modern & ancient sites. Let us take you to hidden and known
Aegina, in the
centre of the Argosaronic, immediately conquers the visitor,
as soon as the boat passes the lighthouse, the town and port
of Aegina appear. A walk around the town will lead to many historical
buildings dating from 19th c. Among them is the house of Capodistrias,
the first Governor of Greece after the War of Independence in
1821. It has remained standing to remind us that Aegina was
for two years the temporary capital city of Greece, before it
was officially installed in Nafplion. A stroll near the port
will bring you to the archaeological site of Kolonas. Here the
ancient city was built, when Aegina, with its powerful fleet,
ruled the seas, long before Athens began to make its presence
Athens is a place
of great cultural interest, as well as a vivid and modern city.
The harmonious and perfectly balanced combination between the
old and the new age make this city unique. Both sides of Athens
are extremely appealing to tourists.
was transferred to a new site in 1858 after a severe earthquake
and rebuilt after a further earthquake in 1928 and a great fire
in 1933. The city of ancient Corinth grew up 7 km (4 miles)
SW in a beautiful setting on the northern slopes at the foot
of the hill of Acrocorinth (Akrokorinthos), which acted as the
fortified citadel of the ancient and medieval cities. The site
was occupied continuously from the Neolithic period to the Middle
Ages. There are extensive remains, mostly dating from the Roman
period, dominated by the imposing ruins of the Archaic Temple
stands high on the slopes of Mount Parnassus, in the heart of
Phocis at the crossroads of important routes of the ancient
world. Is one of the most famous cult sites in Greece, renowned
throughout the ancient Greek world and beyond as the sanctuary
and the seat of his oracle. It was at the end of the Mycenaean
period that Apollo, Olympian God and guarantor of universal
harmony, is supposed to have overcome the old underworld deities.
A hymn attributed to Homer tells how, after his birth on Delos
Zeus' son came to Delphi, killed the snake Python with his bow
and arrow and in accordance with divine law, he went into exile
for eight years to atone for the killing of the snake and on
his return, he took his place, becoming the god Python, who
gave oracles through the intermediary of the Pythia.
A festival consisting dramatic and lyric contests were held
in the sanctuary theatre, and the stadium was home not only
to the athletic games, but also to musical events.
In the hinterland of Epidavros, on a site enjoying a mild climate
and plentiful water from healing springs, the Epidavrians founded
the sanctuary of Asklepios, the most brilliant centre of healing
in the ancient world, which flourished from the late 5th century
B.C. until the end of Roman era. The towns magnificent theatre,
still almost intact, stands in a wooded hollow of a hill not
far from the Archaeological Museum.
Gythion. A seaside town in Laconia
in Greece, long known as the seaport of Sparta some 30 miles
inland. It lies at the northwestern end of the Gulf of Laconia,
in a fertile small plain around the mouth of the Gythius River.
The reputed founders of ancient Gythion were Heracles
and Apollo. In 455 BC, during the first Peloponnesian War, it
was burned by the Athenian admiral Tolmides. In 370 BC Epaminondas
besieged it unsuccessfully for three days. Its fortifications
were strengthened by the tyrant Nabis, but in 195 BC it was
invested and taken by Titus and Lucius Quintius Flamininus,
and, though recovered by Nabis two or three years later, was
recaptured immediately after his murder (192 BC) by Philopoemen
and Aulus Atilius, and remained in the Achaean League until
the league's dissolution in 146 BC.
a lively town, an important junction in the road network and
an industrial centre, the textile mills treat the cotton grown
in the Copais valley. The upper town is graced by white
houses with jutting wooden balconies dating from 18c. We'll
stop for a drink by the beautiful river Krya. Over the spot
where the water springs out, lies the Municipal Cafe "XENIA".
During the ancient times, Krya is said to be the location of
the Oracle of Trofonios Zeus which included the springs of
Mnemosyne (Remembrance) and the spring of Lethe (oblivion).
The oracle was used as a stage before visiting the oracle of
Delphi and as such, through the times, it acquired great power
is the southernmost part of
the Peloponnesus, a great rocky trident of land stretching into
the Sea of Crete. Here lies the inhospitable region known as
the deep mani. Nominally part of the prefecture of Laconia,
it is really another country, with its own customs, architecture
and code of honor.
fortified towns, their characteristic, Maniot tower - dwellings
silhouetted against the clear
sky , it is easy to see why the Maniates are considered the
true heirs of the bellicose ancient Spartans,
known as the Lacedaemonians.
was an ancient fort in the region of Messinia, in south-west
Peloponnese. At the top of the homonymous mountain at a height
of 805 meters. The mountain was dedicated to Zeus the Ithomata
because of several lightning bolts that fell there, and was
on top of an altar. The fortress of Ithomi played an important
role in A' Messinian War in the late 7th century BC, between
Messenia and Sparta.
- The Rocky Forest of Greece.
gigantic rocks rise perpendicularly from the ground on
the western edge of the plain of Thessaly in the heart of northern
Greece. These ancient pinnacles etched by wind and rain echoed
the chants of the ascetic community of Meteora, home of monks
who live in monasteries and chapels perched precariously upon
the rocks. Meteora stands on the plain of Thessaly beside the
village of Kastraki around 26 km (16 m) north of Trikala and
375 km (234 m) northwest of Athens. The grey monolithic rocks
stand in front of the Pindos Mountains. The impressive rocks
are composed of a mixture of sandstone and hard gravel called
a name which derives from
the Greek for
is a truncated mass of rock Attached, tentatively, to the eastern
coast of Laconia by a slender modern causeway. A true island
known as the
"Gibraltar of Greece"
, Monemvasia was settled in the sixth century
AD. by Lacedaemonians fleeing Sparta.
in the bronze age, had several important centers, including
Mycenae. The city of Agamemnon
was one of several heavily fortified strongholds. The king lived
in a place with many rooms which served as a military headquarters
and a centre of administration for the surrounding countryside.
The Mycenaean's were warriors, and weapons and armor have been
found in their graves. They were also great traders and sailed
far and wide. Their civilization reached the height of its power
in about 1600 b.c and eclipsed the Minoan civilization of Crete.
All seemed secure and prosperous, but around 1300 b.c the Mycenaean's
started to build huge defensive walls around all the major towns.
The Mycenaean world was under threat from foreign invaders.
By about 1200 b.c the cities began to be abandoned or destroyed.
Mystras, the Medieval town. Following the road from Sparta
which passes through plane trees, cypresses, olive trees, mulberries
and orange trees we reach Mystras. In the distance, mount Taygetos
looms proudly. We scan its innumerable peaks, precipitous slopes
and deep gorges until our gaze suddenly rests on a hill, detached
from the mountain range. On the naturally defended hill of Myzithras
in Lacedaimon, the ruler of the Frankish Principate of Achaia
Guillaume de Villehardouin
built in 1249 a strong medieval castle the Oriokastro which
was to play an important role in the history of the last centuries
of the Byzantine empire.
or Naupactus (Greek: Ναύπακτος,
Italian, Spanish and Portuguese: Lepanto), is a town in the
prefecture of Aetolia-Acarnania, Greece, situated on a bay on
the north side of the straits of Lepanto. The harbor, once the
best on the northern coast of the Corinthian Gulf, is accessible
only to the smallest craft. The origin of Naupactus comes from
the two Greek words: ναύς naus ship, boat and πήγνυμι
pÍgnumi, pegnymi builder, fixer. Distance from
Patras is about 15 km NE and about 215 km NW of Athens with
the new Rio-Antirio bridge. Battle of Naupactus
(429 BC) and Battle of Lepanto
In the battle, the
Peloponnesians drew the Athenians out from their anchorage at
Antirio by sailing into the Corinthian gulf, moving as if to
attack the vital Athenian base at Naupactus. The Athenians were
forced to shadow their movements, sailing eastward along the
northern shore of the gulf. Attacking suddenly, the Peloponnesians
drove nine Athenian ships ashore and pursued the others towards
Naupactus; victory seemed securely in their hands. At the entrance
to the harbor of Naupactus, however, the last Athenian ship
to reach the harbor turned the tide by circling around an anchored
merchant ship to ram and sink its leading pursuer. Confusion
set in among the Peloponnesians, and the newly emboldened Athenians
set out after them and routed them. In all, the Athenians recaptured
all but one of their nine grounded ships and seized six Peloponnesian
ships to boot. This surprising victory preserved Athens' naval
dominance and kept Naupactus secure; the arrival of an additional
20 Athenian ships shortly afterwards secured the victory and
put an end to Sparta's attempt to take the offensive in the
In the Middle Ages
it fell into the hands of the Venetians, who fortified it so
strongly that in 1477 it successfully resisted a four months
siege by a Turkish army thirty thousand strong; in 1499, however,
it was rumoured to have been sold by the Venetians to Beyazid
II (Turks invading forces). The mouth of the Gulf of Lepanto
was the scene of the great sea fight in which the naval power
of the Ottoman Empire was nearly completely destroyed by the
united papal, Spanish, Habsburg and Venetian forces (
Battle of Lepanto, October 7, 1571, the
allied fleet of the Holy League destroyed the Ottoman navy.
Contemporaries celebrated the victory of united Christendom
over the 'infidel' Turks) . In
1678 it was recaptured by the Venetians, but was again restored
in 1699, by the treaty of Karlowitz to the Ottomans. In the
war of independence it finally became Greek once more (March
1829). After World War II and the Greek Civil War, its buildings
were rebuilt while its architecture remain.
has 20,000 inhabitants and is divided into the old and the new
town. The old town was built mainly in the days of the governor
at the beginning of the 19th c, but buildings still exist from
the Venetian era. The new town is an ordinary Greek town with
no special assets, so stroll about the old, historical quarters
with their neoclassical buildings, charming squares and majestic
fonts. Nafplio has known tourism since the first decades of
the century. It is a colorful town with culture and history
and tallies entirely with the standards of the demanding modern
visitor for accommodation, meals and entertainment
(41 km. from Corinthos) is close to the limits of the state
of Argolida. This municipality is surrounded by an abundance
of grapevines, which have given Nemea fame for the good wine
they produce. Even in ancient times Nemea was renowned as being
the place in Greek Mythology where Hercules killed the fearful
lion. In the ancient site of Nemea the most notable building
is the temple of Zeus ( 40c BC), The archaeological digs (which
are still going on ) have brought to light baths and arenas,
a stadium and the entrance of the athletes and foundations of
Every four years Greeks
from all over the Greek world gathered in this sanctuary to
participate in the Olympiada.
A sacred truce was kept during the period of the games and attempts
were made to settle wars and conflicts between the (poleis -cities)
based on reasoning inspired by Zeus. They were finally banned
by the Emperor Theodosius,
and came to an end in AD 393
after an existence of more than a thousand years. A direct consequence
was the revival of the Olympic Games by
Baron Pierre de
Coubertin, the first
modern Games being held in
Athens in 1896.
The opening ceremony of the Olympic Games is marked with the
arrival of the Olympic flame
which is taken on every occasion from Olympia, Greece, the original
site of the Olympic Games.
in Boeotia. Orchomenos was a very important Boeotian city and
was particularly prosperous in Mycenaean times. It is referred
to by Homer, Strabo and Pausanias as one of the strongest centers
of the heroic past, with legendary wealth. Excavations carried
out at Orchomenos since the end of the last century have yielded
rich fruit, which attests to the continuous occupation of the
area from 2200 BC down to Roman times. The ancient city extends
over the slopes of a low hill in the eastern foothills of Mount
Akontion. The acropolis of historical
times was laid out on the higher parts of the hill. In the 5th
century BC Orchomenos was a member of the Boeotian League. It
continued to be tied to Thebes until 395 BC, when, during the
course of the Boeotian War, it entered into alliance with the
Spartans against Thebes. In 364 BC, the city was destroyed by
the Thebans. The city was refunded by Philip II after
the battle of Chaeronia (338 BC). During
Alexander the Grate's campaign
against Thebes (335 BC), Orchomenos took the side of the Macedonians.
Alexander recompensed the city by granting it privileges, such
as the extending of its fortification wall. In the 3rd and 2nd
century BC, Orchomenos and the other large cities of Boeotia
(Thebes, Plataia, Thespiai and Tanagra) reformed the Boeotian
League. Orchomenos was destroyed by the Roman general Sulla
in 86 BC, during the Mithridatic Wars.
Legend has it that this mountain was the summer resort of the
Gods of Olympus and the magic country of the Centaur. It rises,
imposing and green, above Volos between the Pagasitic
Gulf and the Aegean Sea. Here in the magnetic atmosphere of
the Pelioritic Landscape, history mingles with legend, the wild
with the tranquil, yesterday with today.
Ancient Greeks believed that Sounio was the house of Poseidon,
the God of the Sea. Today the Greeks still come and pay homepage
to the divine nature of the Cape Akrotirion words cannot describe
in Southern Greece was founded in the 10th c. B.C. in a fertile
plain of Laconia, by the Dorian's, who defeated the original
inhabitants of the area. Its remoteness was an advantage to
the warring Spartans and the high mountains to the east, north,
and west, and the sea to the south, formed natural defences.
Two centuries later, Sparta conquered its neighbour, Messenia,
and gained excellent agricultural land. It became a luxury -
loving state producing fine crafts. Music and poetry also flourished.
Later, the Spartans were defeated in war, and the conquered
Messenians engaged in a long running rebellion, so Sparta turned
to military matters. It became a super power in Greece and the
main rival of Athens and Spartan society was dominated by the
need to maintain power.
The temple of Epikurios Apollo stands at a height of 1130m on
mount Kotilio, 14km south of Andritsaina. At this site, which
was called Vassai (little valleys) in antiquity, the inhabitants
of nearby Phigaleia founded a sanctuary of Apollo Bassitas in
the 7thc BC, where they worshipped the god with the epithet
Epikourios- supporter in war or illness. The temple of Apollo
in the sanctuary at Vassai
is one of the best-preserved monuments of the ancient Classical
world. It was built from 420 to 400 BC on the site of an earlier
Archaic temple. It is believed that the temple was built
in honor of Epikurios Apollo, as gratitude for saving their
town from a plague. The traveler
who visited and admired the monument in the middle of the 2nd
C. AD, states that its architect was
was also the architect of the Parthenon in Athens.
Vergina - Aegae. A highly important ancient city, certainly
to be identified with Aegae, the firts ancient capital of the
kingdom of Macedonia, spreads over the low hills in the northern
slopes of' the Pierian range, between the modern villages of
Palatitsia and Vergina. This city was the most important urban
centre in the region until the 4th c. BC. Here were to be found
the ancestral sanctuaries of the Macedonians, and the palaces
and the tombs (with their famous treasures) of the Argead dynasty,
which traced its origins to the mythical hero Heracles and gave
Greek history its most captivating figure, Alexander the Great.
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