Athens – 174 km
Athens is the capital and largest city of Greece. It is one of the oldest cities in the world with recorded history with up to 3,200 BC. Ancient Athens, a walled city, was a powerful city-state, developed alongside the harbor, which was was originally Faliron and Piraeus later. Center of arts, knowledge and philosophy, home of Plato’s Academy and the Lyceum of Aristotle, widely reported as the cradle of Western civilization and the birthplace of democracy, mainly due to the impact of cultural and political achievements during the 5th and 4th centuries Fr. .g. the rest of the then known European continent. A cosmopolitan metropolis today, modern Athens is central to economic, financial, industrial, political and cultural life in Greece.
Sights: The largest ancient monument in Athens is of course the Acropolis. Over the sacred rock, you can almost feel the grandeur of ancient Greece.
Other interesting archaeological sites is the ancient market, temple of Hephaestus still in very good condition, as well as the Temple of Zeus and Hadrian’s Arch.
In Athens we find the main museums of Greece as the new Acropolis Museum, the National Archaeological Museum, the Folklore Museum, the Museum of Ceramics, the Byzantine Museum, the Music Museum, the War Museum, the Benaki Museum, etc. Generally, there are about 50 museums in Athens.
A popular place for shopping or food and drink is Plaka, just below the Acropolis. It considered quite tourist place, but the fact is that here you can get an idea of old Athens, with low buildings and small streets.
In Monastiraki there is the famous Flea, the bazaar with antique shops and other objects.Syntagma Square you can visit the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Here you can see the Evzones the presidential guard and if you are lucky, you will see the slow and complicated change of the guard in front of the monument of the Unknown Soldier.
The Concert Hall has many wonderful performances and summer are many shows and concerts at Heroes Atticus theater under the Acropolis, Lycabettus Hill and elsewhere.
Meteora – 180 km
Meteora is, after Mount Athos, the largest and constant presence since the establishment of the first ascetics to date monastic set in Greece. From the historical evidence suggests that the monasteries of Meteora were thirty in total. From these thirty monasteries six are in operation today and receive many pilgrims. But there are many smaller monasteries abandoned. Most of them were founded in the 14th century. In the 14th century, Saint Athanasios the Meteorite, set up the first organized monastic priory with regulations and organized according to typical organized monasteries of Mount Athos. Meteora was named by Saint Athanasius of Meteora Monastery of the Great Meteoro. Since then over to Sacred Rocks they came and settled Monks and Nuns, who toil day and night work, fasting, vigil, not only for their own salvation and for the salvation of all people with long prayers and supplications. The six visited monasteries of Meteora, is now restored and preserved for the most part their mural decoration. In 1989, Unesco inscribed Meteora in the list of World Heritage Monuments as a particularly important cultural and natural good.
Delphi – 103 km
At the foot of Mount Parnassos, within the angle formed by the twin rocks of the Phaedriades, lies the Pan-Hellenic sanctuary of Delphi, which had the most famous oracle of ancient Greece. Delphi was regarded as the centre of the world.
According to mythology, it is here that the two eagles sent out by Zeus from the ends of the universe to find the navel of the world met. The sanctuary of Delphi, set within a most spectacular landscape, was for many centuries the cultural and religious centre and symbol of unity for the Hellenic world.
The history of Delphi begins in prehistory and in the myths of the ancient Greeks. In the beginning the site was sacred to Mother Earth and was guarded by the terrible serpent Python, who was later killed by Apollo. Apollo’s sanctuary was built here by Cretans who arrived at Kirrha, the port of Delphi, accompanied by the god in the form of a dolphin. This myth survived in plays presented during the various Delphic festivals, such as the Septerion, the Delphinia, the Thargelia, the Theophania and, of course. the famous Pythia, which celebrated the death of Python and comprised musical and athletic competitions.
Attractions in the area:
- The Archaeological Museum of Delphi
- The Archaeological Site of Delphi
- The Museum of Delphic Festivals Sikelianou
Thermopylae – 28,8 km
The historic site of Thermopyles is a mountain pass between north and south Greece. The area has taken its name from the nearby hot water springs. The pass leads from Locrida to Thessaly, between Mount Iti and the Maliakos Gulf.
At the time of King Leonidas, when the battle of Thermopyles took place (480 B.C.), the pass was a narrow path of approximately 12 meters width, running between the foot of the mountain and the sea. Today it reaches from 1.5 to 3 kilometers wide, due to sediment deposition at the mouth of the river Sperchios.
On the former battlefield, lies the tomb of Leonidas and the 300 Spartans and right next to it is the memorial to the 700 Thespians who also fought in the battle.
In the area of Thermopyles operates the innovative museum. In the approximately 850 m2 of the Museum, with the use of modern digital technology, visitors can be informed by specialized people for the battle, for the period of the battle and the lasting impact on humanity of that great historical event.
There are special programs for children, students and adults.
Mendenitsa – 25 km
The picturesque village of Mendenitsa is buried in the green landscape of Mount Kallidromos, with an amazing view and a special cultural character.Its medieval castle is one of the most important and best preserved of its kind. It was built on the remains of the anchient fortifications of the city during the Frankish occupation. The castle offers a panoramic view of the Malian Gulf and the northern Euboic Gulf.
In the historical settlement of Mendenitsa, one can visit the Museum of Folklore and the Historical Exhibit. Concerts of Greek music, theatre and poetry performances and othercultural and traditional events are frequently held in Mendenitsa, as well as exhibitions of table wine, ceramics and paintings.
Exactly below the verdurous Mountain Knimis on the Southeastern tip of the Gulf of Maliakos, the Municipality of Kamena Vourla sprawls in a stately manner. It combines the sea with regulated and unregulated beaches, mountains, hot springs, sports, entertainment and easy access to “Strongili” Island and the Lihadonisia.
History – Monuments – Sights
According to Homer, Kamena Vourla and Kenourgio are built on the site of the ancient town Thronio, while Renginio is built on the site of ancient Tarfi (native town of the Locrean hero, Aeas). Present day towns have been built near the streams of the Voagrios River, as was also the case in ancient years. The healing water of the hot springs which contributes to the development of Kamena Vourla comes from the heart of Knimida, which lies very close to the bath town.
Gastronomy – Entertainment
In Kamena Vourla, the visitor can savour delicious fish from the area at the numerous picturesque tavernas along the coast right next to the sea and other cooked delicacies and local dishes at the various restaurants of the region. Visitors of all ages can enjoy a cup of coffee or other beverages, ice-cream or delicious local sweets at a multitude of cafe bars and sweet shops. Strolling along the promenade is delightful in the afternoon and the evening when the promenade is humming with activity. Rich vegetation lends the area vivid colours with olive-trees, pine-trees, poplars, oak-trees, willows and plane-trees. Both its climate and its hot springs, as well as the combination of mountainous and seaside surroundings make the area a place of attraction throughout the year.
Cultural and other events
Carnival festivities during Carnival time. Fairs on 27 July (Agios Panteleimonas Day) and 5 August (Sotiros Day). Cultural events and sports events in July including the crossing of Maliakos from Kamena Vourla to Rahes by swimmers.
Monastery of Metamorphosis Sotiros – 4km
The Holy Monastery of Metamorphosis Sotiros is located above the spa town of Kamena Vourla at an altitude of 330m in a beautiful natural environment. It has an enchanting trail at a distance of 4 Km. with a paved road and it is possible for someone to reach the Monastery for an outstanding experience.
In the western part of the mountain “Knimis” is the monastery, which was originally founded in the early 11th century and is characterized as the oldest in the area. The cathedral of the Holy Monastery has a three nave basilica and is painted with rare frescos of the 12th and 18th centuries. Large-scale stones have been used for masonry from buildings dating from the 5th or 4th century BC. century, while fragments of ancient columns that formed part of the temple of the goddess Artemis support the temple and other decorative marbles are found south of the cathedral.
During the Ottoman domination, the Monastery offered important and valuable services to Christians, revolutionary militants and, more generally, to the Homeland and the entire genus. According to intense local testimonies, a “secret school” was functioned in the Monastery and this is proved by the existence of the constructed small crypt above the narthex of the cathedral.
The monastery was maintained until 1833, the monastery and 4/5 of the monasteries of the Greek state were dissolved by the decision of the Protestant regiment of Otto. The relics, the sacred relics and the monastery’s property were scattered or broken.
According to the Patriarchal Sigillas, who were rescued and kept in the Monastery, and some oral traditions, the monastery covered the most part of the village Karia until the villages of Zeli and Arkitsa.
According with other buildings of the Monastery, the Tower, the today’s belfry, served as an observatory where a monk was always watching the Turkish movements. Furthermore, the Holy Chapel of the Monastery, Our Lady of Blachernon is located a few meters away from the monastery, where a large cross illuminates at night.
In about 1500 BC. the monastery, due to its wealth and revolutionary activity, became a target and was attacked by the sea from a Turkish official. This resulted in its cathedral collapse. In the old Turkish firman, who is preserved and kept in the monastery, the Turks themselves describe a paradoxical and miraculous fact, that on that day their boats were marbled and they were feared for the evil that they did, they gave thousands of rupees for the repair. The iron cannon from the Turkish fleet, is saved inside the temple.
The icon of the Virgin Mary, found in the Great Pilgrimage, is the only one which was saved during the Turkish occupation because of its black color, was cut in the middle and used by the priests as shelves until they discovered it.
In addition to written and oral traditions about the extensive rural, livestock and forest areas of the Monastery, there is further information on the large quantities of milk which was produced and the way it was transported to the monastery. For this reason, a pipeline was made of clay tubes, which was started at the top of the mountain and ended up in the Monastery.
The monastery worths a visit. The view from the balcony of the monastery to the Maliakos Gulf and the town of Kamena Vourla is unique for visual enjoyment and photography. The Monastery of Metamorphosis Sotiros is open all year round for both passing visitors and pilgrims.
The Monastery celebrates Divine Liturgy on August 5th and 6th with a veneer and rite of passage and honors its Saints on June 23th .