Euripides called Messinia “the land of the good fruit” for its beauty and its fertile rich earth.
Messinia is an area of Greece often missed by tourists. At the South West corner of the Peloponnese, it has the benefit of being away from the normal tourist haunts. It’s a place where you can enjoy the history and culture of the nation without having to share it with the throng. A place to relax, eat and explore the best of what Greece has to offer without the crowds. Rich in history, the region offers a treasury of archaeological, artistic and historical sites, as well as having some of the countries most pristine (and quiet) beaches.
There is much to explore in the region. Kalamata is the capital of Messinia, a city well known across the world for its olives and figs. The museum and archaeological site at Nestor’s Palace, for those interested in Homerian history, is the place where Telemachus, son of Odysseus was greeted by the king. Pylos, on the Western coast, is the site of a huge battle where the British, French and Russians destroyed the Turkish Fleet in 1827. Small fishing villages with wonderful local food, mountains worthy of scaling and scenery to admire all make up the region.
Pylos is a beautiful town, with white houses with gardens and flowers great history and peculiar architectural character. Buildings with typical archways, a square with cannons and a tall shady plane tree. Built among two low hills and in the center of the port is standing the rock Marathonisi or Helonaki. It was built in 1828 by the expeditionary force by General Maison.
In Methoni there is the famous medieval castle. This is one of the most important fortification works made in Greece. The entrance to the castle is located on the north side, while a large moat separates it from the mainland. Among them is built an impressive bridge with 14 arches.Within the walls of the castle, there is a church, one tall granite column known as a column of Morosini, Venetian sculpted lions and ruins of the Ottoman baths.
On the south side of the castle was built an octagonal tower on small island Bourtzi. Its role was defensive and was used as a place of interrogations and torture. A stone bridge with fantastic view connects the tower with the castle.
Koroni and Methoni are two states that have experienced great prosperity from the 13th to the 17th century. Their ports were key points for trade to and from the East. The town of Koroni identified with Homeric city Epia, one of the seven cities that Agamemnon promised to Achilles during the Trojan war to convince him to return to battle.
The castle of Koroni, who stood a silent witness to the suffering which hit the Peloponnese period during Venetian and Ottoman domination, stands on the edge of the harbor deserted. Among the ruins is the Byzantine church of Agia Sophia built in the 12th century.
Before visiting the Nestor’s Palace we will stop to Yalova. Yalova, is a picturesque seaside village, built in the bay of Navarino. The Yalova lagoon (Divari), the wetland with rare flora and fauna, and the bay of Voidokoilia with sand dunes and turquoise waters are areas of outstanding natural beauty.
After Yalova our next stop is Nestor’s Palace. The best preserved of the Mycenaean palaces. It’s a complex of various buildings. It consists of 105 ground floor apartments. It has four main buildings (SW building, central building, NE building, wine store) and some smaller ones.
The most important compartments of the palace are the big rectangural “throne room” with its circular hearth, the room with the clay bath tube and the stores with their numerous storage vessels. The walls of the palace were decorated with fine wall paintings. The thousands of clay tablets in linear B’ script found in the “Archive” illuminate the multiple functions and transactions which took place there.
These texts proof that Linear B’ is the earliest known Greek script, which was dechiphered by Michael Ventris.
Ancient Olympia was the site of the ancient Olympic Games. It is located at the foot of the Kronion Hill, set in a valley between two rivers and has become one of the most popular and famous sites in Greece. There is so much to see.
Ancient Olympia offers a myriad of treasures that appeal to all who are interested in the way of life of ancient times and more particularly, ancient Greece. The archaeological site consists of the Altis, the sanctuary of Zeus surrounded by notable buildings and structures, monuments and statues.
Alternative Tour Options:
There are so many other things to see in this area. Keep in mind that your driver is at your disposal, so if you would like to adjust the proposed itinerary at all, just let him know!
What Makes this Tour Unique?
- This is the only tour which covers all the most important sites of Messinia.
- Allows you to tour Messinia with a local driver able to show you the real face of the region.
- You must taste the citrus, the gift the Earth offered for the wedding of Zeus and Hera, divine gifts that were kept away from the people in the gardens of the Hesperides, now widely grown in Messinia. Oranges, tangerines, lemons.
- Also, don’t forget to taste the olives which are the tiny ambassadors of Messinia worldwide and figs.
Did you Know?
- Lelegas, the ancestor of Lakonians, is also considered to be the forefather of the first dwellers of Mesinnia, an area which was inhabited during the last years of the Stone Age (around 3000 B.C.).
- Nestor at the age of 75, while ruling a powerful kingdom, he followed the other heroes to the Trojan war with army from the nine cities of his territory and ninety ship, only ten less than the ship of the leader Agamemnon and thirty more than Menelaos, the immediately concerned. He did not fight at all there. At the battles his army was led by his brave sons, Antilohos and Thrasimidis. In Iliada it is mentioned that Antilohos killed nine Trojans and it was him who assumed the task of announcing to Achilles the death of his friend Patroclus. Nestor himself was based on his wisdom and the respect of Acheans in order to advice the leaders about which action they should take. After the destruction of Troy he returned safe to “sandy Pylos”, without serious damages. There he hosted Telemachos, Ulysse’s son, who was wandering in the area looking for his father’s traces.
- Two castles are built on the summits of the two hills at the ends of the Bay of Navarino, overlooking the town of Pylos: the older castle of Navarino, called Palaiokastron or Palaionavarinon and the more recent castle, called Niokastron. The latter was built in 1573 by the Turks, and in 1686 was given over to the Venetians. It again came under Turkish domination in 1715, along with the castle of Koroni and Palaionavarino. In 1816 it was captured by Ibrahim Pasha and remained under his control until 1828 when it was liberated by the French general Maison. During the Second World War it was used as the seat of the Italian and, later, the German headquarters.