Tzanetakes Tower, Gytheion

Department Archive
Collection Byzantine Research Fund
Reference No. BRF/02/01/14/102
Level Item
Place Mani
Dates 1902-1916
Creator Hasluck, Dr Frederick William
Scope and Content Distant view of the tower. The photograph is annotated in pencil at the back. It has been mislabelled: the name 'Kapitanakides Tower' survives in pencil on the reverse.
Further information The area in the middle of the Peloponnese, on the Laconia/Messinia border, was known as early as the 10th c. as the ‘Mani’. It was occupied by the Slavs in the early Medieval period and was christianised in the 10th c. by Hosios Nikon. There are scores of Byzantine and post-Byzantine churches in the Mani: the first major phase of building activity in the region seems to run from the late 10th to the later 12th c.

Gytheion is the largest coastline-town in the Mani. It has been inhabited continuously from the prehistoric period to the present day. Tzanetakes tower dominates the small green island of Kranae close to the port of Gytheion. According to the legend, the island owes its name to Paris who, after having spent the night with Helen of Troy, forgot his helmet (kranos) there. The imposing Tzanetakes tower was built in 1829 for the 1821 general Tzanetakes Gregorakes. The building has been restored and now houses the Historical-Ethnological Museum.