"Apollo the Helper" Prefecture of Messinia by Yank_o

Prefecture of Messinia Travel Guide: 396 reviews and 1,456 photos

Close to the roots

The temple of Apollo the Helper (Epicurean Apollo) dates from the 5th c. BC. The closest village of some importance is Andritsena, 10km to the north, on the Pyrgos-Megalopoli route. The temple is at an altitude of 1150m, at an idyllic and quiet location. It is covered under a "temporary" tent (placed there in 1987) and is attributed to Ictinus, architect also of Athens' Parthenon.

Andritsena and the temple are at a relatively close distance from my paternal village of origin but it was only recently that I first visited them (after work from Tripoli via Megalopoli and Lykaio/Neda villages), with my Luxembourg-residing friends who arrived there from a different destination (SW Peloponnese, via the beautiful cascades of the Neda river nearby).

The experience

The tent does not create high expectations. And yet, when you get under it, you realize that a full-blown temple (with many columns standing, or restored, to the original top) exists underneath.

The temple

The orientation is north to south, quite in contrast with the usual W-to-E, due to space restrictions. The area apparently escaped "barbaric" destructions. Nevertheless, it did not escape the "pinching" by archaeologists of the early modern ages. The frieze (i.e. the reliefs that used to be on top of the columns) were removed and are now to be seen at the British Museum close to the "Elgin marbles" of the Parthenon.

Geographically the area belongs to Messinia. Historically it's part of the broader "Arcadia" region. Some confusion arose regarding the jurisdictions of archaeological and other authorities, as the Apollo temple is close to the tri-prefectural border point.

  • Last visit to Prefecture of Messinia: Jul 2011
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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“Se hace camino al andar”

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