Greece and the Meditarrenean Sea

Greece and the Meditarrenean Sea

In Athens maps and informtion brochures are available from the National Tourist Organization. Bus tours can be arranged through hotels or travel agencies, and What’s On in Athens gives details of current events. Admission to the Acropolis and all other ancient monuments and museums is free on Thursdays and Sundays. Museum hours vary according to the season.

The most famous archeological site in the Parthenon, the sacred temple of Athena, and one of the most skilfully contrived pieces of architecture in existence. From here there is an excellent view of Athens, Piraeus and the sea. On the hill around the Parthenon stands the Erechtheion – famous for its porch of graceful Caryatids (maidens); the imposing Propylaea, the entrance gate to the Acropolis, built in 482 BC and the exquisite little temple of Athena Nike, also called Wingless Victory.

On the south eastern slopes of the Acropolis is the Theater of Dionysus built in the 5th century BC, where the plays of Aeschylus and Sophocles were first performed and on the south western slope the theater of Herod Atticus, built in 16 AD and now the site of summer events in the Athens Festival. See the soaring Arch of Hadrian and just behind it the temple of Olympian Zeus – one of the greatest temples of the Hellenistic world. The Temple of Hephaestos (Theseum) is marvelously preserved.

Directly north of the Acropolis is the Agora, the market place and civic center. See the remains of Hadrian’s Library and the Tower of Winds built to house a hydraulic clock and sun dial in the 1st century. Look at the Doric Gate, presented to the Athenians by Emperor Augustus in 27 BC and note the beautiful monument of Lysicrates – 334 BC. Relics of the Roman era are also to be found among the present day houses of the Plaka (old town) district. Visit the stadium, built into a hillside and restored for the celebration of the first modern Olympic Games in 1896.

All About Santorini Island in Greece

All About Santorini Island in Greece

Santorini, classically Thera, and officially Thira, is an island in the southern Aegean Sea, about 200 km (120 mi) southeast of Greece’s mainland. It is the largest island of a small, circular archipelago which bears the same name and is the remnant of a volcanic caldera.

It forms the southernmost member of the Cyclades group of islands, with an area of approximately 73 km2 (28 sq mi) and a 2011 census population of 15,550. The municipality of Santorini includes the inhabited islands of Santorini and Therasia and the uninhabited islands of Nea Kameni, Palaia Kameni, Aspronisi, and Christiana. The total land area is 90.623 km2 (34.990 sq mi). Santorini is part of the Thira regional unit.

Santorini is essentially what remains after an enormous volcanic eruption that destroyed the earliest settlements on a formerly single island, and created the current geological caldera. A giant central, rectangular lagoon, which measures about 12 by 7 km (7.5 by 4.3 mi), is surrounded by 300 m (980 ft) high, steep cliffs on three sides. The main island slopes downward to the Aegean Sea. On the fourth side, the lagoon is separated from the sea by another much smaller island called Therasia; the lagoon is connected to the sea in two places, in the northwest and southwest.

The depth of the caldera, at 400m, makes it impossible for any but the largest ships to anchor anywhere in the protected bay; there is also a fisherman’s harbour at Vlychada, on the southwestern coast. The island’s principal port is Athinias. The capital, Fira, clings to the top of the cliff looking down on the lagoon. The volcanic rocks present from the prior eruptions feature olivine and have a small presence of hornblende.

It is the most active volcanic centre in the South Aegean Volcanic Arc, though what remains today is chiefly a water-filled caldera. The volcanic arc is approximately 500 km (310 mi) long and 20 to 40 km (12 to 25 mi) wide. The region first became volcanically active around 3–4 million years ago, though volcanism on Thera began around 2 million years ago with the extrusion of dacitic lavas from vents around the Akrotiri.

The island is the site of one of the largest volcanic eruptions in recorded history: the Minoan eruption (sometimes called the Thera eruption), which occurred some 3,600 years ago at the height of the Minoan civilization. The eruption left a large caldera surrounded by volcanic ash deposits hundreds of metres deep and may have led indirectly to the collapse of the Minoan civilization on the island of Crete, 110 km (68 mi) to the south, through a gigantic tsunami. Another popular theory holds that the Thera eruption is the source of the legend of Atlantis.

Rhodes: Rich in archeological treasures and tourism

Rhodes: Rich in archeological treasures and tourism

Capital of the Dodecanese, Rhodes is an island of suberb natural beauty. It is famous as a holiday center. Rich in archeological treasures, with ruins covering the Hellenic, Roman and Byzantine periods, its main attraction is the walled medieval city of the Knights of Dt John.

The 15th century hospital is now an archeological museum containing the Aphrodite of Rhodes. Other points of interest include the ancient city of Lindos with the Temple of Athena; the Monastery of Philerimos and the excavated town of Kamiros. There are excellent sports facilities and duty-free shops. From 1 Jun – 30 September is the Annual Wine Festival and at Halkis religious festivities take place on 15 August.

From Rhodes you can visit the small islands of the Eastern Aegean. Kos is a fertile green island with golden beaches; good for fishing and small-game hunting. Birthplace of Hippocrates, Father of Medicine, it has a temple to Aesculapius, God of Healing and a museum. Nearby Patmos was where St John wrote down his Revelation; the 11th century monastery has a rich library. Lesbos was the birthplace of the poetess Sappho. It is the third largest island of Greece with enormous olive groves and a petrified forest.

Rhodes: Rich in archeological treasures and tourism

Corfu is the most beautiful of the Ionian Islands. Its spectacular scenery and sophisticated tourist amenities make it an internatioanl holiday center. There are beautiful villas, romantic Venetian castles and early 19th century Georgian architecture dating from the British occupation. The 16th century Cathedral is dedicated to St Spyridion, the island’s patron saint. Marvellous water sports facilities and an 18 hole golf course. Daily flights from Athens take less than two hours.

Mykonos is the most popular tourist island in the Cyclades and attracts many artists and international celebrities. It is a maze of winding streets, sparkling white-washed houses, domed churches, windmills and sun-drenched cliffs rising sheer from the sea. It is 5 hours by boat from Piraeus. Delos is five miles across the sea from Mykonos.

A small, arid island, it was important as the legendary birthplace of Apollo. Acres of ruins and statuary attract archeologists, and precious relics are preserved in the museum. Thira (Santorini); clmb up above its cliffs to the crater of the volcano whose mighty eruption buried Minoan civilization. Milos, where the Venus de Milo was found, and Paros, famous for its white marble, are also in the Cyclades group.