The Peloponnese: City of Pylos Messinia Prefecture Page Six

The fortifications are a mix of Frankish and Venetian, built upon ancient foundations. Courtyards and cisterns can be discerned, and the surrounding walls are quite substantial.

Approaching the promontory where the castle sits by going via to the road to Romanos from Pylos, you will reach the beautiful sandy beach on the deep semicircular bay Voidhokilia, which opens to the sea to the west of a narrow isthmus that goes south to the castle hill., while east of the isthmus is a stunning freshwater lagoon , an area which may by now be a bird conservation area, and where motor vehicles are distinctly unwelcome (for obvious reasons).

the tomb of ThrasymedesFrom the beach a path leads upward to the Spilio tou Nestoros (Nestor's Cave) and continues from there up to the castle. The 18meter/59foot long cave, inhabited by humans during Neolithic and Mycenaean times, is now inhabited by bats, and has a hole in its roof.

There are also many stalactites. The cave has been identified by some as the location of the grotto mentioned in the Odyssey, where Nestor and Neleus kept their cows, and also as the place where Hermes hid Apollo's cattle (the stalactites resembling animals and hanging hides) as well as the actual site (according to archaeologists) of King Nestor's harbor (see below).

On the promontory to the north of the Voidhokilia Bay is one of the earliest tholos tombs (right)in mainland Greece, which research reveals had been intserted into a Middle Helladic tumulus. An Early Helladic settlement existed there in earlier times and Neolithic finds have been discovered there as well as later cult/votive offering from the Classical and Hellenistic periods. This area can be reached on foot from the villages of Petrochori or Romanos.

Other beaches on the bay include Yialova (6km from Pylos) which has some of the shade-proferring tamarisk trees common on many Greek beaches, as well as an excellent campsite open between April and October, with a good restaurant and good facilities. There are also some rooms and hotels here. To the north, at Maistros, is a popular windsurfing spot with a good taverna.

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