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Greek Medieval Castles at Messinia

2011-09-02

Medieval castles in Greece? Yes ma’am! In this article, you can explore the beautiful remains of the castle and fortifications of Methoni, a city in the southern west tip of Greece.

WHERE
The castle and its fortifications are in the southern west tip of Greece. The peninsula there ends up in the city of Methoni, which was developed next to the castle.

WHAT
The castle was constructed sometime in the 12th century by the Venetians. The Italians had in their sights the location of Methoni for a very practical reason. It was a key point on the route from Venice to Crete (Crete always acted as a source of raw materials for Venetians). Hence, a perfect location to build an outpost, a castle and keep our routes safe.

Since then, the castle changed hands between the Italians and Ottomans who kept adding different things and reinforcing the castle and fortifications. Beyond the castle entrance lies the small city of Methoni, with well preserved buildings dated in the first half of the 20th century.

WHY VISIT
The castle itself, although a shadow of its past glory, still impresses with its presence. In order to enter you pass through a stone bridge of 14 arches above a moat. Entering the gate, which is adorned by decoration in the upper corners, the road takes you sharp left. This was a defense mechanism, in case the main gate was breached. The corridor takes you to a second gate, where you can see openings at each side for cannons. These cannons would fire upon anyone breaching the main gate.

Through this gate lies the interior of the castle. These days this vast plain area used to be the location of various buildings for various uses: a couple of “hamam” buildings (Turkish baths of Ottoman times), a church built by Catholics, and remains of towers etc. can be seen. In order to explore the whole interior of the castle, it can take easily a couple of hours.

At the southern tip of the castle lies the best part. However, through a magnificent gate, you exit the castle and face the open sea. There lies a tower in the water, the “Bourtzi” which has had various uses through the years. The magnificent sea gate, the stone stretching to the Bourtzi, and the Bourtzi itself makes for a beautiful picture, especially in the late hours of the afternoon with the sun bathing them in red light.

THE PHOTOS
In the photos you can see the interiors of the castle, the main gate, and its internal corridor, parts of the walls where the lion of Venice is attached (a lion with wings holding a tablet). As well as shots of the hamams and the church, and of course, the Bourtzi.

Dear friends, enjoy!

written by teriax on 2011-09-02 #places #fortification #greece #archaelogy #castles #escape-from-the-city #ottoman #location #medieval #messinia #methoni

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