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Meteora 4 Days
Starting from Athens, we drive westwards along the scenic coast, until we reach the Corinth canal with its breathtaking views (short stop). The Corinth Canal is a junction of international sea transport and serves ships coming from the western Mediterranean and Adriatic en route to eastern Mediterranean and black sea ports and vice-versa. Continue along the coastal road of the Saronic Gulf to Epidaurus (Visit). On the headland called “Nesi” at Palaia Epidaurus, the theatre of the ancient city is quite well-preserved, in the shape it acquired during the later years of its function. Apart from a few rows of seats, the cavea is made of limestone with poros staircases. The theater is marveled for its exceptional acoustics, which permit almost perfect intelligibility of unamplified spoken word from the proscenium or scene to all 12,000 spectators, regardless of their seating.
Then depart for Nafplio, 1st capital of Greece in 1829 (short stop), and next drive to Mycenae (Visit). “Mycenae ‘Rich in Gold’, the kingdom of mythical Agamemnon, first sung by Homer in his epics, is the most important and richest palatial centre of the Late Bronze Age in Greece. Its name was given to one of the greatest civilizations of Greek prehistory, the Mycenaean civilization.” In the afternoon depart for Olympia – Dinner & Overnight in Olympia.
Olympia, the most celebrated sanctuary of ancient Greece, Dedicated to Zeus, the father of the gods, sprawls over the southwest foot of Mount Kronios, at the confluence of the Alpheios and the Kladeos rivers, in a lush, green landscape. Although secluded near the west coast of the Peloponnese, Olympia became the most important religious and athletic centre in Greece. Its fame rests upon the Olympic Games, the greatest national festival and a highly prestigious one world-wide, which was held every four years to honor Zeus. Visit the Archaeological Site & the Museum and then drive via Patras to Rion, across the channel to Antirrion on the state of the art new suspended bridge considered to be the longest and most modern in Europe. Arrive in Nafpaktos then continue to Delphi – Dinner & Overnight in Delphi.
Situated at the foot of Mount Parnassus, within the angle formed by the twin rocks of the Phaedriades, lies the Pan-Hellenic sanctuary of Delphi, which had the most famous oracle of ancient Greece. Delphi was regarded as the centre of the world. 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. The sanctuary of Delphi, set within a most spectacular landscape, was for many centuries the cultural and religious centre, a symbol of unity for the Hellenic world, and home to the Pythian Games, the second most important games in Greece after the Olympics, which were held every four years.
We will vist the archaeological site and the Museum where one can see, among other archeological treasures, the unique bronze statue of the Charioteer dedicated to Apollo by Polyzalos, the tyrant of Gela, in 478 B.C. when he won the chariot-race at the Pythian Games. This incomparable statue is a representative example of the ”severe” Attic style, certainly the work of a major artist.
After visits depart for Kalambaka through Amphissa – Lamia & Trikala – Dinner & Overnight in Kalambaka.
Today we will see one of the most amazing places in Greece – Meteora.
Meaning “suspended in air,” the name Meteora soon came to encompass the entire rock community of 24 monasteries, the biggest and most important group of monasteries in Greece after those in Mount Athos. There were no steps and the main access to the monasteries was by means of a net that was hitched over a hook and hoisted up by rope and a hand cranked windlass to winch towers overhanging the chasm. Monks descended in the nets or on retractable wooden ladders, up to 40m long, to the fertile valleys below to grow grapes, corn and potatoes. Each community developed its own resources and by the end of the 14th century, the Grand Meteoron emerged as the dominant community.
The rock monasteries have been characterized by UNESCO as a unique phenomenon of cultural heritage.
After the visits, we start the drive back to Athens, passing through Thermopylae (photo stop) and Kamena Vourla.