On Friday we travelled from Kalamata, situated on the south coast of the Peloponnese, and headed inland to the Late Classical, Hellenistic, and Roman site of Messene. Messene is one of the lesser known ancient sites, which is odd as the site has more remaining structures in good condition than many better known sites.
As we drove through the modern town of Mavromarti, which is located just above the site, local people burning prunings from olive trees waved at us. Arriving at the entrance of the site we could see the remnants of the massive fortification walls built at the foundation of the city in 369BC. Moving into the site we examined the marvellous ancient theatre, which with minor reconstruction could easily host Greek dramas today. We also explored the fountain house, the agora, propylon, bouleterion, and the Asklepion. Here we made offerings of flowers anprers to Asclepius for Peter who was stuck in hospital with pneumonia.
We then walked to the large stadion at the southern end of the site. The stadion was in very good condition, even baving a row of public toilets - with stone seats.
Everywhere we walked building remains lay waiting to be discovered and our exploration was accompanied by the sound of running spring water sourced from the Klepsydra sourced in Mavromati. Messene was an impressive site and it left many of us feeling that we could have spent hours exploring the remains an reading the surviving inscriptions.