the capital of the municipality of Lefktron and has a population of 574 inhabitants (census of 1991) that grows much bigger during the summer months due to the considerable touristic development/activity.
Driving westwards, having passed the Kardamili High School/Lyceum, one is led to a beautiful pebble beach, “Ritsa”, where many people resort to, in order to enjoy their sea-bathing.
Heading towards Stoupa, one sees “Foneas” beach, which is a very characteristic and favorite spot for all visitors, who get magnetized by the turquoise water and the unique morphology of the scenery, which is dominated by the existence of an imposing large rock in its centre, that serves as natural shading to the bathers.
Kardamili has excellent touristic infrastructure for accommodation and recreation and in its central market one can find goods of every kind.Kardamili is also ideal for hiking, since Vyros ravine’s entrance is there and through its marked footpaths one can be led to marvelous Byzantine churches.
North of Kardamili is situated the settlement of Petrovouni, named, according to tradition, after its founder, Petrova, and its inhabitants seem to have come from the nearby area of Anvrouvitsa (Exohori). In the village there are two very old monasteries with long history. In Zoodochos Pigi’s monastery, which belongs to the Holy Sepulchre, tradition says that there is a miraculous icon that, in the old days used to be carried around the area, from village to village. Due to the donations by the people of Mani, the monastery has accumulated big real estate property.
The second monastery was built around the 14th century and is known in the area as “Karaveli”, because as tradition goes, with the oil made from the olive tree land owned by it, a whole ship could be filled up. During the Ottoman occupation it was operating as a secret school and since 1821, as a nunnery. Both the monasteries are today deserted, without monks or nuns.
In their vicinity is also the settlement of Agia Sophia (Gournitsa), that has taken its name from the church that is set in the centre of the village, built in 1605. Formerly it was a monastery with considerable real estate property in the larger area of Kardamili. Near the village is the Vyros ravine, approachable by car through a little road that starts from Agia Sophia and ends at the monastery of Sotiras, that is built in the ravine.