The greatest and finest sanctuary of ancient Athens, dedicated primarily to its patron, the goddess Athena, dominates the centre of the modern city from the rocky crag known as the Acropolis. The most celebrated myths of ancient Athens, its greatest religious festivals, earliest cults and several decisive events in the city's history are all connected to this sacred precinct. The monuments of the Acropolis stand in harmony with their natural setting. These unique masterpieces of ancient architecture combine different orders and styles of Classical art in a most innovative manner and have influenced art and culture for many centuries. The Acropolis of the fifth century BC is the most accurate reflection of the splendour, power and wealth of Athens at its greatest peak, the golden age of Perikles.
In western Peloponnese, in the beautiful valley of the Alpheios river, lies the most celebrated sanctuary of ancient Greece. Dedicated to Zeus, the father of the gods, it sprawls over the southwest foot of Mount Kronios, at the confluence of the Alpheios and the Kladeos rivers, in a lush, green landscape. Although secluded near the west coast of the Peloponnese, Olympia became the most important religious and athletic centre in Greece. Its fame rests upon the Olympic Games, the greatest national festival and a highly prestigious one world-wide, which was held every four years to honour Zeus. The origin of the cult and of the festival went back many centuries. 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 site of ancient Corinth was first inhabited in the Neolithic period (6500-3250 B.C.). It is located at the northern base of the hill of Acrocorinth at the site of today’s agglomeration, Ancient Corinth. Its fertile soil but mainly its strategic location at the intersection of land routes from the Balkan peninsula of Aimos and mainland Greece on towards the Peloponnese and waterways that connect the western Mediterranean to its Eastern counterpart, to Asia Minor and to Syro-Palestine, offered the region from very early on enormous potential for communication, growth and prosperity.
The Corinth Canal is a canal that connects the Gulf of Corinth with the Saronic Gulf in the Aegean Sea. It cuts through the narrow Isthmus of Corinth and separates the Peloponnese from the Greek mainland, arguably making the 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 impassable for most modern ships. It now has little economic importance.
The canal was proposed in classical times and an abortive effort was made to build it in the 1st century CE. Construction started 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 repair landslides from its steep walls, it failed to attract the level of traffic expected by its operators. It is now used mainly for tourist traffic.
Cape Sounion (Modern Greek: Aκρωτήριο Σούνιο, transliterated Akrotírio Soúnio, pronounced [akroˈtirʝo ˈsuɲo]; Ancient Greek: Ἄκρον Σούνιον, Άkron Soúnion; Venetian: Capo Colonne, "Cape of Columns") is a promontory located 69 kilometres (43 mi) south-southeast of Athens, at the southernmost tip of the Attica peninsula in Greece.
Cape Sounion is noted as the site of ruins of an ancient Greek temple of Poseidon, the god of the sea in classical mythology. The remains are perched on the headland, surrounded on three sides by the sea. The ruins bear the deeply engraved name of English Romantic poet Lord Byron (1788–1823).
The site is a popular day-excursion for tourists from Athens, with the sunset over the Aegean Sea, as viewed from the ruins, a sought-after sight.
Delphi is famous as the ancient sanctuary that grew rich as the seat of the oracle that was consulted on important decisions throughout the ancient classical world. Moreover, it was considered as the navel (or centre) of the world by the Greeks as represented by the Omphalos.
It occupies an impressive site on the south-western slope of Mount Parnassus overlooking the coastal plain to the south and the valley of Phocis. It is now an extensive archaeological site and the modern town is nearby.
It is recognised by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site in having had a phenomenal influence in the Ancient world, as evidenced by the rich monuments built there by most of the important ancient Greek city-states, demonstrating their fundamental Hellenic unity.
In a canyon, in 340 BC, an Argos architect Polykleitos the Younger, built, according to Pausanias, the theatre of Epidaurus.
Among all the ancient theatres, Epidaurus theatre is the most beautiful and best preserved. Destined for the fun of the patients of Asklipieio, it had a capacity of 13,000 spectators. It was divided into two parts: A 21-rows of seats part, aimed for the citizens and a 34-rows of seats part aimed for the priests and rulers. The superb acoustics as well as the very well preserved construction, contributed to the creation of Epidaurus Festival S.A., an institution that contributed to the cultural revival of the theatre. Great actors have acted at such as Alexis Minotis, Thanos Kotsopoulos, Anna Synodinou, Thanasis Vengos and the famous Greek soprano Maria Kallas.
The Metéora (literally "middle of the sky", "suspended in the air" or "in the heavens above" — etymologically related to meteorology) - is a formation of immense monolithic pillars and hills-like huge rounded boulders which dominate the local area.
It is also associated with one of the largest and most precipitously built complexes of Eastern Orthodox monasteries in Greece, second in importance only to Mount Athos. The six monasteries are built on natural conglomerate pillars, at the northwestern edge of the Plain of Thessaly near the Pineios river and Pindus Mountains, in central Greece.
Metéora is included on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
Mycenae 'Rich in Gold', the kingdom of mythical Agamemnon, first sung by Homer in his epics, is the most important and richest palatial centre of the Late Bronze Age in Greece. Its name was given to one of the greatest civilizations of Greek prehistory, the Mycenaean civilization, while the myths related to its history have inspired poets and writers over many centuries, from the Homeric epics and the great tragedies of the Classical period to contemporary literary and artistic creation. Perseus, son of Zeus and Dana?, daughter of Akrisios, king of Argos and descendant of Danaos, is traditionally considered as its mythical founder. Pausanias (2, 16, 3) reports that Perseus named the new city Mycenae after the pommel (mykes) of his sword, which fell there, or after the Perseia spring, discovered there under the root of a mushroom (mykes). According to the myth, Perseus's descendants reigned at Mycenae for three generations. After the last of them, Eurystheas, died childless, the Mycenaeans chose Atreus, son of Pelops, father of Agamemnon and Menelaos, as their king.
One of the most beautiful towns in the area of Argolis (in eastern Peloponnese) as well as one of the most romantic cities all over Greece, Nafplio was the first capital of the newly born Greek state between 1823 and 1834.
According to mythology, the town was founded by Náfplios, the son of god Poseidon and the daughter of Danaus (Danaida) Anymone. The town’s history traces back to the prehistoric era when soldiers from here participated in the Argonautic expedition and the Trojan War alike. The town declined during the Roman times and flourished again during the Byzantine times. Frankish, Venetian and Turkish conquerors left their mark in the town and strongly influenced its culture, architecture and traditions during the centuries. Ancient walls, medieval castles, monuments and statues, Ottoman fountains and Venetian or neoclassical buildings mesmerize the visitor with their unique architecture and beauty.