Was one of the major commercial and shipping centres in medieval times of the Mediterranean. Its castle is irrefutable evidence of the towns wealth and power, built in the 7th century on a rocky promontory which was used as a defensive fortress of the Byzantines (395 AD – 1204 AD). In the northern part of the fortified citadel many important buildings have been found, including ruins of houses, two Turkish baths, the Byzantine church of Agia Sophia, the Church of Transfiguration, several cisterns and also the buried remains of British prisoners of war from World War II.
Pylos hosts two castles, and Neokastro and the Paleokastro. Paleokastro or Palionavarino, was built by the Franks in 1278, it has a rectangular shape with many square and round towers. Near the castle is Nestor’s cave which is mentioned by Pausanias, according to tradition this is where Hermes hid the cows which were stolen from Apollo and also, again according to legend, the cave that Nileas and his son Nestor used as a stable . Neokastro built in 1573 by the Ottomans is at the entrance of the natural bay of Navarino and consists of a upper and lower castle. The hexagonal shaped citadel is the main characteristic of the upper castle. The lower castle, which is the largest, consists of two square bastions (the western and northern). Inside the castle there is a Turkish aqueduct and the ruins of the Gothic Church of the Transfiguration. The church was built by the Franks, and then turned into a mosque by the Turks and now serves as an Orthodox Church. It should also be noted that the Greek Centre for Underwater Archaeology operates from the castle.
The capital of the Messinia is dominated by the castle of Princess Izabo. Built by Geoffrey Villehardouin (13th century) it was in the possession of Mystra from 1408 to 1430. It consists of two defensive precincts which are its two defensive lines, the outer enclosure includes the fortification of the slope to the east and an inner fortress.
A tour of the castles of Messinia must mention the castles of Zarnata in Meligala. Built by the Franks, large sections of walls and a large square tower remain today, the castle Talkof Mila (built in 1201 to protect the residents of the area and control the mountain passes to Arcadia), the castle of Androusa (the most important in Moria in the Middle Ages), the castle of Lefktrou on the outskirts of Stoupa and the Castle of the Giants in Kyparissia located in the heart of the city’s protected Upper Town.