Filiatra Things to Do
A curiosity of this stretch of coast is the fact that many of the residents are Greeks who have returned having done a stint in America.
One such local, Haris Fournakis, known as Harry Fournier, arrived back in Filiatra, from America, in the 1960's, having become a surgeon and made his fortune. He began to live out his fantasies. First, he built a 40 ft. high replica of the Eiffel Tower, (illuminated at night) at one end of the town then proceeded to make a metal framed globe at the other end of town. And that's not all......He went on to build the Castle of the Fairytales in Agrili, his home town, for his family.....
It's proper name: Kastro ton Paramythion. This is an amazing sight, quite hard to believe your own eyes!!
We had passed this place only on the main road,many years ago and I really wanted to see the castle properly. In fact, I have had a very long conversation with the owner, Haris Fournakis (Harry Fournier)'s son over the telephone. He was very pleased to read of my entry about the castle on Virtual Tourist and told me that he had been brought up in the castle and had many happy memories of the place. He also told me the castle is now closed for renovation which was going to cost millions.
So in 2007 we visited.
We firstly drove to Agrili to get a view of the castle from there, then turned back and drove down one of the two rough driveways, through fields full of water melons, right up to the castle. We followed the signs for parking off to one side. We were the sole people here, it was eery.
A 40 foot high Poseidon's horse and Athena seem to guard the castle. I reckoned the horse was the Wendy house as there was a door in it. What a place!!! All around are statues and childlike paintings, all quite unbelievable but somehow evocative, knowing this is a creation of one man.
Evn though the castle is presently closed you can still drive up to it and wander round the outside.
Definitely worth a look.Related to:
- Road Trip
- Castles and Palaces
- Arts and Culture
Oh, my goodness, Greece has some strange goings on in wierd locations.
On the road between Marathopoli and Filiatra, in western Messinia, you'll come across Agios Kiriaki. We stopped here many years ago as we were desperate for a drink. The whole place seemed to consist of a scruffy little harbour with an equally scruffy patch of beach and this huge, swish restaurant cum disco. We were the only clientele here, I wonder if the price of the drinks had anything to do with it?
We just could not imagine why anyone would flock to this place in sufficient numbers to warrant such a large establishment. Why was it where it was? It wasn't even a very attractive location. There must have been more to this place than we saw. Surely we were missing something somewhere? Can anyone enlighten me?
We revisited A. Kiriaki this year, one day when it was blowing a gale. Suprisingly this little place was reasonably sheltered so we managed to get our swim. To our astonishment, we realised the harbour had been made into a lido, complete with changing rooms and steps into the water. At the entrance to the harbour, the waves were fairly hammering against the sea walls and then crashing over the rocky entrance and into the harbour, causing an enormous swell. It really was a geat swim. The water went deep quickly but it was amazingly warm and it was sandy underfoot. If you were brave enough you could bob about in the surf but there were too many rocks around for our liking. We watched a few Greeks doing so and worried for their safety.
We now realised why there were these couple of large restaurants. It's one of those Great Weekend Get Away places the Greeks flock to in summer. And I'm sorry about my first impression. We really liked this place in the end!!Related to:
- Sailing and Boating
- Road Trip
The Castle of Fairytails was built by a man born in Filiatra but lived in Paris. After coming back to the place he was born, he built this castle as a gift to his town.