The castles of Messinia are an important cultural chapter. Built primarily to serve defensive purposes, they are located in remarkable sites around the county. Most were built by the Franks in locations previously used by the ancient Greeks and Byzantines. In their wake the Venetians repaired, enhanced and maintained them for defense reasons. Today the castles of Messinia are more than castles of the past. Easily visited, they are a testament to the areas history.