MESSOLONGHI
THE SACRED CITY OF GREECE



Messolonghi the capital of the prefecture of Aetolia and Akarnania is a small town situated in central western Greece on the coast of the famous lagoon of Messolonghi and Aetoliko. Aetoliko is a smaller town on an island of the same lagoon.

The area of the broader municipality extends between the two well known rivers Acheloos and Evinos and also between the lagoon and the mountain Arakinthos.

On the slopes of Arakinthos two very important greek cities had been flourishing for centuries since early antiquity. Calydon and Plevron had participated in the two great ancient greek expeditions, those of the Argonauts and against Troy.

Also Hercules had worked here to tame river Acheloos and in exchange the King of Calydon Oeneas gave him his beautiful daughter Deianira, as wife.

Today the impressive walls and the other monuments of the two towns are alive, and their two theaters may be visited. Besides one more important city, Alicyrna had been built between the two others during later times. Its remains had been found recently during the construction of the new National Highway.

If we add the remains of one more important ancient town, Oiniades, on the other side of Acheloos with its big theater we understand that the area had been the center of a very important ancient civilization.

More recently, but still since a lot of centuries, two new important towns have been built on small islands in the lagoon, Messolonghi and Aetoliko, while a lot of other villages surround them in the very fertile land between the two rivers.

Messolonghi has been the center of the greek revolution against Ottoman Turks (1821 29) in Western Greece and has resisted their military pressure from 1822 up to 1826.

On April 10, 1826 (April 23 of the new calendar) after a siege of one year by the joint forces of the Ottomans and those of the Pasha of Egypt the defenders of the City decided to not surrender but to try to fight through the enemy forces. Their plans had been betrayed and only a few had been able to run to the mountain and to Liberty. More than 3000 men had been killed while more than 6000 women and children had been sold as slaves.

The Exodus of Messolonghi has been one of the most heroic acts of the Greek Revolution and has influenced greatly its successful end with the intervention of Russia, France and Great Britain in favour of the Greeks. This is why the town has been named the Sacred City of Greece.