Laconia (Λακωνία), also known as Lacedaemonia, was in ancient Greece the portion of the Peloponnesus of which the most important city was Sparta. Today Laconia has the legal status of a prefecture, with Sparta as its administrative capital.
Its main towns and cities are Amyclae, Areopolis, Gythio, Molaoi, Monemvasia, Mystras, Neapoli and Sellasia. It encompasses Cape Malea and Cape Tainaron and a large part of the Mani Peninsula.
The mountainous region south of Sparta is named Mani, and it is a rugged place filled with history and legends since prehistoric times.
Mani is one of the most traditionals spots of Greece. It has a lot of old buildings, the high stone towers being the most characteristic among them. On the whole there are about 800 towers and 6 castles in Mani. These monuments of folk architecture reflect the social and historical conditions of the Maniot life.
Some stone towers were many-storeyed, they are 20 meters high and have from 4 to 5 floors. They were used as residences and courtyards that were surrounded by walls. The towers were very carefully planned and were used not only as residential places but as military objects for protection. They were equipped with loopholes, boilers for water and special places at tower corners for throwing stones at enemies.
The height of a tower depended of the importance and significance of the family that lived in it. It was not a single case when a powerful family would not allow another family to build an equally high tower and in case that such tower had already been built they would force them either to low it down or to destroy it completely.
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