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Ancient Messene

“…Discover Ancient Messene, a 2,000-year-old city that acts as a testament to the extraordinary design and engineering skills of the early Greeks…”

The imperious city of Ancient Messene is one of the most thrilling archaeological sites of Greece as it holds the reigns of maybe one of the best-preserved ancient city of Greece. Ancient Messene has be one of the most exciting places to visit in the Peloponnese peninsula as every step you make has a long history, as you could easily spend an entire day admiring the exquisite architecture of Ancient Greece. Important archaeologists and valuable professors, including Themistocles Sophoulis, Georgios Economou, Anastasios Orlandos and Petros Themelis, took charge of the systematic excavations projects of Ancient Messene since 1895 and continue up until the present day. These people lend to humanity a precious gift; to be able to wander around one of the most ancient cities of Greece. Spreading on the southern slopes of Mt Ithome, once the strongest natural and manmade fortress of Messenia, Ancient Messene, with the monumental construction of the Arcadian gate that once was the symbol of the city, was founded during the 4th century BC by the Theban general Epaminondas, and became the capital of the free Messenian state following a long period of occupation of the Messenian territory by the Spartans. Strong fortification walls with towers and gates are preserved along a course of nearly ten kilometres, where there are preserved public and religious buildings, many of them reconstructed to a large degree. Ideally situated on a fertile valley over a hillside, and still undergoing archaeological excavations, Ancient Messene has a series of reconstructed monumental structures including the Ecclesiasterion, the Theatre, the Arsinoe Fountain, the Bouleuterion, the Agora and the Stadium as well as an extensive group of funerary monuments. However, one of the most impressive building monuments of the site is the Stadium and Gymnasium, which has stood the test of time, and has now been preserved so that you can admire it in all of its grandeur. It is this exceptional history that made Messene what it was, one of the finest provincial centers in Greece, and, as for now, one of the most impressive ancient sites in the Peloponnese.

Everything about Ancient Messene is monumental, as an idealized Greek city in a remarkable setting. Step back to time when the Romans ruled and wander around the spots where gladiators used to. You can even sit at an ancient throne by the central part of the theatre so that you can fully picture yourself as the leader watching the action unfolding in front of you.Although there aren’t any spectators in the magnificent restored theatre, and only columns surround the Asklepeion, Messene’s healing temple, the stadium, oh this stadium, remains a spectacle you deserve to visit.All of these monuments bear witness to the size of the city and its economic, political, religious and social importance. In terms of size and preservation, Ancient Messene is one of the most important cities of antiquity, which definitely worth a visit, as it has the rare advantage of not being destroyed by other settlements, and being an untouched Mediterranean natural environment par excellence. This is because Messene was one of history’s most generous gifts. The fact, that all of the fractures of the 2,000-year-old Ancient Messene are testament to the extraordinary design and engineering skills of the early Greeks. Combining the mountainous majesty of Delphi and the lowland tranquillity of Olympia, Ancient Messene is a must visit offering an insightful representation of the ancient Greek way of life in an ancient Greek city.

OPENING HOURS

The archaeological site of Ancient Messene is open 09:00 to 16:00. (Telephone: 0030.27240.51201 Website: Ancientmessene.gr)

TIPS

Ancient Messene is a vast site. Allow at least three hours there to give it the justice it deserves.

It would be wise to experience an tour with a licensed guide.

Bring a bottle of water with you.

MOBILE APPLICATION

Download the Easy Guide App of Messene for both Android and Apple devices to navigate yourself inside the archaeological site, or even virtually, through a rich content of text, images, video and three-dimensional representations.

EDITORIAL IMAGE

Grigoris Zontanos via Skaikairos.gr