THE KAROUSSOS CENTER

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THE
BYZANTINE
RETREAT

ΑΝ ΙΝΤΙΜΑΤΕ PLACE 

Group Reservations Only up to 10 persons

(min 4 persons/ per group)

VISITATIONS
TICKETING

Tours from €35 per person

IMPORTANT INFORMATION: Unfortunately, due to the cobbled streets, mobility-impaired visitors cannot reach the center.          We would like to apologize and assure you that we are working on it.

THE
MUST 
SEE

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THE LOCATION

Suspended on the "blessed plain" as Homer called the Messinian bay, Karoussos Center hovers on Taygetos mountain, in the historical village of Verga, looking over the entire bay.

Between the two castle cities, Mystras (Sparta) and Monemvasia, the region was the favorite resort for the Byzantines. 

Verga is located at an altitude of 211 meters, at a distance of 8 kilometers from Kalamata, and until 1956, it was called Selitsa. 

In June 1826, the historic Battle of Verga took place, in which the Maniots, fortified behind the wall of Verga, defeated Ibrahim and so Mani remained unconquered. The wall of Verga looks like a lengthy rod, where the place took its name, because the word 'verga' in greek language, means rod.

The cobbled path of Verga is a presumption of the traditional technique directly related to the memories of the inhabitants of the area, as well as its social, economic, cultural heritage, and cultural development from the middle of the 19th century to the beginning of the 20th century. Therefore, with the Ministerial Decision of the Minister of Culture and Sports, the path has been designated as a monument, according to article 6 par. 1b of the Greek Law 3028/2002.

Verga, as the entire Mani- is of particular architectural interest, precisely because the stone buildings are not isolated and few, but enough in number, so as to form an area with a special architectural style.

THE MANIOT HOUSE

Dating back to the late 1800, the house was built with the traditional Maniot megalithic structure with a local stone of around 0.80 meters in thickness. 

The house came into the ownership of the late Byzantine fresco painter Iannis Karoussos in 1974 and remains the property of the family.

In 1986 the devastating earthquake that hit the area caused critical issues to the two-fold angled roof. The main purpose of its renovation was to maintain the masonry, as well as the traditional roof. 

The reconstruction was done in such a way that not only did not affect the characteristics of the Maniot house, but rather it outlined them better. The roof was built again, as a quadruple-pitched rooftop, with a selection of old wooden beams, while a metal matrix was inserted all over the periphery of the stone masonry, infused by a binder liquid, to ensure its safety.

The family allocates the house to the Karoussos Archives, to achieve its goals, provided it maintains its good condition.

The Karoussos Archives undertook the complete maintenance, renovation, and preparation of the Maniot house, to function as a center of educational and cultural activities, as well as a place of hospitality for researchers, members, and friends of the organization.

The operation of the Center includes:

- educational activities at all levels of education,

 - cultural events,

- round tables, meetings, and lectures,

- guided tours to the Center and St. Spyridon chapel,

- hosting of researchers

- cultural & religious programs

-the Karoussos Club, exclusively for the honorary members of the organization.

THE ENCLOSED 

GARDENS

[...] the (Byzantine) gardens also looked inward and invite quite inward-looking. The effect was achieved through the combination (or indeed conflation) of Edenic topos and the locus amoenus. 

Loci amoeni were idealized places of classical literature. They were characterized by beautiful shady lawns or groves and usually featured a spring or brook, bird songs, flowers, and occasionally a sweet breeze.

Byzantine ekphraseis of loci amoeni, however, were more than literacy artifice. They had the power to transport the reader into the scene.

Veronica della Dora (2016) Landscape, Nature, and Sacred in Byzantium,

Cambridge University Press

The enclosed gardens, rich in all the "virtues "are an inspiration to the visitor. The unique location that contains the typical example of Flora Greaca, together with the cultural heritage of the Karoussos Archives, provide a real Byzantine locus amoenus. Built with the pure form of the Byzantine type of enclosure, the gardens carry the two natures, i.e., the place of virtue and intellect and the place of a natural oasis. 

The design of the garden was based on the text of John the Geometer, one of the main figures of the Letters, during the Byzantine Renaissance of the 10th century. In this text, the poet praises his garden in Constantinople, while he plays with his brilliant literature skills, with the art of the letters and the art of nature. 

Inside the enclosed gardens of the Karoussos Center, the visitor's experience is holistic, as art and nature become one.

THE"ALFRESCO" TERRACE: THE CANVAS OF NATURE

 

 The Al Fresco terrace overlooks the entire Messinian gulf and leaves the gaze free to meander, while the horizon changes its color palette, every minute.

VISITING TERMS AND CONDITIONS

 - We would like to welcome everyone to enjoy the peacefulness of the Chapel, the Center, and nature. We ask that all visitors take care to respect the sacred environment by following these guidelines:

  • Respect the silent, contemplative atmosphere 

  • Help preserve the works of art by maintaining a safe distance.

  • Leave all food, liquids, and large bags outside of the Chapel and the Art Collection areas. 

- While enjoying the environment, please follow the guidelines below: 

  • Please refrain from climbing, littering, smoking, using glass and plastic containers, fires or grills, amplified music, and motorized vehicles, around the village.

  • Advance permission is required for events, gatherings, and commercial photography.

  • Mind that the cobbled pathways of the village require appropriate shoes, such as sneakers or any other flat type.

  • Leave all your waste at the Center's garbage cans, keeping the environment clean.

- The specific tour packages are for adults. It is strongly recommended to attend without children, under 12 years old. However, if you would like to come as a family, have in mind, that in these particular sessions, there are no extra services, like creative activities for kids, or babysitting. In case of a family visit, children under 12 years old have free entrance. Make sure that you will mention the number of children and their age in the comment box on your booking form.

- The Center and the Chapel have a maximum capacity of 10 people in a time slot. The nature of the tours requires peacefulness, and therefore large groups are avoided. 

- Bookings are to be made online. In case of cancellation a 24h notice, prior to the tour date is required, otherwise, the amount is non-refundable.

HEALTH & SAFETY

- All visitors must wear a mask that always covers their nose and mouth, except while actively eating or drinking.
- All visitors will be required to show either proof of vaccination or proof of a negative COVID-19 test result with identification upon check-in.

-If one feels ill, just before the visit to the Center, they are welcome to be excused, with no prior notice, so as to protect the others and the staff of the Karoussos Center. On this occasion, the ticket will be fully refunded. 

-Ticket holders who do not comply with the above policies will not be admitted.

ACCESS TO THE CENTER

- Transportation to and from the Center is not provided. If your hotel is affiliated with Karousos Center and you are booking as a group, refer to the hotel's concierge, to book a shuttle bus. 

All details are to be sent well in advance before your visit. 

 

- Οne can reach the center only on foot. Guests arrive at a location, used as a car park, and a staff member from the Karoussos Center waits to pick them up and begin the tour. After your booking, we will provide you with all the necessary information.

 

 IMPORTANT INFORMATION

I. Due to the cobbled pathways, mobility-impaired visitors cannot reach the center.

ii. Basic and Full packages start on May 26 and end on October 2. The Exclusive package starts on June 23 and ends on October 2.

 

 
 

Creative cultural management
of Byzantine art & culture