09Sep/18

Ancient Corinth – morning tour


Operating days and prices

Between APRIL – OCTOBER, this tour operates on Mondays and Fridays only.
PRICES: All travel agents, in Greece and worldwide, offer the same tour at different prices. We are sure that our prices for this tour is not matched by any other company. After 60 years organizing tours throughout Greece we have secured the best deals in all aspects of travel. So, why pay more?
Our discounted price, per adult, for this tour is: 51.00 € p.p. + applicable entrance fees and includes:
– Transportation by modern air-conditioned buses,
– the services of the professional tour guide, and
– the pick up / drop off (from the hotels in the list published in the footer)

We offer the tours without the entrance fees. The reason is that we have met clients that because of age, occupation, etc. are allowed to enter sites & museums free of charge. Juniors under 19, Students of E.U. Varsities, Cultural card holders, Journalists with a journalist identity card, Students of Schools of Tourist Guides, are allowed to walk into ancient sites and Museums, free of charge, while between November – March everybody pays discounted fees, paying 50% of the regular entrance fee.

APPLICABLE ENTRANCE FEES:
APRIL – OCTOBER, Juniors under 19 and E.U. students, are allowed free of charge.
APRIL – OCTOBER, students from other countries and E.U. seniors over 65 pay 4.00 €
APRIL – OCTOBER everybody else pay 8.00 €

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Itinerary

For the Christians, Corinth is well-known from the two letters of Saint Paul in the New Testament, First Corinthians and Second Corinthians. Corinth is also mentioned in the Book of Acts as part of the Apostle Paul’s missionary travels. Ancient Corinth was one of the largest and most important cities of Greece. The Romans demolished Ancient Corinth in 146 BC, built a new city in its place in 44 BC, and later made it the capital of Roman Greece.
Starting from 07.30am the bus picks up clients from the central hotels inAthens (see the list in the footer), brings them to the terminal in the centre of Athens, and departs at +/- 08.30

The drive to Corinth offers a variety of landscape viewing the Saronic Gulf and its islands. You pass from the industrial city of Elefsis, home of the ancient Elefsinian Mysteries, the most important cult religion of antiquity before Christianity.An hourlater we reach the Corinth Canal.(short stop). The 6,346 m long isthmus, is one of the 4 pre-20th century, man-made waterways on earth. The canal connects the Aegean Sea (East) with the Ionian Sea (West), today very popular for extreme sports (bungy jumping). The view from the bridgeatthetop of the canal, is breathtaking.
The opening of the canal was a very old idea. At the western entrance a paved way on which the ancient Corinthians pulled the ships on greased tree trunks from the one side to the other can be seen. The canal started in 1881 and was finished and opened, only in 1893.
The town of ancient Corinth where St. Paul lived, worked and preached for two years is 7km. from the canal, at the base of the hill of Acrocorinth. Acrocorinth was the Acropolis of Corinth and it rises about 600 m. (1800 ft). Ruins of a temple of Aphrodite, dominating the site, can be seen here.

Back in the ancient times Corinth was the capital of Roman Greece and one of the richest cities and this is quite evident by its remains. A huge agora (market place) and Apollo’s Temple (6th C.B.C). 7 of the 38 columns still stand. The ancient city of Corinth has been destroyed 3 times in its past and was rebuilt from scratch. The Romans seized, destroyed, and burned the city (146 BC) to the ground.

When Paul arrived in Corinth (51 AD) he arrived in a newly built city. The Corinthians, by controlling the Corinth canal, collected a lot of money, and as a result of the wealth that they had, they were living a very immoral life.
You can see the remains of the theatre and the Roman Odeon, while among the ruins of the Roman Agora you can see the row of shops where Paul worked as a tent maker, together with Aquila and Priscilla, as well as the Bema, where Paul was judged by the Roman Governor, when the Jews of Corinth accused him.
Here in Corinth Paul created one of the biggest Christian communities in Europe. Read about Paul’s life in Corinth on the left hand side column of this page.

Corinth played a major role in the missionary work of the Apostle Paul. Apostle Paul leaving Athens he visited Corinth which was one of his beloved cities. Paul lived in Corinth for 18 months working as a tent maker and converting as many Jews and pagans as he could.
We will walk on the same paths that Apostle of Nations walked and preached hundreds of years earlier. The Acts of the Apostles inform us that at some point Corinthian Jews united against Paul. They dragged him to the court accusing him that he was illegally trying to persuade people to follow his preaching. Few weeks later he decided to leave Corinth. He had to quickly go to Ephesus. He said goodbye to his friends and he left Corinth accompanied by Silas, Timothy, Aquila and Priscilla.
After exploring the museum and the site we proceed to the ancient port of Cechreae from where St. Paul sailed to return to Ephessus in 52 AD.
Apostle Paul is the patron saint of Corinth and the Corinthians built an impressive church in his honour. We will have the time to visit the Cathedral of St. Paul with the beautiful mosaic/mural depicting his vision.

Return to Athens +/- 14.00.

The tour guide will begin with the history of Corinth and its excavations and takes the visitors through the archaeological site from the Temple of Apollo to the Forum, the Fountain of Peirene, and more. Her lecture will cover the ancient monuments outside the fenced area of the site, including the Odeion, the Theatre, and the Asklepieion, and the various remains of ancient Corinth located within and outside the ancient Greek walls, including the Sanctuary of Demeter and Kore and the Lechaion Basilica.

HIGHLIGHTS
-Archaeological Museum of ancient Corinth
-Temple of Apollo
-Agora / Market place
-Roman buildings
-The Bema
-The Theatre and Odeon / Asklepieion
-Lechaion road

History of Corinth

The site of ancient Corinth was first inhabited in the Neolithic period (5000-3000 BC), and flourished as a major Greek city state from the 8th c. BC until its destruction by the Romans in 146 BC.

Its commanding position on the Isthmus of Corinth, the narrow strip of land that separates the Peloponnese from northern Greece, was the primary basis of its importance. Corinth controlled the “diolkos”, the 6th-c. BC stone-paved roadway that connected the Saronic Gulf with the Gulf of Corinth. This overland route allowed ships, passengers and cargo to avoid the difficult and time-consuming trip around the southern end of the Peloponnese.

Being a leading naval power as well as a rich commercial city enabled ancient Corinth to establish colonies in Syracuse (on the island of Sicily) and on Corcyra (today Corfu). These colonies served as trading posts for the bronze works, textiles, and pottery that Corinth produced.

Beginning in 582 BC, in the spring of every second year the Isthmian Games were celebrated in honor of god Poseidon. The Doric Temple of Apollo, one of Corinth’s major landmarks, was constructed in 550 BC at the height of the city’s wealth.

Corinth was conquered by Philip II of Macedon in 338 BC, but it was named the meeting place of Philip’s new Hellenic confederacy. Immediately after Philip was assassinated, Alexander the Great came to Corinth to meet with the confederacy, to confirm his leadership, and forestall any thoughts of rebellion. At the Isthmian Games of 336 BC, the Greeks chose Alexander the Great to lead them in war against the Persians.

In 146 BC Corinth was literally destroyed by the Romans, but in 44 BC it was rebuilt by Julius Caesar and became the capital of “Roman Greece”. The city prospered more than ever before and may have had as many as 800,000 inhabitants by the time of Paul. The city, mostly populated by freedmen and Jews, was devoted to business and pleasure.

Paul visited Corinth in the 50s AD and later wrote two letters to the Christian community at Corinth (the books of 1 and 2 Corinthians in the New Testament). When Paul first visited the city (51 or 52 AD), Gallio, the brother of Seneca, was proconsul of Corinth.

Paul lived in Corinth for 18 months (Acts 18:1-18), working as a tent maker and converting as many Jews and pagans as he could. Here he first became acquainted with Aquila and Priscilla, who became his fellow-workers.

Although Paul intended to pass through Corinth a second time before he visited Macedonia, circumstances were such that he first went from Troe to Macedonia before stopping at Corinth for a “second benefit” (2 Corinthians 1:15). This time he stayed in Corinth for three months (Acts 20:3).

It was probably during this second visit in the spring of 58 that Paul wrote the Epistle to the Romans. Paul’s First Epistle to the Corinthians, written from Ephesus, reflects the difficulties of maintaining a Christian community in such a cosmopolitan city.

A canal through the isthmus of Corinth was begun under the emperor Nero in 67 AD. Wielding a gold shovel, Nero himself was first to break ground, but the canal was not completed. Up to the 12th century, ships were dragged on rollers across the isthmus.

In 267 AD, the invasion of the Herulians initiated the decline of the city. During Alaric’s invasion of Greece in 395–396, he destroyed Corinth and sold many of its citizens into slavery. Nevertheless, Corinth remained inhabited for many centuries through successive invasions, destructions and plagues.

After 1204, when Constantinople fell to the Fourth Crusade, Corinth was a prize sought by all. Corinth was captured by the Turks in 1458; the Knights of Malta won it in 1612; the Venetians took a turn from 1687 until 1715, when the Turks returned; and the city finally came into Greek hands in 1822.

In 1893 a 4-mile (6-km) Corinth canal was finally completed, providing an essential shipping route between the Ionian and Aegean seas. Like its ancient predecessor, modern Corinth is the center of commerce between northern and southern Greece. Today, it has a population of about 30,000.

Systematic archaeological excavations of the area, initiated by the American School of Classical Studies in 1896, are still continuing today and have brought to light the agora, temples, fountains, shops, porticoes, baths and various other monuments. The finds are exhibited in the on-site Archaeological Museum of Ancient Corinth.

What to See at Corinth

The ruins of ancient Corinth, a short drive from the modern city of Corinth, are spread around the base of the rock of Acrocorinth, which forms a natural acropolis for the city. Most of the surviving buildings are Roman rather than Greek, dating from the city’s prosperous age after Caesar sacked and rebuilt much of the original Greek city. Much of the city has been toppled by recurring earthquakes over the centuries.

On the Acrocorinth itself are ruins of the Temple of Aphrodite, of which little remains. The Temple of Aphrodite had more than 1,000 sacred prostitutes at one time, exemplifying the ancient city’s reputation for luxury and vice. Also on Acrocorinth are the ruins of a stone minaret and ancient defensive walls.

The most notable ruin of ancient Corinth is the 6th-century BC Temple of Apollo, built on a hill overlooking the remains of the Roman marketplace (agora). Seven of the original 38 Doric columns still stand, and it is one of the oldest stone temples in Greece. The temple was still functioning in the time of Paul (50s AD) but was eventually destroyed by earthquakes.

Part of the foundation and a few pillars remain of the Temple of Octavia (known to scholars as ” Temple E”), dedicated to the sister of Emperor Augustus (27 BC-14 AD). The temple represents the imperial cult of Rome, which was spread throughout the empire.

A sacred spring is located along the northern edge of the forum—near the Lechaion Road. The spring was above ground in the 5th century BC but later building activities covered it. Near the spring is a secret passage leading to a small shrine. The passage was probably used by the priests but it is unknown in exactly what capacity.

Within the Roman Forum is the Bema, the public platform where St. Paul had to plead his case when the Corinthians hauled him up in front of the Roman governor Gallio in 52 AD.

Significant ruins of the Peirene Fountain, the major source of water for Corinth, can still be seen today in the Roman Forum. It was an elaborate structure that served as a meeting place for Corinthians. Frescoes of swimming fish from a 2nd-century refurbishment can still be seen, and niche in the wall probably contained a statue. The fountain is named for Peirene, a woman who wept so hard when she lost her son that she finally dissolved into the spring that still flows here.

North of the Theater, inside the city wall, is the Asklepieion, the sanctuary of the god of healing with a small temple (4th century BC). It is set in a colonnaded courtyard with a series of dining rooms in a second courtyard. Terra-cotta votive offerings representing afflicted body parts (hands, legs, breasts, genitals, and so on) were found in the excavation of the Asklepieion, many of which are displayed at the museum.

The Archaeological Museum of Ancient Corinth contains a number of artifacts of religious interest, including inscriptions of Gallio and Erastus, both mentioned in the Book of Acts; a synagogue inscription, menorah reliefs, and votive offerings of terracotta body parts to Asklepios.

Private tour

TOURS TO ACROCORINTH
On the summit, above the Ancient Corinth, you will see the Acropolis of Corinth, the Acrocorinth. It was successively used and fortified by many conquerors including Romans, Byzantines and Turks. In this tour, you will have the opportunity to visit the castle. Through its imposing entrance gates, you will enter the castle and you will explore it. You will also experience the spectacular panoramic views which will amaze you.

ACROCORINTH TOUR HIGHLIGHTS
-First, Second, Third Gates
-Peirene Spring
-Temple of Aphrodite – Views of Geraneia Mountain with the Blue lake and Temple of Hera.
-Acrocorinth Snack bar/ Restaurant with fabulous views.

Midday, enjoy a delicious traditional authentic lunch on a fabulous balcony overlooking the archaeological site… Gemelos’taverna!

booking form

CLICH here, select the date (Monday or Friday) fill
the data and send us the form.

We shall reply (during the office’s working hours) confirming the booking as soon as we see the request.
We are looking forward to receive your request. Thank you for reaching us.

CLICK here and see ALL THE GUIDED TOURS that start from Athens. Detailed information on each tour is included.

 

27Aug/18
The castle or the rock of Monemvasia

Rock of Monemvasia

The castle or the rock of Monemvasia

The rock of Monemvasia or Gibraltar of Greece

The castle or the rock of Monemvasia

The castle or the rock of Monemvasia

The island of Monemvasia, known as the “Gibraltar of Greece,” is a massive rock rising from the sea and connected to the mainland by a causeway. The medieval town of Monemvasia dominated by a protective fortress can be reached only through a tunnel; Its name, comes from the words moni, meaning “single,” and emvasi, meaning “entry.” It is truly an amazing sight.

As you approach from over the hills you are hit with the image of an enormous rock in the sea, connected to the land by a narrow bridge. From the land it looks like just a mountain and if you look more closely you may see a tiny church perched on the top.

However if you cross the bridge and walk around the side of the mountain you will suddenly come to a wall stretching from the sea to the mountain.

Behind the wall is an ancient town protected from all sides by sea, wall and mountain. Explore the narrow, cobbled streets of this charming town, which was the commercial center of Byzantine Morea in the 13th century.

History

2000 years ago people built up a town at the top of a 300 meter rock to be protected from the barbarians.

The Rock was separated from the mainland by an earthquake in 337 AD and today the Monemvasia rock with its castle is actually an island accessible only through an entrance which many years ago used to be a portable, wooden bridge. This causeway links Peloponessus with the Rock of Monemvasia.

The settlement on the rock is divided into two sections, built at different levels, each with a separate fortification. The neighborhood on top of the cliff (300m) was named upper town, while the neighborhood close to the sea also protected from walls, was named lower town.

The castle fall to the Franks in 1249 after 3 years of surrounding but they gave it back to the Byzantines in 1262 after the battle in Pelagonia. The Byzantines kept it until 1460. Those two centuries where the golden ages for Monemvasia. The people of Monemvasia where very wealthy at that time due to the extensive trading, the privileges they had from the emperors of Costantinople (Istanbul), and due to the fleet they owned. The Monemvasians were trading a sweet red whine called Malvasia, produced from the surrounding area.

When Greece was occupied from the Ottomans (Turks) the Monemvasians preferred to pass their town to the Venetians and that was the first occupation by the Venetians, 1464-1550. During that period the Venetians transplanted the wine Malvasia in Crete, Italy and Malta where you may find this kind of wine with small variations.

Later, the castle passed to the hands of the Turks. A small period of Venetian occupation followed again 1690-1715 and finally Monemvasia was liberated in 1823 during the Greek revolution.

Remains of Byzantine and post-Byzantine buildings are preserved in the area of the Upper Town, not inhabited today.
The first building as you enter Lower Monemvasia is the house of Greek poet and writer Yannis Ritsos (1909 – 1990). He was born in Monemvasia in a family of landowners. His grave is not far from this house.

More info about Ritsos: http://www.mikis-theodorakis.net/ritsos_e.html

What to see and do

What to see and do

After breakfast, walk up to the church on the edge of the cliff atop Monemvasia castle and try your hand at throwing a small iron or steel metal object to the sea (it will be drawn in towards the side of the hill, never reaching the sea, due to a magnetic field emanating from the rocks below).

Beaches: To the north and south of Monemvasia there are beaches 2-3 km from the causeway at Gefyra. Some well liked beaches slightly further away are at Plytra (20 km) and the stretch from Viglafia to Neapoli (35 km) both of which on the west side of the peninsula, across from Monemvasia. The island of Elafonisi has some of the more scenic beaches.

Archaeology: The Richia Museum of Folklore: Richia, about 25 km from Monemvasia in a building of 1875, which was the first school in the village. With farm tools, spinning wheels, clothing and woven items.

Monastery of the Annunciation of the Virgin and Agios Georgios of Gerakas near Gerakas village, founded in 19th century.

There are many caves within easy reach:  Kastania – at Kastania Voion (south of Monemvasia near Neapolis).

Vri Cave is north of Monemvasia with a precipice which you can climb down. You can find the entrance on the south west side and there is a lake below with crystal clear water.

21 km farther a very neat place to visit is Porto Geraka, a small village which landscape reminds small Fiord of the south.

Where to eat & drink – Monemvasia

If want to stay close, choose one of the four tavernas in Monemvasia. Inside the castle there is the Cafe Angelo which is at night a bar and in the morning breakfast is served, with the sound of classic music and a wonderful view. There are also two cafes to enjoy your coffee.

The tavernas on the seafront, over the causeway, at Gefyra, offer good food at good prices. A little further in the new town of Monemvasia you must taste the octopus fried with Ouzo. As there is just one “main” street – only about 200 metres long – you will find the shops, cafes and restaurants in one stroll through the castle.

Video

See the video on Monemvasia

Map

Most of Monemvasia’s residents today live by the port (Gefyra), which is a modern town with supermarkets, travel agency, bus connections and other services. The Rock is about 2 km from the modern port of Monemvasia, about a 20-minute walk or a few minutes by car. Cars aren’t allowed inside the walls of the old town and the parking is outside of the fortifications.

Most of the old town’s buildings are made from stone, and many have been renovated as summer homes for Greeks and foreigners. It’s a sunny town of tiled-roof houses, attractive shops and cafes, pleasant squares, and churches.

 

The castle or the rock of Monemvasia

The castle or the rock of Monemvasia

The castle or the rock of Monemvasia

The castle or the rock of Monemvasia

27Aug/18

Sparta, Mystras, Kyparisia, Pylos

Sparti: One of the two most powerful city-states in Classical Greece, Sparta is located in the Evrotas river valley, almost completely surrounded by mountain ranges. Unlike most of the other Greek city-states, Sparta was not a fortified city-state center with huge religious and civic buildings, but it was a loose collection of smaller villages spaced over a large rural area. Traditionally, Sparta’s founding is given at the middle of the 10th century B.C. by the Dorian Greeks. By the 7th century the warlike Spartans had conquered all of the surrounding Laconia and Messenia, and by the next century much of the remaining Peloponnese was under Spartan control. In the 5th century Sparta allied herself with Athens and other city-states in order to repulse the Persian aggressor, but soon after this the two city-states fell out, embarking on a century-long struggle for supremacy in the Peloponessian War, which ended with Spartan victory in 405 B.C. By the 4th century, however, Spartan power declined with its defeat by Thebes in 371 B.C., and, by 193 B.C., she had entirely lost her territorial possessions. Sparta thrived briefly under Roman Imperial rule, but was sacked by the Goths in 395 A.D and completely abandoned.
We will visit the archeaological remains of ancient Sparta, including the 2nd century BC theatre, the sites most discernible ruin (virtually nothing remains of the ancient city). The monuments on the site have not been restored yet but there are plans in the works for this under the auspices of the European Union. Important monuments of the site include the temple of Athena Chalkoikos on the top of the acropolis ; the ancient theatre, dating from the early Imperial period, the orchestra and walls of which still stand; a circular building of unknown use, which some scholars think was some kind of assembly; remains of shops, constructed in the Roman Imperial period, which served visitors to the theater; and finally, the remains of a Basilica of the Middle Byzantine period, dated to the 10th century A.D.
Mystras: Mystra enjoys one of the most beautiful situations in Greece, lying along a steep slope of Mt. Taygetos. At the top is the Kastro (fortified citadel), and on successive levels below are several Byzantine churches (most notably the Pantanassa), the Palace of the Despots, and everywhere spectacular views.
Few kilometers west to the Byzantine town Mystra on the slopes of Mt. Taygetos, an impregnable fortress, built by Guillame de Villehardouin in 1249. When the Byzantines won back the Morea from the Franks, Emperor Michael VIII Palaeologus made Mystra its capital and seat of government and Mystras became the leading city of the Peloponnese. It was governed by a Byzantine Despot, usually either a son or a brother of the Emperor in Constantinople.It soon became populated by people from the surrounding plains seeking refuge from invading Slavs. From this time, until the last despot, Demetrios, surrendered it to the Turks in 1460, a despot of Morea (usually a son or brother of the ruling Byzantine emperor) lived and reigned at Mystra. Mystra declined under Turkish rule. It was captured by the Venetians in 1687 and it thrived once again with a flourishing silk industry and a population of 40,000. It was recaptured by the Turks in 1715, and from then on it was downhill all the way. It was burned by the Russians in 1770, the Albanians in 1780 and Ibrahim Pasha in 1825. Not surprisingly, at the time of Independence it was in a very sorry state, virtually abandoned and in ruins. Since the 1950s much restoration work has taken place. Once inside Nafplion Gate, the tour will see the main sites of this ancient city such as the Palace of the Despots.

Kyparisia: about 40 miles southeast from Mystras, through some of the most striking and at times hair-raising scenery in Greece, to Kalamata, and from Kalamata it’s another 32 miles to Kyparissia. Kyparisia: In his “description of Greece” Pausanias describes Kyparissia in these words: “having come to Cyparissiae we see a spring below the city near the sea. They say that Dionysus made the water flow by smiting the earth with his wand; hence they name it the spring of Dionysus. There is also a sanctuary of Apollo at Kyparissae, and another of Athena surnamed Kyparissian…there is a temple of Aulonian Aesculapius and an image of him” (4.36) Today, the Spring of Dionysus can still be seen on the beach of Ai Lagoudia in Kyparissia, a town on the south-western Peloponnese, but of the temples little remains. In Byzantine times Kyparissia was called Arkadia because of the Arkadian people who came to live there. The Arkadians built a massive castle on the site of the old acropolis, which was later rebuilt by the Franks. The castle and the ancient harbor are the main monuments on Kyparissia today. However, the town is a popular summer getaway because of its attractive beaches and summer festivities.

Pylos: The home of Nestor, the “elder statesman” of the Greek warriors at Troy, Pylos is located on the hill of Epano Englianos, near Navarino Bay, the southwest coast of the Peloponneseus. Occupied as early as the Middle Bronze Age, the site is dominated by a monumental structure, known as Nestor’s palace, which is the best preserved of the existing Mycenean palaces. Built in the Late Bronze Age (ca.1300 B.C.), the palace consists of 105 ground floor apartments. The most important compartments of the palace are the the big “throne room”, with its circular heath, a room with a clay bath tube, and stores with numerous storage jars. The walls of the palace were decorated with beautiful frescos. Thousands of clay tablets in Linear B script were found in the palace. (The Linear B script has been found to be based on the Greek language and was deciphered by a British archaeologist, Michael Ventris, in the 1950s).The palace was destroyed by fire in the 12th century B.C., and by a happy accident of chance, the linear B tablets were preserved by baking in the fire.
Spending the day in and around Pylos, visiting the Venetian castle at Methoni, the Mycenean palace at Pylos (called the Palace of Nestor, the garrulous old advisor in the Iliad), and the Pylos Museum. The Palace of Nestor was first excavated by Carl Blegen of Cincinnati in 1952 and was destroyed by fire at the end of the Mycenean period (around 1200 BC). It is quite a bit smaller than Mycenae, and it is here that the first Linear B tablets found on the Greek mainland were discovered in 1939.

27Aug/18
Chronological history of Greece

History of Greece

Chronological history of Greece

7000 BC First Stone Age settlements in mainland Greece.
2500 BC Bronze Age is effective on mainland and some islands.
1550 BC  Mycenaean civilization started on mainland Greece.
1450 BC  Mycenaean culture spreads to islands.
1200 BC Disappearance of Mycenaean civilization.
1100 BC Dorian movements to the islands and Asia Minor.
776   BC  First official Olympic Games recorded in Greece.
800-600 BC First Greek city-states appear, Athens and Sparta are among them.
545 BC Persian invasion of Asia Minor cities.
490 BC Persian incursion and the battle of Marathon.
479   BC Persian invasion of mainland Greece.
430-404 B.C. War between Athens and Sparta ends in Spartan victory.
359  B.C.  Philip II became the king of Macedonia.
336 B.C. After Philip II, Alexander the Great became the king of Macedonia.
0-300 AD Romans rule Greece.
324 AD     Emperor Constantine established the Byzantium and Constantinople became the capital.
529A.D.     Non-Christian schools of Philosopy in Athens were forced to close.
650A.D.    Invasion of Greece by Slavic tribes.
800A.D    Byzantium established the control over Greece again.
1200A.D  Latin – Venetian crusaders took control of Greece.
1260A.D  Byzantium reclaimed the control over Greece.
1430A.D  Ottomans conquered Thessaloniki.
1453A.D  Ottomans conquered Constantinople. This marks the end of Byzantium.
1460A.D  Ottomans took Mystra.
1522A.D  Ottomans conquered Rhodes.
1566A.D   Ottomans took Chios and Naxos.
1577A.D   Samos taken by Ottomans
1669A.D   Ottomans conquered whole Crete.
1685-1715   Venetians occupied Peloponnese
1799-1814    France, Russia and Britain occupied Ionian islands successively.
1821-1830 Greece gained independence against Turks after the sea battle of Navarino (25th March – Independence Day).
1831           President Kapodistrias was assasinated.
1833          Othon was declared as the king of Greece by Russia, France and Britain.
1864          Britain gave the control of Corfu and Ionian islands to Greece.
1881          Ottomans surrendered Thessaly to Greece.
1912          First Balkan war and Greece reclaimed Thessaloniki, Ioanina and Chios.
1913          2nd Balkan war. Greece gains Crete, Lesbos and Ikaria.
1914          World War I. Greece joins the war on the side of Allied forces.
1919           Britain and France convinced Greece to annex the land at Smyrna (Izmir) in Turkey.
1919-1923  After the collapse of Ottoman Empire, the existing conditions triggered a war between Greece and newly formed Turkey. Greece lost the war and Greek population in Anatolia was exchanged with Turkish population in Greece (Lausane Treaty).
1936          After a long period of political chaos, General Metaxas became dictator.
1939          After the invasion of Albania,Italy demanded access to Greek ports. Metaxas refused (28th October “Ochi Day”). Victorious battles against the Italians. Greek troops push Italians back towards Italy.
1941          World War II and the German invasion.
1944          After 3 years of German occupation, British troops took the county back from Germans.
1945-1949  Civil war between royalists and communists.
1951      Night of terror in Constantinople. Violent Turkish riots against the Greeks result in the elimination of a 300,000     minority in the City.
1967      Military junta took control of political power.
1973      Pro-democracy movement mainly led by students was crushed by fascist junta and a large number of students were brutally killed.
1974      Military junta supported a right-wing Greek coup in Cyprus. This led to Turkey’s invasion of Cyprus. Turkey is still occupying the Northern part of Cyprus.
1975-1999 The Junta falls. Socialist PASOK and right-wing New Democracy Party maintain the democratic process uninterruptedly since then.
2000         Greece, now part of the single-currency European Union, is one of the world’s 25 most developed countries. Its strong economy, its stable and flourishing society make Greece the guarantor of peace and progress in the Balkans.

 

25Aug/18

Tours list by place

DELPHI – Centre of the universe

– One day guided tour to Delphi – museum and the site
– Two days to Delphi – Guided tour in slow pace
– Two days guided tour, visiting Delphi & Meteora
– Three days, guided tour, 1 night Delphi & 1 Meteora
– Three days, visit Delphi with 2 nights in Kalampaka
– 3 days, independent visit to Kalampaka & Delphi
– Delphi and the monastery of Osios Loukas (private tour)
– Delphi with lunch at the port of Itea (private tour)

ALL OPTIONS TO VISIT METEORA

– 2 days guided tour to Delphi(site only) & Meteora
– Include the Delphi museum in the tour above
– 3 days tour. One night in Delphi and one in Kalampaka
– 3 days Delphi & Meteora with an extra day in Kalampaka
– Visit Meteora on your own by train – Independent trip
– One day trip to Meteora. Train and 3 hours round by taxi
– 2 days in Kalampaka and One in Delphi, independently
– 2 days Meteora “Special”, with “Sunset” & “Morning” tours


  • MYCENAE-NAFPLION-EPIDAURUS

    One day tour to Mycenae, Nafplion & Epidaurus
    – Two days guided tour of Argolis. Overnight in Nafplion
    – Morning tour to St. Paul’s Ancient Corinth (Apr-Oct)
    – Half day tour to Ancient Corinth and wine tasting (Apr-Oct)
    – Ancient Corinth, Nafplion, theatre of Epidaurus (private tour)
    – Tour to Ancient Corinth with lunch in Loutraki (private tour)

  • CLASSICAL TOURS OF GREECE

    – 3 days classical tour of Greece to historical sites
    – 4 days combining the classical tour with Meteora
    – Monday’s special. 4 days classical tour. Overnight in Nafplio
    – Monday’s special. Five days classical tour and Meteora
    – Two days, Olympia & Nafplion, Epidaurus (private tour)
    – Two days Delphi & Olympia (private tour)

  • TOURS TO OLYMPIA FROM ATHENS

    – 3 days – Mycenae, Epidaurus, Olympia & Delphi
    One day tour to Olympia (private tour)
    – 2 day to Olympia & Nafplion (private tour)
    – 2 day tour to Delphi & Olympia (private tour)
    – Visit Olympia on the intercity bus, 2 days/1 night


  • CRUISES TO THE GREEK ISLANDS

    – 1 Day Cruise – Hydra, Poros, Aegina, for 65.00 €
    – 3 days to Mykonos, Patmos, Kusadasi, Santorini
    – 4 days to Mykonos, Patmos, Kusadasi, Heraklion, Santorini
    – One day trip to Mykonos by ferry (July-Sept)

  • Choose your Hotel, but…

    let us do the reservation
    at a better rate than
    the rate that you have been quoted.

  • BOOK YOUR LOCAL TRANSFERS

    – On arrival, from the airport to the centre, 45.00 €
    – On departure, from your hotel to the airport, 35.00 €
    – From your hotel to the port of Pireaus, 20.00 €
    – From Piraeus to your hotel in Athens, 25.00 €
    – From your hotel to/from the port of Rafina, 40.00 €



25Aug/18

Sounion afternoon tour for 33.00 euro

Sounion Half Day tour (afternoon)

Daily April to October, Nov to Mar organized on Mon, Wed, Fri, Sat.
Departs 15:00, Returns 19:00 (Oct-March – returns 18:30)

Entrance fees to the archaeological site are included in the price. The duration of the whole tour is 4 hours.
We have pick up service from most of the central hotels. Departure time varies depending on the season.

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23Aug/18

Marathon battle area

Fighting for Athens: the Battle of Marathon

Fighting for Athens: the Battle of Marathon

A tour to the historical Marathon battle area

A visit to the archaeological site, the Tymvos burial mound in an olive grove with a plaque that commemorates the great victory and the Marathon Museum and if the weather permits it, a swim at the sandy beach of Shinias where the Persian fleet landed, is one of the things you must do when you visit Athens.

Marathon is still one of Attica’s loveliest and well known spots. Everyone has heard the story of the Persian army defeat at Marathon at the hands of the Athenians. Imagine marching several thousand miles only to be wiped out 27 miles from the city you came to conquer by an army a fraction of your size. There is not much to see of the battlefield really. Main source of information about the battle in Marathon is the historian Herodotus. According to him, the Persian fleet landed 100,000 troops on Shinias in the year 490 B.C. Against this huge army the Athenians brought 10,000 soldiers and with the help of 1,000 Plataian soldiers, thanks to an ingenious strategic plan of the Greek army commander, Miltiades, they were victorious. They formed the Greek letter (Pi) with weak centre and strong sides, and when the battle started, the central section retreated and the sides closed in and squeezed the panicked Persian soldiers. Thousands of Persians were killed or drowned in the swamp nearby, (where the rowing venue of the Athens 2004 Olympic Games is), while the Athenians had 192 soldiers dead, all burried in the tymvos area. It is E.N.Gardiners’ observation that, ” the victory of the Greeks over the Persians…was the victory of a handful of trained athletes over the hordes of flabby barbarians.”

Legend wants an Athenian soldier named, Philippides, to run from the battlefield all the way into Athens in order to bring the good news. He ran all the way from Marathon to the Athenian Agora. He collapsed and died immediately after he delivered his one word message; Nenikikamen (We have won). In memory of this great victory, the Marathon run was performed in the first modern Olympic Games in 1896 and since then, it is the last event of the Olympic Games. Here is the starting point of the authentic distance. If you think that you are fit enough, you are free to try your physical condition on this classical Marathon run 42,195m.

Today’s amazing thing about Marathon is the marble dam, the only dam in the world made out of marble, that holds the water that supplies Athens.

 

HALF DAY TOUR TO MARATHON

Upon request, we organise half day tours (+/- 5 hrs) from Athens to Marathon driving along the Athenian North suburbs. At Marathon we visit the “tymvos” burial mound, the museum and end the tour at the sandy beach of Shinias for a swim.

 

23Aug/18
The Grand Meteoro monastery. The highest and biggest of the six monasteries open to the public.

Visit the “unique” area of the Meteora rocks

METEORA

The Grand Meteoro monastery. The highest and biggest of the six monasteries open to the public.

The Grand Meteoro monastery. The highest and biggest of the six monasteries open to the public.

The Meteora are included in the UNESCO World Heritage List.

Six monasteries, open to the public today, built on natural sandstone rocks, over the town of Kalambaka.

The 64 gigantic rocks, made of conglomerate, create a spectacle, unique worldwide.

There are several theories regarding the creation of these rocks.

The prevailing theory is that one of the German geologist Philipson. According to Philipson, million of years ago the area was a huge lake and 3 rivers had their estuaries in this area.

The rivers brought, stones and material, from central Europe. From the accumulation of these materials deltaic cones were formed.

About 30 million years ago, after geological changes that took place, the central part of today’s Europe was lifted the Alpes and the valley of Tempi were formed and an outlet for these waters to the Aegean Sea was created.
During the time of the alpine mountain orogenesie, solid volumes of “rocks” were cut off from the mountain chain of Pindus and as the centuries went by, the plain of the river of Pinios was formed between them. Orogenesis refers to severe structural deformation of the Earth’s crust due to the engagement of tectonic plates.

The word “orogenesis” comes from the Greek (oros that means “mountain” and genesis for “creation” or “origin”). It is the mechanism by which mountains are built on continents. Orogenie develops while a continental plate is crumpled and thickened to form mountain ranges, and involve a great range of geological processes collectively called orogenesis. Following the continuous corrosion by the wind, rain and other geological changes these rocks took their present form. A spectacle “unique” worldwide.

At the cavities, fissures and peaks of these rock towers people found protection from enemies that invaded from time to time the area.

Some of these rocks reach 1800 ft or 550m above the plain. This great height, combined with the sheerness of the cliff walls, kept away all but the most determined visitors.

Hermits and anchorites found shelter on these rocks, seeking mental calmness and tranquillity, while praying and seeking for Christian perfection. According to the existing scripts monk hood is present from the 1st millennium. Initially the hermits were isolated, meeting on Sundays and special days to worship and pray not only for their salvation but also for the salvation of all people, in a small chapel that was built at the foot of a rock known as Doupiani .

Their life was simple and the work hard.
According to scripts, Barnabas, the monk who established the cloister of the Holy Ghost is mentioned as the first hermit at 950-970 AD, followed by the monk Andronikos from Crete, who established the cloister of the Transfiguration of Jesus in the early 1000 AD. Later and around 1150-1160 AD the Cloister of Doupiani was established.

Except the aforementioned cloisters others also existed in several cavities around the rock of Doupiani.

At the beginning of the 12th c. in the area of the Meteora a small ascetic state was formed, having as centre of worship the church of Mother of God extant until today at the north part of the rock of Doupiani.

The hermits were flowing to this small church from their hermitages in order to perform their common worship, to discuss the several problems that concerned them and to ask for the help from other hermits in order to carry out the hard work. The leading man of the cloister of Doupiani had the title of the “first”.

Almost 200 years later, in the middle of the 14th c. the Monastery of the Transfiguration of Jesus on the mount was established by Holy Athanassios, who gave the big rock the name Meteoro. Since then all the rocks have this name.

During the 14th and 15th c. a time of great prosperity for the monk hood in the Meteora we have the creation of many more Monasteries and their number reaches 24. In the middle of the 14th c. monk Neilos, founded the Holy Monastery of Ascension (the Holy Monastery of Ypapanti-Candle Mass, today), and in 1517, Nectarios and Theophanes built the monastery of Varlaam, which was reputed to house the finger of St John and the shoulder blade of St Andrew.
Access to the monasteries was deliberately difficult.

The first hermits climbed up the rocks using scaffolds wedged in holes of the rocks. They felt safe from political upheaval and had complete control of the entry to the monastery. Later on, the only means of reaching the monasteries was by climbing ropes, windlass and long ladders, which were drawn up whenever the monks felt threatened.

The monastery of Varlaam has an extensive net and pulley system, from which rope nets are let down several hundred feet by a windlass, today used for lifting up provisions.

The ropes were replaced, as the monks say, only “when the Lord let them break”. In the 1920s the first steps were carved in the rocks. There is a common belief that St. Athanasius (founder of the first monastery) did not scale the rock, but was carried there by an eagle.

As years went by, under several difficulties, conquerors of the area, thieves’ raids and other factors, many of the flourishing Monasteries were abandoned (period of decline after the 17th c) and during World War II the site was bombed and many art treasures were stolen by the Germans.

Today, the tradition continues for over 600 years, uninterrupted in 6 monasteries, 4 inhabited by monks and 2 by nuns.
According to popularity they are: the Monastery of the Great Meteoro, the Varlaam Monastery, the St Stephen Monastery, the Holy Trinity Monastery, the St Nicolas Anapafsas Monastery and the Roussanou Monastery. Each of them has fewer than 10 inhabitants.

Furthermore, with the generous efforts of the monks, of the local Bishop Serafim and the contribution of the state, the E.E.U. and several citizens, some more monasteries have been restored and maintained, such as:
1) The monastery of St Nicolas Badovas (dependent on the Holy Trinity monastery), and
2) Of Ypapanti-Candle Mass (dependent on the monastery of the Transfiguration or Great Meteoro).

We feel that the Meteora belong to everybody.

This is your chance to see the “unique” spectacle and visit the monasteries.

23Aug/18
The Grand Meteoro monastery. The highest and biggest of the six monasteries open to the public.

Meteora rocks

CLICK AND SEE ALL THE TOURS AND OPTIONS to visit Meteora by shared bus guided tours or independent trips by train.

The Grand Meteoro monastery. The highest and biggest of the six monasteries open to the public.

The Grand Meteoro monastery. The highest and biggest of the six monasteries open to the public.

If you have two days to spare this is one of the most impressive places you will ever visit. Meteora is a flat plain where God in his great wisdom placed these giant rocks where monks could climb to the top to escape the world. These monks built impressive monasteries, some which could only be reached by ropes and pulleys, built and supplied by hauling material up in baskets. Today, Meteora, is one of the top tourist destinations in Greece. Doing a Delphi-Meteora trip is one of the most popular journeys.

Spectacularly perched atop rocky pinnacles in Thessaly, the Meteora monasteries are among the most striking sights in Greece. The name Meteora (Μετεωρα) is Greek for “suspended in the air,” which perfectly describes these six remarkable Greek Orthodox monasteries. The sandstone peaks were first inhabited by Byzantine hermits in the 11th century, who clambered up the rocks to be alone with God. The present monasteries were built in the 14th and 15th centuries during a time of instability and revival of the hermit ideal; the first was Great Meteoron (c.1340) and there were 24 monasteries by 1500. They flourished until the 17th century but only six survive today; four of these still host monastic communities.

The nearest major town is Kalambaka (from the Turkish word for “pinnacle”), at the base of the Meteora, which has accommodation for overnight visitors as well as some medieval churches. Neighboring Kastraki has some accommodation as well. Alternatively, a guided day tour from Athens is a popular and easy way to visit. To visit all six in one day without joining a tour, begin with Ayiou Nikolaou Anapavsa, Varlaam and Great Meteoron before 1pm, break for lunch while the monasteries are closed, then see Roussanou, Ayias Triadhos and Ayiou Stefanou in the afternoon. A strict dress code is enforced: all shoulders must be covered, men must wear long trousers and women must wear long skirts.

The Meteora are included in the UNESCO World Heritage List. Six monasteries, open to the public today, built on natural sandstone rocks, over the town of Kalambaka. The 64 gigantic rocks, made of conglomerate, create a spectacle, unique worldwide.

There are several theories regarding the creation of these rocks. The prevailing theory is that one of the German geologist Philipson. According to Philipson, million of years ago the area was a huge lake and 3 rivers had their estuaries in this area. The rivers brought, stones and material, from central Europe. From the accumulation of these materials deltaic cones were formed.

About 30 million years ago, after geological changes that took place, the central part of today’s Europe was lifted the Alpes and the valley of Tempi were formed and an outlet for these waters to the Aegean Sea was created. During the time of the alpine mountain orogenesie, solid volumes of “rocks” were cut off from the mountain chain of Pindus and as the centuries went by, the plain of the river of Pinios was formed between them. Orogenesis refers to severe structural deformation of the Earth’s crust due to the engagement of tectonic plates. The word “orogenesis” comes from the Greek (oros that means “mountain” and genesis for “creation” or “origin”). It is the mechanism by which mountains are built on continents. Orogenie develops while a continental plate is crumpled and thickened to form mountain ranges, and involve a great range of geological processes collectively called orogenesis.

Following the continuous corrosion by the wind, rain and other geological changes these rocks took their present form. A spectacle “unique” worldwide. At the cavities, fissures and peaks of these rock towers people found protection from enemies that invaded from time to time the area.

Some of these rocks reach 1800 ft or 550m above the plain. This great height, combined with the sheerness of the cliff walls, kept away all but the most determined visitors.

Hermits and anchorites found shelter on these rocks, seeking mental calmness and tranquillity, while praying and seeking for Christian perfection. According to the existing scripts monk hood is present from the 1st millennium. Initially the hermits were isolated, meeting on Sundays and special days to worship and pray not only for their salvation but also for the salvation of all people, in a small chapel that was built at the foot of a rock known as Doupiani. Their life was simple and the work hard.

According to scripts, Barnabas, the monk who established the cloister of the Holy Ghost is mentioned as the first hermit at 950-970 AD, followed by the monk Andronikos from Crete, who established the cloister of the Transfiguration of Jesus in the early 1000 AD. Later and around 1150-1160 AD the Cloister of Doupiani was established. Except the aforementioned cloisters others also existed in several cavities around the rock of Doupiani.

At the beginning of the 12th c. in the area of the Meteora a small ascetic state was formed, having as centre of worship the church of Mother of God extant until today at the north part of the rock of Doupiani. The hermits were flowing to this small church from their hermitages in order to perform their common worship, to discuss the several problems that concerned them and to ask for the help from other hermits in order to carry out the hard work. The leading man of the cloister of Doupiani had the title of the “first”.

Almost 200 years later, in the middle of the 14th c. the Monastery of the Transfiguration of Jesus on the mount was established by Holy Athanassios, who gave the big rock the name Meteoro. Since then all the rocks have this name.

During the 14th and 15th c. a time of great prosperity for the monk hood in the Meteora we have the creation of many more Monasteries and their number reaches 24. In the middle of the 14th c. monk Neilos, founded the Holy Monastery of Ascension (the Holy Monastery of Ypapanti-Candle Mass, today), and in 1517, Nectarios and Theophanes built the monastery of Varlaam, which was reputed to house the finger of St John and the shoulder blade of St Andrew.
Access to the monasteries was deliberately difficult.

The first hermits climbed up the rocks using scaffolds wedged in holes of the rocks. They felt safe from political upheaval and had complete control of the entry to the monastery. Later on, the only means of reaching the monasteries was by climbing ropes, windlass and long ladders, which were drawn up whenever the monks felt threatened.

The monastery of Varlaam has an extensive net and pulley system, from which rope nets are let down several hundred feet by a windlass, today used for lifting up provisions.

The ropes were replaced, as the monks say, only “when the Lord let them break”. In the 1920s the first steps were carved in the rocks. There is a common belief that St. Athanasius (founder of the first monastery) did not scale the rock, but was carried there by an eagle.

As years went by, under several difficulties, conquerors of the area, thieves’ raids and other factors, many of the flourishing Monasteries were abandoned (period of decline after the 17th c) and during World War II the site was bombed and many art treasures were stolen by the Germans.

Today, the tradition continues for over 600 years, uninterrupted in 6 monasteries, 4 inhabited by monks and 2 by nuns. According to popularity they are: the Monastery of the Great Meteoro, the Varlaam Monastery, the St Stephen Monastery, the Holy Trinity Monastery, the St Nicolas Anapafsas Monastery and the Roussanou Monastery. Each of them has fewer than 10 inhabitants.

Furthermore, with the generous efforts of the monks, the local Bishop Serafim and the contribution of the state, the E.U. and several citizens, more monasteries have been restored and maintained, such as:
1) The monastery of St Nicolas Badovas (dependent on the Holy Trinity monastery), and
2) Of Ypapanti-Candle Mass (dependent on the monastery of the Transfiguration or Great Meteoro).

We feel that the Meteora belong to everybody. This is your chance to see the “unique” spectacle and visit the monasteries.

22Aug/18
Peloponnese map

Peloponesse

Peloponnese map

Peloponnese map

The Peloponesse, Greece’s southern peninsula, is rich in history, and one of the most beautiful regions in the country. It hides amazing scenery, culture, historic sites and ancient ruins. The surounding sea waters are of the bluest blue. Its villages are pearl white jewels hidden in thick vegetation. Its landscapes are breathtaking. Many sites within easy reach of Athens you can visit on one-day excursions, such as: Ancient Corinth and the Corinth canal, Epidaurus, Nafplion & Mycenae, Ancient Sparta & Byzantine Mystras, Olympia, Kalavryta & the cave of the lakes. Some others, like Monemvasia, “the Diros” Caves, Mt. Taygetus and the Mani area, the Messinian castles, the Ilia region of Olympia are better visited in 2 & 3 day tours

Start with the ancient sites of Corinth, Epidaurus and Mycenae, all easily reached from Nafplion.

Further south, you can explore the medieval Byzantine city of Mystras near Sparta on the slopes of Mt Taygetos, with its winding paths and stairways leading to deserted palaces and fresco-adorned churches and the area of Mani, a region of bleak mountains and barren landscapes broken only by imposing stone towers, mostly abandoned but still standing sentinel over the region.

Other attractions in the Peloponesse include the beautiful medieval castle island of Monemvasia, the Ancient Olympia, birthplace of the Olympic Games, and the thrilling Diakofto-Kalavryta, rack-and-pinion railway, which roller coasts its way through the deep Vouraikos river Gorge.