The Greeks named the capital of the Mani Peninsula after Ares, their ancient god of war, because of the city's role in the struggle for independence. In 1821, Governor Petrobey Mavromichalis stood against the Turkish overlords here, 350 years after the occupation began. As you wander the narrow alleys and cobblestoned streets of Areopolis, you'll see numerous stone houses with fortified towers. The church of Agios Ioannis O Prodromos (Saint John the Baptist) is worth a visit for its splendid Byzantine paintings and its frescoes depicting the life of Jesus.
By Amanda Castleman, AFAR Local Expert
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Αρεόπολη, Λακωνία 230 62, Greece