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NAVARINO HISTORY

Pylos, frequently mentioned in history and mythology, is a famous ancient name

The Navarino Bay was the setting of an important naval battle in 1827
where the British, French and Russian fleets destroyed the Turko-Egyptian fleet; the victory of this battleconsolidated the independence ofGreece 

Paliokastro
Located on a mountain west of Gialova Lagoon and at the northern end of Navarino Bay is the old Navarino castle Paliokastro, meaning “old castle”. It was possibly built between 1282 and 1289 and it is believed that the castle was established by Nicolas II of Saint Omer who was the commander of the barony of Thebes (information sign at Paliokastro put up by the Ministry of Culture, 2014). The castle was built to control the north entrance into Navarino Bay (Giorgos Maneas, personal communication).

The castle is reachable by a 600 m hiking trail, mainly with an uphill slope. It is hence not
accessible for physically disabled people. There is a small parking lot at the beginning of the
trail. At Paliokastro there is an information sign about the history of the castle. There are no
further facilities.

The view from the trail and the castle is commonly regarded very beautiful which is well
worth a visit all in itself. At the time of our visit, there were some occasional other tourists,
but as a whole the experience as a tourist was unspoiled by mass tourism.

Quite a lot of tourists visit Paliokastro but it is evenly spread out over the year, without any particular peak, so there will never be a feeling of crowdedness (Giorgos Maneas, personal communication).

Paliokastro has both a natural value and a cultural value that all together make the place
attractive for the tourist looking for a shorter hiking trip. The natural value lies mostly in the
view and the experience itself, and the cultural value lies in the old castle ruin which adds a
historical impression.

The tourism exploitation is at the location small so there is essentially no conflict between
tourism and nature conservation interests. Since the castle itself is only accessible by the
hiking trail the visitation rate still is only moderately high. A conflict could arise, however, if
arrangements would be made to facilitate visitation of the castle, by for example making it
possible to go by car all the way up. That would no doubt increase tourist visitation, but also
destroy the experience that comes from hiking and being able to visit in an uncrowded
environment.
Niokastro (Pylos castle)
At the south end of Navarino Bay, in the city of Pylos, is the new Navarino Castle, Niokastro
(Figure 6), in oppose to Paliokastro, the old Navarino Castle. It was built by the Ottomans,
starting in 1573, with the objective of controlling the south entrance into the Navarino Bay
(Hellenic Republic Ministry of Culture and Sports 2014). Between 1686 and 1715 the castle
was in the hands of the Venetians, before it went back in Ottoman possession and after the
Greek independence war and liberation of Greece in the 19th century, the castle was used as a prison before it was given to the Archaeological Service (Hellenic Republic Ministry of Culture and Sports 2014).

Niokastro consists of an outer wall, an inner hexagon citadel and the church of
Metamorphoses which originally was a mosque and there is an exhibition on
maritime archaeology (Bostock 2013, pg. 170-171).
At the time of our visit the castle was closed so no examination concerning tourist facilities could be done on the inside. There is a possibility to walk around the castle on the outside to look at the view facing the Navarino Bay. Niokastro is accessible by car and there is a small parking lot outside the gate. There is probably little natural value in Niokastro apart from the view, but the greater cultural value because of its historical significance. In the 1980´s there was a restoration of the castle (Hellenic Republic Ministry of Culture and Sports 2014).

PYLOS

Pylos was frequently mentioned in history and Mythology, is a famous ancient name. Pylos has a continuous historical presence since pre-historic times. Pylos was the dominant Mycenaean center in Messenia.

The position of modern Pylos is not where ancient Pylos was:

• the Mycenaean Pylos (bronze-age ~ -1300 / -1200 B.C.) called also Sandy Pylos or Homer's Pylos is supposed the capital of Nestor's Kingdom (from Homer's Odyssey), is located at Epano Englianos (nearby Hora). In 1939 archaeologists discovered and excavated there a Mycenaean palace known as the Palace to Nestor, it seems the site itself was called Pylos.

• the Classical and Hellenistic Pylos (~ -700 / +600) was probably situated on the rocky promontory now known as Koryphasion at the northern edge of the bay of Navarino, close to Voidokilia Bay.

Through the centuries Pylos continued to attract, Byzantines, Franks, Venetians and Turks each in turn fortified the high points along the bay.

In 1573 the Turks built the fortress of Pylos Neokastro (it dominates the west side of town), with the aim of controlling the southern entrance to the bay of Navarino, the largest natural harbour in the Peloponnese. Is called Neokastro (New Castle), to distinguish it from Paliokastro (Old Castle). It is kept in a very good condition and functions as a museum


Pylos has been the scene of two famous battles:

• in 425 BC. during the Peloponnesian War, a naval battle took place in the bay between Athens and Sparta.

• in October 20, 1827 the naval battle of Navarino took place, where fleets English, Russian and French inflicted on the fleet turco-egyptian a defeat which would be decisive for the independence of Greece in 1832 (it follows this battle that diplomacy has decided the establishment of an independent Greek state).

The Battle of Navarino

During the Greek War for Independence, a combined Turkish and Egyptian armada is destroyed by an allied British, French, and Russian naval force at the Battle of Navarino.

In 1821, the first nationalist uprisings by the Greeks against their Turkish rulers touched off a wave of sympathy in Britain and France, whose cultural traditions enshrined respect for ancient Hellenic values. The Russians also sympathized with the Greeks as fellow members of the Orthodox Church struggling against a mutual foe—the Ottoman Empire. After Turkey enlisted the aid of Egypt in the conflict, Britain, France, and Russia sent allied squadrons to the Bay of Navarin, on the southwest coast of the Peloponnese in the eastern Mediterranean.

The European allies had hoped to resolve the conflict by a simple show of force, but upon arrival their squadrons were immediately fired on by the opposing Egyptian and Turkish naval force. British Admiral Sir Edward Codrington’s squadron led the European counterattack, and within hours the Europeans’ superior artillery completely annihilated the Turkish and Egyptian fleets. The Turkish defeat was so complete that in 1828, they began to evacuate Greece, and in 1832 Greece won its independence after nearly 400 years of Turkish rule.

The decision to attack the Ottoman fleet at Navarino Bay, was made by British Admiral Edward Codrington, in cooperation with the French, and in consultation with Greece’s first governor, Ioannis Kapodistrias. The two powers wanted to secure Greek autonomy and bound Russia by treaty as a check on Russia’s expansionist tendencies. Russia wanted to take over Ottoman territories so, the weakening of the Ottoman Empire’s army was crucial.

The allied powers literally sank the Ottomans’ Mediterranean fleet, dealing a massive blow to the Empire. At the same time they saved Greece’s war against the ruling Ottomans at a critical moment. The occupying forces were soon forced to leave the Peloponnese, thus allowing Greeks to form the first government under Ioannis Kapodistrias in Nafplio, a year later.

What Happened During the Greek Battle of Navarino?

Ottoman rule in certain parts of Greece began sometime in the mid 15th century. ver the course of the next several hundred years, other parts of Greece followed. By the time Greece entered into the 19th century, most of Greece experienced occupation. The Greek War for Independence began in 1821 and the First Hellenic Republic was created in 1822. Although there were years of fighting still ahead of the Greeks by the time the war began, the ultimate result was that Greece did gain independence from the Ottomans. The Battle of Navarino played an important part in Greece’s ultimate victory.

Here’s more information about the Battle of Navarino:

Background of the Battle of Navarino
When the War for Independence first began, the Greeks did most of their fighting without outside support. However, as the war waged on, their struggle gained popular support throughout the world. After roughly six years, in 1827, the Ottoman Turks looked as if they may have successfully squashed the rebellious Greeks. With the support of the Egyptians, the Turks were able to win several important battles despite the best effort of the Greeks. However, Britain, France, and Russia would eventually come to the aid of the Greeks and ultimately, this would help Greece become victorious.

Britain, France, and Russia Support Greece
Many look at this battle as something that changed the the course of the war. The battle, which took place on October 20, 1827, was a naval conflict between Greece, who had the support of Britain, France, and Russia, and the Turks, who had the support of Egypt. Russia was especially motivated to support the Greeks because of their shared religion, and also because Russia and the Ottomans didn’t have a great relationship, either.

Fighting the Battle of Navarino
The Battle of Navarino was actually a naval conflict. The Turkish and Egyptian naval fleet had set up a blockade in Navarino Bay, which is located in the waters by the Peloponnese. From a size perspective, the allied fleet was smaller than the Egyptian and Turkish one. However, the allies had considerably more experience and in general, were better armed. In other words, they had the necessary skill to best the Egyptians and Ottomans. In particular, the gunnery of the allied ships was far superior to the Egyptians’ and Turks’ gunnery. The end result of the battle is that the allies suffered 700 dead and wounded, and the Ottomans and Egyptians experienced 4000 dead and wounded.

Many believe that the Battle of Navarino changed the course of the war. As it turns out, the losses that the Ottoman Empire and the Egyptians suffered were too much. The war itself eventually ended roughly two years later. Total, the war itself lasted roughly 8 1/2 years. Greek Independence Day is celebrated in Greece and amongst the Greek diaspora every year on March 25th, and if it weren’t for this battle, that may not have been possible.

Sources:
Britannica – Battle of Navarino
Wikipedia – Battle of Navarino
Wikipedia – Greek War for Independence
Wikipedia – Ottoman Greece

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