Marathópoli or Marathos, in the southwestern part of Messinia, is a picturesque seaside village with beautiful beaches. In summer the population of the village increased, as the area has a strong tourist industry. In Marathopoli from morning to evening you can enjoy a coffee or a drink in the cozy bar and cafe area while the village is famous for its fish taverns.
The island of Proti is a beautiful little island just across the Marathópolis Messinia. It is just one mile from the coast and is arid and uninhabited. However, it is a very interesting place with a history that starts from very old.
The name of this island, due to the sea god Proteus, son of Poseidon and has great archaeological importance. There are the ruins of the Mycenaean citadel or pre-classical era with wall and circular turret.
The island of Proti mentioned by Thucydides because there “being a desert” in 424 BC parked temporarily due to storm, the Athenian fleet (Athenian squadron) of Demosthenes, homing of Zakynthos and continuing to Pylos, where close to it, on the island Sfaktiria besieged protestors there Spartans (Thucydides IV 13).
Reports on this are by Strabo and other ancient writers. According to local traditions was previously naval reserve, probably not even at different times and hideout Pirates, Crusader Saracens who were hiding there and their treasures (I. M. Martinis, “Diary of Greater Greece – The island Trifiliaki First ‘Tom . 13, No. 13 (1934), pp. 185-200).
On the island there is also the temple of Artemis Efploias that in place of rebuilt church of Our Lady.
In the heyday of piracy, the first was as a base of the privateer Maniatis Katoulias and the battleship “Spetses” prosormistike there in 1899, to be saved from the storm that raged in the Ionian Sea.
A unique experience is also a visit to the monastery of the Assumption of Gorgopigi located north of the beach Vourlias and attracts many devotees on 15 and 23 August.
If you prefer travelling towards north, visit Filiatra, located about 12km away from Marathopolis. The town is built on a green plain with olive trees and vineyards; there are also marvelous beaches in the wider area.
Could you imagine travelling in the west coast of Peloponnese and see the Eiffel Tower? Well in Filiatra, this small town of Messinia, you will! The replica of the Eiffel Tower placed at the entrance of the town is the most notable tourist attraction in the area. Due to this replica the town is often called “the little Paris”. The replica is smaller than the original and it was built by the funding and the initiative of the homogeneous doctor Haralampos Fournarakis. Mr Fournarakis was also responsible for the building of the “The Castle of Fairytales” in Agrili. In the city, except the signal replica of the Eiffel Tower, you will also be astonished by the impressive main square of the town where you can see the famous clock that decorates the city and the Venetian fountain.
In the area there are many medieval and especially byzantine monuments which travelers could visit like the monastery of St. Christophorus, the historical Vlacherna monastery etc.
One of the most known traditions in the area is the festival of the watermelon. The tradition started at 2007 and continues every year from the mid May until mid June. During this period people are served with a lot of cool watermelon which is produced in this area.
The town of Filiatra dates back in the 16th century but it is a continuation of the ancient city Erana. There are proofs that the history of this place goes way back in time, like a stone axe from the Neolithic Period, which was found in Gournospilia. Also in Armakadia there are ruins from an ancient building and a Mycenaean tomb.
During the end of the 19th century the city was economically developed and became an agricultural and trading centre. During this period many exports of local products towards the European cities took place. The most popular products were the olive oil, the raisin and the wines. In the town the visitors of this time could see the big mansions and the luxury of the city. In 1886 a big earthquake almost demolished the city and the economy collapsed. The city was rebuilt but never returned to its previous economic prosperity.
The name of the town means “edge of the well” and according to tradition the name is related with the large number of the wells that existed in the settlement.
Stomio beach is 4km north of Filiatra. It is a beautiful sandy beach organized with umbrellas.
Agia Kiriaki, just 4,5km south from Filiatra, is a picturesque harbor of the area where you can enjoy swimming. The sunset is also beautiful here.
About 6,7km north of Filiatra you will find Agrili. Here you could visit the wonderful “Castle of Fairytales” and also enjoy swimming in the nearby sandy coast.
Lagouvardos beach is a long sandy beach about 9km south of Filiatra. The beach is ideal for board and wind surfing, canoeing etc. It is one of the most popular in the area. If you choose to spend your time there, don’t miss the opportunity to enjoy the beautiful sunset.