Are we flying over the Caribbean? No, we are in Sapienza, Messinia, southwest of Methoni. It's an island exotic and unique in many ways. Sapienza is the second largest island of the Messinian Oinousses after Schiza. It is located off the southwest coast of Messinia, opposite Methoni and is a verdant island with rare flora. It has an area of 9 sq.km. and according to the 2001 census, it has a population of 7 inhabitants. Administratively it belongs to the Municipality of Pylos - Nestoros, while in the period 1999 -2010 it belonged to the Municipality of Methoni. Southwest of Sapienza is the deepest point of the Mediterranean, known as the moat or well of Oinousses, with a depth of 5,121m. The highest point of the island is 219m. Access to the island is made by tourist boats departing from Methoni. Sapienza is located on the important sea route that connects Italy with the Middle East. There have been several shipwrecks on its shores, some of which carried particularly significant cargo, of great value today for archeology. One of the wrecks contained the columns from the large peristyle that Herod had built in Caesarea, Palestine in the 1st century AD. century, while another contained important Roman sarcophagi. In the southern part of the island there is a lighthouse built in 1885. It has a height of 8 meters and a focal height of 110 meters. The lighthouse was built at the request of Queen Victoria of England. Today it is electrified with photovoltaic systems. Sapienza has a beach in its northern part, opposite Methoni, which is called Ammos. The name Sapienza is of Italian origin and means wisdom. From 1209 the island came under the control of the Venetians as well as the entire southern coastline of Messinia. During the 3rd Venetian-Turkish War it was an anchorage of the Turkish and Venetian fleets. After the liberation of Greece, it became Greek territory. However, it was challenged by England during the Parkerians, when the relations between Greece and England became tense. England claimed the island during this period as part of the Ionian Islands, which belonged to it at the time. The island has remained almost uninhabited in recent decades but showing a very small population in recent censuses. The island includes rare evergreen forests. Shrubs of Mediterranean plants, such as arbutus or spruce in Sapienza are found in tree form and form a dense forest. An area of 240 acres of the Sapienza forest has been officially declared a natural monument. The island is home to a significant population of Cretan chamois, known as kri-kri.
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