“Rustic Hill” is located in the mountain settlement of Mikri Mantineia, on the beginning of the Messinian Mani and it sits at 200 m above sea level, 2 km away from the beach of Santova and 8 km southeast of Kalamata. The village of Mikri Mantineia is built on hills full of olive trees having wonderful view to the Messinian bay, the ridge of Taygetos and Gorge of Rintomo.
Megali Mantinia was firstly mentioned as a settlement in 1463 with the name Ano Mantinea and it was renamed to Megali Mantinea in the late 18th century, when a smaller settlement, called Mikri Mantinea, was created in the area.
Attractions of the mid 18th century are the church of the Assumption, with a remarkable carved temple, the church of Saint Andreas, the Old School, the Monastery of Agioi Saranda, while nearby, other interesting places are also Kouroumpelo of Holy Trinity and Katafygi, an inaccessible cave in gorge of Santova with small opening, in which the inhabitants took refuge in cases of piracy and Turkish invasions.
Ancient Messene is possibly the most underrated archeological site in the whole of Greece. This ancient city was, unlike most others, untouched by the later settlements and has thus been preserved outstandingly. The remains of this tremendous ancient city are complete with a grand ancient stadium, an Ancient Agora, an ancient theatre with a capacity of up to ten thousand spectators, and a fountain house. It is so well-maintained that you can easily envision the city in all of its glory. There is also a museum located directly next to the archeological site, which is home to the thousands of findings uncovered by archaeologists. With an extensive catalog of artifacts, you will be able to color in the image of the city you have created in your mind’s eye with artwork and sculptures.
Between Megali Mantinea and Avia, near the small church of Agioi Saranda there are the ruins of an ancient temple, probably of Artemis. There are offered countless hiking trails for mountain and nature lovers in stunning gorge of Rintomos.
Temple of the Visitation of the Saviour (Ναός Υπαπαντής του Σωτηρος). built in the 19th century in a Byzantine-style, is a grandiose temple dedicated to the city's protector.
Castle of Kalamata. The castle is even higher up, on a pine-covered hill overlooking the sea. Built in 1208 by Gulielme Villearduin, it inspired Aggelos Terzakis's novel about Princess Izampo who had lived in the area. At the foot of the castle there is the semi-cavernous Temple of Saint John that has probably existed since the post-Byzantine years. It is said that the citadel of ancient Pharai was below the castle.
The Tower of Kapetanakis was built by Captain Giorgos Kapetanakis, member of the infamous family of commanders from Mani. Its construction was most probably completed before 1821, which means that it was ready before the Greek Revolution. The commanders from this family participated in many battles for the Greek liberation and the tower’s symbolic value is very important for the people of Mani.
Railway park (Parko OSE). The railway park, at the end of Aristomenous Street, is a pleasant surprise. It is the only open museum of this kind, where train engines and train cars of different time periods are placed in harmony in a green landscape. This place is a recreation ground for children and adults.
Saint Apostles. is a historic little church that was built in 1317 by Emperor Andronicus. Archeological Museum of Messenia, Papazoglou 6. is a beautiful building of the Venetian-type built in 1742, where many interesting archaeological findings are exhibited, including a mosaic from Koroni that represents scenes from the worship of Bacchus.
Municipal Library, Papazoglou 5. houses works of art that were donated after the destructive earthquake of Kalamata in 1986.
Historical and Folkloric Museum of Kalamata, Kyriakou and Ag.Ioannou 20. is housed in a small restored building. Visitors can see objects that date back to the Revolution of 1821, as well as read detailed information about the agricultural and productive life of Messinian inhabitants during the last century.
Municipal Conservatoire. On the steps above the temple and host of music events organised almost every weekend.
Nunnery of Saints Constantine and Helen. built beside the castle in the 18th century, you will also learn about the ongoing Byzantine tradition of weaving pure silk on “lakkoi” (looms).
Pantazopouleio Cultural Centre. in the middle of Aristomenous, always has exhibitions, speeches or shows taking place.