The Mani region has a unique set of characteristics. It is a place that combines the beauty of the landscape with the simplicity and warmth of the people who inhabit it. Despite the dominance of the stone buildings it is a place that fascinates visitors. Until recent years a difficult place to reach and characterised by the tower houses that the people built for refuge in times of trouble. The main feature that strikes first time visitors is the simple but rigid architecture of the buildings built mainly of stone. The imposing castles, fortified chateaus and mansions and cobbled streets make the Mani virtually an "open museum".