The Historic Museum is located at Markos Botsaris square at the old town hall (the mayor goes there only to welcome official visitors). The beautiful building was built in 1932. Don’t miss the change to visit this museum which is basically dedicated to the Greek Revolution. There is a nice collection of paintings about the Greek Revolution against Ottoman Empire.
The locals rebelled againsted the Ottomans in 1821 during the Greek war of Independence (1821-1829) and the city of Mesolongi became famous because of the heroic resistance against the Ottoman siege in 1822 and in 1825. The first one was easy and the greeks won but the second one is the reason that this town is also called the Sacred City of Mesolongi. It’s because the Ottomans tried for about a year (!) with 40.000 men of Kioutahis and Ibrahim Pasha. There were about 10.000 people inside and most of them died after the legendery “Exodus” after a betrayal (as usual) and facing starvation (the greeks couldn’t get supplies during the siege) and no further defense was possible.
This became a source of inspiration for many poets like Dionysios Solomos(1798-1857) who wrote “Elefteri Poliorkimeni”(The Free Besiegd) and “Hymn To Liberty” part of it became the national anthem of Greece. Here’s the translation by Rudyard Kipling:
“We knew thee of old
O, divinely restored
By the lights of thine eyes,
And the light of thy Sword
From the graves of our slain,
Shall thy valour prevail,
As we greet thee again,
Hail, Liberty! Hail!”
A big part of the museum is dedicated to Lord Byron and his life here with many paintings, portrais, maps, a statue and other memorabilia.
There is no entrance fee, photos aint allowed and the museum is opend 9:00-13:00 16:00-19:00
You can also see the Mayor’s room with the 5 paintings of the 5 prime ministers of Greece that Mesolongi produced like Harilaos Trikupis, Spiridon Trikupis, Epamindodas Diligiorgis etc..
Lord Byron (1788-1824) was an english poet that became very famous in Greece as a philellene that supported the Greek revolution against Ottoman Empire for independence. He lived in Genoa until 1823 but then he came in Greece to help in several occasions. He died in Mesolongi on April 19, 1824. You will see a statue of him at the garden of Heroes but in other places of Mesolongi too like at the historic museum (and many more info about him)
Lord Byron, in a letter to Thomas Moore, 5 July 1821:
"I can never get people to understand that poetry is the expression of excited passion, and that there is no such thing as a life of passion any more than a continuous earthquake, or an eternal fever. Besides, who would ever shave themselves in such a state?"
The center of art and culture DIEXODOS is housed at the old hospital building and hosts several cultural events and other exhibitions but every time I go there is closed….
Mesolongi is located 245km from Athens, about 3,5 hours away by bus. There are several buses everyday departing from Athens and Thesaloniki (515km away) and of course many buses from cities near Mesolongi (Agrinio, Naypaktos, Patra(44km away), Amfilohia(80km) etc
This nice old train on my pic isn’t an alternative option:) There was a train station some years before in Mesolongi but there’s no train connection anymore.
If you have a car drive towards Patra and cross the bridge of Rio. It’s 30’ away from there.
The bus to Messolonghi leaves from a tiny Local Bus Station, at Norman with Ipirou streets.
From the main bus station, walk north 3 streets, turn right and after the church there it is!