Visit the Castles of the Area
In the area of the Southwestern Peloponnese there are several Frankish, Turkish and Venetian castles, some of them remarkably well preserved, like the Paleokastro and Neokastro (translated into old and new castles) of Pylos, and the castles of Methoni and Koroni.
From either a historical, a cultural or an environmental point of view, Pylos and the area surrounding it is one the most interesting parts of Greece. The Navarino Bay – at the shores of which Pylos and Gialova are situated – was the setting for the Battle of Navarino on October 20th 1827, in which the Turkish fleet was defeated and which finally freed Greece from the Turks. The wrecks of the Turkish vessels can still be seen at the bottom of the bay. The massive mast of one of these vessels can be seen in the cafe building of the Zoe Resort.
The small town of Pylos was built on the southern shores of the Navarino Bay. It has always been an important port of the western Peloponnese since at least the Middle Ages. Today it is a quiet town that becomes alive during the summer season when tourists and Athenians arrive to spend their holidays. Pylos is a delightful town, with its waterfront tavernas and its beautiful central square which is surrounded by cafés and were you can have an “Ellenikós Káfe” in the shade of an enormous Plane tree. On the square you will also find a memorial commemorating the Battle of Navarino of 1827, in which the Turkish fleet was destroyed. The Neokastro or fortress is definitely worth a visit. It was built by the Turks in the 16th century, but during the last two centuries it served as a prison. You can have a walk around the battlements. Inside the Neokastro you will also find a beautiful church and a small museum. From the port you can make a boat-trip to the uninhabited island of Sfaktiria, just across the bay. Here you can see a small wooden Russian-orthodox church which was built as a memorial to the Russian sailors who fought in the Battle of Navarino.
Palace of Nestor, the king of Pylos
The so-called Palace of Nestor is the primary structure within a larger Late Helladic era settlement, likely once surrounded by a fortified wall. The palace, widely identified with that of Mycenaean-era Pylos, was a two-storey building with store rooms, workshops, baths, light wells, reception rooms and a sewage system. The site is the best preserved Mycenaean Greek palace discovered. During excavation in 1939 around 1,000 Linear B tablets were identified. The settlement had been long occupied with most artefacts discovered dating from 1300 BCE. The palace complex was destroyed by fire around 1200 BCE. Distance from Zoe Resort : 15 km
Palace of Nestor, the king of Pylos
Messini is a significant ancient city in terms of its size, form, and state of preservation, and still has much to offer. It possesses not only sanctuaries and public buildings, but also imposing fortifications, and houses and tombs. It enjoys, amongst other things, the advantage of never having been destroyed or covered by later settlements, and is located on an unspoiled inland site. Its natural setting combines the grandeur of the mountains of Delphi with the low-lying, riverine tranquillity of Olympia, the dominating bare limestone mass of Ithome, the site of the ancient acropolis, with the low fertile valley around the ancient city. Distance from Zoe Resort : 60 km
One of the largest and most beautiful archaeological sites in Greece, ancient Olympia deserves a lengthy visit. For over a thousand years the Panhellenic games – after which the modern Olympic games were modelled – were held at this site. Walk through the arched tunnel from the sanctuary into the stadium that could accommodate up to 20,000 spectators and you get an idea of what the athletes must have felt. The starting and finish lines are still there, so if you feel inclined you can give it a try. Distance from Zoe Resort : 105 km
Archaeological Site of Mystras
Imagine an amazingly intact Byzantine city, stuck against a steep hillside, with winding alleys, monumental gates and arches, medieval houses, palaces and churches, and you have a picture of Mystrás. Wander through Mystrás and you enter into a different age. In its heyday this Byzantine city had a population of more than 40,000 people. Mystrás was originally founded by the Franks in 1249, but they didn’t last much more than a decade and were eventually driven out by the Byzantines, who made it the cultural and intellectual centre of their world. Today Mystrás is an enormous open-air museum of medieval architecture and art. A number of churches house some of the most beautiful frescoes that you will ever lay your eyes upon. Distance from Zoe Resort : 105 km
Zoe Resort organizes Tours to all above sights in weekly basis, in the company of an experienced, official Tour Guide. For information and prices, please send an email to : [email protected].