It is one of the most well-preserved cities in the ancient world. The visitor feels awe at first contact with this great and impressive archaeological site. It is Ancient Messini that invites you on a unique trip in time.
It is located next to the present village of Mavrommati in Messinia and is one of the most important archaeological sites in Greece.
Its foundation dates back to 370 BC-369 BC. by Theban General Epaminondas after his victory over the Spartans in the Battle of Leuktron. Epaminondas liberated Messenia from the Spartans. He chose the foothills of Mount Ithome to build the capital of the free Messenians. It was built almost simultaneously with Arkadian Megalopolis, in order to limit the influence of Sparta.
Pausanias, the Greek traveler and historian, recounts that preachers were sent to the Messenians, inviting them to return and inhabit the new city. The name was chosen by mythical Queen Messini, daughter of Triopa, King of Argos. After a period of desolation, Messini was re-emerging after the 5th century, in an important settlement in the area.
Ancient Messini remained the cultural center of Messinia until 395 BC. The raid of Goths of the Alaric gave the decisive blow to the city that was completely destroyed.
The city had a huge wall, the perimeter of which was nine kilometers long, and two gates, Arcadian and Laconian. Its northern side, close to the first gate, is better maintained and one can “follow” the parts that survive and the foundations. The buildings have all the same orientation, as the city is built on the Hippodamian system. His instigator was the geometer and astronomer of the 5th century BC, Hippodamus of Miletus.
The visitor can admire much of the ancient city, including the Asclepieion, the theater, the Arsinoe fountain, the sanctuaries of the Zeus Savior and the hero – probably Aristomenis – as well as the Stadium and Gymnasium.
How to get there
The distance from Kardamili is about 55 km and it takes about 1 hour and 15 minutes to reach Ancient Messini. The atmosphere and the surrounding area will compensate you.