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The ancient City of Messene

From the history lessons one may remember that Messene was a city-state, which was mostly at war or in competition with the eastern Sparta. There were two Messenian wars, but the school history books do not report much more. But two facts have led to the fact that Messene has become a spectacular archaeological site, comparable to Olympia, but it was a city with city walls, market place, theatre, temples, stadium, gymnasium and - probably - pulsating life, not "only" a religious place of worship.
On the one hand, the ancient historian Pausanias describes the city in great detail with all the important buildings, and on the other hand there have been incredibly rich finds and excavations of the described city in recent years, which are presented in a really sensitive and appealing way.
Messene is located 30km northwest of Kalamata in a beautiful mountainous landscape. The city is situated below the steep Ithomi mountain (800m), which offered shelter and on which the city walls ran, two city gates are still visible in remains, above a Zeus sanctuary. To the south, the slightly hilly plain opens up towards the sea, with olive trees, vineyards, vegetables and many cypresses.
The town fits perfectly into this landscape: From the stadium you have a wide view to the south, if you sit in the theatre (by the way one of the biggest antique complexes of this kind), you have a view over the city.
At the edge of the ancient city there is a small archaeological museum with the statues and elements found during the excavations, wonderful statues of Hermes and Heracles, the protectors of the youth - they were of course in the gymnasium. But Isis Pelago, the patron saint of sailors, is also represented.
The various temples, sports facilities and the market are very impressive and a must for the visitor to Greece. What is added is the overall impression with the modern village of Mavromati above - in the tavern you can sit outside in the shade and have an aerial view the view over the whole ensemble, great.

Isis Pelago, patron saint of the sailors
Hermes, Protektor of the youth

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