Tag Archives: GREECE

Meteora

One of the  UNESCO World Heritage in Greece


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

meteora-monasteries

The Meteora (/ˌmɛtiˈɔːrə/ ; Greek: Μετέωρα, pronounced [meˈteora]) is a rock formation in central Greece hosting one of the largest and most precipitously built complexes of Eastern Orthodox monasteries, second in importance only to Mount Athos. The six (of an original twenty four) monasteries are built on immense natural pillars and hill-like rounded boulders that dominate the local area. It is located near the town of Kalambaka at the northwestern edge of the Plain of Thessaly near the Pineios river and Pindus Mountains.

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Meteora-monasteries-Greece-map

Meteora is included on the UNESCO World Heritage List under criteria I, II, IV, V and VII. 

The name means “lofty”, “elevated”, and is etymologically related to meteor. 

Geology


Beside the Pindos Mountains, in the western region of Thessaly, these unique and enormous columns of rock rise precipitously from the ground. But their unusual form is not easy to explain geologically. They are not volcanic plugs of hard igneous rock typical elsewhere, but the rocks are composed of a mixture of sandstone and conglomerate.

The conglomerate was formed of deposits of stone, sand and mud from streams flowing into a delta at the edge of a lake, over millions of years. About 60 million years ago during the Paleogene period  a series of earth movements pushed the seabedupwards, creating a high plateau and causing many vertical fault lines in the thick layer of sandstone. The huge rock pillars were then formed by weathering by water, wind and extremes of temperature on the vertical faults. It is unusual that this conglomerate formation and type of weathering are confined to a relatively localised area within the surrounding mountain formation.

This type of rock formation and weathering process has happened in many other places locally and throughout the world, but what makes Meteora’s appearance special is firstly the uniformity of the sedimentary rock constituents deposited over millions of years leaving few signs of vertical layering, and secondly the localised abrupt vertical weathering.

The cave of Theopetra is located 4 kilometres (2.5 mi) from Kalambaka. Its uniqueness from an archeological perspective is that a single site contains records of two greatly significant cultural transitions: the replacement of Neanderthals by modern humans and later, the transition from hunting-gathering to farming after the end of the last Ice Age. The cave consists of an immense 500 square metres (5,400 sq ft) rectangular chamber at the foot of a limestone hill, which rises to the northeast above the village of Theopetra, with an entrance 17 metres (56 ft) wide by 3 metres (9.8 ft) high. It lies at the foot of the Chasia mountain range, which forms the natural boundary between Thessaly and Macedonia prefectures, while the Lithaios River, a tributary of the Pineios River, flows in front of the cave. The small Lithaios River flowing literally on the doorsteps of the cave meant that cave dwellers had always easy access to fresh, clean water without the need to cover daily long distances to find it.  Excavations and research and have discovered petrified diatoms, which have contributed to understanding the Palaeo-climate and climate changes. Radiocarbon dating evidences human presence dating back 50,000 years.  The cave used to be open to the public, but is currently closed indefinitely, for safety inspections.

History


Ancient History

Caves in the vicinity of Meteora were inhabited continuously between 50,000 and 5,000 years ago. The oldest known example of a man-made structure, a stone wall that blocked two-thirds of the entrance to the Theopetra cave, was constructed 23,000 years ago, probably as a barrier against cold winds – the Earth was experiencing an ice age at the time – and many Paleolithic and Neolithic artifacts have been found within the caves. 

Meteora are mentioned neither in the Greek mythology nor in the Ancient Greek literature. The first people to inhabit Meteora after the Neolithic Era were an ascetic group of hermit monks who, in the 9th century AD, moved up to the ancient pinnacles. They lived in hollows and fissures in the rock towers, some as high as 1800 ft (550m) above the plain. This great height, combined with the sheerness of the cliff walls, kept away all but the most determined visitors. Initially, the hermits led a life of solitude, meeting only on Sundays and special days to worship and pray in a chapel built at the foot of a rock known as Dhoupiani. 

As early as the 11th century, monks occupied the caverns of Meteora. However, monasteries were not built until the 14th century, when the monks sought somewhere to hide in the face of an increasing number of Turkish attacks on Greece. At this time, access to the top was via removable ladders or windlass. Nowadays, getting up is a lot simpler due to steps being carved into the rock during the 1920s. Of the 24 monasteries, only 6 (five male, one female) are still functioning, with each housing fewer than 10 individuals. 

Monasteries

The exact date of the establishment of the monasteries is unknown. By the late 11th and early 12th centuries, a rudimentary monastic state had formed called the Skete of Stagoi and was centered around the still-standing church of Theotokos (mother of God).  By the end of the 12th century, an ascetic community had flocked to Meteora.

In 1344, Athanasios Koinovitis from Mount Athos brought a group of followers to Meteora. From 1356 to 1372, he founded the great Meteoron monastery on the Broad Rock, which was perfect for the monks; they were safe from political upheaval and had complete control of the entry to the monastery. The only means of reaching it was by climbing a long ladder, which was drawn up whenever the monks felt threatened.

At the end of the 14th century, the Byzantine Empire’s reign over northern Greece was being increasingly threatened by Turkish raiders who wanted control over the fertile plain of Thessaly. The hermit monks, seeking a retreat from the expanding Turkish occupation, found the inaccessible rock pillars of Meteora to be an ideal refuge. More than 20 monasteries were built, beginning in the 14th century.  Six remain today.

In 1517 Theophanes built the monastery of Varlaam, which was reputed to house the finger of St John and the shoulder blade of St Andrew.

Access to the monasteries was originally (and deliberately) difficult, requiring either long ladders lashed together or large nets used to haul up both goods and people. This required quite a leap of faith – the ropes were replaced, so the story goes, only “when the Lord let them break”.  In the words of UNESCO, “The net in which intrepid pilgrims were hoisted up vertically alongside the 373 metres (1,224 ft) cliff where the Varlaam monastery dominates the valley symbolizes the fragility of a traditional way of life that is threatened with extinction.” 

Until the 17th century, the primary means of conveying goods and people from these eyries was by means of baskets and ropes. 

In 1921, Queen Marie of Romania visited Meteora, becoming the first woman ever allowed to enter the Great Meteoron monastery. 

In the 1920s there was an improvement in the arrangements. Steps were cut into the rock, making the complex accessible via a bridge from the nearby plateau. During World War II the site was bombed.[citation needed] Many art treasures were stolen. 

List of Monasteries


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1024px-07Meteora01- Monastery of Great Meteoron

The Monastery of Great Meteoron – This is the largest of the monasteries located at Meteora, though in 2015 there were only 3 monks in residence. It was erected in the mid-14th century and was the subject of restoration and embellishment projects in 1483 and 1552. One building serves as the main museum for tourists. The Katholikon (main church), consecrated in honour of the Transfiguration of Jesus was erected in the middle of the 14th century and 1387/88 and decorated in 1483 and 1552

1024px-Meteora_Varlaam_IMG_7800- Monastery of Varlaam

The Monastery of Varlaam – The Monastery of Varlaam is the second largest monastery in the Meteora complex, and in 2015 had the largest number of monks (seven) of the male monasteries. It was built in 1541 and embellished in 1548. A church, dedicated to All Saints, is in the Athonite type (cross-in-square with dome and choirs), with spacious exonarthex (lite) is surrounded by a dome. It was built in 1541/42 and decorated in 1548, while the exonarthex was decorated in 1566. The old refectory is used as a museum while north of the church is the parekklesion of the Three Bishops, built in 1627 and decorated in 1637. 

High_above_Kalambaka_at_Meteora-Monastery of Rousanou

The Monastery of Rousanou/St. Barbara  was founded in the middle of the 16th century and decorated in 1560. Today it is a flourishing nunnery with 13 nuns in residence in 2015.

1024px-Meteora_Agios_Nikolaos_Anapafsas_IMG_7817-Monastery of St. Nicholas Anapausas

The Monastery of St. Nicholas Anapausas, built in the 16th century, has a small church, decorated by the noted Cretan painter Theophanis Strelitzas, in 1527. There was one monk in residence in 2015. 

1024px-Agiu_Stefanu_Meteora_1-Monastery of St. Stephen

The Monastery of St. Stephen has a small church built in the 16th century and decorated in 1545. This monastery rests on the plain rather than on a cliff. It was shelled by the Nazis during World War II who believed it was harboring insurgents and was abandoned.  The monastery was given over to nuns in 1961 and they have reconstructed it into a flourishing nunnery, with 28 nuns in residence in 2015.

1024px-AgiaTriada-Monastery of the Holy Trinity

The Monastery of the Holy Trinity is on top of the cliffs. It was built in 1475 and was remodeled in 1684, 1689, 1692, 1741.  There were four monks in residence in 2015.

Gallery


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Meteora in the early morning hours.

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The Rousanou, the Nikolaos and the Grand Meteora monasteries.

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The Rousanou monastery.

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Panorama of the Meteora valley

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Panoramic view at Meteora valley

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Panoramic view at monastery Varlaam

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Panoramic view at monastery Roussanou

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Panoramic view at monasteries Varlaam and Grand Metereon

Cultural References


  • The monastery of Holy Trinity was a filming location in the 1981 James Bond movie For Your Eyes Only 
  • Scenes from Tintin and the Golden Fleece were also shot at the Meteora monasteries.
  • Michina, the main setting of the movie Pokémon: Arceus and the Jewel of Life is based on Meteora.
  • Meteora is the main location in the fiction book The Spook’s Sacrifice, by Lancashire author Joseph Delaney
  • One of the surviving characters in Max Brooks’s zombie apocalypse novel, “World War Z” finds refuge and peace of mind in the monasteries during and after the zombie war.
  • The 2012 film Meteora directed by Spiros Stathoulopoulos is set in the monasteries and scenery of Meteora
  • Primary location and name of Volume 3 in the comic book series “Le Décalogue” by French author Frank Giroud.
  • The Eyrie of Vale of the House of Arryn from Game of Thrones is based on Meteora
  • The Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 DLC Map “Sanctuary” is set in the monasteries of the Meteora.
  • The 2003 album by Linkin Park takes its name from the site.
  • The monasteries were a filming location for the 1976 action movie Sky Riders   starring Susannah York, James Coburn and Robert Culp.
  • In The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles episode “Travels with Father”, Indiana and his father visit Meteora.

Heraklion


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopediaUNESCO World Heritage Site LOGO-100-100

Kreta_-_Iraklion_-_Alter_Hafen2

Heraklion (/hɪˈrækliən/; Greek: Ηράκλειο, Irákleio, pronounced [iˈraklio];  is the largest city and the administrative capital of the island of Crete. It is the fourth largest city in Greece and the third largest urban area in Greece. According to the results of the 2011 census, the population of the city proper was 140,730 inhabitants, the municipality’s was 173,993 while the Heraklion urban area has a population of 225,574[citation needed] and it extends over an area of 684.3 km2 (264.2 sq mi).

Heraklion is the capital of Heraklion regional unit.

The Bronze Age palace of Knossos, also known as the Palace of Minos, is located nearby.

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Names


The Arab raiders from al-Andalus (Iberia) who founded the Emirate of Crete moved the island’s capital from Gortyna to a new castle they called rabḍ al-ḫandaq (Arabic: ربض الخندق‎, “Castle of the Moat”) in the 820s.  This was hellenized as Χάνδαξ (Chándax) or Χάνδακας (Chándakas) and Latinized as Candia, which was taken into other European languages: in Italian and Latin as Candia, in French as Candie, in English as Candy, all of which could refer to the island of Crete as a whole as well as to the city alone; the Ottoman name was Kandiye.

After the Byzantine reconquest of Crete, the city was locally known as Megalo Kastro (Μεγάλο Κάστρο,[citation needed] ‘Big Castle’ in Greek) and its inhabitants were called Kastrinoi(Καστρινοί, “castle-dwellers”).

The ancient name Ηράκλειον was revived in the 19th century  and comes from the nearby Roman port of Heracleum (“Heracles’s city”), whose exact location is unknown. English usage formerly preferred the classicizing transliterations “Heraklion” or “Heraclion”, but the form “Iraklion” is becoming more common.

History


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The snake goddess (c.1600 BC) in Heraklion Archaeological Museum

Heraklion is close to the ruins of the palace of Knossos, which in Minoan times was the largest centre of population on Crete. Though there is no archaeological evidence of it, Knossos might well have had a port at the site of Heraklion as early as 2000 BC.

Founding

Emirate of Crete 

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A monk shows the Arabs where to build Heraklion

The present city of Heraklion was founded in 824 by the Arabs under Abu Hafs Umar who had been expelled from Al-Andalus by Emir Al-Hakam I and had taken over the island from the Eastern Roman Empire. They built a moat around the city for protection, and named the city ربض الخندق, rabḍ al-ḫandaq (“Castle of the Moat”). It became the capital of the Emirate of Crete (ca. 827–961). The Saracens allowed the port to be used as a safe haven for pirates who operated against Imperial (Byzantine) shipping and raided Imperial territory around the Aegean.

Venetian Era

In 1204, the city was bought by the Republic of Venice as part of a complicated political deal which involved, among other things, the Crusaders of the Fourth Crusade restoring the deposed Eastern Roman Emperor Isaac II Angelus to his throne. The Venetians improved on the ditch of the city by building enormous fortifications, most of which are still in place, including a giant wall, in places up to 40 m thick, with 7 bastions, and a fortress in the harbour. Chandax was renamed Candia and became the seat of the Duke of Candia, and the Venetian administrative district of Crete became known as “Regno di Candia” (Kingdom of Candia). The city retained the name of Candia for centuries and the same name was often used to refer to the whole island of Crete as well. To secure their rule, Venetians began in 1212 to settle families from Venice on Crete. The coexistence of two different cultures and the stimulus of Italian Renaissance led to a flourishing of letters and the arts in Candia and Crete in general, that is today known as the Cretan Renaissance.

Ottoman Era 

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The Ottoman Vezir Mosque (1856), built on the site of the church of St Titus, and now the basilica of St Titus.

Further information: Siege of Candia
During the Cretan War (1645–1669), the Ottomans besieged the city for 21 years, from 1648 to 1669, perhaps the longest siege in history. In its final phase, which lasted for 22 months, 70,000 Turks, 38,000 Cretans and slaves and 29,088 of the city’s Christian defenders perished. The Ottoman army under an Albanian grand vizier, Köprülü Fazıl Ahmed Pasha conquered the city in 1669. Under the Ottomans, the city was known officially as Kandiye (again also applied to the whole island of Crete) but informally in Greek as Megalo Castro (Μεγάλο Κάστρο; “Big Castle”). During the Ottoman period, the harbour silted up, so most shipping shifted to Chania in the west of the island.

Modern Era

In 1898, the autonomous Cretan State was created, under Ottoman suzerainty, with Prince George of Greece as its High Commissioner and under international supervision. During the period of direct occupation of the island by the Great Powers (1898–1908), Candia was part of the British zone. At this time, the city was renamed “Heraklion”, after the Roman port of Heracleum (“Heracles’ city”), whose exact location is unknown.

In 1913, with the rest of Crete, Heraklion was incorporated into the Kingdom of Greece. Heraklion became capital of Crete in 1971, replacing Chania.

Architecture and urban sculpture 


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The fountain in Lions Square.

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The Venetian loggia (1626–28).

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Agios Minas Cathedral in honour of Saint Menas, patron saint of the city.
At the port of the city dominate the Venetian constructions, such as the Koules Fortress (Rocca al Mare), the ramparts and the arsenal.

Around the city can be found several sculptures, statues and busts commemorating significant events and figures of the city’s and island’s history, like El Greco, Vitsentzos Kornaros, Nikos Kazantzakis and Eleftherios Venizelos.

Also, many fountains of the Venetian-era are preserved, such as the Bembo fountain, the Priuli fountain, Palmeti fountain, Sagredofountain and Morosini fountain (in Lions Square).

Municipality


The municipality Heraklion was formed at the 2011 local government reform by the merger of the following 5 former municipalities, that became municipal units:[7]

  • Gorgolainis
  • Heraklion
  • Nea Alikarnassos
  • Paliani
  • Temenos

The municipality has an area of 244.613 km2, the municipal unit 109.026 km2.

Transportation 


Port 

Heraklion is an important shipping port and ferry dock. Travellers can take ferries and boats from Heraklion to destinations including Santorini, Ios Island, Paros, Mykonos, and Rhodes. There are direct ferries to Naxos, Karpathos, Kasos, Sitia, Anafi, Chalki and Diafani . There are also several daily ferries to Piraeus, the port of Athens in mainland Greece.

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Panoramic view of the old harbour

Airport

Heraklion International Airport, or Nikos Kazantzakis Airport is located about 5 kilometres (3 miles) east of the city. The airport is named after Heraklion native Nikos Kazantzakis, a writer and a philosopher. It is the second busiest airport of Greece and the 67th in Europe, because of Crete being a major holiday destination with 6.742.746 travellers in 2016 List of the busiest airports in Europe.

The airfield is shared with the 126th Combat Group of the Hellenic Air Force. A project for the new airport of Heraklion in Kasteli area is starting at the end of 2017

Highway Network

European route E75 runs through the city and connects Heraklion with the three other major cities of Crete: Agios Nikolaos, Chania, and Rethymno.

Public Transit 

There are a number of buses serving the city (more information visit) and connecting it to many major destinations in Crete .

Railway

From 1922 to 1937, there was a working industrial railway, which connected the Koules in Heraklion to Xiropotamos for the construction of the harbor.

A study from the year 2000 investigated the feasibility of two tram lines in Heraklion. The first line would link the Stadium to the airport, and the second the center of Heraklion and Knossos. No approval has yet been given for this proposal.

In the summer of 2007, at the Congress of Cretan emigrants, held in Heraklion, two qualified engineers, George Nathenas (from Gonies, Malevizi Province) and Vassilis Economopoulos, recommended the development of a railway line in Crete, linking Chania, Rethymno and Heraklion, with a total journey time of 50 minutes (30 minutes between Heraklion and Rethymno, 20 minutes from Chania to Rethymno) and with provision for extensions to Kissamos, Kastelli Pediados (for the planned new airport), and Agios Nikolaos. No plans exist for implementing this idea.

Climate


Heraklion has a hot-summer-Mediterranean climate (Csa in the Köppen climate classification). Summers are warm to hot and dry with clear skies. Dry hot days are often relieved by seasonal breezes. Winters are very mild with moderate rain. Because Heraklion is further south than Athens, it has a milder climate. The maximum temperature during the summer period is usually not more than 28 – 30°C (Athens normal maximum temperature is about 6°C hotter). The minimum temperature record is +0.2 °C

A new temperature record for February was set at 27.8°C, reached on 15 February 2016.

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Colleges, Universities, Libraries, and Research Centers 


  • University of Crete
  • TEI of Crete
  • Foundation for Research & Technology – Hellas
  • Nicolas Kitsikis Library
  • Vikelaia Library www dot heraklion dot gr/en/municipality/vikelaia

Culture


640px-Musée_histoire_naturelle_de_Crète_à_Héraklion

Natural History Museum of Crete

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Pankritio Stadium

Museums 

  • Heraklion Archaeological Museum
  • Cretaquarium
  • Historical Museum of Crete
  • Natural History Museum
  • The Battle of Crete and National Resistance Museum
  • Nikos Kazantzakis Museum
  • Lychnostatis Open Air Museum
  • Collection of Agia Aikaterini of Sinai
  • Museum of Visual Arts

Sports

The city is home to several sports clubs. Most notably, Heraklion hosts OFI and Ergotelis, two football clubs with earlier presence in the Greek Superleague, the top tier of the Greek football league system. Furthermore, the city is the headquarters of the Heraklion Football Clubs Association, which administers football in the entire region. Other notable sport clubs include Iraklio B.C. (basketball), Atsalenios (football) and Irodotos (football) in the suburbs of Atsalenio and Nea Alikarnassos respectively.

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Famous Natives

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Nicholas Kalliakis was a significant Renaissance humanist, scholar and philosopher from Heraklion. 

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El Greco (Dominikos Theotokopoulos)

Cyril-Lucaris

Cyril Lucaris

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Epitaph on Nikos Kazantzakis’ grave. I hope for nothing, I fear nothing, I’m free.

Heraklion has been the home town of some of Greece’s most significant spirits, including the novelist Nikos Kazantzakis (perhaps best known for his novel Zorba the Greek), the poet and Nobel Prize winner Odysseas Elytis and the world-famous painter Domenicos Theotokopoulos (El Greco).

Literature

  • Elli Alexiou (1894–1988) author
  • Minás Dimákis (1913–1980) poet
  • Odysseas Elytis (1911–1996) Nobel awarded poet
  • Tess Fragoulis, Greek-Canadian author
  • Rea Galanaki (1947–present) author
  • Giritli Ali Aziz Efendi (1749–1798), author and diplomat
  • Nikos Kazantzakis (1883–1957) author
  • Pedro de Candia, (1485–1542) author and travel writer, recorded the Spanish
  • Conquest of the Americas
  • Vitsentzos Kornaros (1553–1613) author
  • Stephanos Sahlikis (1330-after 1391) poet
  • Lili Zografou (1922–1998) author

Scientists and Scholars 

  • Nicholas Kalliakis (1645–1707) Greek Cretan scholar and philosopher 
  • Niccolò Comneno Papadopoli (1655–1740) lawyer, historian and librarian
  • Andreas Musalus (ca. 1665–1721) Greek Cretan professor of mathematics, philosopher and architectural theorist 
  • Francesco Barozzi (1537–1604) mathematician and astronomer
  • Joseph Solomon Delmedigo (1591-1655) rabbi, author, physician, mathematician and musical theorist
  • Fotis Kafatos biologist, President of the European Research Council
  • Spyros Kokotos (1933–present) architect
  • Maximos Margunios (1549–1602) scholar, theologian, poet and writer, titular bishop of Kythira
  • Marcus Musurus (Markos Mousouros) (1470–1517) scholar and philosopher
  • Peter of Candia also known as Antipope Alexander V: philosopher and scholar
  • Joseph Sifakis (1946–present) computer scientist, co-recipient of the 2007 Turing Award
  • Michael N. Katehakis (1952–present) applied mathematician and operations researcher at Rutgers University
  • Gerasimos Vlachos (1607–1685), scholar
  • Simone Stratigo (ca. 1733–1824), Greek mathematician and an Nautical science expert, whose family was from Heraklion (Candia) 

Painting and Sculpture 

  • Theophanes (ca.1500–1559) painter of icons
  • Michael Damaskinos (1530/35-1592/93) painter of icons
  • El Greco (1541–1614) mannerist painter, sculpturer and architect
  • Theodoros Poulakis (1622–1692) painter of icons
  • Andreas Ritzos (1422–1492) painter of icons
  • Emmanuel Tzanes (1610–1690) painter of icons
  • Aristidis Vlassis (1947–2015) painter
  • Konstantinos Volanakis (1837–1907) painter

Film Industry 

  • Rika Diallina (1934-), actress and model, Miss Hellas
  • Ilya Livykou (1919–2002), actress
  • Sapfo Notara (1907–1985), actress
  • Yannis Smaragdis (1946-), film director

Music 

  • Rena Kyriakou (1918–1994) pianist
  • Francisco Leontaritis (Francesco Londarit) (1518–1572) composer
  • Giannis Markopoulos (1939-) composer
  • Manolis Rasoulis (1945–2011) lyrics writer
  • Nikos Xilouris (1936–1980) composer and singer
  • Notis Sfakianakis (1959-) singer

Sports 

  • Nikos Machlas (1973-) footballer
  • Georgios Samaras (1985-) footballer
  • Greg Massialas (1956-), American fencer and fencing coach

Business 

  • Constantine Corniaktos (1517–1603) wine merchant and wealthiest man in the
  • Eastern European city of Lviv[18]
  • Gianna Angelopoulos-Daskalaki (1955-) business woman, lawyer and politician

Politics 

  • Leonidas Kyrkos (1924–2011), politician
  • Aristidis Stergiadis (1861–1950) High Commissioner of Smyrna
  • Georgios Voulgarakis (1959-) conservative politician

Law 

  • Romilos Kedikoglou (1940-) President of the Court of Cassation of Greece

Clergy 

  • Maximos Margunios (1549–1602), bishop of Cyrigo (Kythira)
  • Kyrillos Loukaris (1572–1637) theologian, Pope & Patriarch of Alexandria as Cyril III and Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople as Cyril I
  • Meletius Pegas, Pope & Patriarch of Alexandria
  • Theodore II (1954-) Pope & Patriarch of Alexandria and all Africa
  • Peter Phillarges (ca. 1339–1410) (also Pietro Di Candia, later Pope Alexander V)

Fashion 

  • Maria Spiridaki (1984) fashion model and television presenter

Local TV stations 

  • Channel 4
  • Creta Channel
  • Kriti TV
  • MyTV
  • Local transport services[edit]
  • KTEL Buses
  • Heraklion Crete Taxi Services

International Relations


Consulates

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Location


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Helike


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopediaUNESCO World Heritage Site LOGO-100-100

Helike (/ˈhɛlɪkiː/; Greek: Ἑλίκη, pronounced [heˈlikɛː], modern Greek pronunciation: [eˈlici]) was an ancient Greek city that was submerged by a tsunami in the winter of 373 BC. It was located in Achaea, Northern Peloponnesos, two kilometres (12 stadia) from the Corinthian Gulf and near the city of Boura, which, like Helike, was a member of the Achaean League. Modern research attributes the catastrophe to an earthquake and accompanying tsunami which destroyed and submerged the city. In an effort to protect the site from destruction, the World Monuments Fund included Helike in its 2004 and 2006 List of 100 Most Endangered Sites.

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Helikeausgrabungen

Excavations at the site of Helike. In this case, a Hellenistic-era building; possibly used as a dye-works

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Shown within Greece

Contents
1 History
1.1 Subsequent events
2 Research efforts
3 Rediscovery
4 See also
5 References
6 External links

History


Helike-coin

A coin from Helike.

Helike was founded in the Bronze Age, becoming the principal city of Achaea. The poet Homer states that the city of Eliki participated in the Trojan War as a part of Agamemnon’s forces. Later, following its fall to the Achaeans, Eliki led the Achaean League, an association that joined twelve neighboring cities in an area including today’s town of Aigio. Eliki, also known as Dodekapolis (from the Greek words dodeka meaning twelve and polis meaning city), became a cultural and religious center with its own coinage. Finds from ancient Eliki are limited to two 5th-century copper coins, now housed in Bode Museum, Berlin. The obverse shows the head of Poseidon, the city’s patron, and the reverse his trident. There was a temple dedicated to the Helikonian Poseidon.

Helike founded colonies including Priene in Asia Minor and Sybaris in South Italy. Its panhellenic temple and sanctuary of Helikonian Poseidon were known throughout the Classical world, and second only in religious importance to Delphi.

The city was destroyed in 373 BC, two years before the Battle of Leuctra, during a winter night. Several events were construed in retrospect as having warned of the disaster: some “immense columns of flame” appeared, and five days previously, all animals and vermin fled the city, going toward Keryneia. The city and a space of 12 stadia below it sank into the earth and were covered over by the sea. All the inhabitants perished without a trace, and the city was obscured from view except for a few building fragments projecting from the sea. Ten Spartan ships anchored in the harbour were dragged down with it. An attempt involving 2000 men to recover bodies was unsuccessful. Aigion took possession of its territory.

The catastrophe was attributed to the vengeance of Poseidon, whose wrath was incited because the inhabitants of Helike had refused to give their statue of Poseidon to the Ionian colonists in Asia, or even to supply them with a model. According to some authorities, the inhabitants of Helike and Bura had even murdered the Ionian deputies.

About 150 years after the disaster, the philosopher Eratosthenes visited the site and reported that a standing bronze statue of Poseidon was submerged in a “poros”, “holding in one hand a hippocamp”, where it posed a hazard to those who fished with nets.

Around AD 174 the traveler Pausanias visited a coastal site still called Helike, located 7 km southeast of Aigio, and reported that the walls of the ancient city were still visible under water, “but not so plainly now as they were once, because they are corroded by the salt water”.

For centuries after, its submerged ruins could still be seen. Roman tourists frequently sailed over the site, admiring the city’s statuary. Later the site silted over and the location was lost to memory.

Adalberto Giovannini[de] argued that the submergence of Helike might have inspired Plato to write his story about Atlantis. Ancient scholars and writers who visited the ruins include the Greeks Strabo, Pausanias and Diodoros of Sicily, and the Romans Aelian and Ovid.

Subsequent Events

On 23 August 1817, a similar disaster, an earthquake followed by a tsunami, occurred on the same spot. The earthquake was preceded by a sudden explosion, like that produced by a battery of cannon. The aftershock was said to have lasted a minute and a half, during which the sea rose at the mouth of the Selinous River and extended to cover all the ground immediately below Vostitza (the ancient Aigion). After its retreat, not a trace was left of some artillery depots which had stood on the shore, and the beach was carried away completely. In Vostitza, 65 people lost their lives and two thirds of its buildings were entirely ruined, as were five villages in the plain.

Research Efforts


The submerged town was long one of the biggest targets for underwater archaeology. Scientists were divided in their opinions about the exact location of Helike. Numerous archaeologists, historians, professors and explorers wrote, studied and actively searched, trying to discover any trace of the ancient town, with little success. But their work, essays, observations and studies contributed to an important and growing body of knowledge. Among them are the following:

In 1826, François Pouqueville, French diplomat and archaeologist, who wrote the Voyage en Grèce; in 1851 Ernst Curtius the German archaeologist and historian who speculated about its location; in 1879 J. F. Julius Schmidt, the director of Athens Observatory, issuing a study comparing the Aegeion earthquake which occurred 26 December 1861 with an earthquake which might have destroyed Helike; in 1883 Spiros Panagiotopoulos, the mayor of Aegeion city, wrote about the ancient city; in 1912 the Greek writer P. K. Ksinopoulos wrote The City of Aegeion Through the Centuries and in 1939 Stanley Casson, an English art scholar and army officer who studied classical archaeology and served in Greece as liaison officer, addressed the problem.

Other investigators include in 1948 the German archaeologist Georg Karo; in 1950 Robert Demangel, who was from 1933 to 1948 the director of the French School of Archaeology in Athens; in 1950 Alfred Philippson, German geologist and geographer; in 1952 Spiros Dontas, Greek writer and member of the Academy of Athens; in 1954 Aristos Stauropoulos, a Greek writer who published the History of the city of Aegeion; in 1956 the Greek Professor N. Κ. Moutsopoulos; in 1967 Spyros Marinatos, a Greek archaeologist who wrote the Research about Helike and in 1968 Helike-Thira-Thieves; in 1962 George K. Georgalas, the Greek writer; and in 1967 Nikos Papahatzis, a Greek archaeologist who published Pausanias’ Description of Greece.

Spyridon Marinatos, emphasizing the importance of the discovery of Helike, said that only the declaration of a third world war would obscure the discovery of Helike. He pointed out Helike as an unresolved problem of Greek archaeology in 1960. In 1967, Harold Eugene Edgerton worked with the American researcher Peter Throckmorton. They were convinced that Helike was to be found on the seabed of the Gulf of Corinth. Edgerton perfected special sonar equipment for this research but permission to search was not granted by the Greek authorities. In 1967 and in 1976, Jacques Cousteau made some efforts with no result. In 1979 in the Corinthian Gulf, the Greek undersea explorer Alexis Papadopoulos discovered a sunken town and recorded his findings in a documentary film which shows walls, fallen roofs, roof tiles, streets, etc. at a depth of between 25 and 45 m. “Whether or not this town can be identified with Helike is a question to be answered by extensive underwater research. In any case, the discovery of this town can be regarded as an extremely interesting find”, according to the Greek scientific journal Archaeology.

Rediscovery


In 1988, the Greek archaeologist Dora Katsonopoulou, president of the Helike Society, and Steven Soter of the American Museum of Natural History launched the Helike Project to locate the site of the lost city. Ancient texts, telling the story of Helike, said that the city had sunk into a poros, which everyone interpreted as the Corinthian Gulf. However, Katsonopoulou and Soter raised the possibility that poros could have meant an inland lagoon. If an earthquake caused soil liquefaction on a large scale, the city would have been taken downward below the sea level. Also, if an earthquake caused the sections of coastline to fall into the sea, this would have created a tsunami, which in turn would have flooded the inland lagoon with the city in it. Over time, the river sediment coming down from the mountains would have filled in the lagoon hiding the city remains beneath the solid ground.

Before Helike was rediscovered, a few false starts came along the way. In 1994, in collaboration with the University of Patras, a magnetometer survey carried out in the midplain of the delta revealed the outlines of a buried building. This target (now known as the Klonis site) was excavated and a large Roman building with standing walls was found. Also a well-preserved settlement of an early bronze age was uncovered. Finally, in 2001, the city of Helike was rediscovered buried in an ancient lagoon near the village of Rizomylos. To further confirm that the discovered site belongs to Helike, the earthquake destruction layer consisting of cobblestones, clay roof tiles, and pottery was uncovered in 2012. This destruction layer is in good agreement with ancient texts on the location of Helike and earthquake effects to the city.

Excavations are being carried out in the Helike delta each summer and have brought to light significant archeological finds dating from prehistoric times when Helike was founded up until its revival in Hellenistic and Roman times.

A Tight Squeeze: Corinth Canal, Greece

CORINTH CANAL 01

The famous Corinth Canal connects the Gulf of Corinth with the Saronic Gulf in the Aegean Sea. It cuts through the narrow Isthmus of Corinth and separates the Peloponnesian peninsula from the Greek mainland, thus effectively making the former an island.

The canal is 6.4 kilometers in length and only 21.3 meters wide at its base. Earth cliffs flanking either side of the canal reach a maximum height of 63 meters. Aside from a few modest sized cruise ships, the Corinth Canal is unserviceable to most modern ships.

The Corinth Canal, though only completed in the late 19th century, was an idea and dream that dates back over 2000 thousand years.

Before it was built, ships sailing between the Aegean and Adriatic had to circumnavigate the Peloponnese adding about 185 nautical miles to their journey.

The first to decide to dig the Corinth Canal was Periander, the tyrant of Corinth (602 BCE). Such a giant project was above the technical capabilities of ancient times so Periander carried out another great project, the diolkós, a stone road, on which the ships were transferred on wheeled platforms from one sea to the other.

Dimitrios Poliorkitis, king of Macedon (c. 300 BCE), was the second who tried, but his engineers insisted that if the seas where connected, the more northerly Adriatic, mistakenly thought to be higher, would flood the more southern Aegean.

At the time, it was also thought that Poseidon, god of the sea, opposed joining the Aegean and the Adriatic. The same fear also stopped Julius Caesar and emperors Hadrian and Caligula.

The most serious try was that of Emperor Nero (67 CE). He had 6,000 slaves for the job. He started the work himself, digging with a golden hoe, while music was played. However, he was killed before the work could be completed.

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Will it pass?

In the modern era, the first who thought seriously to carry out the project was Capodistrias (c. 1830), first governor of Greece after the liberation from the Ottoman Turks. But the budget, estimated at 40 million French francs, was too much for the Greek state.

Finally, in 1869, the Parliament authorized the Government to grant a private company (Austrian General Etiene Tyrr) the privilege to construct the Canal of Corinth. Work began on Mar 29, 1882, but Tyrr’s capital of 30 million francs proved to be insufficient.

The work was restarted in 1890, by a new Greek company (Andreas Syggros), with a capital of 5 million francs. The job was finally completed and regular use of the Canal started on Oct 28, 1893.

Due to the canal’s narrowness, navigational problems and periodic closures to repair landslips from its steep walls, it failed to attract the level of traffic anticipated by its operators. It is now used mainly for tourist traffic. The bridge above is perfect for bungee jumping.

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CORINTH CANAL MAP

The Corinth Canal, Greece

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Corinth Canal

The Corinth Canal (Greek: Διώρυγα της Κορίνθου, Dhioryga tis Korinthou) is a canal that connects the Gulf of Corinthwith the Saronic Gulf in the Aegean Sea. It cuts through the narrow Isthmus of Corinth and separates the Peloponnesefrom the Greek mainland, thus effectively making the former peninsula an island. The builders dug the canal through the Isthmus at sea level; no locks are employed. It is 6.4 kilometres (4 mi) in length and only 21.4 metres (70 ft) wide at its base, making it impossible for most modern ships. It now has little economic importance.

The canal was mooted in classical times and an abortive effort was made to build it in the 1st century AD. Construction finally got under way in 1881 but was hampered by geological and financial problems that bankrupted the original builders. It was completed in 1893 but, due to the canal’s narrowness, navigational problems and periodic closures to repairlandslides from its steep walls, it failed to attract the level of traffic expected by its operators. It is now used mainly for tourist traffic.

History

Ancient Attempts

Several rulers in antiquity dreamed of digging a cutting through the Isthmus. The first to propose such an undertaking was the tyrant Periander in the 7th century BC. The project was abandoned and Periander instead constructed a simpler and less costly overland portage road, named the Diolkos or stone carriageway, along which ships could be towed from one side of the isthmus to the other. Periander’s change of heart is attributed variously to the great expense of the project, a lack of labour or a fear that a canal would have robbed Corinth of its dominant role as an entrepôt for goods. Remnants of the Diolkos still exist next to the modern canal.

The Diadoch Demetrius Poliorcetes (336–283 BC) planned to construct a canal as a means to improve his communication lines, but dropped the plan after his surveyors, miscalculating the levels of the adjacent seas, feared heavy floods.

The philosopher Apollonius of Tyana prophesied that ill would befall anyone who proposed to dig a Corinthian canal. Three Roman rulers considered the idea but all suffered violent deaths; the historian Suetonius tells us that the Roman dictator Julius Caesar considered digging a canal through the isthmus but was assassinated before he could commence the project. Caligula, his successor as the third Roman Emperor, commissioned a study in AD 40 from Egyptian experts who claimed incorrectly that the Corinthian Gulf was higher than the Saronic Gulf. As a result, they concluded, if a canal was dug the island of Aegina would be inundated. Caligula’s interest in the idea got no further as he too was assassinated.

The emperor Nero was the first to actually attempt to construct the canal, personally breaking the ground with a pickaxe and removing the first basket-load of soil in AD 67, but the project was abandoned when he died shortly afterwards. The Roman workforce, consisting of 6,000 Jewish prisoners of war, started digging 40–50 m (130–160 ft) wide trenches from both sides, while a third group at the ridge drilled deep shafts for probing the quality of the rock (which were reused in 1881 for the same purpose). According to Suetonius, the canal was dug to a distance of four stades (approximately 700 metres (2,300 ft), in other words about a tenth of the total distance across the isthmus). A memorial of the attempt in the form of a relief of Hercules was left by Nero’s workers and can still be seen in the canal cutting today. Other than this, as the modern canal follows the same course as Nero’s, no remains have survived.

The philosopher and Roman senator Herodes Atticus is also known to have considered digging a canal in the 2nd century AD, but did not manage to get a project under way. The Venetians also considered it in 1687 after their conquest of the Peloponnese but likewise did not initiate a project.

Construction of the Modern Canal

The idea of a Corinth Canal was revived after Greece gained formal independence from the Ottoman Empire in 1830. The Greek statesman Ioannis Kapodistrias asked a French engineer to assess the feasibility of the project but had to abandon it when its cost was assessed at some 40 million gold francs—far too expensive for the newly independent country. Fresh impetus was given by opening of the Suez Canal in 1869 and the following year, the government of Prime Minister Thrasyvoulos Zaimis passed a law authorising the construction of a Corinth Canal. French entrepreneurs were put in charge but, following the bankruptcy of the French company that dug Panama Canal, French banks refused to lend money and the company went bankrupt too. A fresh concession was granted to the Société Internationale du Canal Maritime de Corinthe in 1881, which was commissioned to construct the canal and operate it for the next 99 years. Construction was formally inaugurated on 23 April 1882 in the presence of King George I of Greece.

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The Inauguration of the Corinth Canal (1893) by Konstantinos Volanakis. CLICK IMAGE TO ENLARGE

The company’s initial capital was some 30,000,000 francs, but after eight years of work it ran out of money and a bid to issue 60,000 bonds of 500 francs each flopped when less than half of the bonds were sold. The company’s head, the Hungarian István Türr, went bankrupt, as did the company itself and a bank that had agreed to raise additional funds for the project. Construction resumed in 1890 when the project was transferred to a Greek company, and was finally completed on 25 July 1893 after eleven years’ work.

The canal experienced financial and operational difficulties after completion. The narrowness of the canal makes navigation difficult; its high rock walls channel high winds down its length, and the different times of the tides in the two gulfs cause strong tidal currents in the channel. For these reasons, many ship operators did not bother to use the canal and traffic was far below what had been predicted. An annual traffic of just under 4 million net tons had been anticipated but by 1906 traffic had reached only half a million net tons annually. By 1913 the total had risen to some 1.5 million net tons, but the disruption caused by the First World War produced a major decline in traffic.

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The Corinth Canal seen from the airCLICK IMAGE TO ENLARGE

Another persistent problem was due to the heavily faulted nature of the sedimentary rock, in an active seismic zone, through which the canal is cut. The canal’s high limestone walls have been persistently unstable from the start. Although it was formally opened in July 1893 it was not opened to navigation until the following November, due to landslides. It was soon found that the wake from ships passing through the canal undermined the walls, causing further landslides. This required further expense in building retaining walls along the water’s edge for somewhat more than half of the length of the canal, utilising some 165,000 cubic metres of masonry. Between 1893 and 1940, it was closed for a total of four years for maintenance to stabilise the walls. In 1923 alone, 41,000 cubic metres of material fell into the canal, which took two years to clear out.

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Aerial photograph of the Corinth Canal area (2011). CLICK IMAGE TO ENLARGE

Serious damage was caused to the canal during World War II, when it was the scene of fighting due to its strategic importance. On 26 April 1941, during the Battle of Greece between defending British troops and the invading forces of Nazi Germany, German parachutists and glider troops attempted to capture the main bridge over the canal. The bridge was defended by the British and had been wired for demolition. The Germans were able to surprise the defenders with a glider-borne assault in the early morning of 26 April and captured the bridge, but the British were able to set off the charges and destroy the structure. Other authors maintain that German pioneers did cut the cables, thus securing the bridge, and it was a lucky shell by British artillery that triggered the explosion.

Three years later, as German forces retreated from Greece, the canal was put out of action by German “scorched earth” operations. German forces used explosives to set off landslips to block the canal, destroyed the bridges and dumped locomotives, bridge wreckage and other infrastructure into the canal to hinder repair work. The United States Army Corps of Engineers began work to clear the canal in November 1947 and managed to reopen it for shallow-draft traffic by 7 July 1948, and for all traffic by that September.

Layout

The canal consists of a single channel 8 metres (26 ft) deep, excavated at sea level (thus requiring no locks), measuring 6,346 metres (20,820 ft) long by 24.6 metres (81 ft) wide at the top and 21.3 metres (70 ft) wide at the bottom. The rock walls, which rise 90 metres (300 ft) above sea level, are at a near-vertical 80° angle. The canal is crossed by a railway line, a road and a motorway at a height of about 45 metres (148 ft). In 1988 submersible bridges were installed at sea level at each end of the canal, by the eastern harbour of Isthmia and the western harbour of Poseidonia.

Although the canal saves the 700-kilometre (430 mi) journey around the Peloponnese, it is too narrow for modern ocean freighters, as it can only accommodate ships of a width of up to 17.6 metres (58 ft) and a draft of 7.3 metres (24 ft). Ships can only pass through the canal one convoy at a time on a one-way system. Larger ships have to be towed by tugs. The canal is nowadays mostly used by tourist ships; 11,000 ships per year travel through the waterway.

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The location of the Isthmus of Corinth; the canal is shown in light blue. CLICK IMAGE TO ENLARGE