Ancient Origins: Archaeologists in Greece have uncovered the entrance to a vast ancient tomb guarded by two sphinxes, adorned with frescoed walls, and surrounded by a nearly 500-metre long wall carved from marble, according to a news release in the Greek Reporter.
The unique burial monument, which dates from 325 to 300 BC, is the largest ancient tomb ever discovered in Greece and is believed to belong to a very important figure in history. Plans are to enter the tomb next month, when hopefully the identity of the tomb owner will be revealed.
“It is certain that we stand before an especially significant finding. The land of Macedonia continues to move and surprise us, revealing its unique treasures,” Prime Minister Antonis Samaras said on Tuesday during a visit to the site.
Excavations on the massive burial mound, which is located on Kasta Hill, Amphipolis, in the country’s Macedonian region about 100km northeast of Thessaloniki, first started in 2012, and have focused on uncovering the impressive marble wall surrounding the tomb. …
Ellines.com: This small island beholds a glorious past. It is on the trade crossroad of Europe and Asia, as the Asian coastline is only 2 nautical miles away. Kastellorizo is an island with a rich nautical tradition that explains the noble air about the island that reflects its part glory and prosperity.
The island’s official name, Megisti (Μεγίστη) means “biggest” or “greatest” island in the archipelago. It has gone by several different names in its history, including Kastellorizo (Greek), Castellorizo (Greek name with Italian spelling) and Castelrosso(Italian, meaning “Red Castle”).
The painted in vivid colors two and three story renovated mansions, spread along the harbourline offering an unrivalled amongst other islands beauty. The buildings are characterised by wooden balconies and windows of the Anatolian type. At the entrance to the harbour, on the east side, stand the single story remnants of the former Italian governate (palazzina della delegazione), erected in 1926 by the Italian architect Florestano Di Fausto, who also designed some of the most important buildings of the Italian period in Rhodes.
Nearby is the island’s former Ottoman mosque which dates from the second half of the 18th century and which has been now restored and re-opened as a museum. The central square Plateia Ethelondon Kastellórizou lies at the midpoint of the eastern side, near the vessel dock. On the opposite side of the harbour one has a good view from this vantage of Pera Meria, the western quay, and the monasteries of Profitis Elías and Aghia Triadha.
A pathway leads to the Castle of the Knights, which was built in the 14th century. At the village Horafia, the visitor can find the square surrounded by the Church of Agios Yeorgios (1906), with a high dome of Byzantine type, and the Cathedral of Agios Konstandinos and Eleni (1835). It is a church of unique art, with a three-nave basilica, rich icons, marble icons screens and a tall marble bell tower. The roof of the Cathedral lies on twelve enormous monolithic granite pillars, brought especially from Patara (Lycea) in 1835, when the historic cathedral was built. According to tradition, these pillars are from the ancient Temple of Pythius Apollo.
On the western side of Kastellorizo is the most ancient and important sight of the island, Palaiokastro, the island’s ancient acropolis.Its plan is rectangular and measures 60 by 80 metres. In its interior stand an ancient tower, built with square limestone blocks and large water cisterns.
The famous aqua colored cave of Kastellorizo is one of the rarest geological phenomena and one of the most amazing formations on earth. Also known under the name of “Parastas Cave” or “Fokiali” – due to the seals (fokia in Greek) that live inside it – it is the largest and most beautiful caves of Greece while it is also considered to be the most phantasmagoric cave of the Mediterranean Sea.
Located on the SW side of the island is the islet of Ro that you can only visit by boat. Well known for its ‘Lady of Ro” who was its only inhabitant, and who for decades rose the Greek flag every morning.
By Mae Bowen
Most people who have studied abroad will tell you it’s quite the adventure. From being thousands of miles away from home to experiencing new foods and cultural norms, a semester in a foreign country can definitely be a challenge.
One reason I chose CYA and Greece was the opportunity to make that adventure also be one in the natural environment of one of the most beautiful countries and regions in the world. At times it’s been tough, exploring uncharted territory or being simply exhausted from hours outside. However, I have to say that every minute so far has been worth it.
Exploring the island of Agistri
Though I’ve only been in Greece for a little over a month, I’ve had the opportunity to visit two islands in the Sarconic Gulf, take long walks through the national gardens and other green spaces in Athens, hike the Imbros Gorge in Crete, explore Matka Canyon and a cave in the Republic of Macedonia, swim at countless beaches, and hike Mt. Olympus.
Through these experiences I’ve learned about Greece’s geology, native flora and fauna, and even a little practical Modern Greek language. I have persevered through cold weather, aching feet, and long days and been all the stronger for it. As an Environmental Sciences major I really appreciate the chance to explore this side of Greece. I am not taking any related courses at CYA so it has been particularly helpful to learn about “natural” Greece from mountain guides and other experts. Additionally, the tight bonds formed with friends when experiencing nature and new, challenging environments have been priceless.
Hiking the Imbros Gorge in Crete
In my last blog, I commented on the friendly and helpful character of the Greek people. That observation has been proven twofold by my interactions with Greeks and eco-tourists of other nationalities “in the field.” Swimming at a beach in Agistri I met a woman and her daughter who told us all about their favorite spots in Greece to visit. In Macedonia at Matka Canyon, we got to know a woman who told us about other natural wonders in her country. Additionally, the man who led us to see the cave there was happy to share his knowledge of its makeup and origin, and even some Macedonian candies. At the refuge on Mount Olympus, hikers from all backgrounds came together over a warm fire and hot meals to share in the exhilarating experience of climbing Greece’s highest peak.
With Amet, our “cave guide” in Matka Canyon, Skopje, Macedonia
I can’t wait for my next chance to explore the landscape of Greece and the surrounding countries and to meet more people while “on the trail.”
I’ll be coming back to the states with a new appreciation for the outdoors, closer bonds with the friends who explored with me, and a renewed commitment to my chosen field.
CYA Hiking Mount Olympus!
Mae Bowen is pursuing a double major in Political Science and Environmental Sciences at Emory University and is a CYA Fall 2014 student!
Embassy of Greece in USA Washington: The Institute of International Education has launched the initiative Generation Study Abroad to mobilize resources and commitments with the goal of doubling the number of U.S. students studying abroad by the end of the decade. Studying abroad is one of the best ways American college students can acquire international experience necessary to succeed in today’s global marketplace. The initiative aims to bring employers, governments, associations, and others together to build on current best practices, and find new ways to extend study abroad opportunities to tens of thousands of college students.
The Fulbright Foundation Greece is an international partner of Generation Study Abroad, and it is working to bring more American students to Greece. In this context, it collaborated with Fulbright alumna and media artist Sakina Abdus Shakur, who created videos that feature Fulbrighters reflecting on past study abroad experience, as well as students immersed in the experience with the “College Year in Athens” study abroad program.
As things stand in many urban neighborhoods around Greece, the opening or closure of a cinema, theater or even a simple business now has a much bigger impact than before the crisis. And when passers-by on Vassileos Georgiou and Rigillis streets saw the jolly message on the marquee of the Petit Palais cinema, with which the enterprise’s new management announced its relaunch, they felt a deep sense of relief. The truth is that the shutting down of a movie theater is always a sad loss, and even though Pangrati is much more fortunate than other parts of the Greek capital, both on a social and economic level, the closure of the Petit Palais, even if only for a year, hurt.
What many Pangrati residents who fretted over the fate of the cinema did not know was that the business had many suitors, but it eventually went to George and Jimmy Stergiakis, two brothers best known as the managers of the Asty cinema in downtown Athens and the heads of the AMA Films distribution agency.
“The Petit Palais has fallen into good hands,” George Stergiakis assures Kathimerini while explaining the brothers’ plans for the venue. “This is a cinema with a history, an identity and potential.”
Culinary Backstreets Athens: We’ve talked before about Greek coffee, and it’s true that going out for coffee is one of Athenians’ favorite pastimes, but there are plenty of Greeks who prefer tea or infusions. And in fact, the practice of gathering wild herbs has a history that stretches all the way back into antiquity. References to Mediterranean flora are found everywhere in history, from Egypt to Asia Minor and from Homer to the ancient Greek philosophers’ texts. Take, for instance, Hippocrates, the so-called father of medicine, who focused on the healing properties of plants and actually recorded about 400 species of herbs and their known uses in the 5th century BCE. That era saw a heavy trade in herbs between the Mediterranean and the East.
Due to its temperate climate and exceptionally diverse flora and fauna, Greece is one of the richest countries in the world, herbally speaking. Wild herbs, usually collected from mountains, are used for teas and infusions – the majority of them intended as natural remedies – and for cooking and baking.
Here, we’ve listed a few of the most popular Greek herbs and described their uses and have included recommendations for several shops around Athens where they can be found. Of course, they can neither replace medicine nor are they meant to be consumed in extreme quantities. You may also wish to check first for allergic reactions to any of these.
Recently claimed to be a natural weapon against Alzheimer’s disease, tsai tou vunu, or mountain tea, can also aid the upper respiratory system and fend off colds and has other notable antimicrobial and antioxidant properties, accordingBatavia, photo by Manteau Stam to some scientific research. Look for the dried leaves of plants of the genus Sideritis, which grow on the slopes of Mt. Olympus.
Chamomile (chamomili) dates back to ancient times: Hippocrates, for one, used it as a painkiller. Its elegant white blossoms are modest in appearance but can be applied as a poultice to calm skin irritations. Brewed as a tea, chamomile can help settle an upset stomach or aid in sleep. Another herb used for relaxation is louisa, or lemon verbena. As for headaches and migraines, a cup of strong fliskouni, or wild mint, might do the trick. Ancient Greeks perfumed their bath water with mint leaves, which were known for their antiseptic qualities even then.