Sunday, 4 August 2013

Hellas Calling - Day 4


I woke up at 5:30 am (that’s too early for me!) I was ready by 6:50 am. As I had booked a day tour last night, the pick up time from hotel is 7:15 am. I waited in the hotel lobby for the pick van. I was the only one from this hotel to join the tour. The van arrived and we departed to pick up more tourists from other hotels. The van stopped at 3 more hotels for pick ups and headed for a central location where many tourists were gathered from different hotels to join different tours. After a short while, announcements began to guide the tourists to board their respective buses. There were 20 tourists in the bus along with tour guide and the driver. Our guide was very polite and spoke good English. 

The Greek landscape is very beautiful. The road to Cornith is along the sea shore and view on both sides is captivating. While on one side is the blue sea, on the other side were the orchads, olive trees, and mountains.

On our way to Cornith, we saw the Cornith Canal.

The Corinth Canal connects the Gulf of Corinth with the Saronic Gulf in the Aegean Sea. It cuts through the narrow Isthmus of Corinth and separates the Peloponnesian peninsula from the Greek mainland, thus effectively making the former an island. It is 6.4 kilometres in length and only 70 ft wide at its base, making it impassable for most modern ships. It was completed in 1893, but due to the canal's narrowness, navigational problems and periodic closures to repair landslips from its steep walls, it failed to attract the level of traffic anticipated by its operators. It is now used mainly for tourist traffic.

Temple of Apollo

The remains of the temple lie on a terrace which is on the highest part of the city. From here there are wonderful views, extending as far as the Gulf of Corinth. It's a favorite spot from which to take photos, and to get an overall view of the extent of the ancient city of Corinth. From bits of pottery found among the chippings left by the masons, the temple has been dated to around 540 BC. It was built to replace an earlier temple from the 7th C BC.

Before the excavations began which revealed the extent of the ancient city, the columns of the temple of Apollo were all that were visible. Along side is the Lechaion Road.

The Cyclopean Walls of Mycenae

The characteristic of the Mycenaean walls is that they are made of huge limestone boulders, which have been fitted together rather roughly. As these boulders are very big in size, the ancient people believed that it was the Cyclops who built these gates, as the thought it impossible for men to move such big rocks. That is why these walls were named Cyclopean Walls.

The Lion Gate

The Lion Gate was the main entrance of the Bronze Age citadel of Mycenae.  It was erected during the 13th century BC in the northwest side of the acropolis and is named after the relief sculpture of two lionesses in a heraldic pose that stands above the entrance. The Lion Gate is the sole surviving monumental piece of Mycenaean sculpture, as well as the largest sculpture in the prehistoric Aegean.

The Treasury of Atreus

The Treasury of Atreus or Tomb of Agamemnon is an impressive "tholos" tomb on the Panagitsa Hill at Mycenae,  constructed during the Bronze Age around 1250 BC. The lintel stone above the doorway weighs 120 tons, the largest in the world.


Epidaurus is situated on the cool slopes of a beautiful and wooded valley, Epidaurus was known throughout the Hellenic world for its unique medical facilities and healing treatments. Dedicated to Aesclepius,  the god of healing,  who restored health to the sick. Most of the ruins of Epidaurus have been reduced to their foundations, with the exception of the astonishing theater. Still used for special performances today, the theater is well preserved. Built into the ground, rather than above it, the theater is known for its fantastic acoustics.

After lunch in a restaurant in Nauplia (the first capital of modern Greece) we had a short stop at its Venetian fortress of PALAMIDI and the fortified islet of BOURTZI . 

It was now time to head back to Athens. I enjoyed this day tour very much, as this was my first independent day tour. I met lovely people, had good conversations and most of all enjoyed all the destinations it took us through.

Something to remind me of this wonderful trip.... entrance tickets.

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