36:47.480N 21:57.583E

Chris and Alison
Sat 8 Jun 2024 18:22
02/06/24 to 06/06/24

We had light winds for our 16nm sail from Kalamata to Koroni and ended up motoring for some of it. We anchored in the harbour, the chart said sand and rock but we found a sandy bit for the anchor. 
Built on the edge of steep slopes under and partly inside the Venetian fort, Koroni is an attractive town with some fine old houses. The town acquired the name Koroni (corrupted to Coron) via migrants from ancient Korone, now Petalidhion. The Venetians rightly perceived that the headland was the ideal site for a fort to defend their trade route around the Pelopnnisos. Much of it is still largely intact and incorporates bits of ancient masonry from early Asine. The fort, entered through the massive gateway at the East end of the village (follows the road up from the harbour mole) is a wonderfully tranquil place, much overgrown and now mostly occupied by a monastery and its Nuns. This fort was the second “eye of the Republic” after Methoni.

Koroni Castle

An ancient acropolis existed at the location of the castle since before the Trojan war. Its name was Aisini and it was one of the 7 cities offered by Agamemnon to Achilles to ease his anger, according to Homer. In the 6th or 7th century AD the Byzantines built a fortress. As with many castles in Peloponnese, the city became important and flourished after the 13th century and the Frankish occupation.

We visited the castle and the monastery that is now occupied by nuns who have made a tranquil oasis in the middle of the old castle. The nuns were selling cherry liquor and home made sweets - well, it would have been rude not to buy some!

The next day we left Koroni for Methoni. For the first hour we were motoring, then the wind filled in as we were going up the channel between islands so the sails came out. We had a blustery sail upwind through the channel, at times gusting F5, tacking all the way. We looked very enviously at a yacht going the other way with his lovely blue Parasailor doing 7knts downwind. We finally got to Methoni and anchored in the bay off yet an other castle. 

Methoni Castle. Built by the Venetians in the early 13th century on a rocky promontory, the castle is among the largest in the Mediterranean. At the entrance is a bridge with 14 stone  arches which connects the castle to the shore. The celebrated symbol of Venice, the lion of St Marc, dominates the gate of the castle where reliefs, emblems, blazons and inscriptions cover the huge gates –especially the main gate, above the now empty moat. The relics of two Ottoman bathhouses have survived in the centre of the castle grounds.  At the south edge of the castle there is a fortified islet. Bourtzi, as it is called, which was a prison and place of executions during the Turkish Occupation. It was built in 1500 and is connected to the Sea Gate of the castle with a paved road.

Koroni harbour

Monastery entrance in Koroni castle

Monastery garden Koroni

Church of St Sophia in the monastery grounds Koroni

Methoni castle entrance

Bourtzi part of the castle

Methoni castle

Bourtzi castle part of Methoni castle