Tours

myths-monuments-Beautiful-view-on-the-Meteora-mountains-and-monastery-in-Greece_54809571
myths-monuments-Beautiful-view-on-the-Meteora-mountains-and-monastery-in-Greece_54809571

Greece: Myths & Monuments

In perhaps no other nation of the world does the heritage of history confront the traveler as powerfully as in Greece. Itself heir to the great achievements of the Minoan and Mycenaean peoples of the Aegean Bronze Age, the Classical Greece of 2,500 years ago is acknowledged as the birthplace of modern Western civilization – its cultural legacy still resonant today in the fields of architecture, philosophy, science and government.

 

Sep 23 – Oct 7 2019 (15 days)
Price $5,995 | SS $1,300
Deposit $500

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Tour Description

The magnificent span of its archaeology, architecture, art and antiquities is the unifying theme of this invitation to our far-ranging and insightful journey into Greece’s ancient roots.

From the Acropolis, eternal symbol of Classical Athens, we travel via Corinth into the Peloponnese to the great healing center and theatre at Epidaurus. We explore the Bronze Age sites of fabled Mycenae and Tiryns with their echoes of Greece’s epic ‘heroic age’. At medieval Mystras we view the remains of resplendent Byzantine churches and Frankish castles and, a ‘modern’ contrast with the awesome Panhellenic sanctuaries of Olympia and Delphi to follow. We learn at Pella, Vergina and Aigai of Alexander the Great’s impact on the eastern Mediterranean, while Thessaloniki traces the fascinating transition from the pagan late-Roman era to the world of Byzantium.

TOUR HIGHLIGHTS

  • Explore Epidaurus, home to the original Olympic Games of the Ancient World, and its stadium, gymnasium, wrestling school, temples and hippodrome
  • Marvel at monasteries built atop huge columns of ancient rock pinnacles Meteora is one of Greece’s most extraordinary sights
  • Enjoy the many flavors of authentic traditional Greek cuisine – try rich and hearty moussaka or grilled lamb with tzatziki yoghurt sauce

  • Discover the mountainous Peloponnese, Greece’s great southern peninsula and land of Homer’s heroes and the great Bronze Age citadels from which they came
  • Gaze upon at the Statue of Zeus at Olympia, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World

WHAT TO EXPECT

LED BY

Dr Gerald Schaus

2019 Itinerary

Monday, September 23: ARRIVAL IN ATHENS
We arrive in Athens and transfer to our first hotel. We take the rest of the day to relax after our flight, before enjoying our first dinner as a group.
Dinner included.

Tuesday, September 24: ATHENS
The Acropolis is the lasting symbol of classical Athens and the Age of Pericles. Our all-day exploration of this famous site will include the Theater of Dionysus on the south slope, the Acropolis proper, with its Propylaia, Temple of the Wingless Victory, the Parthenon, the Erechtheion and the Acropolis Museum. After a break for a typical Greek lunch, touring continues at the Areopagus and concludes with the Agora, containing the Theseion and Stoa of Attalos.
Breakfast & lunch included.

Wednesday, September 25: ATHENS
Our art history lessons continue with a full morning in the National Archaeological Museum, with its unsurpassed collection of marbles and its unrivaled Mycenaean collection, including the “Gold of Mycenae,” discovered by Heinrich Schliemann. After lunch, we will tour the Kerameikos Cemetery. Of particular interest here is the Street of Tombs, begun in 394 BC and evidencing the various styles of funerary monuments used in the 4th century. Lastly, we will complete our city tour the Temple of Zeus, Arch of Hadrian and the Choragic Monument of Lysicrates.
Breakfast & lunch included.

Thursday, September 26: ATHENS – NAFPLIO
We begin our tour of the Peloponnese, stopping first at Corinth, an important Greek and Roman mercantile center. This nearly impregnable acropolis is strategically situated at the crossroads that linked the ancient sea and land routes. The afternoon will be spent at Epidaurus, one of ancient Greece’s most renowned medical centers. Its theater, which seats 14,000 spectators, is considered the best preserved in the Greek world. Our next two nights are in the seaside town of Nafplio, selected as the first capital of modern Greece.
Breakfast & lunch included.

Friday, September 27: NAFPLIO
Today’s visits begin at the Mycenaean citadel of Tiryns, where we will explore its interesting system of fortification walls. We continue to fabled Mycenae, home of Agamemnon, leader of the Greeks against Troy, and his treacherous wife Clytemnestra. It was in the royal tombs near its famous Lion Gate that Schliemann found the treasure trove that we saw in the National Archaeological Museum in Athens. This afternoon we will have leisure time to explore Nafplio’s lovely squares, or perhaps take the time to relax at a seaside café.
Breakfast & lunch included.

Saturday, September 28: NAFPLIO – SPARTA
We continue to ancient Lerna, the scene for one of the “Labors of Hercules.” Our visit will be to the “House of Tiles,” which dates from about 2200 BC. We then stop at Tegea to see its very interesting museum close to the 4th century temple of Athena Alea and continue to Mystras, a medieval city rising up along the slopes of Mt. Taygetos. We will begin our visit from the top of the mountain, stopping at the remains of Frankish castles and lavishly decorated Byzantine churches. As we stroll slowly along a lovely windings paths we will discover wonderful views at every turn.
Breakfast & lunch included.

Sunday, September 29: SPARTA – OLYMPIA
Finally freed from their Spartan masters, the ancient Messenians constructed a magnificent city in the 4th century BC, which has now been impressively restored by archaeologists with a well-preserved theater, grand city fountain, market area, Sanctuary of Asclepius and stadium/gymnasium. After a leisurely tour, we continue to Olympia.
All meals included.

Monday, September 30: OLYMPIA – DELPHI
Today’s touring is devoted to the Panhellenic sanctuary of Olympia, where every four years from 776 BC to 393 CE Greeks from the world over came to participate in the Olympic Games. We will visit the entire site, including the workshop of Pheidias, in which he created the Zeus, numbered as one of the Seven Wonders of the World. We conclude with a visit to the museum. Among its wonderful treasures is the famous Hermes by Praxiteles and the magnificent sculptures from the Temple of Zeus. Late in the day we will cross the Gulf of Corinth and continue to Delphi.
Breakfast & lunch included.

Tuesday, October 1: DELPHI
This wonderful day will be spent exploring Delphi, the “center” of the Greek world. The ancient sanctuary is divided into three sections: Marmaria, at the lowest level, site of an iconic marble round building (Tholos), the oracular sanctuary of Apollo proper on the slopes of Mt. Parnassos and the stadium on the heights above. After visiting each in turn, we study the rich collection of art from the site in the museum, including the renowned bronze Charioteer of Delphi and a life-size silver image of a bull.
All meals included.

Wednesday, October 2: DELPHI – KALAMBAKA
A lovely mountain drive brings us to Kalambaka, from which we will visit Meteora. Its spectacular monasteries are perched precariously atop huge columns of conglomerate rock. Although hermits have occupied the caves of Meteora since the 11th century, it wasn’t until Serbs invaded in the 14th century that the first monastery was built, by St. Athanasius. Of the twenty-four known monasteries, only four are in use today and alternate their access to tourists.
All meals included.

Thursday, October 3: KALAMBAKA – THESSALONIKI
We drive north, through the Vale of Tempe, a renowned ancient beauty spot, stopping en route at the foot of Mount Olympus to visit the ancient city of Dion and its museum. Here, Philip II celebrated his triumph after the capture of Olynthos, and Alexander made a sacrifice at the great temple before invading Persia. We then continue to Thessaloniki, Macedonia’s most important port in ancient times. Strategically located on the Via Egnatia, Thessaloniki was one of four capital cities of the late Roman Empire, and site of Galerius’ planned tomb building, the Rotunda. The re-built 20th century city now has a modern European layout.
Breakfast & lunch included.

Friday, October 4: THESSALONIKI
This morning we proceed to the ancient city of Philippi, a mainland colony of Thassos occupied by Philip II in 356 BC. Here we shall walk on the ancient Via Egnatia, one of the great highways of the Roman Empire. It was here at Philippi that the apostle Paul founded Europe’s first Christian group and spent a tumultuous night in the city’s prison. Afterwards, we will tour the quaint Old Town of Kavala, with its Ottoman houses, ramparts and aqueducts built in the 16th century under Suleiman the Magnificent. After visiting the museum, we return to Thessaloniki with a stop at the great Lion of Amphipolis, a 4th century tomb sculpture.
Breakfast & lunch included.

Saturday, October 5: THESSALONIKI
Today is devoted to Alexander the Great and his father, Philip. We begin by visiting the museum and site of Pella, where large pebble mosaics decorated houses. We will see floor mosaics that once embellished a spacious Hellenistic house a short distance from the royal residence of Philip of Macedon. It was here in the still inaccessible palace, where Alexander was born, that the conquest of Asia was conceived. We then continue to Vergina to visit the royal tombs of the Macedonians and their magnificent treasures displayed at the museum.
Breakfast & lunch included.

Sunday, October 6: THESSALONIKI
Our last morning of touring begins with a leisurely visit to the city’s Archaeological Museum, which numbers among its many treasures an array of luxury vessels in precious metals, including the unparalleled Dherveni Krater. After visiting the Church of Saint Demetrius, a landmark in Byzantine art, the breath-taking Rotunda of Galerius, once a church of Ayios Georgios, and a stroll to the magnificent Roman forum area, the remainder of the day will be at leisure. This evening we will gather for our farewell dinner.
Breakfast & lunch included.

Monday, October 7: DEPART THESSALONIKI
We transfer to the airport for our individual flights home or onward travel.

Additional Information

Calendar Year

2019

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