PYLOS IS AN OPEN MUSEUM
We visit Pylos, Nestor's Palace & Methoni as travelers, not as tourists
the Turks built the fortress of Pylos, with the aim of controlling the southern entrance to the bay of Navarino, the largest natural harbor in the Peloponnese. The new fortress was called Niokastro (New Castle), to distinguish it from Palio Navarino (Old Castle), the Frankish castle on the peninsula of Koryphasion, which had controlled the opposite, norhtern entrance to the bay up to this time
In 1573, two years after the defeat of the Ottoman fleet at the naval battle of Naupactos (Lepanto Naval Battle at 1571 The last rowing battle between Christian and Muslim fleets)
In 1686, the Venetian admiral Morosini captured Niokastro after a siege and it was turned into the seat of the Overseer, the Venetian governor of the area. During their period of occupation (1686-1715), the Venetians repaired and strengthened the castle at many points.
In 1715, Niokastro was recaptured by the Turks, who made it the headquarters of the vilaet of Navarino. It remained in Turkish hands until the outbreak of the Greek War of Independence in 1821, apart from a brief interlude of a few months in 1770, when it was captured by the Russian forces under the Orloff brothers. The castle was surrendered to the Greeks in 1821. At the beginning of 1825, Ibrahim Pasha disembarked in the Peloponnese at the head of Egyptian forces and encamped at Niokastro. On 20th of October 1827 the allied fleet under the command of three,
- the British Admiral Sir Edward Codrington, the French Admiral De Rigny and the Russian Count von Heyde, sailed into Navarino Bay to make a show of strength, but a shot fired by the Turkish and Egyptian fleet unleashed a battle which had not been intended by the allied governments and which ended in the destruction of 58 out of the 87 Turkish vessels.Their remains can be seen lying on the bottom of the bay when the sea is calm from a glass bottom boat
After the victorious outcome of the naval battle of Navarino in 1827, European diplomacy decided in favour of the creation of an independent Greek state.
Navarino Bay, is the only large natural harbor on the W coast of the Peloponnese. It is enclosed on the seaward side by the island of Sfaktiria, a huge rocky barrier 4.6 km (3 miles) long and rising to a height of 135m (443 feet)
History: The Mycenaean kingdom of Pylos was conquered by Neleus and thereafter was ruled by his youngest son, Nestor. In 1939 Carl Blegen discovered at Epano Englianos a site belonging to that period. In the 7th - 6th c. BC. a Dorian settlement named Pylos was established on Mt. Koryphasion at the N end of the bay.
Nestor's Palace & Acropolis had been long occupied with most artifacts discovered dating from 1300 BC. The palace complex was destroyed by fire around 1200 BC. The Palace of Nestor was an important centre in Mycenaean times, and described in Homer's Odyssey and Iliad as Nestor's kingdom of "sandy Pylos". The site is the best preserved Mycenaean Greek palace discovered. The palace is the primary structure within a larger Late Helladic era settlement, once probably surrounded by a fortified wall. The palace was a two-storey building with store rooms, workshops, baths, light wells, reception rooms and a sewage system. The largest, the throne room, was where the king dealt with state business. In its center was a large, circular hearth surrounded by four ornate columns that supported a balcony. Surrounding the throne is the sentry box, pantry, waiting room, a vestibule and, most fascinating, a bathroom with a terracotta tub still in place.
In May 2013 the site was closed for renovation. The 1960s roof over the site was replaced by a modern structure with raised walkways for visitors. The site re-opened in June 2016. Nestor palace is included in our Peloponnese tour.
The palace featured in the story of the Trojan War, as Homer tells us that Telemachus: went to Pylos and to Nestor, the shepherd of the people, and he received me in his lofty house and gave me kindly welcome, as a father might his own son who after a long time had newly come from afar: even so kindly he tended me with his glorious sons. Meanwhile the fair Polycaste, the youngest daughter of Nestor, bathed Telemachus... In this tub, according to legend, Polycaste, Nestor's youngest daughter, bathed the hero Telemachus.
Methoni Castle: At the southernmost tip of the west coast of the Peloponnese lies Methoni. In the town are some enormous Venetian wells whose marble rims are furrowed by the pressure of huge ropes over the centuries. Homer called Methoni "RICH IN VINES" and tradition maintains that the town is so called because the donkeys (onoi) carrying its wine used to get drunk (methoun), from the heady aroma. The Castle of Methoni is a medieval fortification in the port town of Methoni, Messenia, in southwestern Greece.
To enter the castle visitors cross a massive bridge of 14 arches, that was built over a moat by the technicians that accompanied general Maison. Methoni Castle impressed by gigantic walls, imposing bastions and monumental gates. A stone-paved stretch leads over a small bridge to the small fortified islet of Bourtzi. This is the place where many soldiers and inhabitants of Methoni were slaughtered, when the Turks occupied the fort in 1500.
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.
The Bourtzi is dated back to the period after 1500 and has been used in various instances as a prison. It has a two-floor octagonal tower. The tower finishes in a round dome. On the lower floor there was a cistern and the whole works, with small defensive value, and is dated during the first period that the Turks occupied the fortress.
The so-called Palace of Nestor is the primary structure within a larger Late Helladic era settlement, likely once surrounded by a fortified wall. The palace, widely identified with that of Mycenaean-era Pylos, was a two-story building with store rooms, workshops, baths, light wells, reception rooms and a sewage system. The site is the best preserved Mycenaean Greek palace discovered.
During excavation in 1939 around 1,000 Linear B tablets were identified.
A stone-paved stretch leads over a small bridge to the small fortified islet of Bourtzi. The Fort is dated back to the period after 1500 and has been used in various instances as a prison. It has a two-floor octagonal tower. The tower finishes in a round dome. On the lower floor there was a cistern and the whole works, with small defensive value, and is dated during the first period that the Turks occupied the fortress.
On various parts of the fortification there are Venetian emblems with the winged lion of St. Mark and inscriptions