Githio — The picturesque harbour of Mani (updated)
The story of Gythio (or Githeio/Γύθειο) in Peloponnese (Greece) begins with a love story. According to the legend, on the small island of Cranae (or Kranai/Κρανάη), Paris and Helen spent their first night before fleeing to Troy. This island, known today as Marathonisi (Μαραθονήσι), is the ancient settlement of Gythio. The city was an important port until it was destroyed in the 4th century AD, probably by an earthquake. After the earthquake, Gythio was abandoned. It remained a small village throughout the Byzantine and Ottoman eras. Its importance increased when Tzannetos Grigorakis built his tower on Cranae and more people came and settled here. During the Greek Revolution, refugees flooded Mani and made Gythio a large town. Today it is the main harbour of Mani (Μάνη) and Sparti (Σπάρτη) and it is also considered the capital of the region of Mani.