Greece Methoni : Kástro and Bourtzi fortress

Methoni (Greek: Μεθώνη, Italian: Modone, Venetian: Modon) is a village and a former municipality in Messenia, Peloponnese, Greece. Since the 2011 local government reform it is part of the municipality Pylos-Nestoras, of which it is a municipal unit. Its name may be derived from Mothona, a mythical rock. It is located 11 km south of Pylos and 11 km west of Foinikounta. The municipal unit of Methoni includes the nearby villages of Grizokampos, Finikouda, Foiniki, Lachanada, Varakes, Kainourgio Chorio, Kamaria, Evangelismos and the Oinnoussai Islands. The latter constitutes from Sapientza, Schiza and Santa Marina and forms a natural protection to Methoni harbour. The town is also known by the Italian name Modone, as it was called by the Venetians.
Its economy is dominated by tourism, attracted by its beaches (including Tapia, Kokkinia and Kritika) and its historical castle.

Methoni has been identified as the city Pedasus, that Homer mentions under the name “ampeloessa” (of vine leaves), as the last of the seven “evnaiomena ptoliethra”, that Agamemnon offers Achilles in order to subdue his rage. Pausanias knew the city as Mothone, named after either the daughter of Oeneus or after the rock Mothon, which protects the harbor, and mentioned a temple to Athena Anemotis there. The Oinoussai complex of islands protected the port of Methoni and at the same time stopped the large sea turbulence. Along with the rest of Messenia, the town gained its independence from the Spartans in 369 BC. During the 4th century BC, Methoni was elaborately fortified and continued to remain autonomous well into the Imperial Roman era, when it enjoyed the favor of some emperors. As with other mediterranean coastal settlements, Methoni was likely heavily affected by the tsunami that followed the 365 Crete earthquake. Roman historian Ammianus Marcellinus wrote that as a result of the earthquake some ships had been “hurled nearly two miles from the shore,” giving as an example a Laconian vessel that was stranded “near the town of Methone.” During the Byzantine years it continued to remain a remarkable harbor and one of the most important cities of the Peloponnese, seat of a bishopric.

Nowadays the walls of the fortress, even though in ruins, continue to be impressive. The castle of Methoni occupies the whole area of the cape and the southwestern coast to the small islet that has also been fortified with an octagonal tower and is protected by the sea on its three sides. Its north part, the one that looks to land, is covered by a heavily fortified acropolis. A deep moat separates the castle from the land and communication was achieved by a wooden bridge. The Venetians built on the ancient battlements and added on and repaired it during both periods that they occupied the castle.

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