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Affordable Athens > Acropolis July 23, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Archaeology Greece, Greece Athens.
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The Acropolis
Dionyssiou Areopagitou street, Athens
Phone: 210 3214172 or 210 3210219
A survivor of war, the vagaries of religious change, and other hazards, the monumental Acropolis remains an emblem of the glories of classical Greek civilization.

Even in its bleached and silent state, the Parthenon, the great Panathenaic temple that crowns the Akropolis (to use the Greek spelling), the tablelike hill that represented the “upper city” of ancient Athens, has the power to stir the heart as few other ancient relics can.

Seeing it bathed in the sunlight of the south, or sublimely swathed in moonlight, to which has been added the incandescent glow of the spirit that seems to emanate from Greek art itself, has caused more than a few people to marvel at the continuing vitality of this monument of ageless intellect.

Well, not completely ageless: foundations for a grand new temple honoring the city’s patron, the goddess Athena, were laid after the victory at Marathon in 490 BC but were destroyed by Persians in 480-79 BC. After a 30-year building moratorium, ended by the peace treaty at Susa in 448 BC, Pericles undertook the ambitious project of reconstructing it on a monumental scale.

This extraordinary Athenian general is an enigmatic figure, considered by some scholars to be the brilliant architect of the destiny of Greece at its height and by others a megalomaniac who bankrupted the coffers of an empire and an elitist who catered to the privileged few at the expense of the masses.

The appearance of the buildings that composed the major portion of the Acropolis remained largely unaltered until AD 52, when the Roman emperor Claudius embellished its entrance with a flamboyant staircase. In the 2nd century Hadrian had his turn at decorating many of the shrines, and in 529 Justinian closed the philosophical schools in the city, emphasizing the defensive character of the citadel and changing the temples into Christian churches.

You enter through the Beulé Gate, a late Roman structure named for the French archaeologist Ernest Beulé, who discovered it in 1852. Made of marble fragments from the destroyed monument of Nikias on the south slope of the Acropolis, it has an inscription above the lintel dated 320 BC, dedicated by “Nikias son of Nikodemos of Xypete,” who had apparently won a musical competition.

Before Roman times, the entrance to the Acropolis was a steep processional ramp below the Temple of Athena Nike. This Sacred Way was used every fourth year for the Panathenaic Procession, a spectacle that ended the festival celebrating Athena’s remarkable birth (she sprang from the head of her father, Zeus); events included chariot races, athletic and musical competitions, and poetry recitals. Toward the end of July, all strata of Athenian society gathered at the Dipylon Gate of Kerameikos and followed a sacred ship wheeled up to the summit. The ship was anchored at the rocky outcrop below Areopagus, northwest of the Acropolis.

The Propylaea is a typical ancient gate, an imposing structure designed to instill proper reverence in worshipers as they crossed from the temporal world into the spiritual world of the sanctuary, for this was to be the main function of the Acropolis. Conceived by Pericles, the Propylaea was the masterwork of the architect Mnesicles. It was to have been the grandest secular building in Greece, the same size as the Parthenon. Construction was suspended during the Peloponnesian War, and it was never finished.

The Propylaea was used as a garrison during the Turkish period; in 1656, a powder magazine there was struck by lightning, causing much damage; and the Propylaea was again damaged during the Venetian siege under Morosini in 1687.

The Propylaea shows the first use of both Doric and Ionic columns together, a style that can be called Attic. Six of the sturdier fluted Doric columns, made from Pendelic marble, correspond with the gateways of the portal. Processions with priests, chariots, and sacrificial animals entered via a marble ramp in the center (now protected by a wooden stairway), while ordinary visitors on foot entered via the side doors.

The slender Ionic columns (two-thirds the diameter of the Doric) had elegant capitals, some of which have been restored, along with a section of the famed paneled ceiling, originally decorated with gold eight-pointed stars on a blue background.

The well-preserved north wing housed the Pinakotheke, or art gallery, specializing in paintings of scenes from Homer’s epics and mythological tableaux on wooden plaques. Connected to it was a lounge with 17 couches arranged around the walls so that weary visitors could enjoy a siesta. The south wing was a decorative portico (row of columns).

The view from the inner porch of the Propylaea is stunning: the Parthenon is suddenly revealed in its full glory, framed by the columns. The 2nd-century traveler Pausanias referred to the Temple of Athena Nike as the Temple of Nike Apteros, or Wingless Victory, for “in Athens they believe Victory will stay forever because she has no wings”. Designed by Kallikrates, the mini-temple was built in 427-24 BC to celebrate peace with Persia, with four Ionic columns at each portico end.

It was from this temple’s platform that, according to Pausanias, the distraught King Aegeus flung himself into the sea, no mean achievement considering the 10-km (6-mi) distance, which was then named after him. His son, Theseus, had forgotten to hoist the white sails proclaiming his slaying of the Minotaur, and on seeing the black sails, the aggrieved father committed suicide.

The bas-reliefs on the surrounding parapet depicting the Victories leading heifers to be sacrificed must have been of exceptional quality, judging from the portion called “Nike Unfastening Her Sandal” in the Acropolis Museum. The best sections of the temple’s frieze, which includes the Battle of Plataia with Greeks fighting the Persians, were whisked away to the British Museum two centuries ago and replaced with cement copies.

In 1998 Greek archaeologists began the arduous task of dismantling the entire temple for conservation. The marble is being laser-cleaned to remove generations of soot; when the cleaning is finished, which conservationists say may be sometime in early 2007, the temple will be rebuilt on its original site. The temple’s sculpted reliefs, on display in the Acropolis Museum, are scheduled to be moved to the New Acropolis Museum when it opens.

At the loftiest point of the Acropolis is the Parthenon, the architectural masterpiece conceived by Pericles and executed between 447 and 438 BC by the brilliant sculptor Pheidias, who supervised the architects Iktinos and Kallikrates in its construction. Although dedicated to the goddess Athena (the name Parthenon comes from the Athena Parthenos, or the virgin Athena) and inaugurated at the Panathenaic Festival of 438 BC, the Parthenon was primarily the treasury of the Delian League. For the populace, the Erechtheion, not the Parthenon, remained Athena’s sanctified holy place.

One of the Parthenon’s features, or “refinements,” is the way it uses meiosis (tapering of columns) and entasis (a slight swelling so that the column can hold the weight of the entablature), thus deviating from strict mathematics and breathing movement into the rigid marble. Architects knew that a straight line looks curved and vice versa, so they built the temple with all the horizontal lines somewhat curved. The columns, it has been calculated, lean toward the center of the temple; if they were to continue into space, they would eventually converge to create a huge pyramid. Though the structure of the Parthenon is of marble, the inner ceilings and doors were made of wood. The original building was ornate, covered with a tile roof, decorated with statuary and marble friezes, and so brightly painted that the people protested, “We are gilding and adorning our city like a wanton woman” (Plutarch).

Pheidias himself may have sculpted some of the exquisite, brightly painted metopes, but most were done by other artists under his guidance. The only ones remaining in situ show scenes of battle: Athenians versus Amazons, and gods and goddesses against giants. One of the most evocative friezes, depicting the procession of the Panathenaia, was 524 feet long, an extraordinary parade of 400 people, including maidens, magistrates, horsemen, and musicians, and 200 animals. To show ordinary mortals, at a time when almost all sculpture was of mythological or battle scenes, was lively and daring. About 50 of the best-preserved pieces, called the Parthenon Marbles by the Greeks, but known as the Elgin Marbles by almost everyone else, are in the British Museum in London; a few others can be seen in the Acropolis Museum.

In the first decade of the 19th century, during the time of the Ottoman Empire, Lord Elgin, British ambassador in Constantinople, was given permission by the Sultan Selim III to remove stones with inscriptions from the Acropolis; he took this as permission to dismantle shiploads of sculptures and he stolen loads of them including the Caryatides statues. The removal remains a controversial issue to this day: on one side, many argue that the marbles would have been destroyed if left on site; on the other side, a spirited long-term campaign (which has used the Olympics to help draw attention to the issue) aims to have them returned to Greece, to be appreciated in their original context.

The New Acropolis Museum being built at the foot of the monument is adding more pull to the Greek position. The museum is being built with a special room for the marbles, in which they would be laid out in their original order; it will also have glass walls through which the temple the marbles once adorned will be clearly visible, The Greeks says the new museum will both display the marbles in the treasures in historical context and protect them from the elements.

Pheidias’s most awesome contribution to the Parthenon was the 39-foot-high statue of Athena that stood in the inner chamber of the sanctuary. It was made on a wooden frame, with ivory for the flesh and more than a ton of gold for the ankle-length tunic, helmet, spear, and shield. The alleged theft of some of this gold (some say the ivory) was the basis of charges against Pheidias, who is said to have cleared his name by removing it from the statue and having the statue weighed to prove it all was there.

After the Christian emperor Thesodosius II closed all pagan sanctuaries in AD 435, the statue seems to have disappeared. The Parthenon was later converted into a church, but the basic structure remained intact until the Venetian siege of Athens in the 17th century, when Morosini’s artillery hit a powder magazine, causing a fire that burned for two days. Many of the 46 columns were destroyed, along with the roof and most of the interior.

If the Parthenon is the masterpiece of Doric architecture, the Erechtheion is undoubtedly that of the more graceful Ionic order. A considerably smaller structure than the Parthenon, it outmatches all other buildings of the Greco-Roman world for sheer elegance and refinement of design and execution. More than any other ancient monument, this temple has its roots in the legendary origins of Athens. Here it was that the contest between Poseidon and Athena took place for the possession of the city. On this spot, the sea god dramatically plunged his trident into the rock next to the Erechtheion and produced a spring of water; Athena more prudently created an olive tree, the main staple of Greek society. The panel of judges declared her the winner, and the city was named Athena. A gnarled olive tree outside the west wall was planted where Athena’s once grew, and marks said to be from Poseidon’s trident can be seen on a rock wedged in a hole near the north porch. His gift should not be slighted, however, for the continual springs of the Acropolis have made habitation possible from earliest times, as well as the watering of the olive trees.

Completed in 406 BC, the Erechtheion was actually divided into two Ionic sanctuaries. The eastern one contained an olive-wood statue of Athena Pallas, protector of the city, as well as the gold lamp that burned always, so large it was filled with fuel just once a year. The western part of the Erechtheion was dedicated to Poseidon-Erechtheus.

The most endearing feature of the Erechtheion, which has undergone extensive repair, is the south portico, facing the Parthenon, known as the Caryatid Porch. It is supported on the heads of six strapping but shapely maidens (Caryatids) wearing delicately draped Ionian garments, their folds perfectly aligned to resemble flutes on columns (what you see today are copies; except for the caryatid dismantled by Lord Elgin, now in the British Museum, the originals were removed in 1977 to the Acropolis Museum to protect them from erosion caused by air pollution).

What’s the significance of the name Caryatid? One theory claims that the Athenians, to punish the people of Caryae in Laconia for collaborating with the Persians, seized the women of Caryae, or Caryatids, and made them Athenian slaves. Because they were stunningly beautiful, the name came to be used for any attractive woman, including the maidens on the temple.

Such is the beauty of the Acropolis and the grandeur of the setting that a visit in all weathers and at all hours is rewarding. A moonlight visit, sometimes scheduled by the authorities during the full-moon period in summer, is generally the most romantic. In winter, if there are clouds trailing across the mountains, and shafts of sun lighting up the marble columns, which glisten with added brilliance after rain or a thunderstorm, the setting takes on an even more dramatic quality. In summer the heat is blistering at noontime, and the reflection of the light thrown back by the rock and the marble ruins almost blinding, so morning and early afternoon are preferable. But the ideal (indeed, Platonic) time might be the two hours before sunset; it is then that the famous violet light can occasionally be seen spreading from the crest of Mt. Hymettus and gradually embracing the Acropolis in all its radiance, a reminder that Athens was once called “the violet-crowned” by the ancients. After dark, of course, the Acropolis is spectacularly floodlighted, visible from many parts of the capital.

When visiting the Acropolis, wear rubber-soled shoes, the walkways are slippery and steep. The monument is also accessible to people with disabilities, authorities builded an elevator to the top of the site. The elevator was opened in summer 2004, when Athens hosted the Olympic Games. Bring plenty of water; you’ll need it. Don’t forget to ask the ticket-takers for a copy of the free English-language guide to the site. It’s packed with useful information.

The 12 euro ticket to the Acropolis gives the holder free admission to all sites on the Unification of Archaeological Sites walkway for a week. These include the Ancient Agora, Roman Agora, Temple of Olympian Zeus, Keramaikos, and Theater of Dionysus; you can buy this combined ticket at any of the sites.

Take a taxi or Bus 230 to Dionyssiou Areopagitou street, which winds around the Acropolis to its entrance at the Beulé Gate. But the best way is to use the Athens Metro, the nearest station is called “Acropolis”!

For additional information > www.culture.gr.

Cost: Joint ticket for Acropolis and Acropolis Museum 12 euro; ticket includes admission to all other sites on Unification of Archaeological Sites walkway for up to a week. Open: Apr.-Oct., daily 8-sunset; Nov.-Mar., daily 8-2:30.


Affordable Athens > Ancient Agora July 23, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Archaeology Greece, Greece Athens.
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Ancient Agora, Monastiraki, Athens
Three entrances: from Monastiraki on Adrianou street; from Thission on Apostolou Pavlou street; and descending from Acropolis on Ayioi Apostoloi church.
Phone: 210 3210185
This marketplace was the hub of ancient Athenian life. Besides administrative buildings, it was surrounded by the schools, theaters, workshops, houses, stores, and market stalls of a thriving town. Look for markers indicating the circular Tholos, the seat of Athenian government; the Mitroon, shrine to Rhea, the mother of gods, and the state archives and registry office (“mitroon” is still used today to mean registry); the Voulefterion, where the Council met; the Monument of Eponymous Heroes, the Agora’s information center where announcements such as the list of military recruits were hung; and the Sanctuary of the Twelve Gods, a shelter for refugees and the point from which all distances were measured.

Prominent on the grounds is the Stoa of Attalos II, a two-story building that holds the Museum of Agora Excavations. It was designed as a retail complex and erected in the 2nd century BC by Attalos, a king of Pergamum. The reconstruction in 1953-56 (funded by private American donors) used Pendelic marble and creamy limestone from the original structure. The colonnade, designed for promenades, is protected from the blistering sun and cooled by breezes.

The most notable sculptures, of historical and mythological figures from the 3rd and 4th centuries BC, are at ground level outside the museum. In the exhibition hall, chronological displays of pottery and objects from everyday life (note the child’s terra-cotta potty) demonstrate the settlement of the area from Neolithic times. There are such toys as knucklebones, and miniature theatrical masks carved from bone (Case 50); a klepsydra (a terra-cotta water clock designed to measure the time allowed for pleadings in court), and bronze voting discs (Cases 26-28); and, in Case 38, bits of ostraka (pottery shards used in secret ballots to recommend banishment), from which the word “ostracism” comes.

Among the famous candidates for a 10-year banishment, considered a fate worse than death, were Themistocles, Kimon, and even Pericles, who had his fair share of enemies.Take a walk around the site and speculate on the location of Simon the Cobbler’s house and shop, which was a meeting place for Socrates and his pupils.

The carefully landscaped grounds display a number of plants known in antiquity, such as almond, myrtle, and pomegranate. By standing in the center, you have a glorious view up to the Acropolis, which on a clear day is given a mellow glow by the famous Attic light.

Ayioi Apostoloi is the only one of the Agora’s nine churches to survive, saved because of its location and beauty. Inside, the dome and the altar sit on ancient capitals. Plans displayed in the narthex give an idea of the church’s thousand-year-old history.

On the low hill called Kolonos Agoraios in the Agora’s northwest corner stands the best-preserved extant Doric temple, the Hephaistion, sometimes called the Thission because of its friezes showing the exploits of Theseus. Like the other monuments, it is roped off, but you can walk around it to admire its 34 columns. It was originally dedicated to Hephaistos, god of metalworkers; metal workshops still exist in this area near Ifestou street. The temple was converted to Christian use in the 7th century; the last services held here were a Te Deum in 1834, to celebrate King Otho’s arrival, and a centenary Te Deum in 1934.

Behind the temple, paths cross the northwest slope past archaeological ruins half hidden in deep undergrowth. Here you can sit on a bench and contemplate the same scene that Englishman Edward Dodwell saw in the early 19th century, when he came to sketch antiquities.

For additional information > www.culture.gr.

Cost: 4 euro, free with a 12 euro Acropolis ticket. Open: May-Oct., daily 8-7; Nov.-Apr., daily 8-5; museum closes ½ hr before site.

Affordable Athens > the spots July 23, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Greece Athens.
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Taverna “O Platanos”
4 Diogenous street, Plaka, Athens
Phone: 210 3220666
Greek Cuisine, 8 to 15 euros

One of the oldest in Plaka. O Platanos remains a welcome sight compared with the many overpriced tourist traps in the area. The waiters are fast and the place is packed with Greeks. The shady courtyard is fine for outdoor dining. Don’t miss the oven-baked potatoes, roasted lamb, fresh green beans in savory olive oil, and the exceptionally cheap but delicious barrel retsina. No credit cards. Closed Sun.

Mt. Lycabettus, Kolonaki, Athens
15-minutes walk northeast of Syntagma Sq.; funicular every 10 mins from corner of Ploutarchou and Aristippou streets (take Minibus 060 from Kanaris street or Kolonaki Square, except Sun.)
Phone: 210 7227065
Myth claims that Athens’s highest hill came into existence when Athena removed a piece of Mt. Pendeli, intending to boost the height of her temple on the Acropolis. While she was en route, a crone brought her bad tidings, and the flustered goddess dropped the rock in the middle of the city. A steeply inclined teleferique (funicular) takes you to the summit, crowned by whitewashed Ayios Georgios chapel with a bell tower donated by Queen Olga. On the side of the hill, near the I Prasini Tenta café, a small shrine to Ayios Isidoros is built into a cave. In 1859 students prayed here for those fighting against the Austrians, French, and Sardinians with whom King Otho had allied.

From Mt. Lycabettus you can watch the sun set and then turn about to watch the moon rise over “violet-crowned” Hymettus as the lights of Athens blink on all over the city. Funicular at Aristippou and Ploutarchou streets (take Bus 060 from Kolonaki Square). Cost: Funicular 4 euro. Open: Funicular daily 9 AM-3 AM.

Affordable Athens July 23, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Greece Athens.
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Where to Eat Cheaply

Tavernas in Athens are like delis in New York, they’re everywhere, but just a handful offer delicious food at decent prices. O Platanos (Diogenous 4, Plaka, 210 3220666) serves a mouthwatering giouvetsi, lamb and pasta baked in a terra-cotta dish, in a quaint yet authentic Greek setting, at the foot of the Acropolis under a shady plane tree. Vegetarians can feast on the taverna’s assortment of platters ranging from yogurt and cucumber dip to beans soaked in a savory olive oil. A meal for two fetches around 25 euros. For haute fish cuisine, venture to Varoulko (80 Piraios street, 210 5228400). Some of tastiest dishes here are the cheapest. The unique seafood mousaka and glasses of house wine cost less than 40 euros for two. Reservations required. Closed Sunday.

Lodging for Under 100 Euros

Many of the new boutique hotels are in the gentrified downtown neighborhoods. Hotel Eridanus (78 Piraios street, 210 5205360; www.eridanus.gr), a five-story renovated neo-Classical house, offers great deals and breathtaking views of the Acropolis, with rooms sometimes available through agents for as low as 85 euros a night for a standard double, breakfast included. But with just 38 rooms, it has limited space. So book ahead.

Best Deal on a Cultural Event

With its melange of cross-cultural performances at the Odeon of Herodus Atticus, near the Acropolis, the Athens Festival is the Greek capital’s top cultural event. The festival kicks off in June; you can plan ahead with a sneak preview at www.hellenicfestival.gr. The cheapest tickets go for 18 euros, but be sure to bring binoculars and a cushion. Also, consult with the festival’s box office (210 9282900) for package deals that organizers hope to introduce this year.

Best Things to Do Free

Summer arrives with a frenzy of free events in Athens. Opera divas sing at the ancient Agora, crowds clamber up the Parthenon for midsummer strolls and dancers prance amid ancient ruins until 3 a.m. Check www.cultureguide.gr for a listing of these events,  which only take place on nights when there is a full moon. If your travel dates don’t coincide with the phases of the moon, then venture to Lycabettus Hill, the tallest spot in Athens, for a rewarding view of the city. No need to tote binoculars up the craggy 968-foot rock. They’re available at an observation deck, next to the idyllic 19th-century Chapel of St. George. Religious or not, it’s customary for visitors to light a candle, kiss or just glance at the stunning fresco of St. George slaying the dragon.

Best Money-Saving Tip

Don’t fall prey to money-gouging taxi drivers. Opt instead for a 10-euro transit pass that offers unlimited use of all forms of public transportation for up to a week. The pass can be bought at the Syntagma metro station, a gleaming mini museum worth visiting even if you decide to give public transportation a pass.

A Greek wedding and the life of a Greek priest in the US July 23, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Greek Diaspora.
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It was the biggest and fanciest wedding in the history of St. Sophia Hellenic Church, and the Rev. Constantine J. Simones was in his glory.

The Hempstead Street church was at its burnished best, and some guests stood in the aisles as the 74-year-old priest joined together Christina Lynn Wallace and Anastasios Vistas. Simones placed the rings on the third finger of the couple’s right hands, in the Greek way, and handed them lit candles to symbolize virtue, purity and Christ’s eternal life.

He then placed the marriage crowns on the couple’s heads, and the Koumbaros, or sponsor, interchanged the crowns three times to symbolize the self-sacrifice marriage requires.

In this article A Life Leading The Faithful In The Greek Community the life of father Constantine Simones and his path to the priesthood is described. Quoting just a couple of the details (so get on, read the rest!) >

The Greek Orthodox Church considers itself the original church founded by Jesus Christ, and that all other Christian churches derived from it. The word orthodox comes from the Greek orthos, meaning “straight,” and doxa, meaning “teaching.”

Unlike in the Roman Catholic Church, Greek Orthodox priests can marry, as long as they do so before they are ordained.

as it may be interesting for you to know some additional details about the Greek culture.

Karpathos: dramatic mountains, safe villages July 23, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Greece Islands Aegean.
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This Dodecanese island has embraced the package tourist trade but is still duly famous for its unique villages.

What a racket! It begins at the quay in Pigadhia, the main town on Karpathos from which you will, rightly, be trying to escape. While the old harbour front is not without charm, a mostly-unpleasant concrete fungus has since spread up the hill behind, partly to accommodate the package tour industry which Karpathos has welcomed enthusiastically (the island’s fine sandy beaches, mostly in the south, are lined with their accommodation).

Like any other visitor you will have been told you really have to go to the “traditional” village of Olympos which lies in the north. Since this is the second-largest island in the Dodecanese (49 kms long), the north is more than a bus stop away. In fact, the bus from Pigadhia does not even go there. A long section of the road north is unpaved and said by those in the car hire trade to be negotiable only by 4-wheel drive vehicles, though this may be a profitable exaggeration.

The point is that you will conclude the most pleasant, and the simplest, way to get from Pigadhia to Olympos must be by boat. That’s why you’re on the quay, preparing to weigh up your options. But you quickly discover that there is nothing to weigh. Just one excursion boat goes from Pigadhia to Olympos and its owner, a woman who always seems to wear (Olympos) black, is more than ready to welcome you – and everyone else – aboard.

From 8.00am the coaches pull up. Holiday reps guide their charges up the gangplank. Whatever deal the lady in black has done with the tour companies has doubtless been fixed long ago. But not so with people like you. You need a return ticket. “How much is it? ” She knows you have no choice so she is already scribbling out a voucher with, on this occasion, 20 euros at the bottom of it. That’s sounds steep, you think. And it’s surprising that there are no pre-printed tickets with prices on them. But if you want to get to Olympos, what can you do? At 8.30 am the Chrysovalantou sets out with about 150 people aboard. You can hear the cash tills applauding. (Chrysovalantou is the boat’s name).

It is a scenic journey. At first, there are clouds romping about on top of clifftops in a blue sky but the further north you get the more subdued the light becomes. The craggy Karpathian coastline bucks about in front of you. Hanging onto it are little white settlements, dark swathes of pine trees and isolated churches. Sometimes the road you did not take materialises for a moment before being thrown off again. By the time you reach Diafani – the small port connected by tarmac with Olympos – it is raining. (more…)

Chautauqua looks at Greek myths July 23, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Hellenic Light Americas.
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The Oregon Chautauqua series continues Tuesday with “Labyrinth and Thread” from 12:10 to 1 p.m. at the Corvallis-Benton County Public Library, 645 N.W. Monroe Ave.

Actor, writer and artistic director with the Classic Greek Theatre of Oregon, Keith Scales will introduce the often-eccentric characters in Greek myths. Greek myths are vivid, thrilling and profound, as are the surprising archaeological discoveries that proved many of those myths had a basis in historical fact.

Scales’ retellings of the murderous tale of Clytemnestra and the strange legend of the Cretan Minotaur illuminate the discoveries of the archaeologists, spies and adventurers who sought to reconcile the myths with their own interests.

The Chautauqua series is free, and participants can bring their lunches. Linn-Benton Community College’s Benton Center, the Corvallis-Benton County Public Library and Benton County Historical Museum sponsor the series, which is made possible by the Oregon Council for the Humanities, an affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Remaining talks in the series are “The Romantic Roots of Environmentalism” on August 1 and “Rivers That Were” on August 8.

For more information, call the Benton Center at 757-8944, or library at 766-6793.