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.
1 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.
2 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.
3 The theater was in place by 214 BCE.
4 The remains of the Ithomi Fountain.
5 Stoa of the Arsinoe Fountain.
6 More columns of the Agora.
7 These are perhaps the prettiest of the columns on the site.
8 Another view of the same columns.
9 Geometrical mosaics.
10 Something is chasing a man...
11 Liion-headed gargoyles.
12 Finally you reach the Asclepion.
13 Inside the Asclepion.
14 Nice oleanders in the Asclepion, with a view of the mountain.
15 Column of Damophon and the small Ekklesiasterion (theater or lecture hall).
16 Many remains.
17 The Ekklisiasterion served as an assembly hall..
18 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).
19 Never saw so many ancient columns standing in one place before.
20 The stoa along the left (eastern) side is composed of 75 columns standing. (John counted them.)
21 In the background, Palaestra, or wrestling school.
22 Northern (entrance) stoa looking west
23 Northern (entrance) stoa looking east
24 The eastern bleachers.
25 The stadium in all its glory!
26 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...
28 The 75 eastern stoa columns.
29 A nicely restored 4.85 m votive column.
30 The western bleachers and the Palaestra.
31 HIm, again?
32 The agora with trees and cypres.
33 The fountain in the village from which water ran down to the ancient city.