Ancient Messene

We loved Ancient Messene so much on our two visits last year, we went again this year. It is still one of the most impressive archaeological sites we have seen. There's an excellent taverna too, with a view over the site.
Ancient Messene sneaks up on you, or. rather, you sneak up on it. There are three different views as you walk into it.The first is just a hill and a wall, the back wall of the theater. The second, the first real view of the site is from the top of that  hill. You can barely make out the Ascleipiion from here.  gr18 092412212 s-a The theater and the forum, including all the columns beyond it. The Asclepion is in back on the right. You still can't see the stadium at all.  gr18 092412172 k The theater was in place by 214 BCE.  gr18 092412150 k The remains of the Ithomi Fountain.  gr18 092410390 k-rc
Stoa of the Arsinoe Fountain.  gr18 092410401 k More columns of the Agora.  gr18 092412121 k These are perhaps the prettiest of the columns on the site.  gr18 092410441 s Another view of the same columns.  gr18 092411550 k
Geometrical mosaics.  gr18 092412060 s-a-r Something is chasing a man...  gr18 092412071 s-aa Liion-headed gargoyles.  gr18 092410461 k Finally you reach the Asclepion.  gr18 092411430 k
Inside the Asclepion.  gr18 092411390 k Nice oleanders in the Asclepion, with a view of the mountain.  gr18 092410501 k Column of Damophon and the small Ekklesiasterion (theater or lecture hall).  gr18 092411440 k Many remains.  gr18 092411490 k
The Ekklisiasterion served as an assembly hall..  gr18 092411500 k From the Asclepion, it's a short walk to the third big view, of the magnificent stadium, with its 300 or so columns (personal estimation).  gr18 092410550 k Never saw so many ancient  columns standing in one place before.  gr18 092411000 k The stoa along the left (eastern) side is composed of 75 columns standing. (John counted them.)  gr18 092410584 k
In the background, Palaestra, or wrestling school.  gr18 092410552 k Northern (entrance) stoa looking west  gr18 092411071 s-r Northern (entrance) stoa looking east  gr18 092411070 s-r2 The eastern bleachers.  gr18 092411080 s
The stadium in all its glory!  gr18 092411100 k The Palaestra (wrestling school). Making such a beautiful building for a bunch of sweating wrestlers says something about the ancient Greeks' attitude towards sports. Or sweating wrestlers...  gr18 092411120 k Peekaboo....  gr18 092411160 s-r The 75 eastern stoa columns.  gr18 092411210 k
A nicely restored 4.85 m votive column.  gr18 092411241 k The western bleachers and the Palaestra.  gr18 092411251 k HIm, again?  gr18 092411400 s-r2 The agora with trees and cypres.  gr18 092412020 k ab
The fountain in the village from which water ran down to the ancient city.  gr18 092413281 k Siv loved the cactuses .-- cacti.  gr18 092413471 s-aa