Athens, Delphi, Hosios Loukas, Cape Sounion: the Wonders of the Continental Greece
Mainland Greece Athens, Delphi, Assios Loukas (monastery), Cape Sounion Covering an area of 132,000 square km for 11 million inhabitants, Greece comprises three geographical units. To the north, mainland Greece with Athens and Delphi. To the south, separated by the Gulf of Corinth, the Peloponnese peninsula with the cities of Epidaurus and Mycenae, and of course the islands which represent, one-fifth of the area total of the country. After Cycladic civilizations and Crete, concentrated in the islands, it is the Mycenaean civilization which flourished from the 16th to the 12th century, BC on the continent. And then the invasions that resulted to the destruction of this civilization, marked the beginning of the period of ancient Greece, whose classic golden age is between the sixth and third centuries BC.
with Athens as its flagship city. Then it's the Romans and the Ottomans who took possession of the country, and modeled on their culture. After its independence in the 19th century. Greece then became a region of the world prized by cultural tourism, but also seaside thanks to its Mediterranean climate. Today Athens is the capital and the largest city in the country, with 750,000 or more inhabitants of 3 million with its periphery. It is the political, economic heart and culture of the Hellenic Republic, most of which it hosts institutions like Parliament, the Supreme Court and the seat of government.
But Athens is also one of the oldest cities in the world, founded around 800 BCE, the merger of several villages around the protected site of the Acropolis. The Acropolis is a rocky plateau about 148 meters high, whose flat top measures 300 meters from east to west, and 85 meters from north to south. It is only accessible by band steep on the west side.
Remnants of occupation have been finds dating from the Bronze Age. Then, in the 13th century BC, it acts as a fortress, where the king lives and she is then surrounded mighty cyclopean walls. After the fall of the Mycenaean civilization, and during the archaic period of antiquity, all the old fortifications, buildings and statues, are destroyed during the occupation of Athens by the Persians. Then completely rebuilt at the time classical, in the 5th century BC, the acropolis then ceases to be a fortress to become a sanctuary, home to several monuments and temples. Registered Today a UNESCO World Heritage Site, it is one of the tourist spots the most visited in the world.
Majestic on the Acropolis. The Parthenon is the symbol of Greek antiquity. The 70 meter long building 31 meters wide, was built entirely of marble. It has been considered since antiquity as a perfect representation, of Doric style architecture. The capitals of the 46 columns more than ten meters are stripped, and the plans follow a direction strict proportions. If the work of the hundred sculptors is now bleached under the sun, you should know that the sculptures were painted in various colors, and raised in places of gilded bronze elements.
On the pediment or on the entablature placed on the colonnade, the episodes represented were as much of myth than of history and politics. And the story of Athena, the daughter of Zeus, was of course in the spotlight. She was the protective goddess of the city and the Parthenon his home. In this sense, the building was more than a temple, it was a treasure served as a tribute to us. The Erechtheion was the real temple where the goddess was worshipped.
Built shortly after the Parthenon, it replaced an old temple in which was enthroned, his sacred statue in olive wood. Worship ceremonies were taking place, as for them, on an altar in the open air. So later, here, the baroque succeeds the classicism, and simplicity gives way to refinement. It is the triumph of the Ionic style.
Stuck to the temple, south side, there is the famous portico of the caryatids, where 6 statues of draped young girls, serve as columns supporting the entablature. The construction of this gate is a revolution at the time, of using women, even if the splines of the columns, are evoked by the folds sober of their peplos. Of a rare postural elegance, each supports a capital which looks like a trash can. Hairstyles made of braids and loops are all different, and overcome very noble faces. It is the last monument erected on the Acropolis, before the end of the 5th century before Jesus Christ, and it is renowned for its architecture both elegant and unusual. We leave the Acropolis on the same way we came.
The sacred way that crosses the whole site and which passes through the Propylaea, which are the monuments constituting the entrance to the sacred hill. On the slope of the Acropolis is the most important to the theaters of Ancient Greece. The Theater of Dionysus, the god of wine. The great festivals of the Dionysia were held there every year in his honor. It was initially about songs, dances and ritual sacrifices, taking the form of theatrical performances.
Its construction dates back to the 5th century before Jesus Christ and at the beginning, it just featured an orchestra hemispherical in clay, in front of a wooden stage. Spectators taking their seats on the natural slope of the place. The stone construction that can be admire, was built 100 years later. The first row of seats was composed 67 marble seats with backrests, reserved for various dignitaries, magistrates, persons of distinction, or contest judges. Then, going up, the theater had 78 rows of seats, and offered places for 17,000 spectators. The Great Dionysias took place in front of the statue of God, under the presidency of a high priest, in the spring of each year, During these festivities, all the activities of the city stopped, and the citizens were all invited to collaborate in the event, which strengthens social cohesion.
Moreover, even prisoners, were temporarily released to participate in the celebrations. This event also attracted a considerable number of foreigners, traders and allies of the city of Athens. It is for these occasions that were created the famous classical tragedies, of Aeschylus, Sophocles or Euripides, who made this building the cradle of ancient Greek theater and tragedy, that we still teach today in schools around the world. From the third century BC. the decline of military power Greece in the face of pirates of all kinds, led the Romans to conquer the country and to include it in the Roman Empire. For five centuries, local life continued much as before, and it was Greek culture that influenced largely Roman culture, which we will call Greco-Roman culture.
The theater of Herod Atticus, high Roman dignity, and wealthy friend of the Emperor, is a remnant of that time. It was built on the slope of the Acropolis in the year 161. From the beginning the main function, was to be the place of representation plays and musical works. Its excellent acoustic capabilities in made an exceptional performance venue. The building was rather small and could accommodate 5,000 spectators, while the population of this city had a population of 300,000.
The Odeon of Herodes Atticus has been restored, and the concentric rows of bleachers were restored in the 1950s. There are various shows of opera and dance performance tragedies, including the Athens International Festival, which takes place every year from May to September. At the foot of the Sacred Mound, a new museum was created in 2009 to shelter objects, from monuments and excavations on the Acropolis. Built on stilts, the museum preserves and includes an archaeological site, uncovered during its construction.
The distribution of the pillars was dictated depending on the location of the remains. Covering an area of 25,000 square meters, ten times more than the old museum, it can thus expose many objects which, until then, were stored in reserves. In particular, there are the originals of Caryatids that have been replaced on site, by copies. The goal is to protect all these masterpieces which degrade in the open air, because of the chemical phenomena due to the pollution of the city that eats away at the stone. Four of the caryatids are therefore original. The fifth is a cast.
As for the sixth, it is in London, at the British Museum. There is also the great frieze of the Parthenon which represents, the great procession offered by the city in honor of the goddess Athena, which took place every four years. That day, a procession was advancing to the temple of Athena, the Erechtheion, in order to deliver offerings at the foot of the statue of the goddess. The frieze that recounts this event consisted of 115 blocks, and it had a length total of 160 meters, totally encircling the Parthenon.
50 meters from all surviving frieze today are here, at the Acropolis Museum, 80 meters to the British Museum, a block at the Louvre, while other fragments are scattered in various European museums. But in Athens, the vestiges of Greece ancient don't stop at the acropolis. Scattered throughout the city, remnants of this golden age arise in the midst of modernity, as clues to decipher to trace its history. At the foot of the Acropolis, the agora, was the gathering place and the city market.
It was also the place where found the political buildings, like democratic institutions and various religious buildings, or courts. Little by little, during the long Byzantine period, which followed the Roman period and when the city shrinks, following the barbarian invasions, the agora became a simple district popular in the small town, which had become Athens. Much later in the 19th century, the houses built on the remains of this place, were gradually redeemed and shaved, and the ancient site, cleared. Among the remains, a statue of Hadrian, shows the overlap between the Greek world and the Roman Empire, between the second century BC and the fifth century. On the breastplate of the emperor, Athena, the patron goddess of Athens, is standing above the wolf, symbol of Rome. This means that Rome supports Greece, but also that culture Greece dominates Rome.
This reminds us that Rome, after having conquered and brutalized the Greeks, was fascinated by Hellenistic culture from the reigns of Julius Caesar, of Augustus or Hadrian, which greatly enlarged the city. But back to the golden age of ancient Greece. On the agora is the temple of Hephaestus, the god of fire and brother of Athena, dating like the parthenon of the fifth century BC.
This temple is the ancient monument the best preserved in Athens. Here too, the Doric columns are slightly potbellied, in order to give the temple a silhouette slender for those looking up. Inaugurated in -415, it is entirely made of marble, and also respects the proportions due to the golden ratio. The friezes evoke the fight and the victory of Theseus, the founding mythical character of Athens against the Centaurs, half-man, half-horse creature.
All around the temple, plants sacred such as pomegranates, myrtles and laurels were planted to create a beautiful harmony. Apart from the Romans, the Christians have since the first century, significantly changed the country. It was the slow but inexorable passage, from polytheism to monotheism. Located near the southern entrance of the Agora, the Church of the Holy Apostles, was the first great church in Athens, even if today she looks more like to a small neighborhood church.
It was built at the end of the 10th century on the site of an ancient Greek temple, to cover the need parish crescent, in an ever-changing city. It contains a number 17th century frescoes. The original plan of the church is that of a cross, with its altar and marble floor. In the eastern part of the Agora, the Stoa of Attalus is a portico, which hosted in antiquity forty shops. It was a shopping center which has been rebuilt identically, in the 1950s, which now houses the museum of the Agora of Athens. Among the treasures present, a beautiful statue of Aphrodite, the goddess of love, beauty and sexuality, in a magnificent draped effect.
And two statues, one of which represents the Odyssey, this masterpiece of literature written in the 7th century BC, by Homer, who traces the adventures of Odysseus. And the other, the Iliad, which evokes the Troy war with Achilles as hero. These statues represent the two poems founders of all European culture.
On Monastiraki square, a mosque reminds that Greece was also part of the Ottoman Empire. It is in this neighborhood that stands today the city's flea market. On the square, the Pantanassa church is the only vestige of a monastery, from the 10th century, now extinct. Just behind the old mosque, Hadrian's library had been created by the Roman Emperor in the year 132. It would have contained more of 20,000 rolls of papyrus.
After the destruction of the city by the Visigoths, people who came from Ukraine in the 3rd century and in Byzantine times, three churches were then built on the site. Ermou Street is a long thoroughfare several kilometers, which joins the archaeological center downtown. Its pedestrian zone is the commercial part the liveliest and best known. With its high-end fashion boutiques and its shopping centers, she's in the top ten of the streets most expensive traders in the world. In a small square, halfway there is a small Byzantine church, probably built around the year 1050. As was often the case with the first Christian churches, it was built on an ancient Greek pagan temple, dedicated to the worship of a goddess, certainly Athena or Demeter.
The walk continues sinking in the alleys of Plaka. It's the old quarter Athens history, grouped around the slopes northeast of the Acropolis. It developed around ruins of the ancient Agora, in an area continuously inhabited since antiquity. During the Ottoman rule, Plaka was known as the Turkish quarter of Athens. In a maze of little streets, the houses are painted, in pastel or brighter shades. It's today a very touristic area, where there are restaurants and souvenir shops.
Adjoining the old quarter, the so-called Roman agora was started by Emperor Augustus, at the end of the pre-Christian era. This agora complemented the first, then very crowded. It was a big place 111 meters by 98, surrounded by four colonnaded porticoes. On the east side stands the Tower of the Winds. This octagonal tower was a clock monumental hydraulics, which operated on the principle of a steady flow of water over time. It is remarkable for the figures in high relief of the deities of the winds, that adorn each of its eight sides.
In addition, each of the faces of the monument, is exposed to the sun at a time precise of the day. The large central rectangular space was surrounded by shops, and included public latrines. The west entrance has kept its monumental door, materialized by this Doric colonnade, surmounted by a pediment.
It was Athena's door. During the Ottoman period, the Roman agora was covered by houses, which were not demolished until the 19th century, time when the place was brought to light. Overlooking the Agora, the hill of the Pnyx was the seat of the citizens' assembly, who voted there by a show of hands the laws and the budget, or designated the magistrates. The place was quieter than the agora and conducive to various discussions.
After Caesar and Augustus, he is the emperor Hadrian who worked the most, for the city during the Roman period. Several monuments attest even today of this involvement. First this bow which was raised in his honor, after he came to Athens in 131. It marked the entrance of the new Athens wanted by the emperor.
It was a small triumphal arch in Roman style, surmounted by a light superstructure Corinthian columns, and a pediment in the Hellenistic style. The monument is 18 meters high for 12.50 meters wide. A little further on is the Olympiaion, the temple of Zeus. Its construction, which had begun in the sixth century BC, was completed by Hadrian in the year 131.
Its sponsors wanted to make it the largest temple in the world. But from this 108 meter marble temple in length and which possessed, 104 columns 17 meters high, only 15 columns remain today still supporting some architraves. The capitals are Corinthian, sculpted with plants. Hadrian dedicated the temple to Zeus, the supreme god of Greek mythology.
He was the god of the air, blue sky and meteorological phenomena, the guarantor of the laws of the world who, to the extent that, became the god of gods. Place Omonia or Place de la Concorde, is one of the main squares in Athens. This is the old city center rebuilt in the 1970s, and now badly enough famous at night. Not far away, the Library national of Greece, is a 19th century marble building white that evokes a Doric temple. That's what we call neoclassical architecture. This library contains centuries to know and does not contain less, of 500,000 volumes and 3,000 manuscripts.
It was funded by a member of the wealthy family, Vallianos, whose statue sits at the entrance. Founded on May 3, 1837, the University of Athens, is the oldest university from the eastern Mediterranean. Today is the second more important, but the most prestigious in Greece, with over 50,000 students.
On the square, a statue by Ioannis Kapodistrias, the governor of the young greek republic, liberated from the Ottoman Empire in 1830. Behind the portico of the facade which is reminiscent of an ancient temple, a fresco depicts many illustrious figures of Greek antiquity, but also the allegories of the disciplines taught at university, like medicine and theology, in astronomy and physics. Like the library and the university, the illustrious Academy of Athens perfectly the wave of neoclassicism, who swept the capital Greek in the 19th century. Here, it is the domain of science, humanities and fine arts. The birth of Athena figure on the pediment. On the left, a statue of Plato, ancient philosopher, is flanked by a statue of Athena perched on top of an Ionic column.
As patroness of the city, but also as the goddess of wisdom, and knowledge, Athena obviously has its place here. On the right is Apollo, the god of musicians, which overlooks Socrates, another ancient philosopher. Here too, the Corinthian columns and the marble dominate as a master of classicism. And inside, the frescoes recall to all the unifying mythology, of the Greek nation. After gaining independence in the 19th century, the country has been rebuilt.
Athens, which had become a small town, razed its old quarters, and opened wide avenues lined with modern buildings. Turning its back on the Ottomans, it has become deeply Europeanized as a just return of things. Kolonaki, the small column, is a wealthy neighborhood in the center of Athens, by its proximity to government buildings, like parliament and the presidential palace.
Here we find Syntagma Square, instead of the Constitution. Here abound the luxury stores, haute couture, jewelry, as well as restaurants and trendy cafes. She is the symbol of Greece independent and modern. In the center stands a marble fountain.
She is a meeting point essential for the Greek people, who likes to meet there for demonstrations. It's kind of the modern agora of the capital. But Greece does not confine itself not in Athens, its capital. From the beginning of its history, the cities predominated and waged war, to establish their superiority on top of each other. In the eighth century BC, in the mountains of the northern Gulf of Corinth, Delphi was one of the great sanctuaries of ancient Greece, dedicated to the god Apollo. On the slopes of Mount Parnassus, the ancient Greeks of all cities came there to consult the Pythia, who was the priestess who made oracles supposed to be the answers, of the god Apollo to the questions that we came to ask him.
The sanctuary contains a large number of buildings, including a tholos, which is a building of circular plan for funeral or religious purposes. It is a rare and atypical building by its particular architecture. Originally 20 Doric columns supported the entablature, and the conical roof decorated with tiles. The Tholos is considered the most beautiful monument of Delphi, but it is also the most mysterious. Its origin and destination are still unknown today. An earthquake in 373 BC, caused a landslide, which damaged part of the site, but the disaster was fortunately quite limited.
The activity of the sanctuary of Delphi extended over the entire classical period, of Greek antiquity and even during Roman times, that is over 1000 years. On the sacred way, a Roman agora was built in the 4th century BC. Provided with a portico housing shops, this arrangement was part of a larger whole, also including baths and houses. Today the colonnade of the portico has been partially relieved, and you can see in the background the spaces that housed the shops. The use of brick is typical Roman buildings.
On a vault of the Temple of Apollo as it was at the time. You can see at his feet the small portico of the Athenians, leaning on its retaining wall. Erected in 480 BC, this portico was an edifice made up 8 ionic columns, of which only 3 can to be admired today. It housed trophies taken to the Persians in naval victories.
On the site, constructions are called treasury. When consulting the oracles, offerings were brought to Apollo, and according to the wealth of these, they were stored in buildings. Here, the treasure of Sicyon, concealed statues and votive elements, like the site which had several thousands, according to reports from the time. Here a navel of the world.
It was the symbol of the unity of the Greek world. There, the treasure of the Boeotians. Ancient rivals of the Athenians, they became their most precious allies, in the war against the Spartans in the fourth century BC.
The Boeotians had Athenians a reputation as an uneducated people, heavy and unrefined. Still today the Boeotian adjective designates an uncultivated person. The shrines were complexes architecture outside the cities, and their policy, which means that they were frequented, not only by the ancient Greeks, but also by the surrounding peoples, sometimes barbaric, but who worshiped the same deities. The site is crossed by a road which was used for processions, and who served all scattered places of worship, on the side of the mountain to the sanctuary. She passes in front of the treasury of the Athenians, erected around 480 BC, which commemorated the Greek victory of Marathon against the Persians.
Among the many vestiges more or less well-preserved site, the theatre, with a capacity of 5,000 seats, was built in the 4th century BC. With its 35 rows of bleachers, he presents his condition today in Imperial Roman times. This is where the parties took place who celebrated the victory of Apollo, on the Python snake. The role of theaters during their construction was closely linked to religion. In the Greek world, theatrical representation was born from the celebration of Dionysus.
Dionysus was the god wine and drunkenness, which allowed to pass from fantasy to reality. Just like the theatrical illusion gives life on stage, to those who leave of the author's imagination. The theater was therefore a vector of mysticism in ancient Greece, right under the theatre, the temple of the master of the place, Apollo. At its end is the altar on which the sacrifices were performed.
Usually they were goats who were slaughtered. The animals were first washed with water, and if during this rite, they shivered, they were then fit for the ceremony. The temple itself is rectangular, elongated, and measures 23 meters by 60. It had six columns Dorics on the facade, and fifteen on each side. After the sacrifice, the high priests went there and there, the oracle was questioned. If we had to make a war or not, if you had to get married, if there was danger to carry out such and such a thing.
The pilgrims were separated from the Pythia, in a trance by a curtain. She then spoke words incomprehensible to ordinary mortals, but not priests who transmitted the answers to the questions asked. In verse until the 3rd century before Jesus Christ, and in prose, afterwards. In the temple, a sacred fire was maintained, and never faded for several centuries. The stadium built in the 5th century BC, was also remodeled by the Romans in the second century AD.
Every five years, the so-called Olympic games, demanded a truce between the cities in perpetual disagreement, even at war. The truce began a month before so that the competitors, can come and join the site with complete peace of mind, and thus train by following a same diet for all. Sporting events including the participants were entirely naked, started with shopping of horses harnessed or not. Then the pentathlon took place which brings together five disciplines, discus throw, throw the javelin, the long jump, running and wrestling. And there was only the first who was rewarded. In Delphi, the archaeological museum compensates deficiencies noted on the site.
A model represents the sanctuary as it was in antiquity. We see the place taken by the temple opposite the theater or the treasury. The board representing the treasure of Siphnos, shows all the attention which were brought to architecture, and decoration of various monuments. The pediment was rediscovered during the excavations of 1893. The building shows the Olympians deciding the fate of the city of Troy, sitting and chatting, while in front of them, the Greeks and their enemies fight furiously. The treasury built in shining marble, was preceded by a 2-column entry, which supported the architrave.
Its columns were in the shape of caryatids. These richly adorned maidens Ionian dresses and jewelry. Other marvels of the museum the so-called Cleobis and Biton statues, called the twins of Argos, which have been made to 600 BC. With their stocky and muscular stature, the twins could have been wrestlers. Legend has it that their mother, very proud of her sons, asked the goddess, Hera, the best for them.
The two brothers then fell asleep never to wake up. In this, the goddess showed that he better to die than to live. Perhaps sparing them suffering but no one knew. In one of the rooms, you can see fragments of the pediments of the Temple of Apollo.
On one of them is represented Dionysus, in Greek mythology, Dionysus is therefore the god of the vine, wine and its excesses, madness and excess, as well as theater and tragedy. He is the son of Zeus, but does not live on Mount Olympus. He is a wandering god. From the other pediment, only one piece left of a lion devouring an antelope.
And a fragment of a young girl. Another statue shows Agias, a wrestling champion who has inadvertently was killed by Telemachus, in hand to hand combat. His brother, Agelaos, was also wrestler but less talented.
With the two previous statues, this third was part of a group of seven, offered at the sanctuary of Apollo by a wealthy family. In the room is a Roman copy of the omphalos, the navel stone of Delphi. The original marked the point where, according to legend, the two eagles released by Zeus to the two ends of the world had crossed, thus defining the center of the world. Through the remains of statues and finely carved columns, we can appreciate the degree of the know-how of the sculptors, who worked in Delphi 2500 years ago. Certainly the best of ancient Greece.
As proof this tripod of thirteen meters high with three dancers, who supported a cauldron bronze for the offerings. Like a gigantic incense burner. They are the priestesses of Dionysus.
Next to it, the marble altar of the Temple of Athena features relief carvings. Just like the magnificent friezes found in the ruins of the theatre. Another vestige of the Roman era, this marble statue represents Antinous, Emperor Hadrian's lover, died at age 20, drowned in the Nile in circumstances that remain mysterious. Today is one of the faces the most famous of antiquity.
Another famous portrait, that of Flaminius, a Roman general who delivered Greece from the Macedonian invaders, in the second century BC. He was one of the first Romans to enjoy, and to propagate Greek culture in his own country. But the museum's most famous piece, is certainly the Charioteer of Delphi.
This bronze statue the size of a man was commissioned by a Greek prince, to commemorate the victory of his chariot at the Olympic Games in 478 BC. The Charioteer being the driver of the chariot. The cult of Apollo, taken back to their account by the Romans, will end in 392, when Christians then masters of Rome, are going to ban all pagan worship. Then the dark times of barbarism will bury forever, this culture under the rubble and into oblivion.
The new masters of the Mediterranean, the Christian Byzantines who had already built churches from the 1st century. Are going to direct Greece to them new mystical destinations. 20 km from Delphi, the monastery of Hosios Loukas, the monastery of Saint Luke, is one of the most beautiful Byzantine monasteries in the country. It was built in 1011 on the foundations of a church built in 944, and dedicated to its founder, Luke, a tenth-century hermit. It is now one of the most important medieval buildings in Greece, heritage listed UNESCO World.
Originally, in 946, Luke had built a lodge and a garden, on the site of a Greek temple abandoned to live there as a hermit. He had the gift healing and prophecy. Therefore, after his death, his grave was the object of many pilgrimages.
A first church dedicated to the Virgin was already built, and the second, intended for pilgrims, started in the second half of the 20th century. The gallery that we guess on the first floor, and the gynoecium where women took place, and which form a tribune running on three sides of the building. The large dome measures nine meters in diameter. 500 years later, after the Turkish conquest, the Latin monks were replaced by Orthodox monks. The monastery was often looted and suffered many earthquakes, but even today it is busy by some Orthodox monks.
The monks followed an austere rule and devote a lot of their time, to meditation and prayer, but they also had to perform all the manual labor necessary for their subsistence. The monastery had vast agricultural areas, and the cultivation of olive trees played an essential role there. Within the enclosure of the monastery, one can thus see all kinds of ancillary buildings, intended for specialized work such as baking, sewing, cooperage or manufacture olive oil. The larger of the two churches dedicated to Saint Luke, is on the right in the courtyard. Its facade clearly shows the recovery stones where mix, Greek marble and Roman bricks.
A beautiful fresco adorns its entrance gate, and we can see an arabic decoration. Visitors enter today by the refectory transformed into a small museum. Then the church is preceded by a vestibule rectangular, the narthex, reserved for the time when no one not yet baptized. On the ceiling watch the Archangels Michael, Gabriel, Ouriel and Raphael. The interior of the Church retains most of its 11th century decoration.
It is divided into two areas, the lower area trimmed precious marble slabs, and the upper zone of which the decoration consists of mosaics, performed by artists from of the capital of the Byzantine Empire. The dome is decorated with the figure of Christ, ruler of the universe. On the vault of the central apse, a mosaic with a gold background represents the Mother of God seated on a throne, and presenting the child savior of the world. Below are the apostles, which represent the word of Jesus and beyond that of God.
One of the angles is decorated with the episode of the baptism of Christ in the Jordan, by Saint John the Baptist. The second church the oldest, was dedicated to the Virgin. It was started in 946 and completed in 955. only two years after the death of the Saint.
Here the decoration disappeared over time. But we can still admire the beautiful religious icons. Under the church, the crypt consists of a main nave, at the bottom of which is the tomb of the Saint.
It is here that we come to venerate him, even if today the tomb is empty, because his relics have been transferred in the Vatican, in Rome, in Italy. The walls and the ceiling of the crypt, are covered with frescoes and superb mosaics. Square in plan, the crypt has several chapels, including one decorated with a beautiful 11th century fresco, representing the descent from the cross. This monastery is a real treasure of religion. You can admire one of the cycles best preserved, and the most complete iconography Byzantine in Greece.
This place is especially remarkable by its gold-ground mosaics. And the refinement of its decoration marble, jasper and porphyry. The monastery of Hosios Loukas, belongs to the Orthodox Church who understands himself, like the original Christian Church. Of which all the others churches are members, including the Roman Catholic Church. She refuses the authority of the pope, recognizing only that of Jesus Christ through the writings of the apostles, the gospels.
Further north, Cape Sounion is mostly renowned for the ruins of a temple, dedicated to Poseidon. The first mention of Cape Town in ancient literature goes back to the Odyssey, who speaks of Cape Sounion like the Holy Cape of Athens. The ruins of the Temple of Poseidon, built in the middle of the 5th century BC, overlooks the sea from a height almost 60 meters. The bay has now been transformed into seaside resort very popular with Athenians.
The columns of the temple are 6.10 meters high, for a diameter one meter at the base. Their particular grooves have been studied, to resist the action of salty air. Homer called the temple of Poseidon, the sacred promontory.
And the sailors there invoked the God of the sea. According to legend, Cape Sounion is the place from which Aegeus, the father of Theseus, would have thrown himself into the sea, believing that his son had perished, in his fight against the Minotaur. Hence the name of the Aegean Sea, the famous mother that surrounds Greece.
We see it endowed with a rich past. Greece is the real cradle of Western civilization. During the first millennium before Jesus Christ, she planted the seeds of a culture still in effect today. First Republic in history, Athenian democracy knew an important intellectual life.
Gathering philosophers and playwrights. The Greeks are also considered like the inventors of logic, and the precursors of physics, mathematics and astronomy. Moreover, Greek art always remains considered, as a model of balance and proportions, for all artists around the world. Through this story, Greece ancient strongly influenced, culture and civilization modern western.