In the heart of the ancient agora of Kalamata’s town, next to cobblestone streets, traditional cafes and ouzeris (a type of taverna that serves ouzo) there is a wonderful archaeological treasure that awaits you. The Archaeological Museum of Messenia invites you to travel back into history where its exhibition aims to display the antiquities of Messenia from Prehistoric times until the Byzantine era in the most complete way possible. The highly dynamic design of the exhibition and the way in which objects appear will definitely win your attention and stimulate your interest in learning. Let’s begin our tour!
The Museum Tour
The exhibition is divided in sections reflecting the old geographical divisions of Kalamata’s prefecture into four provinces; Kalamata, Messene, Pylia and Trifylia. The exhibition unfolds an image of the most important archaeological sites that represent each province. Make your first stop by the marked map of Messenia where you can see where the exhibits came from. The flow of the exhibition has a slight resemblance to the Pamisou River of Messenia which branches into secondary roads leading to the four provinces. Each section is a self-contained unit that gives you the opportunity to decide which parts of the exhibition interest you most without following out the complete itinerary of the main road.
In the Province of Trifylia you will see local findings from settlements that were under the influence of Nestor’s Palace. Enjoy the featured exhibits from various vaulted (tholos) tombs such as a single clay vessel from the Middle Helladic period which was excavated at Pyrgos Trifylias and a golden cup from Peristeria which was part of the luxurious royal offerings. In this secton you can also admire some local coins from the ancient city of Kyparissia; Kyparissia port connected Messenia with the West in the Hellenistic and Roman period.
In the Province of Messene you can come across some of the findings of the ancient site as the remaining ones are exhibited at the Archaelogical Museum of Ancient Messene. Nevertheless you can admire the inscriptional herm of Armonikos, a huge number of local coins found during the excavation of the ancient city, as well as sections of the remarkable mosaic which adorned the floor of a Roman villa at Desyllas.
In the Province of Pylia you can admire the displays from ancient Koroni (present-day Petalidi), from the sanctuary of Apollo Kory(n)thos at Agios Andreas, and from the Mycenaen vaulted tombs at Platanovrysi, Chandrinos, Koukounara, Kremmydia and Soulinari. Among the exhibits you can see the impressive late Roman mosaic floor. Of exceptional interest is also the section of Nichoria, which comprises three units: the first is dedicated to the rich offerings of the royal Mycenaen vaulted tomb, the second displays the settlements of antiquities characteristic of everyday ancient life, while the third presents antiquities from the row of graves Rizomylo-Karpofora, dating from the Mycenaen, Geometric and Classical period. Finally, in the Province of Kalamata you can see the very important bronze votive offerings from the Sanctuary of Artemis Limnatis at Volymnos in Artemisia and a very interesting unit is that of Akovitika, where excavations brought to light the archaic and classical sanctuary of Poseidon and the important remains of the two Early-Helladic palaces. Here you can also see the hippocampus votive figurine, a mythical being which was also Poseidon’s symbol.
Ten thematic units are identified by signposts in order to provide a complete historical overview of both the political and cultural developments of certain areas of Messenia in antiquity. These units are the following: The house of Villehardouins and Messenia, Mani and the Despotate of Morea,Thouria, a City Inhabited by Perioikoi, The 'Outer' Mani at the Border of Messenia-Laconia, The 'Outer' Mani at the Border of Messenia-Laconia, St. Nikon Metanoeite (the Repenter) and Messenia, The Capital of the Independent State of Messene at the Foot of Mt. Ithome, Pylia Under Venetian Rule (1206-1500), A Mycenaean Center in the Gulf of Messenia, The 'Kingdom' of the Palace of Nestor, The Mycenaeans of Triphylia.
Don’t forget to buy your souvenirs and educational material from the Museum’s gift shop situated in the foyer. You can purchase authentic copies of ancient art, beautiful jewelry, statues, sculptures, casts and statuettes and other replicas of ancient finds from all over Greece. The gift shop is open the same hours as the museum.
The Archaeological Museum is housed in the building Messinias the Old Municipal Market at the intesection of Benaki & Agiou Ioannou streets in Kalamata. For more info about opening hours visit the Museums official site: www.archmusmes.gr/