Day 91 of 111. Epidaurus, Greece
This is a city with an ancient amphitheater whose importance was based on the god, Asklepios, son of Apollo who had the power to heal. People would come to his temple, have a good bath, a good meal, relax with entertainment in the theater (smaller back then) and then be visited by Asklepios in their dreams where the healing would occur. Through the years, many healing techniques were developed, so this was a development area for medicine.
The city is still an archeological site for the Asklepios Temple (Asklepios is shown with a serpent). There is a small museum with ancient medical instruments and a very well-preserved Corinthian column capital.
In modern times, the theater is famous for its great acoustics. The seats are made of local stone, but some of the seats were actually made with backs. These must have been for the more important viewers. The huge circle is called the orchestra from the Greek word for the area where the chorus danced. The raised area behind the orchestra circle was called the “scene”. These terms are still used in modern theater. There is a small disk in the orchestra circle that is the focus of the theater. From that point, the voice of the speaker can be heard throughout the theater without any amplification. Our guide demonstrated and it was an impressive difference from the disk to only a few feet outside of the disk. We saw another tour group demonstrate the acoustics by forming a large circle and clapping and stepping closer and closer to the disk and clapping. This theater is still in use and has had many famous performers such as the opera singers, Maria Callas and Placido Domingo.
Day 91 of 111. Nafplion, Greece
This port has a shallow bay, so the ship had to anchor offshore and we traveled to the shore via “tenders,” the lifeboats on the ship. The sea was very calm, so the ride was very pleasant. From the top of the hill above the city, we could see our ship in the bay.
After our tour, we stopped at a restaurant and had some local food. The dessert was especially good, thick creamy Greek yogurt with fruit, honey, and cinnamon. This was simple and delicious. Next to my seat was a poster for the local cinema advertising Beauty and the Beast, written in Greek. Pretty interesting.
Day 90 of 111. The Treasury of Atreus, Greece
This is one of the best-preserved examples of a “beehive tomb” and dates back from 1300 to 1200 BC. The tomb is reputed to be “Agememnom’s Tomb” but there is no evidence to support that claim. The tomb consists of two rooms: the “beehive” shaped room and a much smaller burial room. Our guide told us that during a burial the larger room is where the family has the farewell dinner for the deceased. The small room is where the body is buried. The tomb is used for a family, so more than one body ends up in the burial room. Generally the entire tomb is buried and appears from the outside as a simple hillock on the landscape.
Day 90 of 111. Mycenae, Greece
Here we are at another Acropolis, this time in Mycenae. This site is especially significant because of the scholar/historian, Schliemann , a German, who studied Ancient Greece and self-funded an archeological exploration that found this ancient city of Mycenae that dates back to 1300 B.C. The most exciting early find was a lot of gold artifacts from the royal burial chambers (the round structure in the ground). There were masks and cups and round coin-like objects used as decorations on clothing. These are on display in the National Archeological Museum in Athens. A mask similar to the mask shown was thought, at first, to be the Mask of Agamemnon, but it was found to be the wrong age by several hundred years.
The oldest figurative symbol of anyone is the triangular carving of two lions over what is called, Lions Gate. The lions have no heads because the heads were probably made of a different material that did not survive. Again, there were quite a few steps to climb, but the views were spectacular. Below these 1300 B.C. ruins, there are prehistoric structures that date back several more thousand years!
Day 90 of 111. Ancient Corinth, Greece
Ancient Corinth is an example of an ancient Roman city built during the Roman occupation of Greece. The Temple of Apollo was a fortunate survivor (many Greek buildings and temples were destroyed by the Romans) because the Romans admired/honored Apollo as one of their own gods. Corinth was one of the places where the Apostle Paul visited in Greece. The Bema is the platform where Paul was judged as to whether his teachings were subversive. He was found innocent, but did leave Corinth. His two letters to the Corinthians are an important part of the New Testament. There were two fountains on this ancient site (which is also an active archeological site). Each has an interesting story. This one, the Peirene Fountain has two mythological stories. One origin of the fountain is by the hoof marks of Pegasus, the flying horse. The other myth involves the accidental death of the son of Peirene by the goddess Diana when she was out hunting. The mother was so distraught that she could not stop crying, so Diana turned her into a fountain.
I found it fascinating to think that these roads were built thousands of years ago. I took a picture of my “modern” feet on this ancient road. The museum on the site had a nice collection of figural art as well as columns to see.