In the footsteps of Pausanias
An exciting trip back in time following the footsteps of Pausanias
Pausanias, a Greek traveler and geographer of the 2nd century AD, is famous for his Description of Greece, an invaluable work that describes ancient Greece from personal observation and experience and consists of ten books, each dedicated to some portion of Greece. His project is not just a topographical one but a real cultural geography as well.
The reputed anthropologist and classical scholar Sir James Frazer said of Pausanias: “Without him the ruins of Greece would for the most part be a labyrinth without a clue, a riddle without an answer”
Join us to share an exciting trip back in time following the footsteps of Pausanias…
Acropolis of Athens - Propylaea - Temple of Athena Nike - Parthenon - Erechtheion
“…There is but one entry to the Acropolis. It affords no other, being precipitous throughout and having a strong wall. The gateway has a roof of white marble, and down to the present day it is unrivalled for the beauty and size of its stones…”
“…On the right of the gateway is a temple of Wingless Victory. From this point the sea is visible. The Athenians think that Victory, having no wings, will always remain where she is…”
“…As you enter the temple that they name the Parthenon, all the sculptures you see on what is called the pediment refer to the birth of Athena, those on the rear pediment represent the contest for the land between Athena and Poseidon…”
“…There is also a building called the Erechtheion. Before the entrance is an altar of Zeus the Most High…”
“…Both the city and the whole of the land are alike sacred to Athena; for even those who in their parishes have an established worship of other gods nevertheless hold Athena in honor. But the most holy symbol, that was so considered by all many years before the unification of the parishes, is the image of Athena which is on what is now called the Acropolis, but in early days the Polis (City). A legend concerning it says that if fell from heaven…” Pausanias “Description of Greece” Book 1, Attica
Delphi. The oracle worked its magic up here on the mount Parnassus.
At the foot of Mount Parnassus lies the Pan-Hellenic sanctuary of Delphi, which had the most famous oracle of ancient Greece.
According to mythology, it is here that the two eagles sent out by Zeus from the ends of the universe to find the navel of the world met. “…
What is called the Omphalus (Navel) by the Delphians is made of white marble, and is said by the Delphians to be the center of all the earth. Pindar in one of his odes supports their view….” Pausanias, Book 10, Delphi
The sanctuary of Delphi, set within a most spectacular landscape, was for many centuries the cultural and religious center and symbol of unity for the Hellenic world.
The temple of Apollo, the treasuries of Athenians and Siphnians, the ancient theatre, the Tholos of Athena Pronaia, the Sacred Way and the Castalian Fountain are some of the most important and priceless monuments the visitor can enjoy walking through the impressive ruins of this great archaeological site.
Epidaurus - Asklepieion. A holistic cure high quality medical center.
Asklepieion -considered to be the birthplace of medicine– was one of the most extensive sacred sanctuaries and celebrated healing centers of the Classical world. It was an impressive complex of buildings –temples, athletic facilities, the theater, baths, a guest house for 160 guests, stoas, gymnasia, stadium, tholos etc.
The beauty and the tranquility of the landscape, the abundant waters, the way the building had been constructed and arranged, played an important role in the psychology of the patients, who received high-quality medical services.
Many surgical tools that can be seen in the Epidaurus Archaeological Museum prove that the Asclepieion was a high level medical center.
Epidaurus. The theatre. An ancient Greek acoustic miracle.
Architectural perfection, complete harmonization with the natural environment and perfect acoustics -which allow excellent intelligibility of unamplified spoken words from the skênê to all 15,000 spectators- are the unique characteristics of the Epidaurus Theater, the best preserved ancient theater in Greece.
According to Pausanias, the theater of Epidaurus was built in 340 BC by an Argos architect Polykleitos the Younger and is situated within the archaeological site of the Sanctuary of Asklepios.
Until the third century AD, it hosted music, song and drama competitions and performances during the Asklepian games which took place every four years in spring.
Today, the Athens and Epidaurus Festival at the theater in Epidaurus offers memorable performances from late June through August. Do not miss the experience…
Mycenae, the kingdom of mythical Agamemnon, and Tiryns
If only the ruins could speak and narrate the human dramas that have taken place inside the walls of the ancient citadel of Mycenae more than three thousand years ago… The myths related to its history have inspired poets and writers over many centuries, from the Homeric epics and the great tragedies of the Classical period to contemporary literary and artistic creation.
Mycenae and Tiryns, two great archaeological sites, in the north-eastern Peloponnese are the impressive ruins of the two greatest cities of the Mycenaean civilization, which dominated the eastern Mediterranean world from the 15th to the 12th century B.C. and played a major role in the development of classical Greek culture.
Mycenae, ‘Rich in Gold’, the kingdom of mythical Agamemnon, first sung by Homer in his epics, is the most important and richest palatial center of the Late Bronze Age in Greece.
Most of the monuments visible today were erected between 1350 and 1200 BC, when the site was at its peak. Palatial complexes, imposing Cyclopean masonry, the famous “Tomb of Agamemnon” (also known as the “Treasury of Atreus”), huge arches and fountains comprise one of the greatest architectural complexes known to the ancient world.
Ancient Olympia. Home of the Original Olympic Games.
In western Peloponnese, in the beautiful and serene valley of the Alpheios river, the so-called “the valley of the Gods” lies the most celebrated sanctuary of ancient Greece dedicated to Zeus, the father of the gods. Known for having been the birthplace of the most important athletic event of all times; the Olympic Games, Olympia today is one of the most popular destinations in Greece.
The archaeological site of Olympia includes the sanctuary of Zeus, the earlier temple of Hera, the ancient Stadium, the Prytaneion, the workshop of Phidias and many other buildings, such as athletic premises used for the preparation and celebration of the Olympic Games, administrative buildings and monuments.
“..There is at Olympia a treasury called the treasury of the Sicyonians, dedicated by Myron, who was tyrant of Sicyon. Myron built it to commemorate a victory in the chariot-race at the thirty-third Festival. In the treasury he made two chambers, one Dorian and one in the Ionic style. I saw that they were made of bronze….” Pausanias, Book 6, Elis
Ancient Messene. The less well known diamond of the Peloponnese.
Messene, a very significant city in antiquity named after a mythical queen and local deity, daughter of Triopas, the king of Argos, was established ca 370 BC.
It was the 2nd largest state of Peloponnese and the capital and cultural center of Messinia.
The site, which is one of the best preserved in Greece, includes a theatre -one of the biggest in antiquity- and the Arsinoe fountain house, an agora surrounded by stoas, which covers an area of about 40 acres with Temples of Zeus and Poseidon and the sanctuaries of Demetra and Dioskouroi, an Asclepieion, a stadium and a gymnasium, a funerary monument, public buildings, houses, the monumental fortifications of the city etc. It also includes an early Byzantine Vasilika.