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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.