THE SACRED TOWN OF
MESSOLONGHI

lisimahia    Messolonghi is the capital of the county of Etoloakarnanias and it is the Sacred Town of Greece. It is a small and very picturesque town on a famous lagoon.

    It becomes known in history in the 16th century just before the sea battle of Nafpaktos on 7 October 1571. During the pre-Christian period in this area of Messolonghi there were 3 ancient towns. Kalidona, near the village of Evinohori and Plevrona, while in more recent years, Alikirna which is built just below the historical monastery of St. Simeon .

    The first inhabitants were fishermen and sailors living in straw huts positioned on small islands in the lagoon of Patra. Perhaps, later on, the area was called Mezzo Langhi by the Italians which means "between the lakes".

Exodus    Messolonghi played a very important role during the Greek uprising. In 1822 the Turks tried to take it but were unsuccessful. Four years later the inhabitants of Messolonghi unfortunately succumbed against the Turks who surrounded the Town and on 10 April 1826 they decided on the mass Exodus of Messolonghi . Unfortunately the plan was betrayed to the Turks and the consequences were tragic .

    Perhaps Messolonghi fell but her history stands high and illuminates hearts throughout the ages of the free man .

    In 1829 Messolonghi was liberated from the Turks and started again to flourish. In 1835 they appointed a mayor and in 1937 the government decided to name it the SACRED TOWN OF GREECE . In the ensuing years, the town of Messolonghi produced 5 famous Prime Ministers, many people of history, many poets, artists and scientists, architects and literately men. It developed as tourist attraction being a town symbolizing freedom and a place where there were many memorials in the Garden of Heroes .

    Everywhere memories are revived of the 1821 uprising especially when we see all the monuments of Philhellenes, heroes, the tombs of Markos Botsaris, Kyriakos Mavromihalis, to the Swiss Philhellene Johann-Jacob Mayer and other Greek heroes and the heroic English Philhellene and poet Lord Byron whose last breath was left in Messolonghi . The busts and the monuments of the Heroes offer an image of the town, light as opposed to dark and civilization as opposed to barbarism. The museum of History and Art is the second interesting place to visit and is situated in the center of the square of Markos Botsaris and it is in the building which was the Town Hall. The building was erected in 1932, here we see a rich selection of paintings both by Greek and foreign painters, who are inspired by the struggle and the Exodus of Messolonghi .

     At the entrance are the busts of the Messolonghi men who became Prime Ministers of Greece, e.g. Harilao Trikoupi and Epaminonda Deligiorgi. Within you will find the bust of the historic Prime Minister Spiridon Trikoupi and paintings of the Greek Revolution. In a prominent position are big paintings of the blowing up of the armament by Christo Kapsali, the freedom which rises from the ruins of Messolonghi by the French painter Delacroix, the welcome of Lord Byron to Messolonghi, the heroic Exodus of Messolonghi, the marvelous painting by the French artist Delansac depicting the self sacrifice of woman Messolonghite and the emotional picture of the Exodus which is paraded during the annual festivity of Exodus which takes place on Saturday, Lazarus Day and Palm Sunday .

Lord Byron    In the museum there is also a room exclusively for Lord Byron, with oil paintings, letters, portraits of the poet, the people that he met, the places he visited during his stay in Greece and which he expressed in his poems, personal items and letters specifically of his Philhellene efforts. In a prominent position is his statue which was donated by the Canadian Embassy. The nobly family of Palamanians had its impact as well. At a house which stands out architecturally, the ancestor of the Palamanians, Panagiotis Palamas was born in 1722 and was considered as the teacher of the Greek origins. In the same house, stayed our National poet Kostis Palamas when in 1865 he became an orphan. Both his parents died and he went to the house of his father's brother Demetrios Palamas. Here he stayed until he completed his education and wrote his first poems. In the halls, the corridors and balcony conservatory of the house, one finds personal items, paintings, documents from his life and great deeds. Opposite this house, is the house which is the birthplace of the politician Spiridon Trikoupis and where Harilaos Trikoupis the great modern politician of Greece lived .

    It is not by chance that the 2 facets of modern Greece met at the same place, the political and poetical, Harilaos Trikoupis the politician and Kostas Palamas the poet, their houses neighboring each other in the old part of the city. Soon this house will be given to the Community by the present owner, the last inheritor Kostandinos Trikoupis and will become the Tricoupian museum.

    A lot of places remind and stir the emotions of many visitors such as the neighborhood of Kapsali, the position of the house of Lord Byron, the noble house of John Trikoupi which is situated at the end of Mayer road near the "first arch", the noble house of Zafirio or Zinovio Valvi where the public library is housed, and the local historical center. The position of the house of Bishop Josef of Rogon near the Xenokratio public school, the windmill, the small church of Panagia of Phoenekia, 2 km outside Messolonghi, where Lord Byron often visited and the historic Monastery of Agios Simeon which is 8 km from Messolonghi.

    Every year on the Saturday of Lazarus and Palm Sunday Messolonghi and the whole nation honors the big sacrifice of the heroic Exodus of Messolonghi as the poet and academic Nikeforus Vretakos said, "Everyone from around the nation must fervently and wholeheartedly congregate around Messolonghi with faith."

    It should be essential for the children of all schools in the country to orientate themselves towards Messolonghi for a momentary silence and remembrance. After the Parthenon of Athens and St Sophia of Constantinople, Messolonghi is considered also a great place.

    During Pentecost there is great joyfulness, music, laughter and bands especially at the well known National religious festival of St-Simeon.

agios sostis    Apart from the historical side of Messolonghi, it is also a unique aquatic place whereby it provides a lot of sanctuaries for Flora and Fauna and is a main source of common salt, supplying all Greece : Rare types of birds like Nanoglarona (dwarf seagulls), Kalamokanaves (long-legged birds), water swallows, mollusc (mussel) eating birds, sphirichtres (whistling sea-birds) koridali (yellow type of finch) and so many others nesting on the bushes of the sea lakes.

    It is indeed those sea lakes that gives the beauty of the town and make the fish-producing center of Greece. The fisherman's life, the type of fishing and the unique sunset attract many visitors. In older times, barges were propelled by sails but now only a few enthusiasts use them.

    The local cuisine is mainly fish so plentifully available from the lakes, every type of fish in its season has a special local recipe and one can taste these things in restaurants and ouzeri (ouzo taverns) in the town. It is famous for fish roe from the female kefalo during the month of August. The magical road of 5 km jutting into the sea leads us to the coast of the Patraic Gulf with its beautifyl beach of Tourlida. There the visitors can combine swimming and fishing. Sufferers from certain ailments benefit from the spa waters of Agia Triada (Holy Trinity) at the historic small island called Klisovas just before reaching Tourlida.

    Generally Messolonghi is a universal symbol of the struggle of nations for dignity and freedom, offers great interest and opportunities for further touristic promotion.


This site has been designed, developed and is being supported
by   ELEA LTD