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Gialova - Food, Drink, Swimming...
This small picturesque settlement will charm its visitors.
The Village: The most important things
This small picturesque settlement will charm its visitors. The natural beauty of the Divari lagoon in the north, the extraordinary beaches and the history of the wider area offer you more than enough reasons to visit this magical place.
This beautiful village is located in the Navarino bay, north of Pylos.
Many important historical events took place in this area and until today the visitor might see the remains from the shipwrecks of the Battleship of Navarino in 1827 while snorkeling in the nearby beaches.
Today in this lovely village agriculture and tourism are the main economical activities. You will find here some beautiful hotels, rooms to let, campsites, restaurants, cafes, bars, hospitable people and the amazing long organized beach of Gialova.
The most famous local products of this area are of course the olive oil and the wines. The exceptional wines of Messinia were already famous since the Mycenaean Period, when Nestor was the king of this area.
You can’t miss here the Divari lagoon, one of the most important hydro biotopes of Europe. It is a protected hydro biotope with rare species of flora and fauna. Here many migratory birds rest during their journey.
Some rare mammals can also be found here like jackals and otters. It’s the only place in Europe where you can still see the endangered species of the African Chameleon.
The origination of this rare species in this particular area hasn’t been explained until today. It is believed that the African Chameleon ended up to this place from the Romans who used to take these animals from Egypt in order to keep them as their pets.
Near to Gialova on the road towards Sxinolaka you will find signs that lead you to the Kalamaris Waterfall.
Above Voidokoilia beach there is the archeological site of the Mycenaean vaulted grave of Thrasymedes, the son of Nestor.
You can’t miss Paleocastro also known as Old Navarino. You will need to cover a walking distance of 10 minutes to end up here.
Just below this castle there is also the known Nestor’s Cave which according to Greek Mythology was the place where Hermes hid the cattle he had stolen from Apollo.
About 5km from Gialova , close to Eleofito village you might want to visit the Church of Panagia Sgrapas also known as Holy Church of Zoodochou Pigis.
While you are in this area you have the incredible opportunity to visit some of the most beautiful beaches of Peloponnese.
The closest one is the organized Gialova beach. It is a long sandy beach, partly organized and ideal for families with children. Kite boarding and wind surfing are very popular in this beach due to the favorable northwest wind and the safety of the bay.
Plenty of restaurants and cafes can be found near this beach.
A little further from Gialova you will find one of the most popular around the area, the Divari beach also known as Golden beach. This long sandy beach starts from Gialova and ends up to cape Korifasio where Paleocastro was built. The Golden beach offers its visitors a magnificent view of Pylos, Navarino Bay and Sfaktiria Island.
Here you might also encounter the rare species of the turtle Caretta-Caretta which visits this area during the summer period in order to reproduce. This beach actually divides the Navarino Bay from the Gialova lagoon.
At the end of this beach there is the Perasma tis Sikias. It is in fact a narrow sea lane between the Sfaktiria Island and the mainland. From here you could try to swim across the beach and reach the beautiful Sfaktiria Island.
Perhaps the most amazing beach of Peloponnese is the Voidokoilia beach. It is an unorganized beach with exceptional natural beauty. You will not resist to this sandy beach with the turquoise water. The signal shape of this beach looks like the Greek letter “Ω”.
About 8km away from Gialova you could also visit Romanos beach and the nearby Petrochori beach.
These beaches are partly organized beach covered in sand and ideal for those who don’t like overcrowded beaches.
The village of Gialova is a great place for a series of activities.
Hiking is one of them. Following the hiking trail towards the Kalamari Waterfalls is definitely a rewarding experience. If you prefer the sea try walking across the coastline of Gialova.
Also the path towards Paliocastro is a great hiking opportunity.
In addition you could enjoy walking around the Gialova lagoon, which is also ideal for those who like bird-watching. Diving, Kite surfing, Wind surfing are also some great activities someone can enjoy in the nearby coasts.
In Gialova you could also find cruises or places to rent a boat. Renting a bike is also possible in this area.
Stories & Legends
Things you might don't know about Pylos.
Pylians are renowned for their hospitality (‘filoxenia’ in Greek). Homer tells the story thus: searching for his father Odysseus, Telemachus accompanied by the Goddess Athina in mortal guise, came ashore at night in Voidokilia which was also the port of ancient Pylos, to ask King Nestor of his father Ulysses whereabouts. The Wise King was holding a feast with his sons on the sand, he gave the travelers the best cuts of meat and his best wine. Only after they were fed and rested, did he ask them who they were and what was the purpose of their visit. This is the first written account of hospitality in the Western world and it’s in Homer’s Odyssey, the foundation of Western storytelling.
The peculiar name of this enchanting location, Voidokilia (lit. ‘Cow-belly’), can be traced to an ancient myth about Hermes, who stole the oxen of his brother, Apollo, and hid them in a cave above the beach. Feeling remorse, Hermes gave Apollo a lyre made from the shell of a sea turtle, which to this day lays its eggs in the bay.
The tale of the ‘Cow-belly’ beachVoidokilia
This drinking cup or ‘Kotyle’ was found in a grave in the ancient Greek colony of Pithekoussai on the island of Ischia, off the western coast of Italy. Now widely known as Nestor’s Cup, the remarkable clay vessel has been dated to the Geometric Period (c. 750-700 BC) and bears a three-line inscription that is one of the oldest known examples of writing in the Greek alphabet. The inscription has been transcribed as: “Nestor’s cup I am, good to drink from. Whoever drinks this cup empty straightaway, desire for beautiful-crowned Aphrodite will seize”
According to legend, the great hero Heracles brought the olive tree to Greece from the land of the Hyperboreans, planting the first one in the Peloponnese. In ancient Pylos, archaeologists discovered the earliest written forms of ‘olive’ and ‘olive-oil’ on clay tablets inscribed in Linear B script which date to 1300 BC, providing concrete evidence that Messinia was among the first regions to cultivate the sacred olive.
Roots in the pastOlive Trees
According to local legend, if a pregnant woman passes under the majestic natural archway of Fanari, she will give birth to a male child.
A particularly tragic event associated with Paleokastro took place in 1825, as the Greek War of Independence raged. The Egyptian forces under Ibrahim Pasha had invaded the Peloponnese the previous year after the Ottomans had asked for assistance in crushing the Greek revolt. As the Egyptians approached, many women from the area of Garantza, along with their children, jumped from the cliffs of Paleokastro, preferring death to being captured.
It is said that the tradition of souvlaki, or skewered meat, started in Pylos, based on the purpose-made ceramic vessel found in the kitchen of the Palace of Nestor, dating from around 1300 BC. It is believed that lamb, goat and beef chunks were skewered and spit roasted in this vessel over an open fire and then served to guests and strangers seeking sanctuary.
The First SouvlakiSkewered Meat
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