ancient district and modern nomos (department) of the southwestern Peloponnese, Greece, bounded on the east by the Taygetus Mountains (Taiyetos Oros), on the north by the Nedha Potamos (river) and the Arcadian mountains, and on the south and west by the Ionian Sea. Kalamai, at the head of the Messiniakos Kolpos (gulf), is the departmental capital. The heart of the province is the plain of Messenia, or Pamisos River Valley, historically one of the most fertile in Greece. It produces oranges, citrons, almonds, figs, grapes, and olives of the highest quality for export. It is bounded on the north by Tetrazion Oros and on the west and southwest by the foothills of the Kiparissias Ori. Off the southwest coast of the Akritas peninsula lie the three Oinousai islands and the islet of Venetiko. The most notable of Messenia's Neolithic and Bronze Age settlements is the magnificent Mycenaean palace of Nestor north of Pylos (Pilos) on the Ionian Sea, discovered in 1939.
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