Historic-Byzantine Monuments

Monastery of Voulcano

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The monastery of Voulcano or Vourcano holds the first place among the mythical and historical names of Messinia, since it is the holiest site of both the prehistoric and ancient city  in the heart of it.

And it is precisely this position of Ithomi, in the middle of a great valley that has no great height (802m), giving to this hill  a superiority, as if it is the highest mountain area of Messinia.

The monastery is really built on top of Ithomi on a huge rock. Southeast of the monastery lies the ancient temple of Zeus Ithomata, where there were happening many sacrifices, and as the tradition says, even human.

The monastery was abandoned by the monks in the 16th century, not only because the climb to the monastery was steep and difficult, but because the location was such that the wind,the cold and the sun were strong. Slowly they built a little below a new Voulcano monastery.

The old church of the monastery is a wonderful piece of Byzantine art, the work of the brothers Moschoi, 1608, and there are two built-in inscriptions.



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In the bay of Navarino, near the town of Pylos, there are two castles: the newest castle of Navarino or otherwise Niokastro and older Paliokastro or Palionavarino. Niokastro was built in 1573 by the Turks and remain in possession until 1686, when surrendered to the Venetians.

In 1715 the Turks re-conquer Niokastro along with Koroni and Palionavarino.

In 1825, Ibrahim Pasha becomes chief of Niokastro until 1828, when it is released by the French General ,Maison.

During the Second World War it was the original Italian and later German headquarters of the wide area.

The hexagonal reconstructed fort is now used as a Museum and Center for Submarine (Underwater) Archaeology.

The most important monuments are:

Niokastro which is divided into two sections:

Perivolos-Down Castle:

The largest of the two parts spread over the hillside with a circumference of 1566m and covers an area of 80 acres and is built of hewn limestone

Top Castle:

Hexagonal fortress with strong ramparts and bastions covering five of the six corners.

The Church of the Savior Transfiguration:

Cruciform church with a Gothic dome built by the Franks. Functioned as a mosque and then as a Christian church.

The building of General Maison:

Rectangular two-story stone building of the first decades of the 19th century,in which today, after restoration, operates the museum and offices.


Castle of Arcadia

The Castle of Arcadia is now the jewel of Kiparissia, and the whole municipality. Because of its location, offers visitors a unique view not only the city but also to the surrounding area.

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Is the balcony of Kyparissia order to be able to be gazing and enjoying the beauty of the place. Modern scholars, based on the construction of, determined that it is occidental build, since such buildings as appear after 1205.

In mythology, Kyparissia was built in the “Giants” (personifications of the momenta of the sea), who seems to have built and the citadel in which the later pyrgothike vyzantinofragkiko castle. A castle built of stone length 4m. and width 1.64 m and 1.38 m length other and a width of 1.80 m. which (because of their size) are proof that it was built by giants.

Circa 10th-11th century, it seems that Kyparissia changes name and becomes Arcadia Arcadians of many who had the difficult times to leave the rugged land. From then on the Castle of the Giants Castle called Arcadia. The Castle of Arcadia plays an important role during the Franks who came after the Crusades, Europeans. Many Franks planned to occupy some islands and some coastal areas which included the Castle of Arcadia. The first decades of the 13th century, the castle fell to the Franks and remains in them for the next 2 centuries.

During the Byzantine Empire, the fortress of Kiparissia renovated in the organization of coastal areas. In the 4 corners of the fort built bastions, one of which lasted many centuries and is the tower’s east side, which bears the name “Tower of Justinian.”

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The 1432 Castle afentefoun the Palaiologos xanakymatizei the flag with the Byzantine Eagle until 1460 as Arcadia fell into the hands of the Turks and 10,000 Arkadinoi obliged to move to Asia Minor. The period of the first Turkish occupation, which keeps until 1685. The Turks fortified the castle to meet Greeks and Venetians, but the fortifications in the year were not impressive, merely ancillary to that of the Franks.

Since 1685 following the period of Venetian rule until 1715. The Venetians rebuilt the ruined parts of the castle (towers and battlements), which set off the Turks before losing, and added and other fortifications, but unfortunately destroyed before fall back to the Turks.

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In 1830 or so, after the battle of Navarino, the Castle of Arcadia fell to the Greeks.

Circa 1970 built the outdoor theater, which has hosted many cultural events (ancient tragedies, plays, poetry nights, music nights etc.).

During the summer months in the castle operated cafeteria, where guests of the castle can be “thirsty” gazing at the view …


Church of Saint Theodora

The church of Saint Theodora is a unique phenomenon and is one of the most remarkable sights of Arcadia. The church was built between 1050-1100 in honor of the Martyr Theodora. Located near the village of Megalopolis,Vasta,in an idyllic wooded ravine with dense forest of huge oaks.

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Road access is from  Isari after a beautiful downhill, half an hour. In this small church the nature has created miracles. Seventeen huge trees are germinated on the roof, while on the foundations  bubbling waters of a headland are gushing. However, according to tradition, the martyr testified to her faith and was executed there by the pursuers. Shortly before executed, she prayed: “Lord … In my memory grow trees that bear witness to your protection to my purity. And my blood be water to irrigate. Amen.” So after her death seventeen trees that withstand any wind miraculously sprouted around the temple.

500 m. from the church, following the headboard is the “Watermill” magical place surrounded by green. It was formerly a watermill. In its place today there is a holiday resort. The mechanism of the mill has been restored by the owners and operating normally.

The church attracts every year thousands of pilgrims and visitors. Celebration on September 11.


Church of Christ’s Transfiguration

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The Church of Christ’s Transfiguration is located in the center of Christianoupolis south of Kyparissia after Filiatra. According to reports written, it seems that in the late 11th century,  Christianoupoli  became archbishop and after many changes over the centuries, ceased to be a diocese in 1833.

Speculated from the findings that exist in the church it was built on the ruins of an ancient Greek temple of “Zeus the Savior,” because Christianity as we know considered the ancient Greek temples idolatrous and destroyed them to build (or on the ruins erected) Christian temples. They named it “Transfiguration of Christ” to a link it with the temple of “Zeus the Savior.”

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It is the largest Byzantine church of Moreas, hence the popular saying, “Holy Savior in Moria, and Hagia Sophia in Istanbul”  said the ordinary believers, who obviously wanted to make a comparison in size, with the temple of the Holy Sophia in Istanbul. The church functioned without interruption until the year 1825, when destroyed without tearing it down, in his passage from Christianoupoli by Ibrahim Pasha. The year 1886 the strong earthquake that shook the region Trifilia led to the collapsing of  the dome and the south side of this church.

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