30 km away from Kalamata, at the west foothills of mount Ithomi near the Mauromati village, lies ancient Messini, one of the mosy significant archeological sites in Greece.
Ancient Messini, is excavated since the years of Revolution and reveals vital information of its past as a result of its size and importance. It is a rare archeological site capable of captivating the visitor with its temples, houses, ancient walls and public buildings that are salvaged in all their glory.
Ancient Messini was built in 369 BC by the Theban general Epaminondas. The city earns its name from the mythical, pre Doric queen of the country who was also daughter of Argous king, Triopas and wife of Polikaonas from Lakonia. The layout of ancient Messinia follows the so called “ippodamio” system, in which all buildings have the same orientation with the space being divided in horizontal and vertical shafts. The wall surrounding ancient Messini, has a length of a total 9 km. It protected the city from all directions with the exception of the northeast side which had Ithomi as its natural fort. The wall had two monumental gates, the “Arkadiki” gate (or gate of Megalopolis) and the “Lakoniki” gate which is not salvaged.
The theater of Messinia is the first monument that one encounters at the archeological site. The fountain of Arsinoi, daughter of mythical, Messinian king, Leukipos and mother of Asklipios, was discovered between the theater and the market of ancient Messini. On the east side of the fountain, lies the starting point of the market. Asklipieio was the most prominent place of ancient Messini as the center of the city’s public life and was operating simultaneously with the market. The Doric temple was surrounded by 5 platforms and more than 140 pedestals for bronze statues modeled primarily after significant political figures with the foundation of the temple lying at the center of Asklipieio.
The stadium and high school belong in a special category of impressive building complexes of ancient Messini, in terms of how well they are preserved. The stadium includes 18 bleachers and 18 lines of figurines that are separated by stairwells and surrounded by Doric galleries.
Most excavated findings are kept at the museum of ancient Messini which is a two-story building at the beginning of the archeological site. Your visit at ancient Messini will definitely mesmerize you through its rich and admirable history.