Τhe beautiful seaside village, Kardamyli is in a magnificent natural landscape full of contrasts, 38km away from Kalamata. It owes its ancient name to cresses (“cardama” in Greek) of the area.
The stone built town of strictly traditional architecture with tile roofs and towers, is built on a sheltered cove at the foot of the Taygetos. The dense olive groves alongside the crystal blue water, the green hills with majestic cypress trees over distant snowcapped mountains and breathtaking sunsets of the Messinian Bay compose a theatrical scenery.
Kardamyli hold its ancient name for more than three millennia and it was firstly mentioned as one of the “seven well-governed and well- inhabited cities”, that Agamemnon would give to Achilles as a dowry if he married one of his daughters. According to Pausanias (2nd AD), the city was adorned by many temples and statues while a seaside shrine was placed in memory of the emergence of Nereids from the sea in order to watch the passage of Pyros (son of Achilles) that was going to Sparti to marry the daughter of King Menelaus, Hermione.
Ancient Kardamyli was the main port of the powerful ancient city-state of Sparti, and they were linked through the “Royal Roads”, that we can still see along the natural path of the gorge of Viros. The local legend says that the graves of the twin brothers of Helen of Troy, the Dioscuri, Castor and Pollux, are located on a steep hill overlooking the sea behind the current village , known as Old Kardamili, where rectangular cavities of two Hellenistic chambered tombs are carved on the vertical rock beneath the medieval castle of the 12th century. Shards (pieces of ceramic) and relics of all time have been found in this steep hill, where there was the acropolis of the ancient city, one of the most well fortified in ancient times.
In Byzantine times, the area came under the dominance of Mystras and after the Turkish invasion in 1460 it was a shelter for the refugees, who resorted to caves and they were named as Troupakides (from “Troupa” which means hole). The family Troupakis-Mourtzinos became one of the strongest ruling families of Mani, ruling for two centuries on the surrounding area by its fortified tower houses in Old Kardamyli. It had a leading role in the declaration of the Greek revolution when it took the lead with Kolokotronis and other captains from Mani in the release of Kalamata (March 23, 1821).
The imposing Tower of Mourtzinos in Kardamyli which was accessible via a wooden retractable bridge, was characterized as a historical preservable fortress. The three-story tower houses the Museum of Mourtzinos providing information about the castles of Mani, while the church of Saint Spyridon of Ionian art stands at the entrance.
Paved trails link Old Kardamyli with neighboring settlements of Petrovouni and Agia Sophia (Gournitsa), the post-Byzantine church with magnificent panoramic view.
The wooded gorge of Viros ends at Kardamyli and attracts nature lovers with countless hiking trails and stunning view from the peaks of Taygetos. In front of the picturesque port of Kardamyli, there is another attraction of the village, the green island Meropi (or Amygdalonisos) on which there are ruins of the Venetian walls and the aisled vaulted basilica church of the Assumption (1779).
The “Vardia ton Dimitreon”, the watchtower that overlooks the area is over the old port of Kardamyli. One of the largest factory in the Balkans during the interwar period, the old factory of Kardamyli, is very close to its port covering an area of 3 acres.