An introductory trip into past and memory to the making and unmaking of the ancient city of Messene. A city destined from its creation to be the locus of safekeeping the communal identity of all Messenians and at the same time their actual physical urban center. Messene a programmatic city founded by the Thebans in 369 B.C. on the south slopes of mount Ithome reflected in its urban form the applied political and social values of the period. Values that extended from city planning to the social institutions of this new “project” city. But it is in living memory and its mechanisms that both urban form and civic institutions survived from the Hellenistic period to the Late Roman period and the 4th c. AD. Thereafter to be translated constantly into new settlements, the Late Antique city, the Medieval township, the Early Modern village and the Modern archaeological site of today. The monuments of the past standing both as reminders of the identity of the Messenians and also as solutions for the needs of the contemporaneous. Always changing in meaning and always the same in memory.