MSA CULTURAL TOURS
OCTOBER 30 - NOVEMBER 9, 2016
TOUR OF SOUTHERN GREECE
ATHENS, DELPHI AND THE PELOPONNESE
10 DAYS AND 9 NIGHTS
*** GET THE REGISTRATION FORM ***
This tour will visit the most important historical sites of Classical and Pre-classical Greece, The first two nights will be in the beautiful coastal town of Nafplio, the first capital of modern Greece. Nafplio will be our operational base to visit 13th century BC Mycenae, the city of Homer's King Agamemnon and the acoustically perfect 4th century BC classical theatre of Epidaurus. We will also visit Olympia, site of the first Olympic games in 776 BC, Delphi, home of the Temple of Apollo, and the most famous oracle in Antiquity. The final three nights will be in Athens.
ARRIVE IN ATHENS & MOTOR COACH TO NAFPLIO IN THE PELOPONNESE.
On the way to Nafplio we will see the Corinth Canal. Building a canal across the Isthmus of Corinth was first envisioned in the 6th Century BC. The Roman Emperor Nero attempted to build a canal in the 1st century AD, but the project was not completed until the French did it in 1882 (after 12 years of work). The four mile long, 75-foot wide canal cannot accommodate modern supertankers, but it remains an engineering wonder.
VISIT ANCIENT CORINTH
Corinth was one of Greece’s most ancient cities, rivaling Athens in wealth based on control of the Isthmian traffic and trade. It was a major rival of Athens, which eventually lead to the Peloponnesian War. It founded many important colonies including Syracuse in Sicily and Corcyra, modern Corfu.
CORINTHIAN STYLE ARCHITECTURE
TEMPLE OF APOLLO
MAIN STREET OF ANCIENT CORINTH
OVERNIGHT NAFPLIO at HOTEL REX:
Nafphio, capital of liberated Greece from 1829-34 is possibly the most charming town in the Peloponnese. Much of the architecture of the old town dates from the Venetian occupation of 1686-1715. The narrow streets, homogenous architecture and whitewashed houses of the old town is reminiscent of the Greek Islands. Among the sites to be seen in Nafphio is the 15th Century Bourtzi fortress, the Palamidi, a huge Venetian citadel consisting of seven self-sufficient forts built 1711-14, and the Kale Fortress, site of Nafplio's original Acropolis.
MORNING VISIT 13TH CENTURY B.C. MYCENAE
Heinrich Schliemann, a pioneer German archeologist began excavating at Mycenae in 1874 and brought its historical importance to light. Mycenae is the most important historical site in the Peloponnese. Most of what we see today was built in the 13th century BC, but the Bronze Age complex covers the period 1700 to 1100 BC. It served as the palace for the ruling class. Among the things to see are the magnificent 13th century Lion Gate, The Cyclopean Wall, Tomb of Klytemnestra, the Treasury of Atreus and Royal Palace. The vast treasure discovered by Schliemann (including the Mask of Agamemnon) can be seen in the National Archeological Museum in Athens.
LUNCH IN MYCENAE IS ON US.
AFTERNOON VISIT 4TH CENTURY GREEK THEATRE AT EPIDAURUS.
Epidaurus is reputed to be the birthplace of Apollo’s son Asclepius, the healer. The sanctuary was active for 800 years from the 6th Century BC until the 2nd Century AD. Epidaurus was known for its sanctuary situated about five miles from the town, as well as its famous theater.
THE ANCIENT THEATRE AT EPIDAURUS is one of the most wonderful sites in all of Greece. The theatre which was built in the late 4th Century BC has 55 rows of seats (first 34 rows are original) and held 14,000 people. The theatre was buried until it was excavated in the 19th century and restored in 1954. Because it was remotely located and associated with a religious site, its masonry was never pilfered and it also has the only circular orchestra to survive from antiquity. The 4th Century theater is amazing for its exceptional acoustics.
THE ANCIENT THEATER AT EPIDAURUS
LATE AFTERNOON AND EVENING FREE.
OVERNIGHT IN NAFPLIO.
MORNING TOUR OF 18TH CENTURY VENETIAN FORTRESS OF PALAMIDI.
In the morning before leaving for Olympia we will visit the Palamidi by motor coach, or for those who prefer, a 913-step stairway. This magnificent fortress on top a 710 foot hill was built by the Venetians 1711-1714.
LATE MORNING DEPART FOR OLYMPIA. ARRIVE LATE AFTERNOON IN OLYMPIA.
Ancient Olympia was already an important sanctuary in Mycenaean times but it historic importance dates to the 12th century BC with the arrival of the Dorians and the emergence of Zeus as the chief God in the Greek pantheon. The name Olympia, which was given to the site, is related to Mt. Olympus when it was believed Zeus lived. The Olympic Games which commenced in 776 BC were dedicated to Zeus.
OVERNIGHT HOTEL EUROPA IN ANCIENT OLYMPIA. DINNER INCLUDED.
MORNING TOUR OF MUSEUM & ANCIENT OLYMPIA, SITE OF THE FIRST OLYMPIC GAMES IN 776 B.C.
The archaeological museum opened in 1982 is very impressive. Its collection is one of the best in Greece, ranking with those in Athens and Delphi. The central hall is dedicated to the sculpture that adorned the Temple of Zeus. There is a wonderful collection of weapons and helmets, which were a favorite, offering to Zeus. Among the Museum treasures is the statue of Hermes holding the baby Dionysos, possibly a rare Greek original by Praxiteles.
The large archaeological site includes the remains of the 5th century Temple of Zeus (destroyed in the 6th century AD by an earthquake.
EXCAVATIONS HAVE UNCOVERED THE STADIUM, HIPPODROME, GYMNASIUM, PALESTRA AND HOME OF OLYMPIC FLAME
VAULTED ARCHWAY ENTRANCE OLYMPIC STADIUM
MODEL TEMPLE OF ZEUS
DORIC TEMPLE OF HERA BUILT ABOUT 590 BC AND LOCATION OLYMPIC FLAME FOR MODERN OLYMPICS
FIGURES FROM PEDIMENT OF TEMPLE OF ZEUS
HERMES AND INFANT DIONYSUS BY PRAXITELES 4TH CENTURY BC
OVERNIGHT OLYMPIA EUROPA HOTEL - DINNER IS INCLUDED THIS NIGHT
EARLY MORNING DEPARTURE FOR DELPHI, SITE OF ANCIENT GREECE'S MOST SACRED ORACLE.
The journey to Delphi will include the opportunity to cross the Corinthian Gulf on the magnificent 1.5 mile Rio-Antirrio Bridge and to enjoy the spectacular drive along the northern shore of the Gulf of Corinth.
ARRIVE DELPHI AFTERNOON.
OVERNIGHT DELPHI PALACE HOTEL
DAY 6 - VISIT THE ARCHAEOLOGICAL SITE and MUSEUM
The museum has a very impressive collection of sculpture and architecture remains second in importance only to the Acropolis Museum in Athens. The most famous and impressive exhibit is "The Charioteer," discovered in 1896 but created around 478 B.C.
Delphi became the site of a major temple to Apollo, as well as the Pythian Games and the famous prehistoric oracle. The Oracle was dedicated to Apollo who spoke through the Delphi Priestess, the Pythia who sat on a tripod over an opening in the Earth. A legend claims the Pythia was intoxicated by fumes that came from the decomposing body of the Python who Apollo had killed to gain mastery of the Oracle. More modern theories suggest the intoxication was caused by ethylene or methane vapors from springs running under the temple. The Delphic Oracle exerted considerable influence throughout the Greek world, and she was consulted before any major undertakings.
DORIC ATHENIAN TREASURY, CONSTRUCTED 490-480 BC
OVERNIGHT IN DELPHI
MORNING DEPARTURE FOR ATHENS
OVERNIGHT ATHENS -- HERODION HOTEL:
OPTIONAL MORNING WALKING TOUR
Walking tour will commence in the hotel lobby. We will walk around the Acropolis starting at the 5th Century BC Theatre of Dionysus to the Areopagus, through the Plaka and Monastiraki districts, the Agora, and on to Constitution Square and the Parliament Building (where hopefully we will see the changing of the guard). The tour will end at the Temple of Zeus started in the 5th Century BC but not completed until the 2nd Century AD by the Emperor Hadrian.
DAY 9 FREE DAY
WHAT YOU SHOULD VISIT DURING YOUR FREE TIME:
1. THE ACROPOLIS, AGORA, AND THEATRES OF DIONYSUS AND HEROIDES ATTICUS
2. THE ACROPOLIS MUSEUM
3. NATIONAL ARCHAEOLOGICAL MUSEUM
4. TEMPLE OF ZEUS
5. STROLL AT YOUR OWN SPEED THROUGH THE PLAKA AND MONASTIRAKI (WONDERFUL SHOPPING, RESTAURANTS AND AMBIENCE)
Day 10 Depart for U.S.
Interested? Get the REGISTRATION FORM here.