Archaea Messene

Archea (or Ancient) Messene was the most fascinating place we saw, even more than the Acropolis. It's huge, there are lots of remains, especially columns. and the stadium area is simply marvellous.
Looking south over the site of Archaea Messene  from the excellent taverna in town, one can see most of the site except for the theater area. The western columns of the agora are 1/3 hidden by a tree on the right, and the stadium is in the distance, behind the Asclepion, on the left.  gr17 092012430 k abc We visited this site partly on the recommendation of a French lady working in a shop near Mykenes. She described it accurately and lovingly. When you first come in, you see a stone staircase and a wall. Big deal. But push ahead...  gr17 091613270 s rca Near the steps, an excavated mosaic floor and some broken columns.  gr17 091613231 s As you continue past the steps, the vast area of the theater and the agora comes into view. It is rather overwhelming in its size and degree of restoration.  gr17 091613260 s
The theater, seen from the other side (the south).  gr17 092010121 k The fountain building and the northern stoa (roofed area supported by rows of pillars) of the agora, which was huge, almost 35,000 m 2 .  gr17 091613162 s The building of the so-called Arsinoe Fountain.  gr17 091613150 k The Arsinoe Fountain.  gr17 092010080 s-r-a
Columns of the northern stoa of the agora.  gr17 091613211 k The basilica, with the western columns of the agora in the background.  gr17 091613460 k Beautiful colonnade of the western stoa of the agora.  gr17 091613260 k This area has actually been identified as a butcher's shop, or  abbatoir.   gr17 092010160 s
Ruins of a Doric temple dedicated to a local queen, Messene, considered to have been a god.  gr17 091613271 k rc Gargoyles made up not of medieval monsters, but of ...  gr17 092010221 s ... lions' heads.  gr17 092010230 s Pushing farther on, one finally sees the emains of the huge Asclepion, a temple to Asclepius, the healing god (as at the temple at Epidauros).  gr17 092010270 s-aaa
The Asclepion was also surrounded by stoa, of which the bases of some columns still stand as reminders of former glory.  gr17 091613331 k Decorations which were once above the columns.  gr17 092010293 s The ekklisasterion looks like a theater but was apparently something like a lecture hall.  gr17 092011170 s-r-aa Looking back across columns and a tired tourist toward the theater.  gr17 092010220 k
Pushing on past the Asclepion, one finally sees the magnificent stadium, Heroon and Palaistra.  gr17 092010410 k ca Along the eastern side alone, there are 76 columns standing. There must be about 200 in all. (Count them if you don't believe me.) There are fascinating pictures of the excavation and restauration on the  Ancient Messene  site.  gr17 092010420 k ab c Columns of the northern and western side.  gr17 092010451 k a The Heroon (or mausoleum) stands at the southern end of the stadium, beyond the double row of columns of the northern stoa.  gr17 092010461 k
The double columns of the northeastern stoa.  gr17 092010471 k The stadium has horseshoe-shaped "bleachers" around three sides.  gr17 092010472 k The northeastern corner, with Mount Ithomi in the background. There are ruins of a temple to Zeus on the mountain top.  gr17 092010491 k rab The Heroon was probably a mausoleum in which members of a wealthy Messenian family were laid to rest.  gr17 092010513 k
The stadium and Mount Ithomi.  gr17 092010570 k ra View from the Heroon of the stadium and Mount Ithomi.  gr17 092010530 k Columns of the palaistra, a wrestling school or gymnasium.  gr17 092010590 k The western city wall climbed to the top of Mount Ithomi.  gr17 092009492 s-a
Swedish tourist at the remains of the Arcadian Gate.  gr17 092012580 k The wall climbs uphill from the Arcadian Gate.  gr17 092012550 s The museum is too small, but they hope to enlarge one day. They have some lovely objects, such as this statue of Artemis, a Roman copy of a 4th-c. BCE Greek statue.  gr17 092013172 k Statue of a lion killing and eating a deer.  gr17 092013140 k
Lovely statue of a young girl who lost her head.  gr17 092013121 k