Nisyros is found in the south eastern Aegean, in the center of the Dodecanese group of islands and is one of its smallest islands. It is located 10 miles south of Cos, 8 miles north west of Tilos and 200 miles from Piraeus (Pireas).
Its total area is 41.6 sq. kilometers. In its greatest part the island is mountainous, consisting of volcanic rocks formed during old eruptions of the volcano which is still on the island and formed the craters of Lakki. The highest mountain of the island is Profitis Ilias with 698 metres altitude. It is an island with an intense mountainous and semi-mountainous relief, with an unbelievable variety of scenery, rock formations and vegetation.
It is a rich island with natural beauties and endowed with a centuries old cultural heritage. The monuments of civilization on the island witness the glorious past of the island.
The imposing volcano, unique in its kind and unparalleled in esthetic and natural beauty, impresses at first instance the visitor, who gazes at it in a reflective mood, admiration and awe.
According to mythology Nisyros is the rock that hit the giant Polyvotus when it was hurled by the enraged Poseidon. The trapped energy in the molten rocks and the overheated vapour below the island indicate that the giant is sighing and jolting trapped in the entrails of the earth.
Mandraki, the capital of the island, extends along the whole length of the coast, west of the port. At the point where the coast ends abruptly, on a rock 40 metres above the sea , two different monuments dominate the surroundings. The Medieval Castle, is the symbol of the temporary domination of the Knights of St. John and the all white Monastery of Spiliani Mary mother of Jesus Christ.
Above Mandraki there is Paleokastro, the acropolis of ancient Nisyros over 2.600 years old. In the vicinity there are the Cyclopean walls with Doric columns made of volcanic rock of the island. This wall constitutes one of the most famous fortifications of antiquity, mainly because of the very high quality of structure. Approaching Acropolis and its main gate which is open towards the south, the impression is really exciting.
Milies at a distance of 27 kilometres south east of Volos, is one of the most picturesque big villages of Pelion and occupies a prominent place in modern Greek history. Is the place of origin of Anthimos Gazis and of other Teachers of the Nation. It was here that Gazis declared on May 1st 1821 the uprising of Thessaly and Magnesia.
The Milies Municipality was recently established and numbers 4.000 people. This Municipality is expanding in Central Pelion and consists of the following small picturesque and traditional communities : Milies, Agios Georgios Nilias, Vyzitsa, Pinakates, Agia Triada, Kato Gatzea, Kala Nera and Koropi.
Some communities are in the mountains and some on the coast of the Pagasitic Bay, thus forming the best combination. They are 20 until 32 kilometres away from Volos according to the route one takes. Volos is the capital of the Prefecture of Magnesia extending in Central Greece.
The Municipality and its environs are known for their natural beauty and history. It is a fertile area where olive groves, and fruit orchards dominate. There are forests too of varied vegetation consisting of plane trees, pine trees, poplar trees, chestnut trees, spruce trees and beech trees. Coastal areas are full of eucalyptus and flower scents.
The villages of Mount Pelion are of traditional character and are famous for their tower shaped houses and their old mansions. The alternating views of Mount Pelion known since antiquity, constitute a pleasant surprise for the visitor who is stunned, sometimes as a result of the imposing wilderness of the forests in conjunction with the serenity of the landscape encompassing the mountain sides and their accessibility to the Pagasitic Bay.
There are numerous popular art museums, the frescos of the painter Theophilos and of other popular art painters, the traditional houses of Mount Pelion, the historic libraries, the churches of various architectural styles and art galleries.
The forests offer nature lovers and walkers unique long walks. Finally the old “Little Train of Pelion” devised and built by architect Evaresto de Chirico (father of the well known painter Giorgio de Chirico), will fascinate you with its unique drive ending up at the very beautiful big village Milies.
Mount Pelion is one of the most known mountains of the ancient Greek world and rich in mythology. Homer was the first who mentioned Pelion and later on Hesiod , Euripides and Pindar referred to Pelion. The myths with the Centaurs who lived in the forests and were the terror of the people, were among the best known and the battles of the Centaurs with Theseus, Hercules and the Lapithians had inspired many ancient artists.
A unique exception among the savage Centaurs was the wise and just Chiron who taught people the secrets for curing illness by the use of herbs. In Chiron’s cave (it is said it was at Milies), arrived all the heroes of antiquity to listen to his advice. One of the students of Chiron was Jason and it was the timber from the surrounding forests that was used to build Argo. Pileus and Thetis were married at Mount Pelion too.
The Municipality of Sparta is the biggest in population in Laconia, with 4 Municipal divisions, the former Communities of Amycles, Kalyvion Sohas, Afissiou and Kladas.
Seat of the Municipality is Sparta, one of the most beautiful towns of Greece as far as town planning is concerned. New Sparta was founded in 1834 and is found at a distance o f 225 kilometres from Athens. The new town developed very soon into an administrative, economic, cultural and tourist center of Laconia.
Sparta, the capital of Laconia Prefecture, an area richly endowed with variety by nature, (3.636 sq. km.), is in southern Peloponnesus. Three seas, the Ionian with the gulf of Messina to the West, the Aegean to the South and the Myrtoan sea to the East give life to Laconia, continuously inhabited since prehistoric times, with Sparta for centuries the leading town in the life of the Lacedaemonians, but also of the Greeks.
To the West, North and South Taygetus (the male mountain) according to Stratis Myrivilis, rises majestically culminating in the highest peak of Peloponnesus, Profitis Elias while on the eastern side there is another gentler and hospitable mountain, Parnonas with its highest peak Megali Tourla. Between them flows the mythical Evrotas river, on whose banks extends the most beautiful town of Sparta, so closely related to the history and the name of the town and contributing to the fertility of the valley of historic Sparta.
The first king of the land of Laconia, who gave his name to the country and its people was Lelegas. According to legend he had three children : Evrotas, Polycaon and Therapne. Sparta the daughter of Evrotas got married to Lacedaemon, son of Zeus and Taygeti.
Only five kilometers northwest of Sparta there is Mystras, the dead citadel extending on the slope of a steep, strange height with a castle on top of it, still through time. Mystras as a whole is an open air museum. From the castle and its fortifications up to the gates and from the churches up to the palaces, everything provokes admiration for a world that has gone.
Mystras had been the seat of the Principality of Moreas, the last cradle of the Byzantine Empire and continues living in the historic memory and conscience of people. For two centuries at the front of historical events it formed an unprecedented course of glory, brightness and contribution in the fields of politics, soc ial life and culture.
On January 6th 1449, at the Bishopric of Mystras, Constantine Paleologus was crowned emperor and left for Constantinople, where he met a glorious death in 1453 defending the capital of Byzantium against the Turks.
In 1821 Mystras contributed a lot in the Struggle. In 1825 the Egyptians of Ibrahim Pasha, burned the town forcing its inhabitants to flee and thus the building of new Sparta started. The former Byzantine town was thus deserted and wear and tear took over in the years that followed.