KALAMATA

The castle of Methoni

The “eyes of Venice” in the Mediterranean

On the SE Messinia, at the first leg of the Peloponnese peninsula, there are two beautiful little towns: picturesque Methoni overlooking the Ionian Sea and the island comlex of Oinousses, and colourful Koroni, a place with insular atmosphere. Thanks to their strategic position, they have been important trade and marine centres. But for the very same reason, they have always been coveted by the powerful of the times. That explains the need for building huge fortresses.

Built by the Venetians in the early 13th century on a rocky promontory, the castle of Methoni is among the largest ones in the Mediterranean. You’ll be astonished at the bridge stone of 14 arches which connects the castle to the shore instead of the timber one that used to stand in its place before the Venetians ever got there. The celebrated symbol of Venice, the lion of St Marc, dominates the gate of the castle where immured reliefs, emblems, blazons, inscriptions, the huge gates –especially the main gate, above the moat – and the relics of two Ottoman bathhouses have survived.

At the south edge of the castle a fortified islet floats. Bourtzi, as it is called, a prison and place of executions during the Turkish Occupation, was built in 1500 and is connected to the Sea Gate of the castle with a paved tiny road.


When in Mehtoni, don’t forget to:
  • Stroll in the scenic town and marvel at the local well preserved architecture.
  • Visit the built-in-the-rocks catacombs of St Onoufrios (2km N of Methoni) and the catholic monastery of St Leon.
  • Swim at the beautiful beach by the castle, as well as at the beaches of Mavrovouni, Amenomylos, Loutsa and Akritika.
  • Pay a visit to Sapientza Island, a significant wetland habitat nestling the kri kri wild sheep, birds etc in a protected forest with arbutus trees. A 19th century stone lighthouse and an exceptional sandy beach are no less of an attraction too.