Excursions

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HALF DAY TOUR OF MYCENAE

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Mycenae was founded between two tall hills on a low plateau dominating the Argos plain and controlling both the land and sea routes. Mycenae is the kingdom of mythical Agamemnon is the most important and richest palatial center of the Late Bronze Age in Greece.

Most of the monuments in the archeological site visible today were erected in the Late Bronze Age, between 1350 and 1200 BC, when the site was at its peak. This social structure in the early Mycenaean period, c. 1600 BC, produced palace central building and a funerary stone built enclosures in two Grave circles (called Grave Circle A & B). The finds from these monuments show that the powerful Mycenaean rulers participated in a complex network of commercial exchange with other parts of the Mediterranean.
The highlights of the Mycenae archeological site are the following:

  • The hugely constructed fortifications called Cyclopean walls with the magnificent Gate of the Lions
  • The famous vaulted tombs of Atreus also known as 'Treasure of Atreus' with its gigantic lintels and tall beehive vault and Clytemnestra’s tomb
  •  The Mycenae Archeological Museum Telephone +30 27510 76585, Open from 08:00 to 20:00, Tickets from: 12 euros
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HALF DAY TOUR ANCIENT CORINTH (KORINTHOS) AND AKROKORINTHOS

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The site of ancient Corinth was first inhabited in the Neolithic period (6500-3250 B.C.). It is located at the northern base of the hill of Acrocorinth, its fertile soil but mainly its strategic location offered the region from very early on enormous potential for communication, growth and prosperity.

The city favored intense expansion in trade activities mainly towards the Western Mediterranean, with an important role and contribution in the history of the ancient Mediterranean world.

The economic prosperity of the city reached its apogee in the 7th– 6th centuries BC, however, from the end of the 6th century BC, the rise of Athens and its dominance in Mediterranean trade gradually eclipsed the influence of the Corinthians, particularly after the Persian Wars (490-479 BC) where the city was forced to yield to the primacy of the Athenians. In 337 BC The city succumbed to King Philip the Second of Macedonia.

Later in 144 BC the city was crushed by the Roman legions, military  defeat was followed by the complete destruction and devastation.

About one hundred years later in 44 BC Julius Caesar decides to refound Corinth as a Roman colony. Very rapidly the population of the city grew significantly as agriculture and trade developed again.

About the middle of the 1st century AD when the Apostle Paul visited, Corinth was already an important Roman city in the Empire, a miniature of the capital that constituted a point of reference in the thought and the journey of Romans towards the East.

In 1204 the city was seized by the Franks and later, after the fall of Constantinople in 1453, by the Ottomans, for a short period the city remained under Venetian occupation, soon replaced by the Ottomans, until the liberation of Greece in 1830.

Corinth Archeological Museum, Telephone:+30 27410 31207, Open from 08.00 to 20.00 except Tuesdays, Tickets from 8 euros

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Akrokorinthos is located 3.5 km south of Ancient Korinthos, at the peak of a 575 m high hill, has always been the fortified acropolis of Korinthos. It is the oldest, largest and most impressive castle in the Peloponnese, whose walls were built during the middle Ages. It is worth seeing the ruins at the temple of Aphrodite, and the relics of the Christian Churches and the Turkish buildings, on the peak of the hill.

In addition to its archaeological significance, Akrokorinthos is a rich botanical garden with numerous indigenous Greek wild flowers and belongs to the “Natura 2000” European Union habitat network.

HALF DAY TOUR EPIDAURUS ASKLIPIEION ANCIENT THEATRE

In the peaceful hinterland of Epidaurus, with its mild climate and abundant mineral springs, is the sanctuary of the god-physician Asclepios, the most famous healing center of the Greek and Roman world. The sanctuary belonged to the small coastal town of Epidaurus, but its fame and recognition quickly spread beyond the limits of the Argolis. It is considered the birthplace of medicine and is thought to have had more than two hundred dependent spas in the eastern Mediterranean.

The area was devoted to the cult of healing deities since Prehistory. The worship of Asclepios, the sanctuary's main healing god, traditionally considered as the indigenous son of Apollo, was established in the sixth century BC. Asclepios, protector of human health and personal happiness, was a very popular deity with an ever-increasing number of worshippers.

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Several important buildings were erected in both the mountain and plain sanctuaries during this period. The Asklepion complex of buildings suffered from the raids of Cilician pirates in the first century BC, but flourished again in Imperial times and particularly in the second half of the second century AD, when the Roman consul Antonine financed the refurbishment of old buildings.

The monuments found in Epidaurus are true masterpieces of ancient Greek art, are a precious testimony to the practice of medicine in antiquity. Indeed they illustrate the development of medicine from the time when healing depended solely on the god until systematic description of cases and the gradual accumulation of knowledge and experience turned it into a science.

The Asklepion of Epidaurus was first investigated by the French Scientific Expedition of the Peloponnese in 1829.

Epidaurus Archeological Museum: Telephone: +30 27530 22009, Open from 08:00 to 20:00, Tickets from: 12 euros

EPIDAURUS ANCIENT THEATRE

The theater of the Asklepion of Epidaurus was built on the west side of Mount Kinortio, at the end of the Classical era, around 340-330 BC, as part of the general reconstruction of the sanctuary and was used at least until the 3rd c. A.D. This unique monument was the most perfect and famous ancient Greek Theater, which combines elegance with perfect acoustics.

The theatre was built to house the musical, vocal and dramatic festival of the Asklepion. There were also performances of Greek dramas, which were included in the cult of Asclepius. In the middle of the 2nd c. BC, its capacity was expanded from about 8,000 spectators to 14,000 spectators.

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The harmony of this theater is due to its unique design based on a regular pentagon.

The monument was brought to light by excavations in the years 1881-1883.

Since 1954, ancient drama performances have been taking place in their natural space every summer.