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Acropolis of Athens
Acropolis is the greatest sanctuary of the ancient Athens. This sanctuary is dedicated to the goddess Athena and it is settled the centre of the modern city from the rocky crag known as the Acropolis. The monuments of the Acropolis stand in harmony with their natural setting. The unique masterpiece of ancient architecture combines various orders and styles in classic mode in a innovative way and had been in the centere of interest for many centuries. The Acropolis of the fifth century BC symbolizes the power and wealth of ancient Athens during the golden age of Perikles.
Searches have indicated that the hill was inhabited from a very early period. A fortification wall was built around it in the thirteenth century BC and the citadel became the centre of a Mycenaean kingdom. The Acropolis became a sacred precinct in the eighth century BC. The sanctuary bloomed under the headship of  Peisistratos in the mid-sixth century BC. At the same time the city's greatest religious festival “Panathinaia” was established and the first monumental buildings of the Acropolis erected -“Old temple” and the “Hekatompedos”- all dedicated to the goddess Athena. Also in that period it is supposed to have been built the shrine of Artemis Bravronia and the first monumental propylon.
 There are also saved a lot of offerings, such as marble korai and horsemen, bronze and terracotta statuettes in honor to the sanctuary that testify the great importance of Athena's cult in the Archaic period.  In 490 BC had been built the so-called “Pre-Parthenon”. This large temple was the sign for the win of the Athenians against the Persians at Marathon.In the mid-fifth century BC, the Acropolis became the seat of the Athenian League and Athens was considered as the main and most significant cultural centre of its time.
Nowadays the most important buildings of Acropolis are the “Parthenon”, the “Propylaia”, the “Erechtheion” and the temple of “Athena Nike”. All of them were erected during this period from the greatest architects. After the end of the Peloponnesian war in 404 BC and until the first century BC no other important buildings were erected on the Acropolis. In 27 BC a small temple dedicated to Augustus and Rome was built east of the Parthenon. Although, in Roman times, other Greek sanctuaries were damaged, the Acropolis retained its prestige and continued to attract offerings of the faithful.
Through the next centuries the monuments of the Acropolis suffered from both natural causes and human intervention. The establishment of Christianity, in the sixth century AD had been a significant time for the future of Acropolis as the temples were converted into Christian churches. The Parthenon was dedicated the Virgin Mary, was later re-named as Panagia Athiniotissa (Virgin of Athens) and in the eleventh century served as the city's cathedral. The Erechtheion was dedicated to the Sotiras (Saviour) or the Panagia, the temple of Athena Nike became a chapel and the Propylaia an episcopal residence. The Acropolis became the fortress of the medieval city.
 The period from 1204 to 1456, under the Frankish occupation the Propylaia were converted into a residence for the Frankish ruler and in the Ottoman period (1456-1833) into the Turkish garrison headquarters. On 26 September1687 the Venetians under F. Morozini besieged the Acropolis and destroyed the Parthenon, which then served as a munitions store. Lord Elgin caused further serious damage in 1801-1802 by looting the sculptural decoration of the Parthenon, the temple of Athena Nike and the Erechtheion. During the Greek War of Independence, the Acropolis was come under the custody of Greek in 1822, and Odysseas Androutsos became its first Greek defender.
After the liberation of Greece, the monuments of the Acropolis came under the care of the new founded Greek state. In the early twentieth century N. Balanos headed the first large-scale restoration project. A Committee for the Conservation of the Monuments on the Acropolis was created in 1975 with the aim to plan and undertake large-scale conservation and restoration on the Acropolis. The project, conducted by the Service of Restoration of the Monuments of the Acropolis in collaboration with the First Ephorate of Prehistoric and Classical Antiquities, is still in progress
 
 
 
Delphi
At the roots of the Mount Parnassos, lies the Pan-Hellenic sanctuary of Delphi, which had the most famous oracle of ancient Greece. Delphi in ancient east Mediterranean was a place of influence as a result not to have any serious problems with rivals. The sanctuary was received by Persian kings and Athenian leaders. You can visit the ruins that are well preserved, and the site's museum houses where are some of the most important art works from ancient Greece. 
Delphi was regarded as the centre of the world. The sanctuary of Delphi, seated within a spectacular landscape, was for many centuries the cultural and religious centre and the symbol of unity for the Hellenic world.  In the beginning the site was sacred to Mother Earth and was guarded by the terrible serpent Python, who was later killed by Apollo. Apollo's sanctuary was built by Cretans.
 Within the sanctuary were discovered the remains of a Mycenaean settlement and cemetery, but there are no traces of occupation until the eighth century BC, when was established the cult of Apollo and began the development of the sanctuary. According to literary and archaeological evidence other gods were associated with the sanctuary too such as Artemis, Poseidon, Dionysus, Hermes, Zeus Polieus, Hygeia and Eileithyia.
 In the 6 century BC, under the League's protection and administration, during the first sacred war, the sanctuary became independent as a result to increase its territory and political and religious influence throughout Greece, and reorganise the Pythian Games, the second most important games in Greece after the Olympics, which were taken place every four years. It is considered that the Delphic oracle bloomed between the 6th -4th century BC and was regarded as the most trustworthy region It was delivered by the Pythia, the priestess, and interpreted by the priests of Apollo. Everybody consulted the oracle, expressing their gratitude with great gifts and spreading its fame around the world. The oracle was thought to have existed since the dawn of time. Indeed, it was believed to have successfully predicted events related to the cataclysm of Deukalion, the Argonaut's expedition and the Trojan War! It was the oracle's fame and prestige that caused two Sacred Wars in the middle of the fifth and fourth centuries BC. In the third century BC, the sanctuary was conquered by the Aetolians. In Roman times, the sanctuary was favoured by some emperors and plundered by others, including Sulla in 86 BC.
In the 3rd century BC became the rise of the Rationalist movement in philosophy and damaged the oracle's authority but the rituals were continued. Into the second century AD, it was consulted by Hadrian and visited by Pausanias. Finally, the Byzantine emperor Theodosius abolished the oracle and the Slavs destroyed the precinct in 394 BC. When Christianity was spread all over the region, Delphi became an episcopal see, although later in the 6th- 7th centuries AD it was abandoned. Soon after, in the seventh century AD, a new village, Kastri, grew over the ruins of the ancient sanctuary that nowadays is considered as a place of interest.
In 1891, the Greek government in association with the French School at Athens began long-term excavations on the region. The Great Excavation uncovered spectacular remains, including about three thousand inscriptions of great importance for our knowledge of public life in ancient Greece. Today the researches are continued. Of all the monuments, only the Treasury of the Athenians had enough of its original building material preserved to allow for its almost complete reconstruction. The Chiot altar, the temple of Apollo and the Tholos were also partially restored. In 1927 and 1930, the poet Angelos Sikelianos and his wife, Eva, attempted to revive the Delphic idea and make of Delphi a new cultural centre of the earth, through a series of events that included performances of ancient theatre.
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Olympia
Olympia lies in western Peloponnese, in the beautiful valley of the Alpheios River.  In Ancient Greece, all "civilized" cities gathered in ancient Olympia to participate in athletic competitions and cultural festivals. Ancient Olympia was dedicated to Zeus, the father of the gods, although secluded near the west coast of the Peloponnese, Olympia became the most important religious and athletic centre in Greece. The modern Olympic Games that take place all over the world every 4 years have their roots to Olympia. The origin of the cult and of the festival dates back many centuries.  There are Local myths concerning the famous Pelops, the first ruler of the region, and the river Alpheios, betray the close ties between the sanctuary and both the East and West.
The earliest finds in Olympia are located on the southern foot of Mount Kronios, Traces of occupation of the three periods of the Bronze Age were identified in the greater area of the Altis. It is believed that in approximately 1200 BC the region of Olympia was settled by Aetolians under the leadership of Oxylos, who founded the state of Elis. The first planned sanctuary dedicated to local and Pan-Hellenic deities was probably established towards the end of the Mycenaean period. Olympia was subsequently devoted exclusively to worship and for many centuries had no other structures except for the Altis, that is a walled precinct containing sacrificial altars and the tumulus of the Pelopion. The numerous votive offerings, mostly figurines, bronze cauldrons and tripods were placed outdoors, on trees and altars. The first figurines representing Zeus, the master of the sanctuary, date to the Geometric period.
In 776 BC, Iphitos, the king of Elis, Kleosthenes of Pisa and Lykourgos of Sparta reorganized the Olympic Games in honour of Zeus and instituted the sacred truce.  After the time the festival acquired a national character. The great development of the sanctuary began in the Archaic period. Then also were constructed monumental buildings such as the temple of Hera, the Prytaneion, the Bouleuterion, the treasuries and the first stadium. In the Hellenistic period the construction of lay buildings, such as the gymnasium and palaestra, continued, while in Roman times several existing buildings were refurbished and new ones built, including hot baths, luxurious mansions and an aqueduct. Many of the sanctuary's treasures were removed and used for the decoration of Roman villas.
The sanctuary continued to function during the first years of Christian rule under Constantine the Great. The last Olympic Games were held in 393 AD when an edict of Theodosius I prohibited all pagan festivals. In 426 BC Theodosius II ordered the destruction of the sanctuary. In the mid-fifth century AD a small settlement was transformed into a Christian church. In 522 and 551 the ruins were devastated again by earthquakes, and the Temple of Zeus was partially buried. In subsequent centuries the Alpheios and the Kladeos overflowed and together with landslips from Mount Kronios buried the site deep in mud and sand. Olympia remained forgotten under a layer of debris 5-7 metres deep. The area was dubbed Antilalos and it in 1766 the ancient sanctuary was re-discovered.
In 1829 the French Scientific Expedition of the Peloponnese partially excavated the Temple of Zeus, taking several fragments of the pediments to the Museum of Louvre. Systematic excavation began by the German Archaeological Institute in 1875 and continues to the present. Several monuments of the site are currently under conservation and restoration.
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Knossos
  
The Palace of Knossos is the largest of the preserved Minoan palatial centers. There are four wings arranged around a central courtyard, including the royal quarters, workshops, shrines, storerooms, repositories, the throne room and banquet halls. It dates back to 2000-1350 B.C. In the west of the main palace is settled the little palace that has all the features of palatial architecture. It is characterized by scraped wall masonry, reception rooms, a pristyle hall, a double megaron with ‘polithira” and a lustral basin-shrine. This one dates back to the 17th-15th centuries B.C. In the north-east of the palace is the Royal Villa.  It’s specific architectural form is distinguished by the “polithira”, the pillar crypt and the double staircase, with two flights of stairs. It is has intense religious character and might have been the residence of an aristocrat or a high priest. It dates back to the 14th century B.C.
. In the north-western part of the palace is the House of the Frescoes that is a small urban mansion with unique decoration on the walls. It is dated back to the 15th, 14th-12th centuries B.C.  In that part is also the "Unexplored Mansion” a private building, probably of private-industrial function, rectangular, with a central, four-pillared hall, corridors, storerooms and remains of a staircase. In the south of the palace lies the Caravanserai that was interpreted as a reception hall and hospice. Some of the rooms are equipped with baths and decorated with wall paintings.
There is also a temple Tomb located almost 600 m. in the south part of the palace and was connected with the "House of the High Priest" by means of a paved street. It seems that one of the last kings of Knossos was buried there. Typical features of its architecture are the hypostyle, two-pillar crypt, the entrance with the courtyard, the portico and a small anteroom.
In 300 m. in the south of Caravanserai lies the house of the High Priest and contains a stone altar with two columns, framed by the bases of double axes.
Even, there is the South Mansion a private civic house, It is a three-storeyed building with a lustral basin and a hypostyle crypt, dating from the 17th-15th centuries B.C. Finally there is the villa of Dionysos, a private, peristyle house of the Roman period. It is decorated with splendid mosaics by Apollinarius, depicting Dionysos. The house contains special rooms employed for the Dionysiac cult.
  
 
Epidaurus
You can reach to Epidaurus either through Nauplion or through Athens following the signs. Epidaurus was built round the 3d Century BC It is well- preserved and still there are taking place for festivals and concerts and theater plays. The theater of Epidaur is among the few ones that retained their original circular "Orchestra". The cult of Asklepios at Epidaurus is attested in the 6th century BC, and was created as extension  sanctuary of Apollo Maleatas in order to be gained some space The theater was designed by Polykleitos the Younger in the 4th century BC. It contained 34 rows which were extended in Roman times by another 21 rows. There can be hosted up to 15,000 persons, it has perfect acoustics to the whole area of the theater. Near to the theater is also a small museum that worths visiting as there are many statues and replicas.. The most interesting building is considered to be the Tholos that recently is under restoring.
Regarding its history, in ancient times the sanctuary of Asclepios at Epidaurus it was a healing and cultural center. It is said that the ancient Greeks were paying tribute to their spiritual entities in the front of Asclepios, and were pleasing the gods for remedies for their physical disorders.
The aesthetics and the acoustics of the theater will amaze you. More informations
 
Phaistos (Crete)
 
Phaistos is located 62 km southern of Heraklion and it belongs to the Municipality of Kamilari. It is located on a hill, at an altitude of 100 m from sea level, in the fertile valley of Messara. In the west of Phaistos is seated the Aghia Triada while in the south of Phaistos are the Asterousia mountains. In the south- west is Kommos, the ancient port of Phaistos and in the east, the vast Mesara plain.
You can reach the area either from Heraklion or from Rethimnon as there is frequent public transportation. If you decide to get there by car you will find a large parking area in a few distance from the palace.
 
Phaistos was one of the most important centres of Minoan civilization, and the most wealthy and powerful city in southern Crete. It was inhabited from the Neolithic period until the foundation and development of the Minoan palaces in the 15th century B.C.        
According to the mythology, Phaistos was the seat of king Radamanthis who was the  brother of king Minos. Also there is said to have been born  the great wise man and soothsayer Epimenidis, one of the seven wise men of the ancient world.
In  Minoan times, Phaistos was a very important city-state and had the dominition from Lithinon to Psychion included the Paximadia islands. The city continued to have power during the Dorian period and flourished during Archaic, Classical and Hellenistic times. In the 3rd century B.C it was destroyed by the Gortynians but Phaistos continued to exist during the Roman period. 
After the destruction of the palace in the 15th century, the city continued to be inhabited up to the 8th century B.C. and was considered as a prosperous city. In the middle of the 2nd century B.C. it was destroyed and dominated again by the neighbouring city of Gortyn. Traces of habitation dating from the Venetian period are distinctive in the area. More Informations
 
Vergina
 
The Archaeological Museum of Thessaloniki created on 1961 by the architect Patroklos Karantinos. The building was inaugurated on 27th October 1962, during the celebrations of the fiftieth anniversary of the liberation of Thessaloniki. In 1971 it was completed. There are salvaged sculptures, a prehistoric collection, miniature art of the Archaic and Classical periods, and findings from the tombs at Derveni. In 1978 there were new findings  at Vergina  that led to the first changes in the  display although the treasures from Vergina and other precious discoveries of the 70’s, made the construction of an extension to the Museum inevitable: the new wing was inaugurated in July 1980 with the exhibition “Alexander the Great”. This same year saw the beginning of the excavation of the cemetery at Sindos, with its rich finds of gold, and the "Sindos" exhibition was opened to the public in October 1982. There followed in 1984 a repeat of the exhibition of finds from Vergina and Derveni, in 1985 an exhibition on ancient Thessaloniki, and in 1989 an exhibition of new finds dating from the Archaic and Classical periods at the ground floor of the New Wing. In this   museum will have the opportunity to experience a part of the Macedonian culture including the tomb of Phillip II of Macedon.  More
 
 
 
Monuments
 
 Akrotiri
Akrotiri is settled at Santorini. It is considered to be one of the most important prehistoric settlements of the Aegean Although the cycladic settlement was buried under ashes when the volcano of Thera erupted, the town and the buildings have been preserved in good condition.
 The first habitation at the site dates from the Late Neolithic times (at least the 4th millenium B.C.). this settlement was firstly founded during the Early Bronze Age but it was extended and gradually developed into one of the main urban centres and ports of the Aegean in the Middle and early Late Bronze Age. Indications of the  drainage system, the wall-paintings, furniture vessels and imported objects, show its great development and wealth and the wide network of its external relations. The town's life came suddenly to an end in the last quarter of the 17th century B.C due to earthquakes  and volcanic eruptions which covered the entire island.More
 
 
 
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