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Peloponnese | Messinia

Messinia Prefecture ...more on Messinia Prefecture

...Excavations have revealed the remains of a luxurious, two-story central building and two other auxiliary buildings. They were divided into formal apartments, storage areas for wine and oil, tool sheds, and workshops.
The central apartments - the throne room with its stuccoes, clay ceremonial hearth, and the queen's quarters - were richly decorated with frescoes.
In the palace, archaeologists discovered thousands of clay pots, a bathroom with terracotta bathtub, and 1,250 clay tablets with inscriptions in Linear B, which have since been deciphered. Several beehive tombs have been excavated in the area surrounding the palace.

From Hora to Pylos, the countryside is laid out with row upon row of olive trees, those benevolent trees protected by Athena.

Pylos is a pretty little town built up a hill on the south coast of the bay of Navarino. Snow-white two-story houses with courtyards drenched in flowers, and the arcaded streets, make you think you've been transported to an island.
The bay of Voidokilia extends from the base of the old castle. A tranquil, carefree sanctuary, the floor of the bay is covered with a thick layer of sand.

The southernmost tip of the west coast of the Peloponnese reveals Methoni. In the town are some enormous Venetian wells, whose marble rims are furrowed by the pressure of huge ropes over the centuries.  Homer called Methoni "rich in vines" and tradition maintains that the town is so called because the donkeys (onoi) carrying its wine used to get drunk (methoun), from the heady aroma. You enter the castle by crossing a massive bridge, impressed by the gigantic walls, imposing bastions, and monumental gates.  To the south, another bridge unites the citadel with the Bourtzi, a fortified islet with casemates and towers.  Finikounda is a picturesque fishing village at the back of a bay.  Caiques and fishing boats are drawn up all along its sandy shore, while its tavernas serve their fresh catch to guests at little tables at the water's edge. 
The road winds, like a vast serpent moving slowly through lush fields, to arrive at Koroni.  Its medieval atmosphere is imprinted upon its old mansions, its churches, and its castle.  Here are quiet, diaphanous waters, sandy beaches and, opposite, the little island of Venetiko with its enchanting beach.  From its hilltop site, the Venetian citadel crowns the town.  A proper eagle's nest, with thick walls and massive gates, it cuts a powerful and magnificent figure. Below the fortress, in a little palm grove, is a small building housing Koroni's collection of historical and archaeological artifacts.  The beauty of the area, unchecked and unbroken, is a constant surprise.
Petalidi juts out from the head of a little bay.  The sandy or pebbly beaches round about are shallow and sheltered from the wind and surrounded by banana trees.  What would you remember first about this place?  Here, there, everywhere are souvenirs and expensive gifts.
Opposite Kalamata lies Almiro, above it is Mt.  Taygetos, the "masculine mountain," and next to it is the sea, the Gulf of Messinia.  Almiro is a small settlement by the sea with a clean pebbly beach and translucent waters.  This is where the Messinian Mani begins.  It's like entering another country.  The landscape is precipitous, plunging headlong towards the sea.  Wooded slopes and rugged peaks.  Brooks and torrents.  Deep gorges and high ridges.  Only by the sea is it peaceful.  Mikri and Megali Mantinia, Avia, Ano and Kato Verga Akrogiali, and Kitries are some of the villages.  Sand and pebbles and little coves, but also pine and fir woods and crystalline springs, solitary chapels and caves, once the dwelling place of nymphs and lined with stalagmites. Hamlets hidden in the mountainsides and hamlets at the water's edge.  Stone houses.
Sitting rooms with fireplaces.  Flower-filled courtyards.  Cobbled lanes. Byzantine churches and castles.  Smudged frescoes and tall towers.  Painted archangels and slits in the walls for defensive shooting.  As you penetrate further into this astonishing land, you want to get to the heart of it, to have fun with it, to fight for its sake.
You breathe the perfumed breeze that wafts down from Taygetos mountain, or you forget yourself swimming alone in a delightful cove.  Then more towers and churches (Kardamili) and more wild gorges (Diros) and, after a while, Maniot towers yet again, and charming fishing villages and another irresistible cove (Stoupa).  On to shiny rocks and fabulous caves (Katafighi), more churches and bell towers (Thalames Platsa), as you keep walking, a bit bewildered by so much to contemplate, but proud and happy to be alive in such surroundings.  What else can you say about this place, about this abundance of wealth of beauty!