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Glories of Greece Tour

Suspended in Air - Metéora: The handful of remaining monasteries at Metéora in central Greece suspend on the gnarly knobs and knots  and knuckles of sandstone as if glued into place. Some of the buildings appear as they would slip off the striated slick rock if a gale wind kicked up. 

Edge of the City - The Acropolis - The Acropolis and surrounding old city walls were located on a hill with flowing potable water, necessary in times of siege. The “Holy Rock” of Athens’ Acropolis rises 100 meters above the metropolis and seemed to emerge with Western civilization intact, but it was occupied about 7,000 years B.C. during the Neolithic Age. 

Winged Serpent at Delphi Museum.

Delphi - Navel of the World: For many centuries this was the religious and spiritual center of the ancient Greek world. According to mythology, Delphi was the navel oromphalos, the meeting point of two eagles dispatched by Zeus from the ends of the universe to find the center of the world.

Peloponnese, As You Please - The Peloponnese has many hidden and famous secrets: Olympia, home of the first sporting games around 776 B.C.; Mycenae, hilltop citadel of King Agamemnon, general of the Greek forces that invaded Troy around 1,200 B.C.; The Argolis Plain, one of the top agricultural centers in Greece for fruits, vegetables, honey, tomatoes, olives, oranges, clementines, long melons shaped like squash, artichokes, and worry beads.  The biggest secret for me was the UNESCO World Heritage site of  Epidavros, where the Greeks thronged when sick because of its healing hot waters.

Agamemnon - Acropolis at Mycenae: Mycenae was a powerful military citadel, winding across an acropolis with a 360 degree view of the bountiful Argolis Plain (within Argolis province) and overlooking the Saronic Gulf of the Ionian Sea.  The Mycenaean civilization flourished for over 500 years from 1,600 B.C. to about 1,100 B.C.

Olympia - Sport & Sacrifice - Stadion Spectacle: Mythology states that the Greek hero Herakles (Hercules) marked out the first Olympia site that later developed into the Altis, or temple complex, in the meadowlands between the rivers of Alpheios and Kladeos that drained the Arkadian Mountains, long before 776 B.C.  He then named the mount above thestadion the Hill of Kronos.  The sanctuary of Olympia honored Zeus Olympios, great-grandson of Kronos.  The Peloponnese Peninsula was named after Pelos, the great grand-father of Herakles.

Let's Meet At The Agora: The Agora was the heart of the ancient city and the center of Athenian democracy, where administrative, judicial, and political functions and assemblies took place.  From the 6th century B.C. onwards the Agora was traversed by the Panathenaic Way, a boulevard where over the centuries public buildings were constructed and adorned with altars, temples, stoa, fountains, portraits, and statues.

Treasures of Turkey Tour

A home in the hills of Cappadocia.

Cappadocia Phantasmagoria: There is no city or town of Cappadocia, but it is an ancient semi-arid region in central Turkey (Anatolia) spread across a plain of high steppes, an empire that once stretched from the Taurus Mountains to the Black Sea during the time of the Persian conquest.  Before Darius the Great, the powerful Hittite army stabled their horses in the hand dug lava caves that are still used today for the same purpose.   There are so many trails and paths amongst the chimney towers and hillock scrublands it certainly would perplex an enemy army, which would have to ride single file, thus no wide assaults; they were easy to pick off individually.

Achilles' Agony - The Trojan War: For some scholars there is speculation about the veracity of the Trojan War, even after the excavation of the Troja site (Turkish for Troy) by the German adventurer, Heinrich Schliemann in the 19th century.  The best source about the Trojan War is from the oldest of western classic literature, the Iliad, by the epic poet, Homer.

Ephesus - Anchored in History: Ephesus is as famous today as it was in the Greco-Roman world; the southwestern Asia Minor temples are engraved on the reverse of Turkey’s older 20 lira notes.  As noteworthy as this is, Ephesus’ ancient Chamber of Commerce fame included the Temple of Artemis, one of the Seven Ancient Wonders of the World, and the largest library in its time, the Roman Library of Celsus (founded by Tiberius Julius Celsus Polemaeanus). 

Greco-Roman Waterpark - Hierapolis: Hieropolis in Greek means “sacred city”, and was located in the ancient province Phrygia near the Aegean Sea, known for its temperate climate and long growing season. Pamukkale means "cotton castle" in Turkish and certainly the 2nd Century A.D. Roman engineers and architects referred to the city as a castle — they knew it as Pumakali — where the sick and frail swarmed to heal their aches and disabilities, and where many died and were buried in stone sarcophagi in the expansive Necropolis, including Marcus Aurelius Ammianos. It is not known if Cleopatra visited the baths, but a pool has remained in her name over the centuries and tourists still swim amongst fallen marble temple columns.

Read Jetsetters Magazine features about sailing the Greek Islands, the Cyclades, from Athens to Turkey and back, including Rhodes, Bodrum, Santorini, and Poros on The Star Clipper.