Peloponnese Road Trip – Methoni Castle

Described as a Castle that Gandalf would love by one blogger; we have to agree Methoni Castle is a pretty impressive site. For only 2 Euros per adult (kids were free) we got to wander around this fabulous site.

The main entrance over the moat (now dry)

The castle is actually a fortified city, built in the 13th Century by the Venetians.  It is a defensible structure that is surrounded on three sides by the Aegean Sea and the fourth side (the West) has a moat with the only access by a massive bridge. In the 15th Century the Turks conquered the city and held it until 1828 where it was liberated by General Maison of the French Army. Further reading can be found here and here.

Approaching the entrance gate on the bridge
The inner courtyard – stuck between two walls and another gate to pass through
Past the gates and into the main area of the castle
Looking back to the entrance gate
The walls and arches are pretty impressive

The Granite Column

The column of purple granite with a hight of 3.67m comes from an early Christian shipwreck situated at cape Spitha near Methane, known as “the shipwreck of columns”. However the top or capital of the column is Venetian in style. It bears an honorary inscription with the date 1493. The erroneous reading of the name “Morosin” is responsible for the misnomer: “Morosin’s column”. A  Lion of St. Mark is also depicted on the capital along with a worn coat-of-arms, probably that of the Governor, Pietro da Canal.

Purple Granite Column
Ben stands guard on the pathway to the outer Tower on the Sea
This looks to be an old Observatory
The inside of the Observatory – the holes are for constellations?
The Church is under renovation and being restored
Beautiful old church bell
Looking out into the Aegean Sea
Watching the waves crash against the rocks
Hannah with the Aegean Sea as a backdrop
The Keep
The Keep from the land side
Passing through the Keep – Is that Rivendell?

The Bourtzi

The small octagonal sea fort is built on an islet south of the castle, known by Pausanias as the “Mothon Rock”. Bourtzi  means fort or wall based on the Arab for burc, the Turk for burdz and Greek pourtzios. It had many uses including as a guard house, a lighthouse, a prison and a place of refuge in times of siege. Construction began in 1500.

A view of the tower/castle on the water
I know where I want my home 😉

Colleen and Emma pose for a photo on the bridge
The rolling waves from the tide are mesmerizing
Love the colour of the sea
The walkway up the tower
Hannah and Emma at the top of the tower
Emma at the tower
Looking back to the keep you can see how clear and shallow the water is
Rob and Ben on the bridge
The scale of the castle is huge and this image is only a small part of it.
Ben stands in front of the Tower
The bridge/road looks like it was rebuilt although no barriers anywhere
The girls on the Tower
A beautiful shot of the Tower on the Aegean Sea

South East Coastal Tower

Walking away from the Bourtzi towards the “Square of Arms” or Piazza d’armi which is the largest of the areas in the castle we encounter the South East Coastal Tower.

Poppies are in bloom everywhere
The Keep from the second floor
Looking at the stone wall you’ll notice black pillars. What are they?
One of the black pillars has fallen over – it is an old cannon
The entrance to the other side of the Castle
Walking back to the main entrance to see the other side of the Castle
Pausing to enjoy the view
Flowers everywhere

The Never Ending Castle

Methoni really is a fortified city which sprawls across the area. The entire area was devoid of staff and we encountered only the occasional tourist. We had free reign to go anywhere.

hmmm… Looks safe enough ….

The far side of the Castle
Massive tunnels and walls all around
A final shot from the bridge as we depart Methoni Castle

Final Thoughts

We left the castle with people from a tour bus. The site was so big we didn’t know they were there until the very end. It is in very poor repair and with no visible security or caretakers, tourists could run amok. We loved the castle and enjoyed the freedom but imagine if an accident happened it would be a long trek to get some help. I strongly recommend a visit to get an appreciation of this beautiful city.

2 Replies to “Peloponnese Road Trip – Methoni Castle”

  1. Impressive castle! Did it have a spring? If not where would they get there fresh water? The observatory must be Gandalf’s study. I like the pics with the backdrop of the Aegean sea. Nice day. I wonder what type of treasures would be in the sea around there?

    1. I didn’t see a fresh water source but I imagine that they had a well as it was a fortified city. I am still not sure if it was an observatory, it might be a bath house. I need to research further. The fishing village suggests that the Aegean has a lot to offer.

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