History

Trojan Horse/Δούρειος Ιππος

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A smaller copy of the Trojan Horse in Mycenae.

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An antiques shop close to the town of the ancient site of Mycenae in the Peloponnese.

‘Trojans, don’t trust this horse.

Whatever it is, I’m afraid of Greeks even those bearing gifts.’-Virgil

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Methoni Castle/Το Κάστρο της Μεθώνης

 

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The bridge to leading to the castle

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Creepy hidden passageway

My next stop on my tour of the southern Peloponnese is a small town called ‘Methoni’ which is located in Messinia in the west coast part of the Peloponnese. The town of Methoni is famous for its’ medieval castle (Game of Thrones style) which might be in ruins now,  but it is still awe-inspiring.  The climb to the top offers a spectacular view of the sea and of the town with its red tile roofs.  The site was known in Homeric times as it was called ‘Pedasus’.  Homer called the site “ampeloessa” (of vine leaves) in the Iliad.  In 1209 A.D the Venetians built the castle as it was the ideal spot for trade.   Due to its strategic location between Venice and the Holy Lands, Methoni was conquered by many people. The castle was conquered by the Franks and the Venetians and even pirates and then it went into the hands of the Turks in the 18th Century and then back into the hands of the Greeks in the 19th Century.

When I went there was no one there so there was no entrance fee and I roamed freely with just a few tourists scattered around. I took a lot of photographs and it was very difficult to choose the right ones for this blog. Some photographs I felt were better in black and white, but I didn’t want them all to be black and white, even though it was  cloudy that day, there was some good light and the colourful landscape showed up well in the photographs.

The Tumulus of the Athenians/ OΤύμβος των Αθηναίων

Ancient Burial Mound

Ancient Burial Mound at Marathona, Greece

Timulus mound

192  Athenian soldiers are buried underneath the mound

Sign

The site is a must see for travellers passing through the area

Leonidas

Statue of the Greek General Miltiades

These photographs of a burial mound were taken at Marathona, Greece a couple of weeks ago. Marathon(a) is the place where the legendary battle between the Greeks and Persians took place  in the year 490 B.C.  Under the grass, rocks and dirt of the burial mound, also called tumulus,  there lies the bones of 192 Athenian soldiers who died while fighting the Persians at a battle field nearby.  Strangely enough, burial mounds like this can be found all over the world. It seems to be a universal ritual as it is a simple way to commemorate the dead.

FYI-The site of the tumulus is fenced off and you have to pay a  fee of 3 euros to see the burial mound up close. The site was closed the day that I went, but luckily I was still able to take photographs of the mound from outside of the fence.

Αυτές οι φωτογραφίες τραβήχτηκαν στο Μαραθώνα πριν απο δυο εβδομαδες.  Στις πρωτες δυο φωτογραφιες ειναι ο ‘σορος΄η ο τύμβου των νεκρον.  Ο Μαραθωνας είναι η περιοχη όπου έγινε η θρυλική μάχη μεταξύ Ελλήνων και Περσών κατά το έτος 490 π.Χ. . Κατω απο το γρασίδι, πέτρες και χωμα του τυμβου, βρίσκονται τα οστά των 192 Αθηναίων στρατιωτών που έχασαν τη ζωή τους ενώ πολεμούσαν τους Πέρσες στο πεδίο μάχης που βρισκεται κοντα. Παραδόξως, τύμβους  όπως αυτό, μπορεί να βρει καποιος σε όλο τον κόσμο. Φαίνεται να είναι μια καθολική τελετουργία, καθώς είναι ένας απλός τρόπος για να τιμήσουμε τους νεκρούς.

Η θέση του τύμβου είναι περιφραγμένη και θα πρέπει να καταβάλλεις το ποσο των 3 ευρώ για να δείτε το τυμβο απο κοντά. Ηταν κλειστα την ημέρα που πήγα, αλλά ευτυχώς μπορουσα να τραβηξω φωτογραφιες  εξω απο τη φράχτη.

The Industrial Gas Museum/Βιομηχανικό Μουσείο Φωταερίου

In an earlier post, I wrote about the area of Technopolis which is located in the area of Gazi in Athens.  Technopolis is the site of the industrial gas works buildings that help to light up the city of Athens in the late 19th Century. I’ve added a few black and white photographs that I took from inside of the buildings that are now museums and are open to the public with an entry fee of a Euro.

Gas Temperature

Reflection of a Wheel

The Ovens Through The Tunnel

A Tunnel at The Museum

An Open Window

Old Coal Ovens

19th Century Gas Ovens

Top Level of Gas Museum

Outdoor Gas Pipes

Aghion Apostolon/Άγιον Απόστολον

These are few photographs that I took of the Byzantium Saint Apostles church. The ancient structure is located on the southeast side of the ancient Agora in Athens. It was built in the last quarter of the Byzantium period, and in its early days the church was mostly used for baptisms.  St. Apostles’ church is of great historical significance and is protected by the government. Today, the church operates as a museum and the only time it is used for religious ceremonies is on the 29-30 of June which is the day of the Synaxis (congregation) of the 12 Apostles.

Αυτές είναι μερικές φωτογραφίες που  έβγαλα από τη βυζαντινή εκκλησία των Αγίων Αποστόλων. Το αρχαίο οικοδόμημα βρίσκεται στη νοτιοανατολική πλευρά της Αρχαίας Αγοράς στην Αθήνα. Χτίστηκε κατά το τελευταίο τετάρτου της περιόδου του Βυζαντίου, και στις πρώτες ημέρες της, η εκκλησία χρησιμοποιείται κυρίως για βαπτίσεις.  Την εκκλησία του Αγίου Αποστόλων εχει μεγάλη ιστορική σημασία και προστατεύεται από την κυβέρνησηΣήμερα, η εκκλησία λειτουργεί ως μουσείο, και η μόνη φορά που χρησιμοποιείται για τις θρησκευτικές τελετές είναι στις 29-30 Ιουνίου που γιορτάζουν της Συνάξεως των 12 Αποστόλων

 

View of Acropolis/Θéa της Aκρόπολης

View of the Acropolis from the Agora below

The Acropolis from Below

A model of how the Acropolis looked like in ancient times.

A model of the ancient city

View of the Temple Of Hephaestus within the Agora

“A great city, whose image dwells in the memory of man, is the type of some great idea. Rome  represents conquest; faith hovers over the towers of Jerusalem; and Athens embodies  the pre-eminent quality of the antique world, Art.” Benjamin Disraeli

 

Arcadian Mountains/Battle of Drabala

A few weeks ago I paid a long overdue visit to my fathers’ village called Akovos in Arcadia. The village has a very beautiful and rugged mountainous landscape where many battles were fought in ancient and modern times. I arrived on the day of a memorial service that takes place every year at Aghia Paraskevi church (near Akovos village) which over looks the landscape called ‘Drabala’  A very important battle  took place at the site called the ‘Battle of Drabala’ ( June 5-7 1825) This is where the fierce battle for Greek  independence against the Ottoman Turks unfolded.  To commemorate the death of the soldiers wreaths were layed at the statue of Greek independence war hero Theodoros Kolokotronis.  Then there was a moment of silence  followed by Greek soldiers singing the national anthem.

Memorial For the ‘Battle of Drabala’ (June 5-7 1825) Wreaths at the statue of Greek leader of Independence Theodoros Kolokotronis

Greek Soldiers’ Instruments

Greek Soldiers’ Instruments

Old Parliament Building/Παλιά Βουλή

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Last Saturday I ventured downtown to get a few art supplies at an art and hobby store. As I was walking down Stadiou St. I noticed the old parliament building. In  the  past I  have stood in front of it to take pictures of the statue of Greek General Theodoros Kolokotronis who is depicted riding a horse . I had never been inside the building, but that day something came over me and I decided to follow the group of people that were heading into the building. There was no entrance fee or anything and I was free to wander everywhere.  The building was built in 1875 with plans by French architect Francois Boulanger and with foundations that were layed by Queen Amalia of Bavarian origin. After the Greek war of independence Greece had a monarchy for a short time that began in the late 19th century.The building has ceased to be used as a parliament building in 1932. The current parliament building is located at Syntagma square.

The parliament building is now the National Historical Museum. When I walked in I was awe-struck by the amount of historical artifacts that are displayed in the old building, from the conquest of Constantinople by the Ottoman Turks in 1453 to the Second World War.  Also, there are costumes and works of art from drawings to paintings and statues from different time periods and many weapons that were used during the many wars that Greece participated in.

 

‘OHI’ DAY PARADE

Every year on the 28th of October kids from Greek schools all over the world from elementary school to high school gear up for the ‘Ohi’ parade. The day commemorates Greek Prime Minister Ioannis Metaxas rejection of  the Italian Dictator Mussolini’s ultimatum on October 28th 1940.  This event  is very similar to the  Persian ultimatum to the Ancient Greek city states. The Persians asked for ‘earth  and air’ in exchange for submission to the Persian empire in the 5th Century B.C.. Modern Greece was once again faced with the same dilema.  Freedom was to be taken once again.  A proud Metaxas  rejected Mussolini’s ultimatum that if they are not allowed to occupy Greece then there would be war.  The rejection marked the beginning of Greece’s involvement in World War II. Greek troops-that included my grandfather and his brothers marched into Albania to fight the Italians who were with the Axis powers. The Greek army were to return from Albania victorious. Even though the Germans would later invade Greece no one forgot the heroism of  the Greek army and many believe that the victory helped to end the second world war.

After the war, my grandfather came back to Greece safely with his brothers with plenty of stories to tell..

Watch this great video about ‘Ohi’ day:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pkeiT8Gbysk

For a more informative read on this significant day read this very interesting article:

http://onemansblog.com/2009/10/28/oxi-day-how-the-greeks-helped-end-world-war-ii/

1000 Year Old Byzantine Church

The entry of King Otto of Greece in Athens and...

Image via Wikipedia

Για πολλα χρονια ψωνιζα στα μαγαζια στην Οδο Ερμου στο κεντρο της Αθηνας και περνουςα την μικρη εκκλησια, αλλα δεν ηξερα την ιστορια της. Λογο της περιεργιας μου εμαθα για το μικρο εκκλησακι.   Η εκκλησια ονομαζεται ‘Παναγια Καπνικαρεα’ και ειναι ενα απο της πιο σημαντικες Βυζαντινες εκκλησιες στην Αθηνα.

Το Βυζαντινο εκκλησακι χτιστηκε το 1050 μ.χ (!)  πανω απο τα συντηριμμια ενος αρχαιου ναου αφιερομενο ειτε στη Θεα Αθηνα η στην Θεα Δημητρα. Παραλιγο να γρεμιστει η εκκλησια μετα την επανασταση του 1821, ομως παρενεβει Ο Αρχιεπισκοπος της Αθηνας και ο Ludwig of Bavaria o πατερας του Βασιλια Οττο.  Το μωσαικο στην εισοδο τηn εφτιαξε Ο Elli Voila το 1936, και ειναι πολυ εντυπωσιακο.

For many years, I have walked passed the tiny old church pictured above. It is located in the middle of  the downtown Ermou shopping district  of Athens.   The church is always surrounded by people who like to sit on the ledge.  I have sat there many times and one day I decided to go in to light a candle.  I knew that it was an old church is but I did not know exactly how old.  Recently I decided to take photographs of the church and to do some research on it.  What I discovered surprised me the church named: ‘Panagia Kapnikarea‘ is dedicated to the Virgin Mary and it is one of the most important Byzantine churches in Athens.  The church dates back to 1050 (11th century)! It was built on the ruins of an ancient temple either dedicated to the Goddess Athena or Demeter.   Panagia Kapnikarea was almost destroyed after the Greek war of Independence of 1821, but the Bishop of Athens and Ludwig of Bavaria father of King Otto intervened and the church was saved.  The mosaic at the entrance was made by Elli Voila in 1936, and it is quite beautiful up close. In addition, the Northern side of the church is dedicated to Saint Varvara.

For more info:
http://www.athensinfoguide.com/gr/wtschurches/panagiakapnikarea.htm

http://www.focusmm.com/greece/gr_byza.htm