I will travel with Globus/Monograms. I want a single connection going to Athens and a single connection returning to Nashville. Monograms will be waiting at the Airport in Athens with a sign. It is called transfer. Cynthia is my contact, and her extension is 7042. The Greece Escape tour is from November to March. I will have companions in the coach. Greece is the southernmost country in the Balkan Peninsula.
Athens Airport - Globus/Monograms. Transfer. Meet the tour guide and my traveling companions.
Acropolis means high place. It was built during the 5th century B.C. There are several temples on the Acropolis.
The Parthenon is on the Acropolis. It was built between 447 and 432 B.C. and dedicated to Athena. It was completed under Pericles. The Parthenon was designed by the sculptor Phidias and housed his statue of Athena.
Rome conquered Greece in 146 B.C. The Parthenon became a Christian church, then a Muslim mosque. Venetians besieged the Parthenon in 1687, leaving it in ruins. Lord Elgin shipped the "Elgin Marbles" to England, where they are housed in the British Museum.
Greek architecture with its marble columns influenced public buildings in Europe and America. Marble statues are idealized. Not only are gods and goddesses perfect, but humans are given godlike form.
The Erechtheum is a temple on the Acropolis dedicated to Athena and Poseidon. There was a contest between the two to determine which one would be the patron deity of Athens. Each was asked to offer a gift. Poseidon offered water, which was salty and of no use. Athena offered the olive tree as a symbol of peace and prosperity. She won, and Athens was named after her.
The Erechtheum was named after Erechtheus, the legendary first king of Athens. The constellation Auriga the charioteer is associated with him.
Porch of the Maidens - 6 marble statues that serve as columns of the Erechtheum, They are called Caryatids and face the Parthenon.
The Temple of Athena Nike - This is the smallest temple on the Acropolis and portrays Athena as the goddess of victory. It was completed in 420 B.C. during the High Classical Period.
The Temple of Zeus was dedicated to Zeus, head of the Olympian gods.
The Theater of Dionysus was the birthplace of Greek drama and was dedicated to the god of ecstasy and wine. During the 5th century, the plays of tragedians Aeschylus, Euripides & Sophocles were performed there.
The Thesium is the best preserved Greek temple. It is older than the Parthenon and was dedicated to Athena and Hephaestus as patrons of the arts. Socrates taught here.
The Agora was the marketplace and the place where people assembled for politics.
The Panathenaic Stadium was built for the Panathenaic games. It is the only stadium in the world made entirely of marble. The first modern Olympic games were held here in 1896.
Corinth is a city-state on the Isthmus of Corinth. Paul wrote letters to them.
Corinth Canal - We crossed this waterway separating the Peloponnese from mainland Greece.
The Pelopponese peninsula looks like a hand with 3 fingers and a thumb. Olympia and Sparta are in the Pelopponese. Athens is not.
Mycenae was a bronze age city in the Peloponnese. Agamemnon was king of Mycenae and led the Greeks in the Trojan War according to Homer's Iliad. The Lion Gate is the entrance to Mycenae, named for the 2 lionesses.
Treasury of Atreus - Called the Tomb of Agamemnon. Atreus was the father of Agamemnon.
Agamemnon's Palace is an archaeological site at Mycenae 1350 B.C. to 1200 B.C.
Mycenae was the main Greek city when Homer wrote in 800 B.C. about the Trojan War in 1200 B.C. The Iliad and the Odyssey were already old during the classical Greece period 500-350 B.C. Troy was in modern Turkey on the other side of the Aegean. It was an early Greek town.
Heinrich Schliemann, a German archaeologist, discovered Troy in 1870, and Mycenae in 1876. He found what he believed to be the death mask of Agamemnon. Schliemann's wife Sophia was photographed wearing jewelry found by her husband.
Epidaurus is an open-air theater in the Peloponnese. It is still used.
Nauplia is a seaport town in the Peloponnese.
Olympia - We spent the afternoon at Olympia in the Peloponnese. Olympia was a Greek sanctuary dedicated to Zeus. Temples of Zeus and Hera are located here.
The statue of Hermes by Praxiteles - Hermes and the infant Dionysus were discovered in the Temple of Hera. They are displayed in the Archaeological Museum of Olympia.
The Arkadian Mountains are in the Peloponnese.
Delphi - The Oracle of Delphi
Delphi was an ancient sanctuary sacred to Apollo. It was home to the oracle which predicted the future. It is on Mt. Parnassus. The Charioteer is a 5th century B.C. statue in the Delphi Archeological Museum. The constellation Auriga is said to be the legendary ruler of Athens, Erichthonius (Erechtheum).
Mount Parnassus is a mountain in central Greece. In mythology, it was sacred to Apollo and the home of the Muses.
The seaport of Patras is a fishing village.
The sirtaki is the dance from Zorba the Greek.
Day 6 - Meteroa area - The Meteora is a rock formation with Eastern Orthodox monasteries. They are built on natural pillars: Varlaam Monastery & St. Stephens Monastery. Nuns inhabit St. Stephens.
Thermopylae & Marathon
Meteora area - Thermopylae - Athens
Thermopyae - Battle of Leonidas - 300 Spartans fought Xerxes' Persian army.
Lecture about Thebes, Sophocles, Oedipus Rex
Marathon - Athens and Persia were enemies. The Greeks won at Marathon but lost at Thermopylae. Sparta beat Athens in the Peloponnesian War.
Day 8 - Breakfast - Transfer - Airport. Monograms will help me get checked in and on the plane. Come home and write my paper. Put it on my site and post it.
Ancient Greece is the cradle of western civilization. Science, democracy, architecture, theater & philosophy have their roots here. The Greeks had science even though it was ignored during the Middle Ages.
1 Thales of Miletus was the first scientist. He predicted a solar eclipse.
2 Aristarchus knew the earth revolved around the sun and that the sun was the center of the solar system.
3 Eratosthenes measured the earth's circumference to a degree of accuracy.
4 Hipparchus divided stars into 6 magnitudes, a system still used. He discovered precession, the 26,000 year wobble of Earth's axis.
5 Pythagoras knew the earth was a sphere.
6 Anaxagoras knew the moon reflected sunlight.
7 Heracleides Ponticus knew Venus and Mercury orbited the sun because they stayed close to it.
8 Ptolomy (a Greek living in Egypt) codified the original 48 constellations.
The great tragedians were:
1 Aeschylus wrote Prometheus Bound
2 Sophecles wrote Antigone
3 Eurripides wrote The Medea
Plays were performed at the theater of Dionysus near the Acropolis.
The philosophers were Socrates, Plato & Aristotle.
Aristotle retarded science for 1400 years. He was wrong about everything, and his teachings inexplicably became Church dogma.
Ancient Greece had its religion, very different from the monotheism of Judaism and Christianity. Gods and goddesses ruled over special areas. There were 12 Olympians:
1 Zeus was the sky god and leader. He became the swan in the constellation Cygnus and the bull in Taurus to seduce women.
2 Hera was Zeus' wife. She resented his affairs and sent a crab (constellation Cancer) to attack Heracles, Zeus' illegitimate son. We know him by his Latin name, Hercules. Greeks thought the Milky Way was Hera's milk.
3 Poseidon was a brother of Zeus and ruled the sea. In the movie Ulysses, Kirk Douglas destroyed Poseidon's (Neptune's) statue. Poseidon cursed him, and that is why it took Ulysses 10 years to get home from the Trojan War.
4 Hades was a brother of Zeus and ruled the Underworld. Romans called him Pluto.
5 Athena was the goddess of wisdom. She sprang from Zeus' head. The olive tree was sacred to her.
6 Apollo was the god of the sun, music & prophecy. Greeks went to oracles to seek advice and to learn about the future. Apollo's oracle at Delphi was the most famous.
7 Artemis was a huntress and associated with the moon. She befriended Orion, which made her brother Apollo jealous. He sent a scorpion (constellation Scorpius) to sting Orion.
8 Demeter ruled the harvest. We see her in the sky as the constellation Virgo.
9 Aphrodite was the goddess of love and beauty. She was the wife of the crippled Hephaestus.
10 Hephaestus was a metalworker. He made armor for heroes. Romans called him Vulcan.
11 Hermes was the gods' messenger. He escorted the dead to Hades.
12 Ares was the god of war. Wonder Woman killed him in the 2017 movie.
Arachova, Athens, Delphi, Epidaurus, Mycenae, Nauplia, Olympia
We've seen photos of the Acropolis in Athens, dating back to the 5th century B.C. Now’s our chance to see it in person on this escorted by our guide. Now’s our chance to walk among the ruins of Olympia, where the Olympics began in 776 BC. Now's our chance to enjoy an authentic Greek cooking demonstration. All this and more await us on this Greek Escape. History comes alive on our guided visits to many of Greece's ancient sites. In addition to the Acropolis and Olympia, we'll also visit ruins in Mycenae, dating from 1,350 to 1,200 BC and described in Homer’s epic poem, “The Iliad.” We'll see the amazingly well-preserved, 2,300-year-old open-air theater in Epidaurus. Ancient Greeks traveled to Delphi to seek the wisdom of the Oracle. Tour the excavations and visit the Archaeological Museum. To add to our Greek experience, we will enjoy a Sirtaki dance lesson. We will be accompanied by an expert Tour Director who will bring this country to life by sharing its history and stories.
Day 1: ARRIVE IN ATHENS, GREECE.
Welcome to Athens! At 6 pm, meet your traveling companions for a drink with your Tour Director.
Day 2: ATHENS.
Sightseeing with a local guide features a visit to the ACROPOLIS, perched high on an outcrop overlooking the city. Here, see the Parthenon, the Erechtheum with its Porch of Maidens & the Temple of Athena Nike. Enjoy a view that includes the Temple of Zeus, Theater of Dionysus, the Agora, where Socrates taught, & the beautifully preserved Theseum. Later, there is a city tour featuring the Parliament House and a stop at the Panathenaic Stadium. Built in the 2nd century AD, this is the only stadium in the world built entirely of marble. It was host to the opening ceremonies of the first modern Olympics in 1896. The rest of the day is at leisure. Tonight is our chance to join a dinner trying the local fare. (B)
Day 3: ATHENS–CORINTH CANAL–MYCENAE–EPIDAURUS–NAUPLIA.
Stop at the Corinth Canal. Today's highlights include MYCENAE, where excavations reveal the splendors described by Homer. See the Beehive Tombs, known as the Treasury of Atreus, Lion Gate, Europe’s oldest known monument, the remains of Agamemnon’s Royal Palace, and the fortifications of the Citadel. Also visit the museum before we drive to EPIDAURUS for a tour of its well-preserved 2,300-year-old open-air theater. Stay overnight in Nauplia.
Day 4: NAUPLIA–OLYMPIA.
Take in the scenery through the Arkadian Mountains. Then, spend the afternoon in OLYMPIA, where ancient athletes competed. Learn the history of the original Olympic Games as we walk through the remains of the Gymnasium and the Temples of Zeus and Hera. Visit the MUSEUM that displays Praxiteles’ STATUE OF HERMES. Tonight, enjoy a cooking demonstration.
Day 5: OLYMPIA–DELPHI.
Journey to Delphi. The afternoon is devoted to a tour of Apollo's ancient sanctuary on the slopes of Mount Parnassus. End the day with a visit to the ARCHAEOLOGICAL MUSEUM. See the Charioteer, a 5th-century-BC bronze statue. This evening we will dance the sirtaki, made famous by the movie Zorba the Greek.
Day 6: DELPHI–ARACHOVA–ATHENS.
Leave Delphi this morning and head back to Athens stopping en-route in the town of Arachova located on the slopes of Mount Parnassus. Panoramic views! Stroll around the town and admire the architecture before arriving in Athens with time to do some last-minute exploring. Tonight is my chance to savor Greek delicacies with an optional dinner at a local restaurant.
Day 7: ATHENS.
My trip ends with breakfast this morning.