Proastio

One of the oldest and most important post-Byzantine villages with strong traditional style, Proastio (or Prastio ) overlooks the Messinian bay from a slope of Taygetos, 6 miles to the southeast of Kardamyli and 43 km away from Kalamata. Proastio along with the seaside Neo Proastio (or Porto Kalamitsi ) and the settlement Lakos constitute the local district of municipality of Western Mani.

Since 1479 it is one of the four main villages of Androuvista, along with Chora (Androuvista), Kardamyli and Leptini. Due to its previleged location, Proastio was badly damaged by the Turks, who burned it twice in the 17th century forcing much of the population to emigrate in Taranta of Southern Italy.

Today in Proastio there are about 200 old buildings with distinctive features, including arched houses built with limestone from local quarries and 40 Byzantine and post-Byzantine churches with exquisite hagiographies, which reflect the old and vigorous religious life.

Proastio was seat of diocese in the 18th century, but since the 15th century, when parts of its land were donated to Palaiologoi and Melissinoi of Mystra, hundreds of churches were built, many of which are destroyed by time and neglect, but are preserved till today.

The tower of Perdikeas and the Tower of D.Chouseas are typical examples of architecture of the early 19th century. They have been declared as historical preservable monuments, while the fountain of Melissinoi (1643) that dominates at the entrance of Proastio and a unique stone bridge are impressive examples of folk architecture.

The cave “Katafygi tou Vatsinidi” (or Votsinidi) is of outstanding beauty outside of Neo Proastio ( Lazos location) on the coastal road of Kardamyli – Agios Nicolaos. It coversĀ an area of 2.400 sqm., with two huge main chambers with large saltwater lakes and other smaller rooms with small lakes and stalactites that are connected with a corridor.