GET CLOSE TO THE LOCAL HISTORY
Archeological Sites to Visit
In every trip the search for archeological sites is an integral part of recreation. Below are some very special places you need to visit to get closer to the local history.
Nestoros Cave is located on the northeastern front of the hill of Paleokastro, at a point from which it overlooks the bay of Voidokilia, about 17 km north of Pylos, Messinia.
Its entrance, almost triangular in shape and visible from a long distance, leads to two elongated vestibules that end in the main hall of the cave, measuring 20 X 16 m., With a vaulted roof about 20 m high.
It may be identified with the cave, which Pausanias (IV, 36, 2) associated with the myth of the stable of the flocks of the king of Pylos Nestor and before that of Nileas, who is considered by tradition to have brought them from Thessaly.
The history of the excavation of the cave, as well as the hill of Paleokastro, where the medieval ruins of the castle of Navarino are located, begins in the 19th century with an excavation, carried out by Henry Schliemann, who searched in these places for places of Homeric topography of Nestor in Pylia.
A few days of excavations were carried out in various periods of the 20th century, among which the most systematic was the research, conducted in 1953 by William A. McDonald in collaboration with Dimitrios R. Theocharis, as part of the research program of Carl W. Blegen University of Cincinnati, USA at the Nestor Palace in Ano Englianos, Chora. In 1980 the most recent excavation was carried out by Georgios S. Korre and Adamantios Sampson,
The Nestor Cave was first used during the Neolithic period, from which interesting samples of decorated and undecorated pottery of the 6th and 5th millennium BC come. However, the disturbance of the embankments from the previous excavations does not allow findings as to whether the presence of Neolithic man in the cave was systematic and repetitive and whether it was related exclusively to livestock and storage economy.
The use of the cave became more fragmentary during the Early Helladic period (3rd millennium BC), but intensified during the late Middle Helladic and Late Helladic (Mycenaean) period (2nd millennium BC). A significant number of goblet fragments come from the last phase.
Intense use of the cave for a short time is presumed during the Geometric period and more sparse during the Late Classical times and later times.
The presence of man in the cave during these phases should be interpreted as an act of worship and combined with the rich residential and burial activity in the wider area of Voidokilia.
Click HERE for location and route to Nestor’s Cave
Located on a mountain west of Gialova Lagoon and at the northern end of Navarino Bay is the old Navarino castle Paliokastro, meaning “old castle”.
It was possibly built between 1282 and 1289 and it is believed that the castle was established by Nicolas II of Saint Omer who was the commander of the barony of Thebes (information sign at Paliokastro put up by the Ministry of Culture, 2014).
The castle was built to control the north entrance into Navarino Bay (Giorgos Maneas, personal communication). The castle is reachable by a 600 m hiking trail, mainly with an uphill slope.
It is hence not accessible for physically disabled people.
There is a small parking lot at the beginning of the trail.
At Paliokastro there is no information sign about the history of the castle. There are no further facilities.
The view from the trail and the castle is commonly regarded very beautiful which is well worth a visit all in itself. There are some occasional other tourists, but as a whole the experience as a tourist is unspoiled by mass tourism.
Quite a lot of tourists visit Paliokastro but it is evenly spread out over the year, without any particular peak, so there will never be a feeling of crowdedness.
Paliokastro has both a natural value and a cultural value that all together make the place attractive for the tourist looking for a shorter hiking trip. The natural value lies mostly in the view and the experience itself, and the cultural value lies in the old castle ruin which adds a historical impression.
The surviving Byzantine churches and their frescoes make an impression. The beginning of the Castle City is in the Franks in 1249, but its flourishing coincides with the Byzantine period.
The ancient Messene , the former Ithome is one of the best preserved ancient sites in the Peloponnesian peninsula. It was built after the Spartiats have finally been beaten by the Thebes.
The City of MESSENE was built around 370 BC after Sparta was no longer of any importance in the region. It was fortified and hard to access.
Ancient Messene is one of the most beautiful archaeological sites in Greece surrounded by amazing landscape. It is the perfect place to relax and enjoy nature and the sun while walking among the ancient city.
Ancient Messini is one of the most significant ancient cities in terms of its size, structure and state of preservation and still has much to be discovered. Along with the sanctuaries and public buildings it has imposing fortifications, dwellings and burial sites.
It has, amongst other things the rare advantage of never having been destroyed or covered by later settlements and sits in an unspoiled inland site in a natural Mediterranean environment.
This natural environment combines the mountain grandeur of Delphi and the low riverside serenity of Olympia, the dominating bare limestone mass of Mount Ithome, the ancient acropolis and the low fertile plain spread below the ancient city.
Click HERE to view on Google Map and the route to Ancient Messini
2 hours from Gialova is The Sanctuary of Olympia.
The venue of the Olympic Games of antiquity. The imposing history of the place will captivate you.
Birthplace of the Olympic Games, with stunning temple ruins, a still-functional stadium, and an intimate museum of ancient masterpieces.
One of the largest and most beautiful archaeological sites in Greece, ancient Olympia deserves a lengthy visit. For over a thousand years the Panhellenic games – after which the modern Olympic games were modelled – were held at this site.
Walk through the arched tunnel from the sanctuary into the stadium that could accommodate up to 20,000 spectators and you get an idea of what the athletes must have felt.
The starting and finish lines are still there, so if you feel inclined you can give it a try.
Click HERE to view Google Map and get the route to Ancient Olympia.
The Castle City of Koroni built by the Venetians.
Another Cathedral built by the Venetians. “Bourtzi”, the sea fortress magnetizes the eyes.
You will find the Mycenaean palace at the 12th km to Chora. In terms of acne it is the second. The primary position is held by that of Agamemnon in Mycenae.
Archaeological Museum of Chora:
7 km away from the Palace you will discover this museum, which has a variety of exhibits and tombs of the area of that period.
Niokastro (Pylos Castle):
It is a Turkish castle from 1573 which has been perfectly preserved. Inside you will find the Museum of Underwater Antiquities and the new museum of Pylos.
At the south end of Navarino Bay, in the city of Pylos, is the new Navarino Castle, Niokastro, in oppose to Paliokastro, the old Navarino Castle.
It was built by the Ottomans, starting in 1573, with the objective of controlling the south entrance into the Navarino Bay.
Between 1686 and 1715 the castle was in the hands of the Venetians, before it went back in Ottoman possession and after the Greek independence war and liberation of Greece in the 19th century, the castle was used as a prison before it was given to the Archaeological Service.
Niokastro consists of an outer wall, an inner hexagon citadel and the church of Metamorphoses which originally was a mosque and there is an exhibition on maritime archaeology.
There is a possibility to walk around the castle on the outside to look at the view facing the Navarino Bay.
Niokastro is accessible by car and there is a small parking lot outside the gate. There is probably little natural value in Niokastro apart from the view, but the greater cultural value because of its historical significance. In the 1980´s there was a restoration of the castle.