The church of the monastery.

The church of the monastery.

The “Katholikon” (main church) of the monastery is a relatively large cross-in-square building with a narthex at the west side vastly rebuilt during the Post-Byzantine period. In its initial form it was flanked by open porticos at the north, west and south sides. The Church in Andromonastiro is dedicated to the Transfiguration of the Savior, while there are two chapels, right and left, dedicated to Saint Georgios and Saint Catherine.

The Church in Andromonastiro is dedicated to the Transfiguration of the Savior.  The fresco depicting the Transfiguration.

The Church in Andromonastiro is dedicated to the Transfiguration of the Savior. The fresco depicting the Transfiguration.

The main church stands on a complex of vaulted structures that cover the most important water source of the area, while a well-organized pipe system served for the water management. During the course of the renovations a glass floor has been placed over the water source inside the church. After the original building of the Church a small vaulted room, probably a chapel dedicated to Prophet Elias, was added to the south of the relevant cross-arm. Possibly by the early 17th century, the main church was surrounded by an exonarthex and the existing side aisles. In the same period, the east side of the north aisle was transformed into a chapel. Its current dedication to Saint Catherine probably dates to the late eighteenth century, when Andromonastiro was annexed by the famous Monastery of Saint Catherine in Mount Sinai.

Wall paintings in the main church.

Wall paintings in the main church.

The Church was originally paved with an elaborate opus sectile mosaic, part of which was revealed and conserved in the narthex. New elements revealed during the restoration of the main church confirm a date for its first structural phase to the first decades of the 13th century. Hence, the katholikon of Andromonastiro represents one of the most significant monuments built in the Peloponnese, right after the installation of the Franks in the region and the foundation of the Principality of Achaea.

The marble templon and the nave of the main church.

The marble templon and the nave of the main church.

The nave is decorated with wall paintings, now partially preserved, which had been covered almost entirely with several coats of lime. Three main painted layers, dating to the thirteenth, seventeenth, and eighteenth centuries, were uncovered during conservation. The original marble templon is considered to be a creation of famous masons that created also other temples in the area. The carefully carved architrave of the original templon nowadays tops the katholikon's later built altar screen; this should be dated to the 18th century, according to the style of the wall-paintings that decorates its frontal side representing the Christ, Virgin Mary and Saint John the Theologian. The new elements revealed during the restoration of the main church confirm a date for its first structural phase to the first decades of the 13th century. 

Wall paintings in the main church.

Wall paintings in the main church.

The refectory stands next to the main church.

The refectory stands next to the main church.

North of the katholikon rises the monastery's original refectory, an elongated structure (14.30 x 5.30 m.) with a complex architectural history on the west side of which a tower was added in a later period. During its first construction phase, it had the shape of a two-storey vaulted building, which may be dated to the 13th-14th century, according to its morphological and structural elements. Its pointed barrel vault was covered by a two-pitched roof with large ceramic roof-tiles. The last major alteration of the refectory took place after the construction of the impressive four-storey tower against the building's west side. This required the reconfiguration of the building's entry and is probably to be associated with the construction of the monumental southern external staircase, which did away with the south facade's timber-roofed awning, and the opening of the door in the second floor's south wall. Writing on this door's left doorjamb mentions the date of the refurbishment as July 1726. An awning lined the south facade, as indicated by the preserved corbels for the timber roof, which consisted of reused Early and Middle Byzantine stone elements. The ground floor had no windows and probably served as a storeroom. Small single windows dimly lit the single room on the upper floor, which probably housed a wooden table for monastic meals. Sometime later, the space over the two-pitched roof was leveled and converted into a terrace with crenellated parapet. The terrace was accessed by an internal stone staircase, which was built into the thickness of the wall and ended in gable-shaped top. Designed to fortify the building, this alteration is to be linked to the insecurity caused by the repeated Turkish invasions of the mid-fifteenth century. At a later date, probably in the early seventeenth century, a third floor was added.

The west wing of the Andromonastero.

The west wing of the Andromonastero.

The west wing comprises the two-storied building of the stables and first-floor cells. Two elongated, vaulted stables occupy most of the west wing's ground floor. Between them lies the monastery's wine press, with a small cistern for wine must in the east. The six small, vaulted rooms to the east of the stables, which probably date to the seventeenth century, were incorporated into this new wing during the extensive refurbishment of 1753. 

The cells on the upper floor of the west wing.

The cells on the upper floor of the west wing.

All of the cells (except one) have a fireplace, cupboards, and a small arched niche for an icon. The first floor's northwest corner occupies the “synodikon” a reception apartment for the heads of the monastery and the official guests. It consists of a large, vaulted room with fireplace and a small toilet. The west wing's first floor is accessed from the courtyard by a stone staircase. This floor features six small cells, each with an arched doorway and a large window opening to the hayat. 

Inside the

Inside the "synodikon".

The north west wing and the main entrance passageway.

The north west wing and the main entrance passageway.

The northwest wing includes the bakery with two built-in ovens and a labyrinthine two-storied structure, with many rooms and a complex building history. A covered passageway in this wing's ground floor serves as the monastery's main entrance. Extensive renovations and additions were carried out aimed at improving the monks' living conditions during the monastery's long history. 

Andromonastero seen from the south.

Andromonastero seen from the south.

There is a very old bridge near the monastery which spans the water course that is fed by the spring that runs underneath the church. In Andromonastiro there is also the church of Saint Lazarus which is the cemetery church of the convent, 100 meters away from the complex. Since 1962 Andromonastiro has been dependent on the monastery of Voulkano and has not had any monks. Every year on August 6th when the Transfiguration is celebrated, hundreds of worshipers gather in Andromonastero.

Leaving from Andromonastero.  The visit to this monastery-museum is a very satisfactory experience.

Leaving from Andromonastero. The visit to this monastery-museum is a very satisfactory experience.

From Andromonastero to Ancient Messene and further to Voulkano Monasteries.

From Andromonastero to Ancient Messene and further to Voulkano Monasteries.

Messene walls and the Arcadian Gate

The road from Andromonastero to Ancient Messene passes through the city walls.

The road from Andromonastero to Ancient Messene passes through the city walls.

After leaving the Andromonastero, continue the road for about 1km and at the junction with a wider road turn right (on the left the road goes to Petralona village).  After about 4km the road passes through impressive ancient walls among lavish greenery.  These are the Ancient Messene walls, which means you are into the limits of the ancient city now. The walls dated to the 3rd century B.C. is one of the most important achievements of the ancient military architecture.

Greek traveler (2nd c. AD) Pausanias was astonished by the size of the walls«Δεν είδα τα τείχη των Βαβυλωνίων ή τα μεμνόνεια στα περσικά Σούσα, ούτε άκουσα γι’ αυτά από αυτόπτες: από τα τείχη όμως της Φωκικής Αμβρόσου, του Βυζαντίου και της Ρόδου – πόλεων άριστα τειχισμένων – δυνατότερα είναι τα τείχη των Μεσσηνίων».  (Παυσανίας 4.31 4-6).

In less than1 km you come across the impressive Arcadian Gate.    

The Arcadian Gate, seen from the side of the ancient city.

The Arcadian Gate, seen from the side of the ancient city.

The “Arcadian Gate” is an impressive monument, a symbol of power and an example of high fortification technique. It is one of the two main gates of Ancient Messene (the other is the Lakonian Gate) and part of its fortification.  The well preserved Gate is located to the north of the archeological site of the ancient city, at the merging point of the roads to the villages Petralona, Mavrommati, Neochori and Zermpisia.  Actually, the modern roads pass thru it.

The circular part of the Arcadian Gate between the external and the internal (seen here) part of the gate.

The circular part of the Arcadian Gate between the external and the internal (seen here) part of the gate.

The Arcadian Gate is a monumental construction, built with large limestone rectangular stones. It is circular and spacious, with a double entrance (internal and external). The internal entrance led to a paved road towards city center and the external to the road which ended at the capital of Arcadia, Megalopolis (this is how the Gate took its name). There are two square protective towers, to the right and left of the external entrance, communicating with the main construction of the gate.

A cluster of funerary monuments was recently discovered outside the Arcadian Gate.

A cluster of funerary monuments was recently discovered outside the Arcadian Gate.

"Hermaic columns" were erected in the internal circular space of the Arcadian Gate as God Hermes protected the gates. These columns were also described by Pausanias. There is an inscription over the northern niche of one of the column: “Κόιντος Πλώτιος Ευφημίων”.

A cluster of funerary monuments was recently discovered outside the Arcadian Gate, dated from the 2nd to 4th c. AD, at a site used for the burial of the noble families of the city.

Part of the fortification walls and two more square protective towers are also preserved in the area.

Part of the walls and a protective tower close to Arcadia Gate.

Part of the walls and a protective tower close to Arcadia Gate.

Ancient Messene.

Me as Samson.

Me as Samson.

Continue south and just before the Museum building turn right.  A big car parking lot is located before the entrance of the archeological site of Ancient Messene.  Buy your ticket at the entrance for 12€ (6€ for seniors).  This is a rather expensive entrance, but believe me the archeological site worth every single euro: the size is vast, the buildings impressive and the restorations extended. 

Note: Do not forget to get a bottle of water with you, as well as a hat and most probably some sun lotion, because the area is huge and the sun is harsh during summer months. 

The archaeological site of ancient Messene lies in a fertile valley approximately in the centre of Messenia prefecture, south of Mt Ithome.

Ithome was the strongest natural and manmade fortress of Messenia, controlling the valleys of Stenyclaros to the north and Makaria to the south. (Strabo compares it to Corinth as regards strategic importance). The first installation on the site dates to the Late Neolithic or the Early Bronze Age, while in the 9th-8th c. BC the cult of Zeus Ithomatas was established on the peak of Mt Ithome. A heroon shrine was founded in the lower city during the Geometric period (800-700 BC), along with the first sanctuary of Artemis Orthia, Asklepios and Messene (the princess from Argos, who with her husband Polycaon, established the kingdom of Messenia). All the sacred buildings belonged to a town named Ithome.

The Spartan annexation of the area following the First Messenian War (743-724 BC) put a stop to the evolution of the town into a more complex urban organism and the development of an urban outlook. The Spartan occupation, however, did not result in a total loss of national consciousness among the inhabitants, who were now helots.

Τhe Battle of Leuctra.

Τhe Battle of Leuctra.

The city of Ancient Messene was founded in 369 BC by the Theban general Epaminondas (after the Battle of Leuctra in 371 BC, which resulted in Spartan defeat and the establishment of the Theban Hegemony).

It became the capital of the free Messenian state following a long period (about four centuries) of occupation of the Messenian territory by the Spartans.

The first monument the visitor encounters is the Ancient Messinian Theater. It was also used for massive political gatherings.

The first monument the visitor encounters is the Ancient Messinian Theater. It was also used for massive political gatherings.

On the site of the city are preserved public and religious buildings, many of them reconstructed to a large degree. The extensive complex of the Asklepieion (3rd-2nd c. BC) stands out, with the Doric sanctuary of Asklepios, which is surrounded by stoai of buildings of a religious and secular-funerary nature.

A series of reconstructed monumental structures, such as the Ecclesiasterion-Odeion, the Bouleuterion, the Theatre, the Arsinoe Fountain, the Agora and the Stadium, as well as an extensive group of funerary monuments and heroons, including the reconstructed monumental Saithid Mausoleum (1st c. BC-1st c. AD), bear witness to the size of the city and its political, religious, economic and social importance. 

Between the Theater and the Market stands a great fountain. The traveler Pausanias tells us that the Fountain of the Agora had the name of Arsinoe, the daughter of the mythical king of Messina Leukippos and mother Asclepius. The fountain includes an elongated reservoir of approximately 40m length.

Between the Theater and the Market stands a great fountain. The traveler Pausanias tells us that the Fountain of the Agora had the name of Arsinoe, the daughter of the mythical king of Messina Leukippos and mother Asclepius. The fountain includes an elongated reservoir of approximately 40m length.

Particularly luxurious Roman villas with mosaic floors complete the urban plan, while a multitude of inscriptions sheds light on hitherto unknown facets of the historical events that took place during the period of the Alexander’s Successors, the Macedonian Kingdom, the Achaean League, the Koinon of the Arcadians and the Aetolians, and Roman interference in Greek affairs. 

The Agora (market) extends about 200 m northwest of Asklepieion and about 50 m east of the Theater. Built a little earlier than the Asklepieion (mid 3rd century BC), it continues to function as a commercial market alongside the Asclepieion, which moreover assembled political functions. Agora occupied an area of 186 x 176 m. It was 4 times larger than the Asklepieion. In this area the traveler Pausanias saw the sanctuaries of Zeus Savior, Poseidon and Aphrodite.

The Agora (market) extends about 200 m northwest of Asklepieion and about 50 m east of the Theater. Built a little earlier than the Asklepieion (mid 3rd century BC), it continues to function as a commercial market alongside the Asclepieion, which moreover assembled political functions. Agora occupied an area of 186 x 176 m. It was 4 times larger than the Asklepieion. In this area the traveler Pausanias saw the sanctuaries of Zeus Savior, Poseidon and Aphrodite.

The lengthy excavations continue to this day, alongside the major, internationally acclaimed reconstruction work and efforts for the promotion and protection of the archaeological site, providing an easy-to-understand reading of the morphological characteristics, dimensions and function of the monuments.

In size, form and preservation, Messene is one of the most important cities of antiquity, and one which still has a great deal to offer. It boasts not only religious and public buildings, but also imposing fortifications, houses and funerary monuments.  

Pausanias presents the Asklepieion as a museum of works of art, mainly statues, and not as an ordinary temple of medical care. It was the most prominent place of Messina, the center of the public life of the city, which operated alongside the adjacent Agora. More than 140 pedestals for bronze statues of mainly political figures and five platforms surround the Doric Temple and the altar, while many pedestals are located along the galleries.

Pausanias presents the Asklepieion as a museum of works of art, mainly statues, and not as an ordinary temple of medical care. It was the most prominent place of Messina, the center of the public life of the city, which operated alongside the adjacent Agora. More than 140 pedestals for bronze statues of mainly political figures and five platforms surround the Doric Temple and the altar, while many pedestals are located along the galleries.

The city has the rare advantage of not having been destroyed or covered by later settlements and of being situated in an untouched Mediterranean natural environment par excellence. This landscape combines the mountainous majesty of Delphi and the lowland riverine tranquillity of Olympia, with the looming bare limestone mass of Mt Ithome and its acropolis, and the low, fertile valley around the ancient city.

At the Ecclesiasterion-Odeion took place worship performances and political gatherings. It is a small theatrical structure with a concave rectangular shell and a circular orchestra, measuring 9.70 meters in diameter.

At the Ecclesiasterion-Odeion took place worship performances and political gatherings. It is a small theatrical structure with a concave rectangular shell and a circular orchestra, measuring 9.70 meters in diameter.

The archaeological site and monuments of Ancient Messene constitute an exceptional testimony to the urban environment and living conditions of an ancient Greek city, preserving all those elements that make up the ancient Greek way of life in an ancient city (secular, religious, political/administrative, residential, funerary).   

The Stadium is a prestigious building complex. It has a horseshoe shape, with ramps and stairwells, seats for the prominent citizens.  At the bottom there is a Roman addition of protective walls as in those years it was turned into an arena. The northern horseshoe section of the Stadium includes 18 stands with 18 rows of seats, separated by staircases.  It is surrounded by Doric arcades, whose columns are mostly in place. The northern arcade is double, the eastern and the western are simple.

The Stadium is a prestigious building complex. It has a horseshoe shape, with ramps and stairwells, seats for the prominent citizens. At the bottom there is a Roman addition of protective walls as in those years it was turned into an arena. The northern horseshoe section of the Stadium includes 18 stands with 18 rows of seats, separated by staircases. It is surrounded by Doric arcades, whose columns are mostly in place. The northern arcade is double, the eastern and the western are simple.

All the buildings of Messene share the same orientation and are set within the grid formed by horizontal (East-West) and vertical (North-South) streets. This urban plan is known as the Hippodamian grid, after its originator Hippodamus of Miletus, an architect, town planner, geometrician and astronomer of the 5th c. BC. Rhodes and Piraeus are characteristic early examples of cities designed and built according to this system. It is worth noting that this predetermined, strictly geometric pattern, which is based on the principles of isonomy (equality under the law), isopolity (equal civic rights) and isomoiria (equal sharing of land), i.e. the virtues of democracy, was adapted to the particular terrain and climate of each site, harmoniously integrated into the natural environment. 

The Stadium is surrounded by Doric arcades, whose columns are mostly in place. The northern arcade is double, the eastern and the western are simple.

The Stadium is surrounded by Doric arcades, whose columns are mostly in place. The northern arcade is double, the eastern and the western are simple.

An integral element of the Stadium is the Heroon, which has the form of a Dorian four-pillar Doric temple. It is located on the south side of Stadium, built on a rectangular base, protruding from the wall as a bastion. The building was obituary and is a kind of Hero-Mausoleum. It is very likely that the Heroon belonged to the Saithid family, thus often called Saithid Mausoleum.

An integral element of the Stadium is the Heroon, which has the form of a Dorian four-pillar Doric temple. It is located on the south side of Stadium, built on a rectangular base, protruding from the wall as a bastion. The building was obituary and is a kind of Hero-Mausoleum. It is very likely that the Heroon belonged to the Saithid family, thus often called Saithid Mausoleum.

Next to the stadium are saved the columns from the Gymnasium which cover a large area that includes galleries, a palaestra, rooms and temples. At the Gymnasium were found lists of athletes and trainers, inscriptions and offerings from which important information was extracted.

Next to the stadium are saved the columns from the Gymnasium which cover a large area that includes galleries, a palaestra, rooms and temples. At the Gymnasium were found lists of athletes and trainers, inscriptions and offerings from which important information was extracted.

The basic idea of the Hippodamian urban plan, arising from the democratic ideal, is that all citizens should have plots of land of equal size and suitability, and access to public and sacred buildings, the communal spaces in other words, which dominate the city due to their monumental size and wealth of decoration. Messene forms an exceptional and uniquely preserved example of this type of urban plan, precisely because it preserves all the elements that make up the social network of the city, whether religious (sanctuaries and heroons), secular (Agora, balaneion-baths, dining-halls, theatre, gymnasium, stadium), political/administrative (ecclesiasterion, bouleuterion, Archive), funerary or residential.

“Artemis Laphria”: found in 1989, it is the best preserved by a series of copies of the Antonine era, which depicts Artemis as it pulls the arrow from the quiver to shoot with a bow that holds on her left hand (left).

“Artemis Laphria”: found in 1989, it is the best preserved by a series of copies of the Antonine era, which depicts Artemis as it pulls the arrow from the quiver to shoot with a bow that holds on her left hand (left). "Hermes of Messene": a roman copy of "Satellite" of Polykleitos, found in 1995 (right).

After having visited this exciting archeological site, which I have to admit has really impressed me, visit the small but interesting museum. It was built in early 70s and extensively renovated in the 90s to house finds of the excavations in ancient Messene.

You do not need an extra ticket, as the one you already bought covers the entrance to the museum, too. 

Among the sculpture exhibits, it is worth mentioning the "Hermes of Messene" a roman copy of "Satellite" of Polykleitos; “Artemis Laphria” and works of the local sculptor Damomontas, a prominent personality with economic power and political influence, who during the later Hellenistic Period (late 3rd-early 2nd century BC) sculpted statues depicting exclusively gods and heroes.

Hermaic column with the head of Hercules displayed in the archeological museum of Ancient Messene.

Hermaic column with the head of Hercules displayed in the archeological museum of Ancient Messene.

Ithomi restaurant at Mavromati village.

Ithomi restaurant at Mavromati village.

Your day has been very exciting so far, but you  need some rest, a cool drink and certainly a hearty lunch. 

At the nearby village of Mavromati we stopped at the tavern “Ithomi”.  If anything, else, the views from the covered veranda of the tavern is unique: you have a full view of the archeological site from above.  Food comes second to this, but you know me I need food.  We ordered moussaka (why I do the same mistake all the time? "tavern moussaka" is only for those who have not tasted my friend’s Makis moussaka…not for me), a green salad with figs and the "exotic dish": roasted goat with wild artichokes (!).  Lots of French tourists around.  

Roasted goat with artichocks (top), mussaka (bottom left) and green salad with figs and Kalamata pasteli (bottom right).

Roasted goat with artichocks (top), mussaka (bottom left) and green salad with figs and Kalamata pasteli (bottom right).

Mt Ithomi & Voulkano monasteries

The old Voulkano Monastery on the peak of Mt Ithomi.

The old Voulkano Monastery on the peak of Mt Ithomi.

Next stop?  Climbing up the Ithomi mountain and visit the Old Voulkano Monastery. 

Just few meters after Ithomi restaurant, the road is divided into two legs.  Take the one on the left which goes uphill and leads to (new) Voulkano Monastery.  Leave the village behind and after 1km or so you will see a dirty road on your left going up to Ithomi mountain. 

The road is not good and I recommend you, unless you have an off-road vehicle, to park the car here and continue on foot.  The road is not difficult for walking but it is quite tiring as it is 5 uphill kilometeres.  The Old Voulkano monastery is located on the very top of the mountain, at 800m altitude. 

On your way to the peak, 0,5km from the start, you see the sanctuary of Artemis Limnatidos-Lafrias (a little temple and an altar, dated to the middle of the 3rd century BC). From here starts a secondary path leading to the Sanctuary of Elythethias (3rd-2nd c. BC).

Continue on the main road to the top of the mountain, where the old Voulkano Monastery is. You know that you have arrived when you see part of the ancient fortification of ancient Messene. The upper part of the mountain used to be the acropolis of the ancient city.  The view from here is wonderful.   

Inside the walls of the old Voulkano Monastery.

Inside the walls of the old Voulkano Monastery.

The Monastery of Voulkano (also known as “Dormition of the Virgin Mary” or “Our Lady of the Peak” or “Katholikon”), is built on a huge natural rock where the Sanctuary of Zeus Ithomatas was situated in ancient times.

The cult worshiped a statue of "child Zeus", designed by sculptor Ageladas, and performed sacrifices, even human ones. 

Climbing up here takes about 40 minutes.

At the northern wall of old Voulkano there is a small opening covered with a wooden grid.  Enter at your own risk.

At the northern wall of old Voulkano there is a small opening covered with a wooden grid. Enter at your own risk.

Today the monastery is deserted and the gate is locked. 

As I was walking around it to admire the views, I noticed that at the northern wall there is a small opening covered with a wooden grid.  I removed the grid and entered into the monastery precinct.  Most of the buildings have no doors or windows, so one could enter freely.  I decided not to proceed further as I was alone and I felt uneasy: the location is very isolated and there are no other people around, so avoid going alone up there.

Ruins of the

Ruins of the "Laconian Gate" next to the road leading to new Voulkano Monastery.

Back to the car to continue the driving towards the new Voulkano Monastery. 

On your way there you will notice what has been left of  another big gate of Ancient Messene: the “Laconian Gate”, also called “Tegean Gate”. The gate took its name because the road started from here ended at the capital of Laconia, Sparta.  This gate destroyed in the 18th century, when the road to the new Voulcano Monastery was opened.

The new Voulkano Monastery seen from the road coming from Mavromati.

The new Voulkano Monastery seen from the road coming from Mavromati.

The old monastery on Ithomi abandoned in 1625 due to the unpredictable cold of the winter months and the difficulty of the pilgrims to reach it, so monks sought a place to the south. They decided to move to the location where they found a water spring, the so-called "Mana of Water” and a two-storey tower, which became the beginning of the new monastery.  Today, the imposing complexity of the monastery with the loggia and arches astonishes the visitor. 

The new Voulkano Monastery.

The new Voulkano Monastery.

The new Voulkano Monastery.

The new Voulkano Monastery.

The church of the new monastery was erected in 1701 and dedicated to the “Birth of the Virgin Mary”.  The main treasure of the monastery is the miraculous icon of “Vulcaniotissa Virgin Mary”, bearing the inscription "Η Οδηγήτρια η επονομαζομένη τω όρει Βουλκάνω". In the monastery are also preserved Holy Relics of many saints, including Agios Neomartyras Ioannis of Monemvasia, Agios Dionysios Areopagitis and Agios Elias of Kalamata. In its rich library there are old and new books, manuscripts, Ottoman documents and much more.

The monastery was closed when we visited at 4:30pm, even though it was supposed to open at 4 pm, after the afternoon siesta of the monks.  Unfortunately, our nocking at the door had no results. 

The entrance to New Voulkano monastery... the one we did not enter!

The entrance to New Voulkano monastery... the one we did not enter!

Androusa castle

The Androusa castle.

The Androusa castle.

As the monastery was closed, we had plenty of time before the end of the day.  So, we decided to visit the “Androusa castle”

We continued on the same road and at the national road 'Messinis-Naou Epikouriou Apollonos' we turned south (right) and then right again at Eva village.  We continued for a couple of kilometers till the village of Androusa. 

The castle seen from the road Eva-Androusa.

The castle seen from the road Eva-Androusa.

The castle is located at the entrance of the village and looks very impressive from the road.  The western fortification walls have been gone, so the road goes directly into the castle.  There is plenty of space to park your car in the castle itself.  The eastern walls and fortification towers are very well preserved. 

The only remnant of the western fortification walls.

The only remnant of the western fortification walls.

The castle was built sometime after 1250 by the ruler of the Principality of Achaea, Guillaume II de Villehardouin. In 1381 became the seat of the Navarrese Company, a company of mercenaries, mostly from Navarre and Gascony, who fought in Greece during the late 14th century and early 15th century, in the twilight of Frankish power in the dwindling remnant of the Latin Empire.  The company was hired to help James of Baux to claim the throne of Achaea. They were not very successful, but eventually they became the de facto rulers of the Principality of Achaea and Androusa was their seat.  In 1417, the Paleologi family, the Byzantine rulers of the Despotate of Mystras, took the castle. In 1462 the Turks captured Androusa, who kept it till the indepedence of Greece.

Inside Androusa castle.

Inside Androusa castle.

The mighty Androusa lizard... :o)

The mighty Androusa lizard... :o)

Comments

21.11.2018 17:10

pam frigo

amazing! I have heritage from this area and you have shown so much of what I never knew was here!

17.11.2018 11:36

Robert E Avallone

Love the pic and the writing!