Messini. A wonderful and unknown archaeological site
Messini. A vast archaeological treasure
Our group recently made a trip to ancient Messini.
With easy access from Athens, the trip wasn’t supposed to be a hiking one. But the site is so large that he had a great hike to see the whole of it.
The city was founded in the winter of 370-369 BC by the Theban general Epaminondas. He had just defeated the Spartans in the battle of Leuctra and subsequently invaded Laconia.
Epaminondas liberated Messenia from the Spartans. Then he chose the foothills of Mount Ithomi to build the capital of the free Messenians.
Messinι was built almost simultaneously with the Arcadian Megalopolis. That would seclude Sparta by hostile states and make it lose its influence outside Laconia.
The city took its name from the mythical queen Messini, daughter of the king of Argos Triopas.
Messini remained the cultural centre of Messinia until 395 AD. Then, the invasion of the Goths of Alaric gave the decisive blow to the already decadent city. Its few remaining inhabitants began to settle in safer settlements and deserted the place.
Surely this is one of the most impressive archaeological sites in Greece. Not only for its great location and the importance of its monuments. But also for the exemplary restoration of them and the landscaping of the site.
And it certainly has far fewer visitors than it deserves. Since it’s so easily accessible, there is no excuse. So it’s time you visit it!
The Arcadian Gate
About the author
Hello! I am Denis, an architect based in Athens, Greece. I teach history of art and architecture in higher education. That’s one passion of mine. The other one is hiking, in and out of town. If you follow me, I’ll share my discoveries with you.
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