(Distance from Camping - 20Km)
The castles are culturally important for Messenia. They were built mainly to serve defensive purposes, and so in important geographical position of the prefecture. The most of them were built by the Francs in positions where there had been older byzantine or Greek ancient castles, but the Venetians were those who fixed, fortified and conserved them for security reasons. Today the castles of Messenia are easy visited with a lot of different monuments that roll out the history.
The castle of Koroni - dated back to the 6th-7th century - is an example of the Venetian fortress architecture. It belongs to the category of castles that in their interior have survived homes and temples. Highlights are: the church of Agia Sophia and of Agios Charalambos. The second one is an old Catholic church, which, during the Turkish occupation, was transformed into a mosque and nowadays serves as an orthodox church.
The town of Methoni was one of the major commercial and shipping centres in medieval times of the Mediterranean. Its castle is irrefutable evidence of the towns wealth and power, built in the 7th century on a rocky promontory which was used as a defensive fortress of the Byzantines (395 AD - 1204 AD). In the northern part of the fortified citadel many important buildings have been found, including ruins of houses, two Turkish baths, the Byzantine church of Agia Sophia, the Church of Transfiguration, several cisterns and also the buried remains of British prisoners of war from World War II.
Pylos hosts two castles, and Neokastro and the Paleokastro. Paleokastro or Palionavarino, was built by the Franks in 1278, it has a rectangular shape with many square and round towers.
Neokastro built in 1573 by the Ottomans is at the entrance of the natural bay of Navarino and consists of an upper and lower castle. Inside the castle there is a Turkish aqueduct and the ruins of the Gothic Church of the Transfiguration. The church was built by the Franks, and then turned into a mosque by the Turks and now serves as an Orthodox Church. It should also be noted that the Greek Centre for Underwater Archaeology operates from the castle.