Delve Into The Grandeur Of Rich History On Your Next Visit To Greeceby | June 24, 2019
The white beaches, the neverending picturesque scenes, and the delectable palettes don't even begin to describe the wonder that is Greece. If you happen to be visiting the cradle of Western civilization, chances are you will stumble upon more than just piercing blue skies. A plethora of historical sites dot the landscape of this marvel in Southeast Europe, and from the remarkable ruins of Olympia to the hamlet of Pyrgos, we take into account all the historical sites that will be a revelation.
Located in a picturesque valley of Peloponnesus, the site of Olympia is unmissable, to say the least. Not only does it house the most famous ruins of glorious temples and structures, but its historical relevance is also unparalleled. Ancient Olympia, once known for its worship of Zeus, the Father of the twelve Olympian gods, was also the setting of the Pan-Hellenic festival or the Olympic Games. The famed event was held from 776 B.C until 336 A.D, when it was abolished by Theodosius II, but it took precedence over everything else—even wars were forgotten when it came to the prestigious games.
Today, the tree-shaded ruins are worth a walk, giving you an insight into the rich history through their partly preserved state. The respective temples of Hera and Zeus, the columns of palaestra (wrestling school), the Theokden (priest’s house) and the Echo Colonnade are bound to beckon you, as will the workshop of Pheidias where the Statue of Zeus was made—one of the seven wonders of the Ancient World. For history enthusiasts, there’s the additional novelty of visiting the Museum of History of the Olympic Games of Antiquity, a place that archives 463 artefacts from museums around Greece.
Palace of Knossos
On the island of Crete is Heraklion, the capital which is sometimes also referred to as Iraklio and where lies the Palace of Knossos. The main archaeological site of the Bronze age, the once extravagant palace, apartments and courtyards which made it are now ruins, excavated by archaeologists Minos Kalokairinos in 1878 and Sir Arthur Evans in the 1900s respectively. The latter also re-established parts of the site, much to the disdain of the locals. Upon entering, you will be able to view restored columns painted in rust, frescos featuring vivid colours and more. The reinstated bridges lead you from one destination to another, overlooking vast expanses of the ancient architecture, surrounded by tall trees on the side. Huge clay jars for storage (pithoi), frescos featuring cupbearers, and a number of columns, stairs and quarters are what you will encounter at this centuries-old site that amalgamates the new and the ancient.
Acropolis of Athens
In Greek, the word acropolis translates into ‘upper city’, a literal definition of the grand structure that was first inhabited in the Neolithic times and continued to be a place of worship and refuge until the 6th century B.C, when it was declared the residence of gods. You can view the UNESCO World Heritage Site from almost all parts of Athens, but a visit to this ancient ruin ought to be on the cards if you are visiting the capital of Greece. Of all the structures in the Acropolis of Athens, the Parthenon stands out on the hilltop; a striking feature dedicated to Athena. The numerous columns hold together the remains of the former temple which has undergone a series of restorations, and it continues to be a sight of interest to visitors from all over the world. A symbol of the glorious Periclean architecture, adjacent to it lies the Erechtheion, which features six sculpted maidens in lieu of columns. At the foot of the Acropolis, you may visit the Agora, the ancient marketplace as well as the Acropolis Museum, home to the treasures which survived.
Pyrgos Kallistis, popularly known by the first part of its name, lies on the Aegean Island of Santorini, about seven kilometres away from Fira. You will find yourself relaxing in the solitude offered by the medieval settlement that is impeccably preserved, its white settlements forming a picturesque escapade. Take a walk on the cobbled alleys, some accompanied by open-air cafes where you might sit and relax. Every nook and cranny of the mostly white landscape that makes up the quaint village looks straight out of a storybook, the bright blue doors and railings adding to its charm. The sleepy town is still relatively distant from the commercial aspects that surround a tourist place, making it all the more enticing. Visit this hamlet situated at the foot of Mt. Profitís Ilías, Santorini’s highest point, but before you do, put on your walking shoes as you undertake the hike into the mesmerising labyrinth that is Pyrgos.
A trip to Mykonos would be incomplete without a visit to the Kato Mili, the iconic location that translates to ‘lower windmills’ in Greek. Constructed by the Venetians in the 16th century, the unmissable windmills stand facing the town of Chora and its harbour, seven out of the sixteen situated on the eponymous hill. The straw and wood roofed structures are lined one after the other, making the entire scene a picture-perfect location. Interestingly, Mykonos is known as the ‘island of the winds’ so it’s only natural that these windmills harnessed the natural power for agricultural purposes, mainly to grind produce. Two of the seven mills located on Chora Hill, namely Geronymos and Bonis Mill can be visited if you wish to find out more about their mechanisms and how they functioned back in the day.
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