The Tsiklitiras mansion is magnificent and is worth a visit for two reasons: first because of the personality of its owner, Olympic medalist Konstantinos Tsiklitiras and second, because of the research programme "Nestor". The mansion that also operated as a school houses today the Institute of Astroparticle Physics of the National Observatory of Athens.
Konstaninos Tsiklitiras was born in Pylos in 1888; he was a track athlete and a football player, holder of country records in standing long jump and a gold medalist in the 1912 Olympic Games in Stockholm. A role model, a unique example of Greek Olympic spirit, since he won one gold, two silver medals and a bronze. He also volunteered to fight at the Balkan Wars, an enduring and persistent man who achieved his goals and won eternal glory.
In order to honour his name today, the members of the Tsiklitiras family have offered the mansion to the the Nestor Institute, the research of which focuses at detecting neutrinos, the almost immaterial, invisible particles that it is believed hide important information for both the past and the future of the universe. An improbable hypothesis at the least expected place.
This research programme is considered one of the most important ones in the history of physics, since mapping these electronically neutral ghost-particles that have an almost zero mass and travel in straight lines with unbelievable speeds and constantly in the vast space of the universe is a significant undertaking.
These invisible travellers in space hide information for the creation of the universe. The Nestor Institute of Pylos took advantage of a geographic particularity of the area, an extremely deep underwater well in order to confine and photograph the neutrinos using an enormous telescope.
The aim of the project is to create a new map of the sky. As impressive and imposing is the land and the deep, so are the assumptions of the research.