The Well at Meligalas – Messinia, Greece - Atlas Obscura

Messinia, Greece

The Well at Meligalas

A sobering memorial at the site where hundreds of prisoners and civilians were executed in the aftermath of World War II. 

In the immediate aftermath of the Axis occupation of Greece, the quaint village of Meligalas in the southern region of Messinia became the site of one of the darkest pages in the country’s history.

In September, 1944, communist guerrilla forces of EAM-ELAS encircled the retreating forces of the collaborationist Security Battalions. After defeating them in pitched combat, the guerrillas executed the surrendered militiamen along with scores of civilians from surrounding villages who were suspected of sympathizing with them.

The dark events took place over the course of four days. Hundreds of prisoners were summarily tried and executed as the guerrillas looted and burned the village of Meligalas. There are 787 names in the memorial wall, although other sources cite that 1,144 or more men and women of all ages were killed in a field outside the village, their bodies thrown in a nearby well.   

Today, a massive concrete cross marks the location of the executions, and the well where the bodies were deposited can still be seen. At the site is a monument, ossuary, chapel, memorial wall, and the field with hundreds of crosses bearing the names and ages of the dead. They commemorate this atrocity that marked the opening stages of the Greek Civil War and which, decades later, still divides politics and public opinion in Greece.   

Know Before You Go

The site is about 31 kilometers from Kalamata, on the village road linking Meligalas with nearby Neochori. It can be easily reached by car and there is some off-road parking space for those who stop by.

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