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 Acropolis in Athens, Greece

All About Acropolis in Athens, Greece

For the works of Pericles… were perfectly made in so short a time and have continued so long a season. For every one of those which were finished at that time seemed to them to be very ancient touching the beauty thereof, and yet for the grace and continuance of the same it looketh at this day as if it were but newly done and finished; there is such a certain kind of flourishing freshness in it, which telleth that the injury of time cannot impair the sight thereof. As if every one of those foresaid works had some living spirit in it to make it seem fresh and young and a soul that lived for ever which kept them in their good continuing state.”

The development of the acropolis of Athens from the time when it was a pre-Hellenic sanctuary onward is so well researched and so widely known that repetition seems superfluous. One glance at the map of the acropolis even in Periclean times proves the volume-consciousness and space-blindness of its builders, which resulted practically in visual isolation of the respective structures. It explains also the complete lack of any axial references.

The tremendous differences in level within the sacred area contributed further to its irregularity, and only in the last Hellenistic centuries were attempts made–mostly unsuccessfully–to overcome them to a certain degree.

The acropolis, the nucleus of early Greek towns, developed generally from a fortified place of refuge. The possibilities of an easy defense were decisive for its establishment. So it became gradually the seat of the dominant power and eventually a sacred area, where temples, monuments, and altars were located, as were in earlier times the palaces of the kings. The acropolis was walled, but never became part of the fortification of the settlement which stretched beneath it. Once the whole town had become walled, the acropolis gradually lost its importance for defense. During the earlier archaic centuries it also served as a gathering place, a function which it lost to the agora with the increasing growth of the town proper.

On the acropolis, temples and statues were located according to topographical conditions of the hill. Often the respect for the tradition of previous sanctuaries or temples, sometimes dating back to prehistoric times, determined the site of later structures. But notwithstanding the representative character of the acropolis and the importance of its sacred area, no kind of space-creating relationship between the individual buildings can be observed. From the beginning to the very end of Greek civilization we find at the acropolis the same lack of an organized overall plan that is evident at the great sanctuaries, such as Eleusis, Olympia, and Delphi.

Without any doubt, the glorious temples, statues, and other monuments of an acropolis prove that the early Greeks, long before classical and Hellenistic times, had tried consciously to beautify and decorate their sacred areas. But quite obviously they did not aim at any kind of spatial unification and integration.

Space as such was neither felt aesthetically nor formed artistically from archaic Greek times through the sixth century B.C. The technique of spatial definition on a scale commensurate with human needs was not yet developed by the Greeks. It was volume, the mass of a structure or sculpture, that was of interest to the artist. Hence the acropolis represented but an accumulation of irregularly dispersed shaped volumes, each existing in its own right without being tied together into a spatial unit. Generally the desire for shaping space developed only very slowly after 500 B.C., steadily increasing in Hellenistic times until its culmination in Roman architecture and town planning, when it became the aesthetically decisive factor. But even then this spatial development referred only to the agora and never to the acropolis.

There is this other vision of the Acropolis of Athens as it might have been, or rather as it once existed in the great minds of that day–Pericles, Pheidias, Mnesicles, Ictinus, and others whose names even are lost. In this vision the Propylæa spreads two broad wings to guard the whole west front of the hill; the old haphazard buildings covering the north side are swept away, and in their place stands a temple, double, like the Propylæa, with two wings and two porches. There would then have been two temples on the Acropolis of equal dignity-the Parthenon, strong in simple lines and bold relief, and the Erechtheum, exquisite in its elaboration of ornament: one temple set up for the worship of Athena, the guardian of the health and wealth of the State, the giver of all good counsels, the daughter of Zeus, and the victorious rival of Poseidon; the other glorifying Athena, the home-goddess, the sister of Hephaistos, at once the craftsman’s conscience and his inspiration, and the friend of Erechtheus.

The serenity of Greek architecture must not blind us to the pregnant fact that the laws of art were still subservient to the common law of citizenship; the artist, no less than the soldier, put his service at the disposal of the State and accepted at her hands even the mutilation of his ideals.

The artists and statesmen of the greatest age gave magnanimously of their best, even though their dreams had to remain unrealized. It is only in the third millennium that their silence has been interpreted, and perhaps even this vindication of after-ages was as far from their wishes as from their thoughts. It is as though the makers of these temples had stamped upon them the device, “I abide by what I have done.”

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.

Partheon Temple in Athens, Greece

Partheon Temple in Athens, Greece

The Parthenon is a temple in the Athenian Acropolis, Greece, dedicated to the Greek goddess Athena, whom the people of Athens considered their protector. Its construction began in 447 BCE and was completed in 438 BCE, although decorations of the Parthenon continued until 432 BCE. It is the most important surviving building of Classical Greece, generally considered to be the culmination of the development of the Doric order. Its decorative sculptures are considered some of the high points of Greek art.

The Parthenon is regarded as an enduring symbol of Ancient Greece and of Athenian democracy and one of the world’s greatest cultural monuments. The Greek Ministry of Culture is currently carrying out a programme of selective restoration and reconstruction to ensure the stability of the partially ruined structure.

Adventure and Relaxation in Skiathos, Greece

Adventure and Relaxation in Skiathos, Greece

Skiathos is a great place where you can spend your summer vacation for its splendid beaches that await you here can fully satisfy your relaxation needs. Known as one of the Greek Islands, this remarkable holiday destination is where you can have a great opportunity to get together with your family, friends or special someone. Believe it or not, this is the main set of the smashing musical movie “Mama Mia”.

1. Explore the beautiful beaches.
There are many popular beaches in this island. Koukounaries is considered to be the most popular beach in Skiathos. It is surrounded by tall pine trees that continue to entice many visitors from all over the world. This bay is where you can experience various water sports. If you prefer a nude bathing, you can go to the Banana Beach. Vromolimnos is also a great beach where you can enjoy paragliding or just viewing the great scenery.

2. Witness flying dolphins.
The new port of Skiathos offers a great way for you to have a relaxation and entertainment at the same time. You would love to see the flying dolphins and beautiful ships here.

3. Party at night on the seashore.
The old port, on the other hand, gives a different kind of entertainment which is usually done at nights. You can go to one of the best coffee shops or bars for some drinks with your family, friends or sweetheart.

4. Shop at the street.
In Alexandros Papadiamantis Street, you will be tempted to buy various items and souvenirs. There are lots of cool shirts, hats, crafted jewelries and other things you can shop here.

5. View the captivating town of Skiathos.
Go to Agios Nikolaos Church and the Hill where you can sit around and view the entire area of this town. This is a perfect setting for creating romance with your honey.

6. Getting to know Alexandros Papadiamantis.
Visit the Alexandros Papadiamantis Museum if you are curious about Alexandros Papadiamandis. He was an author who wrote some great novels which include “The Immigrant”.

7. Ride with fun.
If you prefer adventure, you can go to the Horse Riding School in Koukanouries where you will be studying the right ways to ride on a horse. This is a good place for children and teens who like to have some fun.

8. Have a boattrip around the enchanting island.
It would be such a great family escapade to try some boattrips and hop around the island. This is your chance to see the clear, crystal turquoise water of the beautiful beaches in Skaithos.

9. Visit dogs at a local dogshelter.
Make your one day tour a unique one by visiting some cool dogs at a dogshelter that is situated at the top of the hill in Skiathos. You can donate some amount of money to help the cute dogs and their English woman master. Learn the foods they eat, the place they sleep, the care they get and everything you can discover about these dogs.

10. Experience a great excursion in Meteora.
This is a place where the ancient monasteries of Meteora are hanged on pinnacles of rocks. This are doesn’t only signify a history but also fame. Yes, this is the setting where one of the James Bond films took place.

Exploring the place of Skiathos is a sure way to get the adventure and relaxation you want in a holiday. Explore these things as you enjoy spending time with your loved ones.

Ancient Agora of Athens in Greece

Ancient Agora of Athens in Greece

The Ancient Agora of Classical Athens is the best-known example of an ancient Greek agora, located to the northwest of the Acropolis and bounded on the south by the hill of the Areopagus and on the west by the hill known as the Agoraios Kolonos, also called Market Hill.

As you walk through the ruins of the Agora in Athens (open market area and place of assembly), keep in mind that this was the magnificent citycenter of ancient Athens.

Philosopher Socrates and his disciples came daily to Agora for discourse. One of the first buildings you’ll see is the Temple of Hephaistos, named after the Vulcan God, who shared with Athena the honor of being a patron deity of the arts and crafts. The temple was built between 4th and 5th century B.C., and is the best preserved of all the Greek temples. Between the Theseum and the Stoa of Attalos, you’ll simply have to imagine that you are walking between other temples, government buildings, gymnasiums and stoas.

Ancient Agora of Athens in Greece

Buildings and Structures of the Classical Agora

Plan showing major buildings and structures of the agora of Athens as it was in the 5th century BC

Peristyle Court
South Stoa I and South Stoa II
Agoraios Kolonos
Agora stone
Monument of the Eponymous Heroes
Metroon (Old Bouleuterion)
New Bouleuterion
Temple of Hephaestus (Hephaestion)
Temple of Apollo Patroos
Stoa of Zeus
Altar of the Twelve Gods
Stoa Basileios (Royal stoa)
Temple of Aphrodite Urania
Stoa of Hermes
Stoa Poikile

Other Notable Monuments

A number of other notable monuments were added to the agora. Some of these included:

The Middle stoa which was the most extensive monument built during the 100s B.C.E.
A small Roman temple was added in front of the Middle stoa.
An Altar of Zeus Agoraios was added just to the east of the Monument to the Eponymous Heroes.
The Temple of Ares, dedicated to Ares, the god of war, was added in the north half agora, just south of the Altar of the Twelve Gods.
The Odeon of Agrippa and accompanying gymnasium were added in the centre of the agora.
The substantial Stoa of Attalos was built along the eastern edge of the agora.
A collection of buildings were added to the south-east corner: the East stoa, the Library of Pantainos, the Nymphaeum and a temple.
There is evidence of a Synagogue in the Agora of Athens in the 3rd century.
A statue of the Roman emperor Hadrian was located near the metroon.
The Temple of Zeus Phratrios and Athena Phratria dated to the 300s B.C.E. and is located near the Temple of Apollo Patroos.
The south end of what is believed to be a Basilica has been uncovered near Hadrian Street and is dated to the mid 100s C.E.
The Monopteros was located south of the Basilica and also dated to the mid 100s C.E. It had no walls, was a dome supported by columns and was about 8 meters in diameter.
The Bema was a speakers platform and was located near the Stoa of Attalos.

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.

Make your way through the Greek islands by ferry

Make your way through the Greek islands by ferry

“The Jewel of Mediterranean“ ,as it has been previously called has the tenth longest coastline in the world at 14,880 km (9,246 mi) in length, featuring an enormous number of islands (approximately 1400, of which only 227 are inhabited). Millions of tourists visit Greece every year(mostly during the summer months) and leave the country with many wonderful memories that are hard to forget.

I am convinced that any traveler that has visited Greece will surely tell you about the natural beauty of the country and about its rich cultural background. Most travelers visit the Greek Islands because they combine all the assets mentioned above plus they have wonderful beaches where the traveler can enjoy swimming.

There are many ways that a traveler can access the Greek islands. He can either go there by air(most major Greek Islands have airports) or by sea. Although the idea of traveling by plane can be rather tempting and comfortable it can also be rather expensive. Moreover another good idea is taking a cruise to the Greek islands however it can also be rather expensive and does not give you the freedom to explore the Greek islands by yourself.

In my opinion the most enjoyable way to travel through Greek islands is by ferry. Traveling by ferry is most suitable for the kind of traveler that loves the sea and considers ferries as part of his holiday. These people are the lucky ones who can treat a long ferry journey as a fun thing to do, rather than a business traveler who just wants to get to his destination as quick as possible.

The ferries in Greece are modern, fast and comfortable. No matter in which way you decide to visit Greece and regardless of the time of the year Greece surely give you some unforgettable experiences…