Turning myths into history, the Greeks have erected monumental kingdoms with stately temples to honour their gods and goddesses. In this country, history witnessed the works of great men like Plato, Socrates, Aristotle, Herodotus, Aeschylus, Sophocles and Euripides among others.
Hellas is the historical name of Greece. Minoan in Crete and Helladic culture almost 5000 years ago are the earliest recorded civilisations in history. However, natural cataclysms wiped off most of its remains. In Athens, the capital of Greece, was situated the ancient city of Acropolis. A conflict arose between Athena, the goddess of wisdom, and Poseidon, the seagod on becoming the patron God of Acropolis.
Poseidon released a brackish water fountain while Athena created olive, symbol of peace and prosperity. People supported Athena and in the 5th century BC, Pericles dedicated to her an exquisite temple named Parthenon. It had 58 marble doric columns. Later it became a centre for the arts, learning and philosophy, home of Plato’s academy and Aristotle’s Lyceum, and is widely referred to as the cradle of Western civilisation and the birthplace of democracy, largely because of its cultural and political impact on the European continent, and in particular the Romans.
Ancient Roman and Byzantine monuments, sculptures, Erechtheion, temple of Athena Nike and the Propylaia were all marvels to watch. Outside the Acropolis there are Syntagma Square, President House, Parliament, Hadrian’s Arch, modern Olympic temple and ground, temple of Olympian Zeus and the attractive Archaeological site of Acropolis, which was an awesome experience as one could view the city through its glass floor.
In 6th century BC there was a sanatorium here where many used to come for treatment. The 4th century BC amphitheater with astounding acoustics and a capacity to hold 14000 spectators is one of the best spots in Greece. Till this day it hosts two dramas a week. Our next stop was Nafplio, a small port city at Argolic Gulf, occupied for long by warring Turks and Venetians.
Its biggest attractions were the Bourtzi fort within sea, two hilltop Venetian fortresses and several Turkish mosques. It was the capital of first Hellenic Republic. Driving through the plains of Argos was a pleasant experience as red and white oleanders and olive trees lined the road.
Great mystic powers are associated with this area whose jutting mountain, gaping chasms and rushing springs offer a dramatic view. The site is full of temples along with a stadium and a 4th century BC theatre. Another wonder of nature is Meteora where scores of rocks point to the sky. Indications could be found of cave men dwelling here nearly 5000 years ago. Out of 24 sheltered monasteries only six are now in use.