We are all very familiar with the ancient cities of Epidavros and Olympia. But did you know the importance of the ancient city of Messini? This city, is one of the most vital excavated cities of Greece. A city favored by the Gods!
According to the myth, Zeus was born in Messini -not in Crete, as you probably have heard -and raised by two nymphs, Neda and Ithoni, who bathed him in the river which today is called Neda, the only river in Greece with a feminine name.
Ancient Messini is a place of great significance, as soon as you enter the city it feels like a visit to the glorious past. You will be impressed by seeing temples, walls, public buildings, all built thousands of years ago, in 369 BC, and all of them in good condition. One of the most impressive buildings is the stadium, because of its excellent state.
The word “stadium” (stadio) in the ancient Greek world was used to describe a measurement of length, and the place where a race was held and observed by an audience. Ancient Greek sporting events were very connected to religion and most of the sport competitions were to honor one of the Gods. The stadium of Ancient Messini includes 18 bleachers with 18 rows of seats, separated by staircases and surrounded by Doric stoas. Statues of heroes, myths and legends like Hercules, Thiseas and Aristomenis the Messinian, were found in the stadium and were honored in every event.
In ancient Greece physical exercise had a special place in every society, together with mental clarity were the two sides of the same coin, the base for good health, education and military training; a virtuous citizen had a healthy mind and a healthy body.