The eastern part of the prefecture of Messinia is taken up by the imposing Taygetus mountain, which acts as a natural border between Messinia and the prefecture of Laconia. Taygetus is the tallest mountain range in the Peloponnese, and together with Parnon, they are the oldest parts of the peninsula, rich in history and mythological traditions. According to myth, the mountain took its name from the nymph Taygete, one of the daughters of Atlas, who had a son from Zeus, named Lacedaimon, worshipped in the area as a great hero.
Taygetus' tallest summit is Profitis Ilias, 2,407 m., followed by Neraidovouna, 2,025 m., Xerovouna, 1,852 m., Xerovouni, 1,521 m., and ‒a shorter‒ Profitis Ilias, 1,389 m. It is a mountain of imposing beauty, wild in many areas: Countless gorges, such as Rintomo, Vyros, Koskaraka and Laggada, caves and crevices that fascinate devoted hikers, as well as rich and rare flora and fauna, have marked Taygetus as one of the most significant ecosystems in Greece. The area of central Taygetus, especially, is characterized by a great alternation of habitats, providing shelter to approximately 160 Greek endemic plants, 21 of which are endemic only in Taygetus. Several species are endemic in the Balkans or consist of very small populations, both in Greece and the neighboring countries. Other species are new to science, and, together with one genus, they have not yet been allocated to any category in the Red Book, despite the fact that their populations are small and vulnerable and should be placed among the endangered taxa. The mountain's great ecological significance has also been officially recognized: The mountain is protected on a national and regional level as a Game Reserve, and on an international level as an Important Area for the Birds.