Methoni is a beautiful offshore small traditional town with a long sandy coast line dominated by an imposing castle. As if the castle was not picturesque enough, directly across from the town there are the Oinousses islands: Sapieza, Agia Mariani and Shiza. Sapieza is an important biotope great for excursion. Shiza Island has a beautiful cave. There are many nice taverns and cafes to chose from and a visit to the castle is a must. It is considered the queen of castles and not by coincidence. It is a model castle-city, one of the most important in Greece, with its well preserved large fortifications and a prison tower on the sea called Bourtzi. During the Middle Ages the natural port of Methoni served as point of departure for pilgrims traveling to the Holy Land as well as a resting place for the merchants on their journey from West to East. The city flourished during the first Venetian rule from 13th to 15th century.
Methoni is mentioned by Homer, who equates it with the Homeric Pedasus and Thucydides referred to its strong walls during the Peloponnesian War (431BC.). After the second Messinian War the area was settled by natives of Nafplio, and in the 4th century BC the fortifications were strengthened and it remained independent until Roman times.
At the tip of the peninsula, a naturally fortified location, the Venetian fortress of Methoni is preserved in excellent condition. The position with its natural harbour has been renowned since antiquity. From 395 AD. until 1204 it was used as a stronghold of the Byzantines. The presence of the Franks was short lived. In 1206 the Venetians occupied the area but it was to change hands several times until 1826 when it was released by Francesco Morosini and delivered into the hands of the new Greek state. During the Venetian period Methoni flourished and the settlement developed. The fortress is surrounded by a moat that protected it from invaders. An octagonal fort, Bourtzi, protrudes into the sea and was full of gun slits. It ran east of the jetty of the medieval city port. The Bourtzi is of Turkish constructiona and as well as being a fort it acted as a prison. A bridge with fourteen arches, built by the engineers of General Maison, makes an impressive entrance to the fortress.
The castle has two fortified enclosures with massive walls, built by Antonio Lorentako by command of the Council of Venice. The imposing entrance of the castle is in the northern and most powerful section, a huge gate with built-in columns with Corinthian capitals, the work of engineers working with the Venetian Morosini. Two bastions, one from the 15th century and one from the Venetian period complete the fort. Inside visitors can explore the ruined Venetian houses and the church of Aghia Sophia which the Turks made into a mosque. A monolith column of granite with a capital of Byzantine style is said to have carried the bust of the venetian leader Morosini (The Morosini Column).
Finally, the ruins of Turkish baths, wells, underground storage tanks and a lodging house of Ibrahim, and later Morosini, testify to the importance of the castle and its glorious past.
The Sapienza, DOXASIES THE MARITIME OF MEDIEVAL AND EXPERIMENT "NESTOR"
«Navigare con Sapienza». This was the advice ( "Steaming with wisdom") to seafarers of the late Middle Ages depicted on maps by globetrotter then Venetians. It is said that the sentence was completed near Methoni and the word «Sapienza» fell on a small island in front of the port. Therefore thus baptized the Sapienza.
It is, however, fitting name for those sailing in waters scattered from area shipwrecks. Obviously they did not consider its advice that the captains of the two trucks collided few miles farther from the Sapienza 5.43 on the morning of Good Monday.
Many sunken hulls of ships of all time and their great loads that come to light usually by fishermen who dive in these waters - protoentopisan the "marbles" around 1920. There he sank a boat with stolen cargo, the granite pillars suspected that came from the Grand Peristyle Herod in Caesarea of Palestine (1st cent. AD). Here the so-called "sinking of carnivores', as the load was Roman sarcophagi from titanium stone. According to legend, it was the place where the Apostle Paul landed when going to Rome his ship caught in a storm.
The island was known anchorage and important port in the Mediterranean for anyone who wanted to control the passage to the Orient. So it is not surprising that the Venetians, the thalassocrats season, they got after the Fourth Crusade, in 1209, the "Treaty of Sapienza."
The legend says that in a bay of the island, in a cave that no longer exists, hidden pirate Manetas. It was, however, anchorage and base both the Turks and the Venetians and the Greek fleet in 1825.
Ibrahim and hunting gold
Opposite Methoni important geopolitical hub for centuries, arrived in 1825 the army of Ibrahim spreading terror among Greeks revolted, occupying a large part of Moria. He settled in the Venetian town castle (built in 1209 to serve the ships and the marine corridor controlled by the Venetians), which had been occupied by the Ottomans in 1500 and recaptured the Venetian admiral Francesco Morosini in 1686. It is significant that the Turks from 1715 which they took control of the strategy - from Byzantium yet - city, held it throughout the course of the revolution of 1821, although it was besieged several times. Eventually, the city without a fight will release the 1828 Maison with French expeditionary force.
In the many shipwrecks around the Sapienza and Schiza recently sought and the ship carrying the legendary gold of the Jews of Thessaloniki who had stolen by the Nazis. The German officer Max Merten had managed to assemble a vast fortune in gold coins and jewelry. He promised the Jewish population that will be sent to concentration camps if lend their valuable belongings, but eventually signed their displacement.
Hunting this "lost treasure" was launched in 2000 to identify what is left of the boat that in 1943 said that sank in southwest Peloponnese. Eventually, those who participated gained only disappointment, as the famous submerged "treasure Merten 'never found.
It was, however, another story about treasure hear the locals for many years. Others say for pirates stopped there and hid diamonds and pounds. Some fishermen argue that the sea washed up gold coins at specific points. With such a treasure shipwrecks, but the only certainty is that what is discussed, creating an underwater archaeological park, will somehow appease the already exuberant imagination of some.
"Nestor" and Calypso Deep
A few miles southwest of Sapienza extends an underwater abyss where the deepest point of the Mediterranean (at 5.121 m.), The Calypso Deep. From there take place surveys "Nestor experiment." Basically, the name of the innovative program, involving Greek and foreign research institutions, is the acronym NESTOR (Neutrino Extended Submarine Telescope with Oceanographic Research). The aim is, through the depths of the abyss where they can be "locked" because not enough sunlight, to investigate the existence of neutrinos, these tiny particles will hopefully give decisive about the past of the Universe information.
The well erected a giant telescope, higher than the Eiffel Tower, and recently dumped at sea - with great difficulty - and the fiber optic cable that provides information to researchers station which is installed in the old gymnasium -
The fort and ancient city glow beautifully against the setting sun, and the little beach town beneath it was excellent: people playing on the beach, nice taverns, and friendly people. Methoni had a couple of hotels and lots of holiday rentals