Methoni - Greece
Methoni, on the south of the Peloponnese coast 7 miles (12km) south of Pylos, is a pretty seaside resort with a sandy beach. It also displays the massive bastions of a 15th century Venetian fortress that once protected pilgrims travelling to the Holy Land. Explore the Castle of Methoni with its Frankish gate, Byzantine church of Aghia Sophia (Holy Wisdom) and the ruined Turkish baths. The fortified islet at the south end of the castle with the octagonal Bourtzi tower is reached by a short causeway. The site was fortified as early as the 7th century B.C., and in the period between 395 A.D. and 1204 A.D. was used as a Byzantine fortress. The area was dominated by the Franks for a very short period and in 1206 was captured by the Venetians who strengthened the fortification, incorporating the pre-Christian defensive structures. In 1500 Methoni was captured by the Turk Bayazit Pasha, again came under Venetian occupation from 1685 until 1715, and was for a second time dominated by the Turks who kept it under their control until 1829, when it was liberated by the French General Maison, along with other towns of the Peloponnese.