Ancient Theater of Larissa: Feeling the history, living the present

ancient-theatre-of-larissa

  • Theme: Vis¬≠it¬≠ing the ancient the¬≠ater of Laris¬≠sa, one of the biggest ‚Äúsur¬≠viv¬≠ing‚ÄĚ ancient the¬≠aters world¬≠wide;
  • Place: City of Larissa,Regional Unit of Laris¬≠sa, Greece;
  • When: Octo¬≠ber to May;
  • Ser¬≠vices offered dur¬≠ing the itin¬≠er¬≠ary:
    • Mul¬≠ti¬≠lin¬≠gual trav¬≠el guides and ser¬≠vices can be arranged;
  • Tar¬≠get: Seniors who love his¬≠to¬≠ry and rel¬≠e¬≠vant sites, com¬≠bined with con¬≠tem¬≠po¬≠rary urban liv¬≠ing;
  • Dif¬≠fi¬≠cul¬≠ty: Easy;
  • Par¬≠tic¬≠u¬≠lar offers/services dur¬≠ing the itin¬≠er¬≠ary: 
    • Vis¬≠it¬≠ing the ancient the¬≠ater as well as City of Laris¬≠sa, sit¬≠u¬≠at¬≠ed in Cen¬≠tral Greece and close to Mete¬≠o¬≠ra and Olym¬≠pus Moun¬≠tain

Description

The mag¬≠nif¬≠i¬≠cent First Ancient The¬≠atre of Laris¬≠sa was con¬≠struct¬≠ed in the first half of the 3rd cen¬≠tu¬≠ry BC in the south¬≠ern foothills of the hill ‚ÄúFortress‚ÄĚ, where the ancient city‚Äôs for¬≠ti¬≠fied Acrop¬≠o¬≠lis stood. It was not more until the end of the 3rd cen¬≠tu¬≠ry or ear¬≠ly in the 4th cen¬≠tu¬≠ry AD that it exist¬≠ed. An earth¬≠quake in the late 2nd cen¬≠tu¬≠ry or ear¬≠ly in the 3rd cen¬≠tu¬≠ry AD destroyed the sec¬≠ond floor of the scene, the Doric entab¬≠la¬≠ture and a part of the tran¬≠scen¬≠dent epithe¬≠atre. Almost its total destruc¬≠tion was induced by a sec¬≠ond strong earth¬≠quake that occurred in 7th cen¬≠tu¬≠ry AD. The grand cov¬≠ered pas¬≠sage¬≠way has col¬≠lid¬≠ed behind the theatre‚Äôs scene and the retain¬≠ing walls have suf¬≠fered seri¬≠ous dam¬≠age.

On the hill of the Fortress, apart from the Ancient The¬≠atre, there was also the tem¬≠ple of Athena, the tem¬≠ples of Omoloos Zeus, of Zeus Thauliou, of Artemis Throsias, of Artemis Eilitheias, of Artemis Ven¬≠di¬≠dos (in the ancient the¬≠atre), of Her¬≠cules where the ori¬≠gin of Aleuadae (of Laris¬≠sa) derived from. Even clos¬≠er to the The¬≠atre the tem¬≠ple of Diony¬≠sus stood, known as Kar¬≠pios. All these tem¬≠ples con¬≠sti¬≠tute a great mon¬≠u¬≠men¬≠tal ensem¬≠ble, which is locat¬≠ed in the most attrac¬≠tive side of the citadel and the free mar¬≠ket, an inte¬≠gral part of which com¬≠posed the the¬≠atre itself. The best pre¬≠served part is the scene, con¬≠sist¬≠ing of four rooms com¬≠mu¬≠ni¬≠cat¬≠ing through three entrances, and built in three phas¬≠es. The first phase (first half of the third cen¬≠tu¬≠ry BC) coin¬≠cides with the con¬≠struc¬≠tion of the the¬≠atre: the walls were built with carved poros stones and were adorned with paint¬≠ings. The two lat¬≠er¬≠al rooms had inde¬≠pen¬≠dent entries from the south wall and were sim¬≠ply used for stor¬≠age, while the two inter¬≠nal rooms, com¬≠mu¬≠ni¬≠cat¬≠ing through inter¬≠nal doors, served for the prepa¬≠ra¬≠tion of actors (hypokrites). In the sec¬≠ond phase (first half of the sec¬≠ond cen¬≠tu¬≠ry BC), to the side of the orches¬≠tra was added the prosce¬≠ni¬≠um (front of stage) with a total length of 20m and width of 2m. It had six jambs and six mono¬≠lith¬≠ic engaged Doric columns in line, and a Doric entab¬≠la¬≠ture on its colon¬≠nade; the whole con¬≠struc¬≠tion was sup¬≠port¬≠ing a wood¬≠en tri¬≠bune called ‚Äúlogeio‚ÄĚ, where the actors per¬≠formed. Dur¬≠ing the third phase (ear¬≠ly first cen¬≠tu¬≠ry AD), the scene suf¬≠fered seri¬≠ous alter¬≠ation, also relat¬≠ed to the con¬≠ver¬≠sion of the the¬≠atre into an are¬≠na. At that time were added lux¬≠u¬≠ri¬≠ous mar¬≠ble over¬≠lays, engaged columns, pil¬≠lars and sculp¬≠tures, as well as a sec¬≠ond floor, but present evi¬≠dence about its form is sparse.

In this mon¬≠u¬≠ment, in addi¬≠tion to the the¬≠atri¬≠cal per¬≠for¬≠mances and reruns of clas¬≠sic plays, orig¬≠i¬≠nal plays of the New Com¬≠e¬≠dy of that era were also per¬≠formed. The the¬≠atre is still used by the munic¬≠i¬≠pal¬≠i¬≠ty as an out¬≠door place of church gath¬≠er¬≠ings, which in ancient Laris¬≠sa had the ancient name ‚ÄúAgo¬≠ra‚ÄĚ. Head of these gath¬≠er¬≠ings was the prime mover Sta¬≠gos. Fur¬≠ther¬≠more, the same mon¬≠u¬≠ment con¬≠sti¬≠tut¬≠ed a place of con¬≠ven¬≠tion for the rep¬≠re¬≠sen¬≠ta¬≠tives and del¬≠e¬≠gates of many oth¬≠er dif¬≠fer¬≠ent city-states that par¬≠tic¬≠i¬≠pat¬≠ed in the fed¬≠er¬≠a¬≠tion of the Thes¬≠salian cities at the pres¬≠ti¬≠gious Com¬≠mu¬≠ni¬≠ty of the Thes¬≠salians, hav¬≠ing Laris¬≠sa as their cap¬≠i¬≠tal.

Day 1

You can vis¬≠it The Munic¬≠i¬≠pal Art Gallery of Laris¬≠sa ‚ÄĒ G.I. Kat¬≠si¬≠gras Muse¬≠um, with a sig¬≠nif¬≠i¬≠cant art col¬≠lec¬≠tion and art work¬≠shops for chil¬≠dren, the Ethno¬≠graph¬≠i¬≠cal His¬≠tor¬≠i¬≠cal Muse¬≠um of Laris¬≠sa and the Archae¬≠o¬≠log¬≠i¬≠cal & Byzan¬≠tine Muse¬≠um of Laris¬≠sa. After¬≠wards you can walk through the city cen¬≠tre as Laris¬≠sa is a very youth¬≠ful and live city, with many caf√©s, restau¬≠rants and tav¬≠erns, sit¬≠u¬≠at¬≠ed by the most part in the pedes¬≠tri¬≠an cen¬≠tre, along with a very active com¬≠mer¬≠cial cen¬≠tre and in walk¬≠ing dis¬≠tance from many of the city‚Äôs his¬≠toric mon¬≠u¬≠ments

Day 2

You can vis¬≠it the mag¬≠nif¬≠i¬≠cent First Ancient The¬≠atre of Laris¬≠sa which was con¬≠struct¬≠ed in the first half of the 3rd cen¬≠tu¬≠ry BC in the south¬≠ern foothills of the hill ‚ÄúFortress‚ÄĚ, where the ancient city‚Äôs for¬≠ti¬≠fied Acrop¬≠o¬≠lis stood. It was not more until the end of the 3rd cen¬≠tu¬≠ry or ear¬≠ly in the 4th cen¬≠tu¬≠ry AD that it exist¬≠ed. An earth¬≠quake in the late 2nd cen¬≠tu¬≠ry or ear¬≠ly in the 3rd cen¬≠tu¬≠ry AD destroyed the sec¬≠ond floor of the scene, the Doric entab¬≠la¬≠ture and a part of the tran¬≠scen¬≠dent epithe¬≠atre. Almost its total destruc¬≠tion was induced by a sec¬≠ond strong earth¬≠quake that occurred in 7th cen¬≠tu¬≠ry AD.

The grand cov­ered pas­sage­way has col­lid­ed behind the theatre’s scene and the retain­ing walls have suf­fered seri­ous dam­age.

On the hill of the Fortress, apart from the Ancient The­atre, there was also the tem­ple of Athena, the tem­ples of Omoloos Zeus, of Zeus Thauliou, of Artemis Throsias, of Artemis Eilitheias, of Artemis Ven­di­dos (in the ancient the­atre), of Her­cules where the ori­gin of Aleuadae (of Laris­sa) derived from. Even clos­er to the The­atre the tem­ple of Diony­sus stood, known as Kar­pios. All these tem­ples con­sti­tute a great mon­u­men­tal ensem­ble, which is locat­ed in the most attrac­tive side of the citadel and the free mar­ket, an inte­gral part of which com­posed the the­atre itself.

In this mon­u­ment, in addi­tion to the the­atri­cal per­for­mances and reruns of clas­sic plays, orig­i­nal plays of the New Com­e­dy of that era were also per­formed.

The the¬≠atre is still used by the munic¬≠i¬≠pal¬≠i¬≠ty as an out¬≠door place of church gath¬≠er¬≠ings, which in ancient Laris¬≠sa had the ancient name ‚ÄúAgo¬≠ra‚ÄĚ. Head of these gath¬≠er¬≠ings was the prime mover Sta¬≠gos. Fur¬≠ther¬≠more, the same mon¬≠u¬≠ment con¬≠sti¬≠tut¬≠ed a place of con¬≠ven¬≠tion for the rep¬≠re¬≠sen¬≠ta¬≠tives and del¬≠e¬≠gates of many oth¬≠er dif¬≠fer¬≠ent city-states that par¬≠tic¬≠i¬≠pat¬≠ed in the fed¬≠er¬≠a¬≠tion of the Thes¬≠salian cities at the pres¬≠ti¬≠gious Com¬≠mu¬≠ni¬≠ty of the Thes¬≠salians, hav¬≠ing Laris¬≠sa as their cap¬≠i¬≠tal.

Day 3

A vis¬≠it at Fortress Hill: This is the hill where the ancient Acrop¬≠o¬≠lis of Laris¬≠sa stood dur¬≠ing the clas¬≠si¬≠cal ages. Actu¬≠al¬≠ly this is the only hill in the city of Laris¬≠sa so it‚Äôs no sur¬≠prise it was always an impor¬≠tant spot. In some parts you can still see ancient ruins but also small parts of the byzan¬≠tine fortress that was built dur¬≠ing ear¬≠ly east¬≠ern roman empire. Don‚Äôt for¬≠get that the ancient greek the¬≠atre lies at the foothill but the hill was also a spot full of tem¬≠ples etc

You can actu­al­ly see mon­u­ments that date from ear­ly Chris­t­ian and byzan­tine eras (ear­ly Chris­t­ian basil­i­ca of Agios Achileios, ceme­tery from 11th cen­tu­ry) but also ottoman era.

Agios Achilleios is the cathe¬≠dral of Laris¬≠sa. Locat¬≠ed at the edge of Fortress Hill worth a vis¬≠it for the great view over Pineios riv¬≠er, of course the time I man¬≠aged to get up there was just after sun¬≠set so I could enjoy only the lights but still was nice

Agios Achilleios is the patron saint of the city and his tomb is housed inside the cathe­dral (the emper­or of Bul­gar­ia stole the relics of Achilleios in 330 and trans­ferred them to Pres­pa but they final­ly returned back in 1980!). He lived dur­ing the 3rd cen­tu­ry AD and became famous for destroyed pagan tem­ples and erect­ing church­es. He was one of the 318 per­sons present at the First Coun­cil of Nicaea where he defensed the ortho­dox church, Wikipedia describes the mir­a­cle that sup­posed to took place dur­ing the coun­cil against Airanism:

Tak¬≠ing up a stone, Achillius called to the Ari¬≠ans: ‚ÄėIf Christ is a crea¬≠ture of God, as you say, tell oil to flow from this stone.‚Äô The heretics kept silent, amazed at this demand by St. Achillius. Then the saint con¬≠tin¬≠ued: ‚ÄėAnd if the Son of God is equal to the Father¬≠Fa¬≠ther, as we believe, then let oil flow from this stone.‚Äô And oil flowed out, to the amaze¬≠ment of all.

Traditional village of Ampekalia: Being part of the nature!

g2

  • Theme: Vis¬≠it¬≠ing the tra¬≠di¬≠tion¬≠al vil¬≠lage that is sit¬≠u¬≠at¬≠ed on the north-west¬≠ern flank of Mount Ossa, renowned for the first coop¬≠er¬≠a¬≠tive in the world, found¬≠ed in 1778.
  • Place: Tra¬≠di¬≠tion¬≠al vil¬≠lage of Ampelakia,Regional Unit of Laris¬≠sa, Greece
  • When: Decem¬≠ber to April
  • Ser¬≠vices offered dur¬≠ing the itin¬≠er¬≠ary:
    • Mul¬≠ti¬≠lin¬≠gual trav¬≠el guides and ser¬≠vices can be arranged
  • Tar¬≠get: Seniors who love his¬≠to¬≠ry and rel¬≠e¬≠vant sites, com¬≠bined with tra¬≠di¬≠tion¬≠al vil¬≠lages up on moun¬≠tains
  • Dif¬≠fi¬≠cul¬≠ty: Medi¬≠um
  • Par¬≠tic¬≠u¬≠lar offers/services dur¬≠ing the itin¬≠er¬≠ary: 
    • Can be com¬≠bined with moun¬≠tain hik¬≠ing, cycling and/or climb¬≠ing:

Description

Sit­u­at­ed on the north-west­ern flank of Mount Ossa, renowned for the first coop­er­a­tive in the world, found­ed in 1778. The man­sion of George Schwarz is well worth a vis­it.

The trav¬≠el¬≠er who will feel the need to vis¬≠it the his¬≠tor¬≠i¬≠cal town of Ampelakia (named ‚ÄúThe Jew¬≠el of Thes¬≠saly‚ÄĚ), has to go up the well made road that starts from the Tempe Val¬≠ley. After just 5 kilo¬≠me¬≠ters is Ampelakia. As we get clos¬≠er to the town the man¬≠sion of George Mavros (Schwartz) stands out. There is an unsure knowl¬≠edge to exact¬≠ly when and who estab¬≠lished Ampelakia because there are no clear doc¬≠u¬≠ments that attest to this sub¬≠ject. The inscrip¬≠tions of church¬≠es and the rec¬≠ol¬≠lec¬≠tions of their litur¬≠gi¬≠cal ele¬≠ments are the most reli¬≠able records about its foun¬≠da¬≠tion.

The most pos¬≠si¬≠ble ver¬≠sion is that the name of the town comes from the fact that in the vil¬≠lage and in the area around it there were a lot of vine¬≠yards (‚ÄúAmbe¬≠lia‚ÄĚ in the Greek lan¬≠guage). Accord¬≠ing to a res¬≠cued reg¬≠is¬≠ter of the vine¬≠yards in the year 1899, we know that there were 700 own¬≠ers of vine¬≠yards who cul¬≠ti¬≠vat¬≠ed 1,100 acres (4.5 km2).

Ampelakia, is famous as the most impor­tant coop­er­a­tive orga­ni­za­tion in Greece from the end of the 18th and the begin­ning of the 19th cen­tu­ry. It is the first and most com­plete coop­er­a­tive orga­ni­za­tion which was formed in Turk­ish-dom­i­nat­ed area. The peo­ple of Ampelakia devel­oped the art of dye­ing and spin­ning in a great degree. They were pro­vid­ed the cot­ton they used main­ly from the val­ley of Tempe where it was grown sys­tem­at­i­cal­ly in large quan­ti­ties.

All the peo­ple of Ampelakia, men, women and chil­dren were share­hold­ers of that large coop­er­a­tive busi­ness. The landown­ers share in with their fields, the fund hold­ers with their mon­ey, the crafts­men and work­ers with their work. The Coop­er­a­tive had total­ly 24 work­shops: laun­dries, dyer’s shops, places where they elab­o­rat­ed the scar­let red yarns, which were export­ed abroad.

So the abun¬≠dant mon¬≠ey, edu¬≠ca¬≠tion and con¬≠stant con¬≠tact with Europe made Ambe¬≠lakia look a mod¬≠ern beau¬≠ti¬≠ful Euro¬≠pean town and a lot of for¬≠eign trav¬≠el¬≠ers refer to it as a Dutch town. At the same peri¬≠od and because of the pros¬≠per¬≠i¬≠ty won¬≠der¬≠ful build¬≠ing ‚ÄĒ Man¬≠sions- were con¬≠struct¬≠ed. The peo¬≠ple of Ampelakia spoke flu¬≠ent¬≠ly Ger¬≠man, French, Eng¬≠lish and Ital¬≠ian. There was a the¬≠ater and a school of the kind of a col¬≠lege, the famous ‚ÄúElli¬≠nomou¬≠sion‚ÄĚ where since 1749 the most famous Greek schol¬≠ars and men of let¬≠ters taught like: Euge¬≠nious Voul¬≠garis, K.Koumas, Greg.Konstantas, G.Triantafylloy, Sp.Assanis, Poly¬≠zo¬≠nis G. Trikali¬≠nos and oth¬≠ers. After a writ¬≠ten promise com¬≠posed at Ambe¬≠lakia on the 2-2-1804 and which is in the pos¬≠ses¬≠sion of the Cul¬≠tur¬≠al Asso¬≠ci¬≠a¬≠tion of Ambe¬≠lakia, the peo¬≠ple of Ampelakia assist¬≠ed finan¬≠cial¬≠ly Anthe¬≠mos Gazis for the print¬≠ing of the ‚ÄúDic¬≠tio¬≠nary of the Greek Lan¬≠guage‚ÄĚ.

After the dis­so­lu­tion of the co-oper­a­tive, some of the peo­ple who remained at Ampelakia cul­ti­vat­ed vine­yards, some oth­ers occu­pied them­selves with cat­tle breed­ing or var­i­ous tem­po­rary jobs. Despite the trag­ic trad­ing decline, kind­ness, noble­ness, cul­ture and edu­ca­tion remained deep in the hearts of the peo­ple of Ampelakia. Even today they are char­ac­ter­ized by noble­ness, neat­ness, hos­pi­tal­i­ty and kind­ness. They also like enjoy­ing them­selves in feasts.

They keep up a lot of man¬≠ners and cus¬≠toms, which give evi¬≠dence of the cul¬≠ture, which flour¬≠ished in the past. Actu¬≠al¬≠ly, until today Ampelakia is one of the most notable towns in Thes¬≠saly. After the cen¬≠sus of 2001 the Munic¬≠i¬≠pal¬≠i¬≠ty of Ampelakia num¬≠bers 511 per¬≠ma¬≠nent res¬≠i¬≠dents. Its bib¬≠li¬≠og¬≠ra¬≠phy is rich and num¬≠bers about 360 edi¬≠tions till today.

Day 1

Vis¬≠it the folk¬≠lore muse¬≠um of Ampelakia and also the cen¬≠ter of Cul¬≠tur¬≠al Her¬≠itage. In addi¬≠tion you may vis¬≠it the man¬≠sion of George Swartz, pres¬≠i¬≠dent of the coop¬≠er¬≠a¬≠tives, built in 1798 at the entrance of the com¬≠mu¬≠ni¬≠ty.. The Geor¬≠gios Schwartz man¬≠sion is one of the most impor¬≠tant sec¬≠u¬≠lar build¬≠ings in Greece. It con¬≠sists of three floors. This man¬≠sion dates back to 1787 and has a rich dec¬≠o¬≠ra¬≠tion of paint¬≠ing and woodcut.The man¬≠sion has been used as the res¬≠i¬≠dence of the Pres¬≠i¬≠dent of the Coop¬≠er¬≠a¬≠tive of Ampelakia. The head¬≠quar¬≠ters of the Coop¬≠er¬≠a¬≠tive for the entire forty years of its oper¬≠a¬≠tion were here. In 1965 it was bought by the Greek State and then serves as a mon¬≠u¬≠ment. Typ¬≠i¬≠cal exam¬≠ple of tra¬≠di¬≠tion¬≠al archi¬≠tec¬≠ture of the 18th cen¬≠tu¬≠ry, the house has an L-shaped plan and con¬≠sists of a ground floor and two upper floors. At the first floor there is a recep¬≠tion hall, while in the sec¬≠ond there are the bed¬≠rooms and oth¬≠er facil¬≠i¬≠ties. Inside the man¬≠sion the most inter¬≠est¬≠ing dec¬≠o¬≠ra¬≠tions are the fres¬≠coes which cov¬≠er all areas over wood pan¬≠el¬≠ing. The wall paint¬≠ings con¬≠sist of small and large com¬≠po¬≠si¬≠tions with geo¬≠met¬≠ric and flo¬≠ral motifs and land¬≠scapes. Final¬≠ly, the beau¬≠ti¬≠ful stone nar¬≠row streets of the vil¬≠lage will get you back in time, at anoth¬≠er era

Day 2

Under¬≠neath Ampelakia lies Tem¬≠pi Val¬≠ley. The val¬≠ley of Tem¬≠pi is formed between Olym¬≠pus and Ossa (Kissavos) moun¬≠tain. Its length is 10 km and flows through the riv¬≠er Peneus, which pours into the Aegean Sea. őĎ canyon of 25 meters wide and about 500 meters alti¬≠tude is formed at the most nar¬≠row part of the val¬≠ley. The val¬≠ley of Tem¬≠pi geo¬≠graph¬≠i¬≠cal¬≠ly was an impor¬≠tant trade pas¬≠sage in ancient times con¬≠nect¬≠ing Thes¬≠saly and Mace¬≠do¬≠nia. From a geo¬≠log¬≠i¬≠cal point of view, the area con¬≠sists of car¬≠bon¬≠ate rocks, schis¬≠tose, ser¬≠pen¬≠tine and gneiss. It also exhibits lime¬≠stone-bear¬≠ing crags, gallery forests with Sal¬≠ix alba and Pop¬≠u¬≠lus alba, forests of Ori¬≠en¬≠tal planes (Pla¬≠tan¬≠ion ori¬≠en¬≠tal¬≠is) and forests with ever¬≠green oaks (Quer¬≠cus ilex). The area con¬≠tains forests of great aes¬≠thet¬≠ic and eco¬≠log¬≠i¬≠cal val¬≠ue. A large num¬≠ber of aquat¬≠ic birds and com¬≠mon species of fish inhab¬≠it the area. A Greek endem¬≠ic plant species can also be found in the area. Ide¬≠al for hik¬≠ing as the vis¬≠i¬≠tor can fol¬≠low a path, which takes us along and over the cliffs of the Tem¬≠bi Val¬≠ley and onto the Pin¬≠ios Riv¬≠er. This is a high cross¬≠ing of the val¬≠ley with stun¬≠ning views of the riv¬≠er down below and Mt. Kissavos, all the way along the trek. The famous church of Agia Paraske¬≠vi locat¬≠ed at the cen¬≠ter of the val¬≠ley was built at around 1910 by OSE(Hellenic Rail¬≠ways Organ¬≠i¬≠sa¬≠tion) and the financ¬≠ing of rail¬≠way employ¬≠ees. Beside the church is a small cave where is the orig¬≠i¬≠nal pil¬≠grim¬≠age, where at the end of the cave from a hole in the rock welling the sanc¬≠ti¬≠fi¬≠ca¬≠tion of Agia Paraske¬≠vi. The cave is so small that hard¬≠ly fits only one man.

Meteora: A glimpse of the divine

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  • Theme: Mete¬≠o¬≠ra is the biggest and most impor¬≠tant group of monas¬≠ter¬≠ies in Greece after those in Mount Athos. The gigan¬≠tic rocks of Mete¬≠o¬≠ra are perched above the town of Kalam¬≠ba¬≠ka, at a max¬≠i¬≠mum height of 400 m (1200 ft). The most inter¬≠est¬≠ing sum¬≠mits are dec¬≠o¬≠rat¬≠ed with his¬≠tor¬≠i¬≠cal monas¬≠ter¬≠ies, includ¬≠ed in the World Her¬≠itage List of Unesco
  • Place:City of Kalam¬≠ba¬≠ka, Region¬≠al Unit of Trikala, Greece
  • When: Octo¬≠ber to May
  • Ser¬≠vices offered dur¬≠ing the itin¬≠er¬≠ary:
    • Mul¬≠ti¬≠lin¬≠gual trav¬≠el guides and ser¬≠vices can be arranged
  • Tar¬≠get: A trip to Mete¬≠o¬≠ra offers the unique expe¬≠ri¬≠ence of nature‚Äôs grandeur in con¬≠junc¬≠tion with his¬≠to¬≠ry, archi¬≠tec¬≠ture and man‚Äôs ever¬≠last¬≠ing desire to con¬≠nect with the Divine. From the ear¬≠ly Chris¬≠t¬≠ian times, the Mete¬≠o¬≠ra ver¬≠ti¬≠cal cliffs were regard¬≠ed as the per¬≠fect place to achieve absolute iso¬≠la¬≠tion, to dis¬≠cov¬≠er peace and har¬≠mo¬≠ny and, thus, to sup¬≠port man‚Äôs eter¬≠nal strug¬≠gle for spir¬≠i¬≠tu¬≠al ele¬≠va¬≠tion.
  • Dif¬≠fi¬≠cul¬≠ty: Easy
  • Par¬≠tic¬≠u¬≠lar offers/services dur¬≠ing the itin¬≠er¬≠ary: 
    • Can be com¬≠bined with moun¬≠tain hik¬≠ing, cycling and/or climb¬≠ing

Description

Mete­o­ra is the biggest and most impor­tant group of monas­ter­ies in Greece after those in Mount Athos. The gigan­tic rocks of Mete­o­ra are perched above the town of Kalam­ba­ka, at a max­i­mum height of 400 m (1200 ft). The most inter­est­ing sum­mits are dec­o­rat­ed with his­tor­i­cal monas­ter­ies, includ­ed in the World Her­itage List of Unesco. Only 6 of them have made it through the cen­turies, from an ini­tial esti­mat­ed num­ber of 24. Most­ly dat­ing to the 14th and until the 16th cen­tu­ry, these monas­ter­ies were built by monks who were pre­vi­ous­ly her­mits in the area, liv­ing in indi­vid­ual caves. Once unit­ed, these monks took months and years to car­ry the con­struc­tion mate­r­i­al to the top of rocks, using ropes, fold­ing lad­ders, nets and bas­kets, and with much deter­mi­na­tion.

A trip to Mete­o­ra offers the unique expe­ri­ence of nature’s grandeur in con­junc­tion with his­to­ry, archi­tec­ture and man’s ever­last­ing desire to con­nect with the Divine. From the ear­ly Chris­t­ian times, the Mete­o­ra ver­ti­cal cliffs were regard­ed as the per­fect place to achieve absolute iso­la­tion, to dis­cov­er peace and har­mo­ny and, thus, to sup­port man’s eter­nal strug­gle for spir­i­tu­al ele­va­tion.

Mete¬≠o¬≠ra is a tru¬≠ly inspir¬≠ing and sen¬≠sa¬≠tion¬≠al set¬≠ting of over¬≠whelm¬≠ing rock for¬≠ma¬≠tions, but one must also be pre¬≠pared to expect that this trip is much more than mere¬≠ly vis¬≠it¬≠ing an exquis¬≠ite land¬≠scape. It is a pil¬≠grim¬≠age to a holy place for all Chris¬≠tians around the world. Mete¬≠o¬≠ra has become a preser¬≠va¬≠tion ark for the 2000-year-old Chris¬≠t¬≠ian Ortho¬≠dox creed.

Day 1

Take the train to Kalam­ba­ka in the morn­ing from the Athens Rail­way Sta­tion and enjoy a trip that will give you the chance to admire the beau­ty of the coun­try­side. An Eng­lish speak­ing dri­ver will be wait­ing you hold­ing a sign­board with your name on it and will trans­fer you to your hotel in Kalam­ba­ka. In the after­noon, meet your guide in order to vis­it unique places and sites around Mete­o­ra. You will see places out­side the beat­en path that only locals know and you will enjoy amaz­ing views while you learn the true his­to­ry and tra­di­tions of this aston­ish­ing place. You will also have the chance to vis­it the 1,000 years old Badovas her­mitages build inside caves and the old Byzan­tine church ded­i­cat­ed to Assump­tion of Vir­gin Mary in Kalam­pa­ka. And then, filled from the beau­ty, the his­to­ry and the cul­ture of this place the tour will take you to enjoy unique panoram­ic views and cap­ture one of the most amaz­ing sun­sets you could ever imag­ine.

Day 2

Next morn­ing, your guide will meet you in the hotel lob­by to vis­it two main monas­ter­ies of Mete­o­ra and dis­cov­er the nat­ur­al beau­ty and the cul­tur­al her­itage of this area. This half day morn­ing tour will take you back in the dark ages and the sto­ry of the first her­mits and monks who laid the foun­da­tions of what lat­er on became the monas­tic com­mu­ni­ty of Mete­o­ra.

Day 3

On Day 3 you will have all morn­ing at your dis­pos­al at the city of Kalam­pa­ka. Don’t miss out on the town’s old pic­turesque dis­trict, with nar­row cob­ble-stoned streets and tra­di­tion­al hous­es, some of them built right next to the rocks! Join a walk­ing tour of the old town with a local guide, to dis­cov­er the town’s unique beau­ty and his­to­ry!

Home-made sausages and top-qual¬≠i¬≠ty meat, cheese and yoghurt are high¬≠ly ranked in the gas¬≠tro¬≠nom¬≠i¬≠cal list of domes¬≠tic prod¬≠ucts. Don‚Äôt leave this region with¬≠out try¬≠ing a vari¬≠ety of home-made pies ‚Äď the local spe¬≠cial¬≠ty! Com¬≠bine your dish of pref¬≠er¬≠ence with a glass of house wine or a few tsipouro shots and‚Ķ if you sur¬≠vive all the above, why not taste the region¬≠al pud¬≠ding (spa¬≠toula) or some hal¬≠va for a sweet after¬≠taste?

Kalam¬≠pa¬≠ka has a long tra¬≠di¬≠tion in the pro¬≠duc¬≠tion of hand-made, wood-carved objects, but also in the mak¬≠ing of reli¬≠gious icons that are paint¬≠ed by domes¬≠tic artists. Some of the work¬≠shops are locat¬≠ed out¬≠side the town‚Äôs cen¬≠ter. Also, take a look at the local vari¬≠ety of embroi¬≠deries, the leather-san¬≠dals shops and the local sou¬≠venir shops.

Lake ‚ÄúPlastira‚ÄĚ: where human intervention meets natural prevention!

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  • Theme: Lake Pla¬≠s¬≠ti¬≠ra lies on the plateau of Nevropo¬≠lis, on the west¬≠ern part of the Pre¬≠fec¬≠ture of Kardit¬≠sa. It is an arti¬≠fi¬≠cial lake, cre¬≠at¬≠ed by human inter¬≠ven¬≠tion. It was formed in 1959, with the com¬≠ple¬≠tion of the dam at the south¬≠ern end of the Tavro¬≠pos or Meg¬≠dovas riv¬≠er. 
  • Place: Pla¬≠s¬≠ti¬≠ra Lake, Region¬≠al Unit of Kardit¬≠sa, Greece
  • When:
    • Octo¬≠ber to May
  • Ser¬≠vices offered dur¬≠ing the itin¬≠er¬≠ary:
    • Mul¬≠ti¬≠lin¬≠gual trav¬≠el guides and ser¬≠vices can be arranged
  • Tar¬≠get: In recent years, the lake has been devel¬≠oped as a tourist des¬≠ti¬≠na¬≠tion and it attracts more and more vis¬≠i¬≠tors, who enjoy the beau¬≠ty of the land¬≠scape and the excel¬≠lent tourism infra¬≠struc¬≠ture devel¬≠oped main¬≠ly along the west¬≠ern banks. Perched on the lake‚Äôs banks are guest¬≠hous¬≠es and hotels for every bud¬≠get, offer¬≠ing  panoram¬≠ic lake views, as well as excel¬≠lent restau¬≠rants and cafes; togeth¬≠er with numer¬≠ous oppor¬≠tu¬≠ni¬≠ties for activ¬≠i¬≠ties, the region meets the expec¬≠ta¬≠tions of even the most demand¬≠ing vis¬≠i¬≠tor. This form of devel¬≠op¬≠ment helps keep the region‚Äôs pop¬≠u¬≠la¬≠tion intact and enables the estab¬≠lish¬≠ment of new activ¬≠i¬≠ties, focused main¬≠ly on mild forms of alter¬≠na¬≠tive tourism and on the growth and dis¬≠tri¬≠b¬≠u¬≠tion of local agri¬≠cul¬≠tur¬≠al prod¬≠ucts.
  • Dif¬≠fi¬≠cul¬≠ty: Medi¬≠um
  • Par¬≠tic¬≠u¬≠lar offers/services dur¬≠ing the itin¬≠er¬≠ary: 
    • Can be com¬≠bined with hik¬≠ing and cycling

Description

Lake Pla­s­ti­ra lies on the plateau of Nevropo­lis, on the west­ern part of the Pre­fec­ture of Kardit­sa. It is an arti­fi­cial lake, cre­at­ed by human inter­ven­tion. It was formed in 1959, with the com­ple­tion of the dam at the south­ern end of the Tavro­pos or Meg­dovas riv­er. The idea for its cre­ation is cred­it­ed to Niko­laos Pla­s­ti­ras and the lake bears his name since, from when he first con­ceived of the project until his death, he zeal­ous­ly advo­cat­ed for it. The dam is man­aged by the Greek Nation­al Pow­er Com­pa­ny.

The depth of the lake varies, as it is deter­mined by the orig­i­nal land­scape of the area before it was flood­ed. It con­tains 400 mil­lion cubic meters of water, has a max­i­mum length of 12 kilo­me­ters, a width of 4 kilo­me­ters, and an over­all sur­face of 24 square kilo­me­ters. The max­i­mum depth is 60 meters and the max­i­mum ele­va­tion is 750 meters.

This is one of the rare occa­sions where human inter­ven­tion led to the shap­ing of a nat­ur­al envi­ron­ment of incom­pa­ra­ble beau­ty, which has estab­lished the lake as one of the most renowned tourist des­ti­na­tions. Snow­capped or in full bloom, in the fall or in spring, Lake Pla­s­ti­ra offers images of rare beau­ty through a col­lage of var­ied land­scapes, col­ors and sen­sa­tions.

This unde­ni­ably grand project pro­vid­ed new impe­tus for growth and devel­op­ment to the entire area around it; it changed the region for­ev­er, cre­at­ing unique ben­e­fits. The waters of the lake pow­er the hydro­elec­tric sta­tion, irri­gate the plain of Thes­saly, and pro­vide water to the city of Kardit­sa and to 38 towns and vil­lages in the Pre­fec­ture.

In recent years, the lake has been devel¬≠oped as a tourist des¬≠ti¬≠na¬≠tion and it attracts more and more vis¬≠i¬≠tors, who enjoy the beau¬≠ty of the land¬≠scape and the excel¬≠lent tourism infra¬≠struc¬≠ture devel¬≠oped main¬≠ly along the west¬≠ern banks. Perched on the lake‚Äôs banks are guest¬≠hous¬≠es and hotels for every bud¬≠get, offer¬≠ing  panoram¬≠ic lake views, as well as excel¬≠lent restau¬≠rants and cafes; togeth¬≠er with numer¬≠ous oppor¬≠tu¬≠ni¬≠ties for activ¬≠i¬≠ties, the region meets the expec¬≠ta¬≠tions of even the most demand¬≠ing vis¬≠i¬≠tor. This form of devel¬≠op¬≠ment helps keep the region‚Äôs pop¬≠u¬≠la¬≠tion intact and enables the estab¬≠lish¬≠ment of new activ¬≠i¬≠ties, focused main¬≠ly on mild forms of alter¬≠na¬≠tive tourism and on the growth and dis¬≠tri¬≠b¬≠u¬≠tion of local agri¬≠cul¬≠tur¬≠al prod¬≠ucts.

The whole region is equal¬≠ly ide¬≠al for rest and relax¬≠ation thanks to idyl¬≠lic nature walks and fab¬≠u¬≠lous nat¬≠ur¬≠al spa: the cura¬≠tive effects of the Smoko¬≠vo springs, which date back to 1662, com¬≠bine sul¬≠fur and alka¬≠line prop¬≠er¬≠ties with water tem¬≠per¬≠a¬≠tures between 29‚Äď40 degrees Centi¬≠grade. Nature-wise, cedar forests, chest¬≠nut forests, ven¬≠er¬≠a¬≠ble oak trees, abun¬≠dant plane trees and a plen¬≠i¬≠tude of beau¬≠ti¬≠ful fir trees will cap¬≠ti¬≠vate you, offer¬≠ing a very dif¬≠fer¬≠ent land¬≠scape from the olive groves and pine forests of oth¬≠er parts of Greece. The peo¬≠ple in this region are friend¬≠ly and wel¬≠com¬≠ing, backed by their hearty foods, good wine, strong spir¬≠its (e.g. local tsipouro) and a laid-back life. Even the region‚Äôs cap¬≠i¬≠tal, the city of Kardit¬≠sa itself, is bik¬≠er-friend¬≠ly and relax¬≠ing. Once in Down¬≠town Kardit¬≠sa, you must stop for a cof¬≠fee in the cen¬≠tral Paf¬≠silipo park with its many free-roam¬≠ing pea¬≠cocks, then stroll through the Munic¬≠i¬≠pal Art Gallery to admire the work of pow¬≠er¬≠ful local painters, not to men¬≠tion the Munic¬≠i¬≠pal Folk Muse¬≠um and church of Zoodohos Pigi Kam¬≠i¬≠nadon. But don‚Äôt stay in the city too long as there‚Äôs lots to see in the out¬≠ly¬≠ing regions. One inter¬≠est¬≠ing vil¬≠lage only 12 km from Kardit¬≠sa and declared a pro¬≠tect¬≠ed his¬≠toric site is Agios Gior¬≠gios, fea¬≠tur¬≠ing stone-built man¬≠sions, nar¬≠row roads, two stone bridges in the vicin¬≠i¬≠ty and a his¬≠toric water¬≠mill. The Fanou¬≠ri¬≠ou Cas¬≠tle, con¬≠sid¬≠er¬≠ing a mag¬≠nif¬≠i¬≠cent Byzan¬≠tine spec¬≠i¬≠men, lies at the foot of Agrafa and over¬≠looks the plain of Thes¬≠salia. Two oth¬≠er-world¬≠ly monas¬≠ter¬≠ies must also be part of your vis¬≠it, those of Pana¬≠gias Peleki¬≠tis and of Koro¬≠nis near Pla¬≠s¬≠ti¬≠ra lake (just call ahead to enquire about open¬≠ing days). Oth¬≠er monas¬≠ter¬≠ies such as the Spilias Monastery in Argithea and the Assump¬≠tion of Vir¬≠gin Mary at Renti¬≠na also stand wit¬≠ness to the area‚Äôs impor¬≠tance in his¬≠to¬≠ry. Lake Pla¬≠s¬≠ti¬≠ras might be an arti¬≠fi¬≠cial lake offi¬≠cial¬≠ly, but there‚Äôs noth¬≠ing arti¬≠fi¬≠cial about the fau¬≠na and flo¬≠ra that sur¬≠round it, the biotope it cre¬≠at¬≠ed and the well¬≠be¬≠ing that it brought to the peo¬≠ple of the region in numer¬≠ous ways. The dam area is impres¬≠sive to walk through, before dri¬≠ving on to the seclud¬≠ed vil¬≠lages. Check out the view of the lake from the vil¬≠lage of Neo¬≠chori, vis¬≠it the sim¬≠ple vil¬≠lage of Agios Geor¬≠gios, the fir-drenched vil¬≠lage of Nerai¬≠da, the muse¬≠um of Por¬≠tit¬≠sa and the Petras Monastery near Katafy¬≠gio. The choic¬≠es for dis¬≠cov¬≠er¬≠ing the enchant¬≠ment of rur¬≠al life in this part of Greece are end¬≠less.

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Stop by any friend¬≠ly tav¬≠er¬≠na in the vil¬≠lage squares to sam¬≠ple the hearty local cui¬≠sine. For tru¬≠ly his¬≠toric com¬≠mu¬≠ni¬≠ties, head to Kana¬≠lia, where the stone-built archi¬≠tec¬≠ture hints of Epirus, then stop by its folk¬≠lore muse¬≠um, before mov¬≠ing on to Fanari or Agrafa whose build¬≠ings also reflect the archi¬≠tec¬≠ture of near¬≠by Epirus ‚Äď an area known for its stone¬≠ma¬≠sons. Oth¬≠er tra¬≠di¬≠tion¬≠al com¬≠mu¬≠ni¬≠ties include the hill¬≠side vil¬≠lage of Hel¬≠lon¬≠pyr¬≠gos and the beau¬≠ti¬≠ful¬≠ly forest¬≠ed Helli¬≠nokas¬≠tro. The agri¬≠cul¬≠tur¬≠al and com¬≠mer¬≠cial cen¬≠tre of the Argithea region is Mouza¬≠ki, com¬≠plete with an Envi¬≠ron¬≠men¬≠tal Edu¬≠ca¬≠tion cen¬≠tre fea¬≠tur¬≠ing amaz¬≠ing flo¬≠ra and fau¬≠na, an upscale spa hotel (Mouza¬≠ki Palace) and an inter¬≠est¬≠ing folk muse¬≠um. The whole area is full of stone bridges such as the Tri¬≠zolou foot¬≠bridge in Karya from the 13th cen¬≠tu¬≠ry, the Katafyl¬≠liou bridge from the ear¬≠ly 20th cen¬≠tu¬≠ry, and the Vlasi bridge from Ottoman times, to name only three. In win¬≠ter the ski resort of Kara¬≠mano¬≠lis at 1,536 meters will offer snow adven¬≠tures, while the same spot is ide¬≠al for hik¬≠ing dur¬≠ing the rest of the year. Eco-friend¬≠ly adven¬≠tures also include hik¬≠ing in the Belokomi¬≠ti for¬≠est with almost 40 kilo¬≠me¬≠ters worth of paths, as well as raft¬≠ing, kayak¬≠ing and canoe¬≠ing on Lake Plas¬≠tria and Mega Rema in Mouza¬≠ki. The same area has a gorge some 20 min¬≠utes away from the vil¬≠lage of Pezoula, with a hik¬≠ing route around the gorge of 4‚Äď6 hours. You can also try your hand at horse¬≠back rid¬≠ing in Mor¬≠fovouni, or paraglid¬≠ing from the sum¬≠mits of Tem¬≠bla or Ago¬≠nas in Nerai¬≠da, Koufologos/Kryoneri in Mouza¬≠ki, as well as in the areas of Agios Gior¬≠gos and Ellinopy¬≠r¬≠gos. Tra¬≠di¬≠tion and nature are found every¬≠where in this region. One notable resort vil¬≠lage at 800 meters called Kas¬≠ta¬≠nia lies on the north¬≠ern slope of mount Ita¬≠mos almost at the peak of Tsou¬≠ka. The vil¬≠lage ‚Äď known for its tra¬≠di¬≠tion¬≠al crafts¬≠men who make tsarouhia (tra¬≠di¬≠tion¬≠al wood¬≠en shoes) ‚Äď boasts a heav¬≠en¬≠ly cli¬≠mate and gives way to oak and fir forests, as well as water¬≠side escapes at the lake of Pla¬≠s¬≠ti¬≠ra. With¬≠in the lake there‚Äôs a small island called Nia¬≠ga, which can be reached by boat. Anoth¬≠er inter¬≠est¬≠ing vil¬≠lage is Neo¬≠hori mean¬≠ing ‚ÄėNew Vil¬≠lage‚Äô built on the site of an old¬≠er one which was aban¬≠doned by plague dur¬≠ing the Mid¬≠dle Ages. In 1525 Neo¬≠hori was declared the cap¬≠i¬≠tal of the Agrafa region and was a major mar¬≠ket town. Hav¬≠ing played an impor¬≠tant role in WWII, the vil¬≠lage today charm¬≠ing old hous¬≠es with their their orig¬≠i¬≠nal wood-carved bal¬≠conies ‚Äď an impor¬≠tant exam¬≠ple of the local archi¬≠tec¬≠ture. With¬≠in the vil¬≠lage is the sin¬≠gle-cham¬≠bered Church of Agios Niko¬≠laos (Saint Nicholas) with a por¬≠ti¬≠co and fres¬≠cos of the 16th and 17th cen¬≠turies. In the Agrafa region, the vil¬≠lage of Kar¬≠vas¬≠saras lies at an alti¬≠tude of 1200 meters and was a car¬≠a¬≠van stop dur¬≠ing Ottoman times. Today, its stone-built hous¬≠es, springs and nat¬≠ur¬≠al land¬≠scape lure adven¬≠tur¬≠ers and relax¬≠ation-seek¬≠ers alike. The Kar¬≠it¬≠si¬≠o¬≠tis riv¬≠er is near¬≠by, ema¬≠nat¬≠ing from the areas of Kaimakia and Bouni, while the peak of Lakos at 2000 meters offers an unpar¬≠al¬≠leled view of the Plain of Thes¬≠saly. The fir forests of Bouni and Mavrol¬≠o¬≠gos are also a sight to behold.

Day 1

The road around the lake’s perime­ter is a mon­tage of beau­ti­ful images. Along the route (70km long), you’ll enjoy all the most impor­tant sights of the area. You can divide it in sec­tions and see it in two or three days. Begin at Kalivia Pezoulas, near the cen­tre of the lake. From there you can vis­it two of the loveli­est vil­lages in this cor­ner of Greece, Nerai­da and Filak­ti.

Day 2

Lake Pla¬≠s¬≠ti¬≠ra is the per¬≠fect loca¬≠tion for moun¬≠tain sports, and all sorts of out¬≠door activ¬≠i¬≠ties such as bik¬≠ing, horse¬≠back rid¬≠ing, canoe¬≠ing, water bicy¬≠cling, paraglid¬≠ing and sailplan¬≠ing. You can also try ski¬≠ing at Karamanoli‚Äôs small resort or cross¬≠ing the stun¬≠ning ‚ÄėGrand Stream‚Äô Canyon. Bring your own equip¬≠ment, or rent from the many adven¬≠ture com¬≠pa¬≠nies in the area. Onwards and upwards!

Day 3

Carved into the steep ver¬≠ti¬≠cal rock, the Monastery of Pana¬≠gia Pelek¬≠i¬≠ti is one of the most impres¬≠sive attrac¬≠tions in the area. It has two church¬≠es, Analipseos and Pana¬≠gias, both built in 1640. Petras Monastery is even old¬≠er (1553) and its altar is built based on the struc¬≠ture of those of Mt Athos. Korona (‚ÄėCrown‚Äô) Monastery will remind you of a cas¬≠tle, and from here up high you‚Äôll admire the glo¬≠ri¬≠ous sur¬≠round¬≠ings. Its murals were paint¬≠ed in 1587 and its altar with its ornate wood¬≠en iconos¬≠ta¬≠sis dates back to the 16th cen¬≠tu¬≠ry.

Contact:

Place of legal estab­lish­ment:

Per¬≠ife¬≠ria Thes¬≠salias ‚ÄĒ Koumoundourou & Papanas¬≠ta¬≠siou Str. (Rigas Fer¬≠e¬≠os Square), 41100, Laris¬≠sa, Greece

 

Web¬≠site, tele¬≠phone and email:
http://www.thessaly.gov.gr
s.papadimopoulou@thessaly.gov.gr
tel +30 2413506239
fax+30 2413.506144

 

Con­tact per­son

Mrs Sta­ma­tia Papadi­mopoulou

s.papadimopoulou@thessaly.gov.gr

tel +30 2413506239