Many people associate Messolonghi only with the events of the 1821 Revolution and the Exodus of
1826. On the other hand, the relevant histories mention the creation of the city by pirates and fishermen, Greeks and foreigners, in the 16th century. Thus too many people think that the city was founded in an area that was deserted and uninhabited until that time. But the truth is completely different. The area enclosed by the lagoon of Messolonghi and Aetoliko to the south, Mount Arakynthos to the north, Evinos to the east and Acheloos to the west is one of the oldest inhabited areas in Greece. The Kourites and the Aetolians were the ancient inhabitants of the area, which from early antiquity was called Aetolia.

In the area where the beautiful cities of Messolonghi and Aetoliko exist today, in antiquity Kaldona and Pleyrona, cities known all over Greece, flourished. Life in the area has never stopped and this is attested by the numerous monuments of antiquity, the Hellenistic period, the Roman and Byzantine periods and the Turkish occupation. The area south of Arakynthos was the old Aetolia with two important and nationally known cities. The general ruler of the country was Aetolos, whose two sons, Kalydonas and Pleuronas, built the two homonymous cities. Their descendants were Oeneas (from Kalydon) and Althea (from Pleyrona). Their children were also Meleagros and Deineira. Oineas cultivated the vine for the first time in Greece and reigned in an area with rich crops. It was there that the hunt of the Calydonian Capricorn was organized, in which heroes from all over Greece took part. Meleagros also took part in the Argonautic Campaign with his uncle Iphicles. Agaios from Pleurona, who was the second governor of Argos, also took part in the same campaign. Dioneira married Heracles, who for her sake fought with Acheloos and defeated him. Finally, Thoas, grandson of Oeneas from Althea, and Diomedes, grandson of Oeneas from his second marriage (with Periboea), took part in the Trojan War. All these beautiful and well-known myths, related to the life of the heroes of the region, testify to the power of Kalydona and Pleurona and their close relations with the powerful cities of the rest of Greece.

In Aetolia, a large number of peoples lived from very ancient times – pre-Hellenic peoples, Early Achaeans, Achaeans, Dorians. This is proved mainly by the ancient ruins and remains, which exist all over the place, but also by the hydronyms Acheloos, – Enochos containing the root AKW(ach) of Linear B’ – meaning water. These ancient peoples were mainly engaged in stockbreeding and agriculture, while their relations with the lagoon were curiously limited mainly to piracy and raids. Besides, the Aetolians were described as “aggressive, predatory, politically ambitious, and unruly……”.
The Aetolian League.
Around 314 BC the Aetolian League was created and initially included the ancient
Aetolia and Epictetus, i.e. the western foothills of Pindos. From 280 BC onwards, the Confederacy extended from Macedonia and Epirus to Athens and Boeotia. Their political organization is one of the most perfect in Greece. But they will not succeed in repelling the Romans, at first preoccupied and later exhausted by the struggles against the Macedonians. Agriculture and animal husbandry support their economy, and the classes consist of powerful families and many poor cultivators and herders, but not of slaves, pennies or serfs.

Venetian rule

The region of Messolonghi became Venetian from 1204 A.D. Messolonghi and Aetoliko, with their lagoons, offered security to the Venetians. Its strategic position makes the Rio Antirrio the “eye of the East ”. Its economy is no longer limited to agriculture and animal husbandry as trade develops.
However, its greatest prosperity occurred in the period 1740-1770. A commercial and naval center, it has 75 ships (while the total number of Greek ships is 615). The fall of Venice (1797) was a great blow to the region, but nevertheless the early 19th century marked a renaissance. The full exploitation of the natural wealth leads to the strengthening of the city, while its brief weakening is mainly due to the predatory policy of Ali Pasha.

The 5 Prime Ministers

Spyridon Trikoupis (1788-1873)

He was born in Messolonghi and after his secondary education in Messolonghi and Patras, he studied philology and philosophy at the universities of Rome and Paris thanks to the help of Count Guilford. In 1824 he was elected as a deputy. Member of the Provisional Government (1826), the National Assembly

Troizina (1827) and secretary of state (minister) from 1828, he was appointed by Governor Kapodistrias as the first prime minister of free Greece. During his political career he served as ambassador to London and minister of the Greek government. Alongside his intense public activity, he left a great body of writings, such as the classic History of the Greek Revolution, etc. He married the sister of Alexandros Mavrokordatos and they had three children, including Charilaos, later Prime Minister of Greece.

Zinovios-Zafirios Valvis (1800-1886)

He studied at the theological school of Halki and then law in Pisa, Italy. He served in the judiciary as a prosecutor until 1841, when he resigned and returned to his hometown of Messolonghi, where he worked as a lawyer. He served twice as prime minister, on 12 February 1863 and 14 April 1864. His father was blown up together with Joseph Rogon at the windmill. He married Razikotsika’s daughter Arsinoe and they had nine children. He was distinguished for his nobility and integrity of character, for his political diligence as well as for his excellent legal training. His fellow citizens, as a mark of respect and honor to him, interred him in the city’s Heroon. He died a poor man, refusing to receive the slightest allowance from the state so as not to burden the state budget.

Dimitrios Valvis (1814-1892)

Brother of Zenobius, he experienced the suffering of the siege of Messolonghi as a teenager. When his uncle, Spyridon, completed his studies, he sent him to study law in Italy, where he was awarded a doctorate. He then returned to Greece, was appointed deputy prosecutor and for fifty years offered his valuable services to the judicial branch. In 1872 he was proclaimed president of the Supreme Court. When in April 1886 the government of Th. Deligiannis, at the request of King George, D. Valvis formed a caretaker government, which after a few days gave a vote of confidence to H. Trikoupis. The latter recommended to the King that D. Valvis be awarded the Grand Cross of the Saviour for his long service to the newly established Greek state.

Epaminondas Deligeorgis (1829-1879)

He studied law at the University of Athens and practised law and journalism. He entered politics in 1854 and was first elected as a deputy in 1859 in Messolonghi. From then until his death he was an adamant spokesman for anti-dynastic politics. He played a leading role in the eviction of Otto (10 October 1862) and drafted the resolution for the fall of the Dynasty. He became prime minister five times and died a poor man. As a journalist he left an extremely important archive, part of which was published in 1896 under the title Political Diary.

Charilaos Trikoupis (1832-1896)

Son of Spyridon, he studied law in Athens and then in Paris, at first following the diplomatic branch. In the elections of 1865 he was elected deputy of Messolonghi, in 1866 he took over the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the Koumoundouros government, from 1868 he became an independent politician and in 1872 he founded the so-called ‘fifth party’. His historic article “Tis Ptaiei?” in 1874 sent him to prison but won him the love of the Greeks. Seven times parliamentary prime minister during the twenty years 1875-1895 and almost continuously during the 1880s-1890s, H. Trikoupis introduced organization and reforms with a methodical and imaginative approach revolutionary for the hitherto political life of Greece. In 1893, because of the economic crisis caused by his opponents, he was forced to declare a bankruptcy on the public debts of Greece and to exclaim from the floor of the Parliament the famous phrase “Unfortunately we are bankrupt”. In the elections of 1895 he failed to be elected as a deputy of Messolonghi and went into self-exile in France, declaring that he was retiring from politics. He died in 1896 in Cannes and his funeral was attended by thousands of people in spite of his political opponents.


Lord Byron (1788-1824)

Born into a noble family in England, he published his first collection of poems, “Hours of School”, in 1807. In 1823 he boarded the ship Hercules, which anchored in Argostoli. He undertook the financing of the Greek fleet, which thus managed to break the blockade and enter Messolonghi. On 5 January, he was welcomed in the city to the sound of thunder and rifle fire. In Messolonghi he helps in the military organization and contributes continuously financially, while at the same time obtaining a loan from England. After an attack of epilepsy his health becomes weaker and weaker. After a cold he died on April 19, 1824.

Iakovos Mayer

Of Swiss origin, he came to Messolonghi in 1821 to offer his services to the Struggle. In Messolonghi he married Atlanti Iglesiou. Together they took care of the wounded in the hospital which was housed in Iglesia’s house. With the printing presses given to him by Colonel Lester Stanhope, he took over the publication of the newspaper “Hellenic Chronicle”.

This newspaper began in January 1824 and was published until 20 February 1826. In the Mayer printing house in 1825 the ‘Hymn to Freedom’ was published, which D. Solomos wrote within a month (as it is said). In the historical archives of the city there is also the original edition in Greek and Italian with the indication ‘from the printing house of Messeneus, in Mesolonghi, 1825’.


Kostis Palamas (1859-1943)

He was born in Patras to parents from Mesolonghi and returned orphaned at the age of 7 to Messolongi, which he always considered his real homeland. In 1876 he came to Athens and enrolled in law (his father was also a lawyer), which he quickly abandoned to devote himself to literature. He left a huge body of poetry, to which he devoted himself by abandoning law. Odes, elegies, satires, dramas, translations. Many of his poems were dedicated to his beloved Missolonghi, as he called it.

Miltiadis Malakasis (1869-1943)

Born into a wealthy family and a merrymaker, the poet of ‘Takis Pluma’ and ‘Bataria’ is considered one of the best lyricists of his generation. In 1888 he enrolled in law school but abandoned it for poetry. His acquaintance with Jean Moreas influenced his poetry , as did his stay in Paris from 1909 to 1915. In his Mesolongi poems – which he recognized as his best – the consciousness of his place and of himself awakens. There “the driving cause of his mental euphoria is always the nostalgia of his native land”. He married the daughter of the Mesolonghi prime minister Deligiorgis.

Antonis Traylantonis (1867-1943)

He studied philology in Athens and served in education as a teacher, Gymnastics teacher, Inspector, Educational Counsellor. He was considered one of the most renowned teachers of his time. He served in Greek schools – from Mersinia, Asia Minor, to Corfu – he studied the psychology of ordinary people and their woes which fed his prose. With an enviable narrative, with a good and good humour, but above all with love and understanding for the human being, he gave us short stories with a strong ethographic – not etymographic – character. A superior humanism is projected in his work. In 1931 he was awarded the Vikelas Prize by the Academy of Athens.


Apostolos Kustas

The well-known engraver was born in 1954 in Messolonghi. He studied under the painter George Sikeliotis and the engraver Vaso Katraki. He lives in Messolonghi and Athens.

Vassilis Artikos

Vassilis Artikos studied economics, lives permanently in Messolonghi, where he works as an economist and at the same time teaches at TEI of Messolonghi. His contact with the visual arts started from his student years with painting and with the passage of time he was won over by photography, which is his daily occupation. “He has organized solo exhibitions in Athens, Patras, Nafpaktos, Messolonghi and has also published personal photo albums. He is a member of the Patras Photographic Club.


Trikoupis House

This is where the historian Spyridon Trikoupis was born, grew up and lived. In the same house lived his son Charilaos, politician and many times Prime Minister of our country. The mansion, perhaps the oldest building in the city, is built near the lagoon. It was built in 1840 by Apostolis and Themistocles Trikoupis, uncles of Charilaos. This mansion still retains its first architectural simplicity today. Two-storey with three balconies, it is an ordinary house, without any architectural luxury, unlike other mansions of Messolonghi. The house was donated to the Municipality by the descendant of the Trikoupis family, former MP K. Trikoupis, and it functions as the Trikoupis Museum. A nice description of the Museum is in the book of Ar. The Museum of the Trikoupis family”.

Palamas House

In this house was born in 1722 the founder of Palamas and teacher of our genus Panagiotis Palamas. Our national poet Kostis Palamas stayed in the same house. The house is located directly opposite the Trikoupis house. Its facade is adorned with domes and a glazed terrace, which gives it a special tone and makes it stand out from the other mansions. In its halls there are exhibits (printed and photographic material, personal items, utensils, etc.) from the life and work of the poet from Mesolonghi.

The Valvi House

This house housed the politician Zafirio-Zinovio Valvi. It was built with the same architectural simplicity as the house of Charilaos Trikoupis. This building, together with the Prime Minister’s remarkable library, was donated by his heirs to the Municipality of Messolonghi (in 1962) and is now used as a municipal library. It is worth noting that the Valvios Municipal Library was established on 11/12/1963, as the same legal entity of the Municipality of Messolonghi. In December 1965 with B. It was named “Valveios” in honor of Zafiriou Valvi. In October 1983 it was ‘opened’ to the public. The approximately 20,000 volumes are classified according to the international decimal taxonomic system (Dewey Decimal Classification). Among them are old editions of Venice, Leipzig and Smyrna and part of it is the personal library of the late Panagiotis Kanellopoulos, which was also donated to the Municipality. The same building temporarily houses the Historical Archive of the State (of the Prefecture of Etoloakarnania).

House of Byron

At this location, in the background where the marble column with the bust of Byron in relief can be seen, was one of the Kapsaleika houses where L. Byron stayed and died. The column is the work of the professor of the Polytechnic University Ant. It was dedicated by the students of the University of Athens in 1924. In front of this monument in 1973 the Exotic Association of Messolonghi built a small square under the name “Square of L. Byron”. The house of Byron was located at the Arenon Gymnasium, just behind the house of the lawyer X. Nider was destroyed by the blasting of Kapsali. Near it, a new building was constructed (1996-97) to house all the memorabilia of the poet and benefactor of Messolonghi that were in Greece. This building is not in use and the surrounding area has not yet been landscaped.

Churches and Monasteries

Monastery of Saint Simeon

On the picturesque slope of Zygos, 8 km from Messolonghi, is the monastery of Ai-Symios, which was built during the Turkish occupation in 1740 and was the refuge of the thieves of Arakynthos. When the Exodus of the garrison of Messolonghi took place, the monastery of Ai-Symiou was designated as a place where fighters gathered to help the “Exodites”. Unfortunately, however, the plan changed because Karaiskakis was succeeded in the chief stratagem by K. Bottsaris. Thus, the “Exodites” reached the monastery without finding help and because of this they suffered the attack of the Albanian cavalry in the ravine. The monastery was destroyed after being given over to the flames by the armies of Ibrahim and Kioutahi. It was rebuilt by the archimandrite Ioannikio Angeletos in 1836. Since then, it has been established that festivists go to the monastery on the feast of Ypapanti (February 2) and the armored and mounted festivities on the day of Pentecost. In Ai-Symios you will see the beautiful Byzantine chapel, its cells, the guesthouse of the Panegyrists, the large white cross erected in memory of the fallen fighters and enjoy the beautiful landscape, as it is formed by the evergreen plane trees and the new-growing pine trees. The monastery was renovated in 1973 at the expense of the I. Metropolis of Aetolia and the care of His Eminence Mr. Theoklotos.

Panagia Finikia

A small church a few kilometers outside of Messolonghi on the road to Aetoliko, in the location “Foinikia”. Tucked into the waters of the lagoon, it was the refreshment house of Lord Byron. In this place the philhellene with his gazi’s gita used to come to rest.

Agios Spyridon

Saint Spyridon is the patron saint of Messolonghi. Every year during the celebrations of the Exodus, the procession starts from this church and heads towards the Garden of Heroes, passing through the city.

Agia Paraskevi

The chapel of Agia Paraskevi is located outside the Garden of Heroes. Here the chieftains of Messolonghi met and decided on the Exodus.

Archaeological Sites


Ancient city of Aetolia on the Euinos River near the Corinthian Gulf. Its founder, according to legend, was Calydon, son of Aetolo and Pronoe. Kalydona played an important role in the Aetolian sympoliteia and experienced its greatest prosperity in the 2nd century BC. The goddess Artemis sent the Calydonian Capros, the famous wild boar, to Kalydona to avenge the disrespect of King Oeneas.


It is located between Messolonghi and Aitoliko, on the slopes of Mount Arakynthos. Two low hills, Petrovouni and Gyftokastro, preserve remains of an archaic wall. Most impressive are the monuments of the new Plevrona, stretching from the highway to the top, where the acropolis, known as the castle of Kyra-Rini, is located. The wall of Plevrona had 7 gates and 36 towers, and near the SW gate there are the remains of buildings and a small theater with a wonderful view.


An ancient city of Akarnania to the west of the mouth of Acheloos, in a fortified position. Thucydides mentions that during the Athenian and Peloponnesian struggle it was an ally of the Corinthians, which is why it was besieged by Pericles, but to no avail. The general Formion forced it to join the Athenian alliance in 428 BC, in 331 BC it was captured by the Aetolians and liberated in 313 BC by Cassander. With the Roman invasion the city was again surrendered to the Akarnanians. Today there are remains of the city at the site of Trikardokastro. During the summer season the “Oiniades Festival” is organized, during which many theatrical performances and concerts are presented.


Museum of History and Art of the municipality of Messolonghi

The Museum is housed in a two-storey neoclassical building of 1931. The Museum’s collection includes original paintings and copies of scenes from the Exodus of Messolonghi, portraits of Philhellenes and Greek chieftains, original engravings of 1837 by the Englishman Friedel, weapons of 1826, coins and medals, plaster busts of the five Mesolonghi Prime Ministers. Also on display are objects and manuscripts of Lord Byron, accompanied by images from his two trips to Greece and the model of his marble statue, which is in Cambridge. Some of the most important exhibits in the Museum are: Θ. Some of the most important works in the museum include. The building has been used in the past to house the town hall of the city.

The Centre of Speech and Art “Dixodos”.

It has been used for the History of Art and Artistic Expression and the History of Art and Culture in the past.
The Dixodos is located in the center of the city, on a pedestrian street, in a two-storey building of the 18th century, with a total surface area of 400sqm, renovated in 1999. The general Athanasios Razi-Kotsikas, elected by the fighters of Messolonghi as their general leader, was born in 1798 and lived there. It includes a ground floor multi-purpose hall of 180 sq.mA hall of 80 sq.m. on the 1st floor and an atrium on the 1st floor of 110 sq.m., which can be used for speech, art and film events with 110 seats or for receptions for 150 people.

Folklore Museum

The Folklore-Cultural Association of Messolonghi was founded by the decision of the Single-Member Court of First Instance of Messolonghi (No. 305/19-12-1996). It is a non-profit association. The purpose of the Association is to contribute to the development of the educational level of our people and to strengthen the cultural activities of our city and the wider region.

Christos and Sophia Moshandreou Gallery

The building of the Gallery, built around 1835, was renovated in the most appropriate way. The works were entirely financed by the Moshandreou family, without subsidies and without any state support. The body that covers the implementation of the concepts of the founders is the non-profit company. The Christos and Sophia Moshandreou Gallery is a museum containing paintings, engravings and sculptures by Greek artists of the 20th century. The Gallery is open daily (except Mondays) from 11.00 a.m. to 1.00 p.m.

Cultural Centres

Trikoupeio Cultural Centre

The old railway station that has now been renovated and adapted to host events. In the same place, cinema screenings are held by the association of Friends of the Cinema of Messolonghi.

Historical monuments

The Wall

Walking in the city, one passes by the Gate, a remnant of the wall of Messolonghi. The current wall, on the traces of the wall of the Third Siege, was built by order of Otto in 1838. This wall had two gates, only one of which has survived to this day. The other was next to the Heroon near the “cannon” (Franklin’s dapia) and led to Aetoliko. Unfortunately, a large part of the Wall (the Eastern one) was destroyed in 1890, when the Railway Line and the Railway Station of the SBDE were built.

The Garden of Heroes (the Heroon)

The Garden of Heroes was initiated by Ioannis Kapodistrias on 14 May 1829. A year earlier, by order of King Otto, the bones of the heroes had been placed in a special ceremony in a mound – an imitation of a Mycenaean mound – which was enclosed in the Garden complex, and an order had been given to build a wall on the traces of the “fence” (the earthen mound built by Athanasios Razikotsikas). This great fortification project with the famous ‘tapies’ withstood two sieges. In the garden there is also the monument of Markos Botsaris which was erected on 14 October 1838 during the visit of Otto and Amalia. In front of the Garden is the humble chapel of Agia Paraskevi, where the Committee of the Struggle met on 6 April 1826 and decided on the Exodus.

The windmill

It was erected in 1962 with the efforts of the association “Aetolian Society” in the same place where the windmill was located during the revolutionary period and in miniature, to commemorate the great sacrifice of the venerable hierarch Joseph Rogon. During the times of the revolution, the windmill was built on an islet on the meridian of Messolonghi and at a distance of 150 metres from the town. When Prokopanistos was abandoned and the enemy fleet entered the lagoon, the Mesolonghians were forced to fortify it (July 1825) with a cannon fort to protect the town from the south side. The windmill’s cannon house was in operation until the last moment of the Exodus, when Bishop Joseph took refuge in it (after the motto “back-back”) and its tragic epilogue was written. After holding the Turks for 2 days, at dawn on Monday, he set fire to the last of the powder and they were blown up, along with the enemy. The ruins of the windmill survived until 1880, and with its razing it became the fairy café and then the present windmill.