Surrounded by orange tree orchards and endless expanses of olive trees, Taigetos is the highest mountain of Greece’s Peloponnesus. Despite the small settlements that climb shyly on the foothill, the 2400-meter-high mountain seems formidable and intimidating. Even the great castle-city of Mistras seems to disappear into the mountain’s white winter ridge.
The ancients believed that the goddess Artemis herself, protector of the hunt, made her home within the thick forests of Taigetos. The pretty nymph Taigeti, from whom the mountain gained its ancient name, also took shelter amidst the enchanting woodlands. During the middle-Byzantine period the mountain was called Pentadaktilos.
In the words of author Kostas Ouranis, "I could never have imagined that there would be a mountain with such character, such individuality. Its image was unapproachably magnificent.. Taigetos rises unhampered, straight, beautiful and strong – with a proud exaltation – right to the height of its snow-covered peaks."
Similarly, writer Stratis Mirivilis attempts to convey the breath-taking landscape: "Taigetos is indescribable, impossible to express itself without Beethoven’s music. So thick, so overbearing is its enforcement on the soul of each man. It’s the same as looking at huge monument of genius. The impression is vague about the details, but its meaning is upright. It makes you stand upright yourself and accept it. Accept it in your heart as a huge blessing, or as a calamity that strikes your soul and looks in you imperatively for an answer."