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Taygetos, also known as Pentadaktylos, is a mountain range of Peloponnese, stretching between the prefectures of Lakonia and Messinia. It is the tallest and most impressive mountain in the region, filled with myths from the ancient times.



Taygetos is an elongated mountain directed from North to South. The mountain starts from the plateau of Tripoli, heads south between the prefectures of Messinia  and Lakonia and ends at the peninsula of Mani. At the West is located Pamissos river valley and at the East the valley of Evrotas river. The highest peak is Prophet Elias at 2.404 meters.

Taygetos is mainly composed of limestone and schists. Corrosion of carbonate rocks gave birth to caves, canyons, cliffs and steep peaks. In the central area of ​​the Taygetos are located the impressive gorges Viros and Rintomos. The mountain is rich in water supply with the exception of the anhydrous part of Mani. The  drainage network that grows on the surface of the mountain feeds major rivers of the Peloponnese. Among those are  Evrotas, Pamisos,  Alpheus,  Nedon etc.


History and Mythology

According to Greek mythology, the name of the mountain is due to Taygeti. Taygeti, daughter of the giant Atlas, in an attempt to avoid the amorous moods of Zeus hid in mount Taygetus and with the help of the goddess Artemis she was  transformed into a deer. Taygetos has always been a place of worship of the goddess Artemis. On the slopes of the mountain  Dioscuri, Castor and Polidefkis, were born.

Taygetos history is intertwined with Sparta. First historical mention is from Homer who was impressed by the topography of the mountain. On the slopes of the mountain the ancient cities Pellana, Gerrinia and Avia were built. At the eastern foothills was located  Keadas where the Spartans threw to the sharp rocks the newborns who were not perfectly healthy.

During the Byzantine period was founded the castle of Mystras at the eastern foothills of mount Taygetos. During this period, the region was the economic and cultural center of the southern Greece as evidenced by the surviving monuments.


Flora and Fauna

In the mount Taygetus grow dense forests of chestnut and oak trees. Among them are identified pockets of pines and firs. The pine forest of  Vasiliki is the southernmost european forest of this species. At lower altitudes grow maquis and brushwood while the highest points are dominated by alpine vegetation. In the region thrive more than 600 plants.

The fauna of  Taygetos is equally important and includes mammals such as boars, badgers, foxes and hares. In the area  live turtles, snakes and more than 80 species of birds.

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