Messolonghi is the capital of the county of Etoloakarnania.
In the ensuing years, the town of Messolongi was the birhplace of 5 famous Prime Ministers, many people of history, many poets, artists and scientists, architects and literate men. It developed as a tourist attraction, being a town symbolizing freedom and a place where there were many memorials in the Garden of Heroes .
Everywhere memories of the 1821 uprising are revived especially when we see all the monuments of Philhellenes, heroes, the tombs of Markos Botsaris, Kyriakos Mavromihalis, to the Swiss Philhellene Johann-Jacob Mayer and other Greek heroes and the heroic English Philhellene and poet Lord Byron whose last breath was left in Messolongi. The busts and the monuments of the heroes offer an image of the town, light as opposed to dark, and civilization as opposed to barbarism. The museum of History and Art is the second interesting place to visit and is situated in the center of the square of Markos Botsaris and it is in the building which was the Town Hall. The building was erected in 1932, here we see a rich selection of paintings both by Greek and foreign painters, who are inspired by the struggle and the Exodus of Messolongi.
At the entrance are the busts of the Messolongi men who became Prime Ministers of Greece, e.g. Harilaos Trikoupis and Epaminondas Deligiorgis. Within you will find the bust of the historic Prime Minister Spiridon Trikoupi and paintings of the Greek Revolution. In a prominent position are big paintings of the blowing up of the armament by Christo Kapsali, the freedom which rises from the ruins of Messolongi by the French painter Delacroix, the welcome of Lord Byron to Messolongi, the heroic Exodus of Messolongi, the marvellous painting by the French artist Delansac, depicting the self sacrifice of woman Messolonghite and the emotional picture of the Exodus which is paraded during the annual festivity of Exodus which takes place on Saturday, Lazarus Day and on Palm Sunday.
In the museum there is also a room dedicated exclusively to Lord Byron, with oil paintings, letters, portraits of the poet, the people that he met, the places he visited during his stay in Greece and which he expressed in his poems, personal items and letters specifically of his Philhellene efforts. In a prominent position is his statue which was donated by the Canadian Embassy. The noble family of Palamanians had its impact as well. At a house which stands out architecturally, the ancestor of the Palamanians, Panagiotis Palamas was born in 1722 and was considered as the teacher of the Greek origins. Our National poet Kostis Palamas stayed in this same house when he became an orphan, in 1865. Both his parents died and he went to the house of his father's brother Demetrios Palamas. Here he stayed until he completed his education and wrote his first poems. In the halls, the corridors and balcony conservatory of the house, one finds personal items, paintings, documents from his life and great deeds. Opposite this house, is the house which is the birthplace of the politician Spiridon Trikoupis and where Harilaos Trikoupis, the great modern politician of Greece, lived.
It is not by chance that the 2 facets of modern Greece met at the same place, the political and the poetic, Harilaos Trikoupis the politician and Kostas Palamas the poet, their houses neighboring each other in the old part of the city.
A lot of places remind and stir the emotions of many visitors such as the neighborhood of Kapsali, the position of the house of Lord Byron, the noble house of John Trikoupi which is situated at the end of Mayer road near the "first arch", the noble house of Zafirio or Zinovio Valvi, where the public library is housed, and the local historical center. The position of the house of Bishop Josef of Rogon near the Xenokratio public school, the windmill, the small church of Panagia of Phoenekia, 2 km outside Messolongi, where Lord Byron often visited and the historic Monastery of Agios Simeon which is 8 km from Messolongi.
Every year on the Saturday of Lazarus and on Palm Sunday, Messolongi and the whole nation honors the big sacrifice of the heroic Exodus of Messolongi as the poet and academic Nikiforos Vretakos said, "Everyone from around the nation must fervently and wholeheartedly congregate around Messolongi with faith."
It should be essential for the children of all schools in the country to orientate themselves towards Messolongi for a moment of silence and remembrance. After the Parthenon of Athens and St Sophia of Constantinople, Messolongi is also considered a great place.
During Pentecost there is great joyfulness, music, laughter and bands especially at the well known National religious festival of St. Simeon.
Apart from the historical side of Messolongi, it is also a unique aquatic place whereby it provides a lot of sanctuaries for flora and fauna and is a main source of common salt, supplying all Greece. Rare types of birds like Nanoglarona (dwarf seagulls), Kalamokanaves (long-legged birds), water swallows, mollusc (mussel) eating birds, sphirichtres (whistling sea-birds) koridali (yellow type of finch) and so many others nesting on the bushes of the sea lakes.
It is indeed those sea lakes that give the town its beauty and make it the fish-producing center of Greece. The fisherman's life, the type of fishing and the unique sunset attract many visitors. In older times, barges were propelled by sails but now only a few enthusiasts use them.
The local cuisine consists mainly of fish, so plentifully available from the lakes, every type of fish in its season has a special local recipe and one can taste these things in restaurants and ouzeri (ouzo taverns) in the town. It is famous for fish roe from the female kefalo during the month of August. The magical road of 5 km jutting into the sea leads us to the coast of the Patraic Gulf with its beautiful beach of Tourlida. There the visitors can combine swimming and fishing. Those who suffer from certain ailments benefit from the spa waters of Agia Triada (Holy Trinity) at the historic small island called Klisovas just before reaching Tourlida.
Generally Messolongi is a universal symbol of the struggle of nations for dignity and freedom, and it offers great pportunities for further touristic promotion.
This text is cited December 2004 from the West Greece Region General Secretariat URL below, which contains images.
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