Hi! this topic always pops up in conversations I have with friends who plan a visit to Greece: "What places should I include in my two-week long itinerary"? I often pondered with the question myself, and knowing that no matter where I go there will always be another place I wish I had visited, I return to Greece with my family year after year just to find out that the best we have not seen yet.
ACROPOLIS OF ATHENS:
The Acropolis was always a sacred place for ancient Athenians going back to Mycenaean times. They worshiped their gods in temples there, conducted their festivals, and they fortified themselves on it whenever the enemies managed to reach the city of Athens.
The temples of the Acropolis of Athens were destroyed or burned several times in ancient times, and the monuments as we see them today were the result of a terrific public project the Athenians.
Delphi is one of the most important archaeological sites of Greece, and accordingly, it seems to appear in the itinerary of every traveler who is attracted to the oracle that influenced affairs in the known world for over a thousand years.
Some time later they say Earth gave her hare to Themis, and Apollo got Themis's share as a gift, but he gave Poseidon the island of Poros off Troizen in exchange for this oracle."
(Pausanias, Guide to Greece 1: Central Greece, translated by Peter Levi, Penguin Books, London, 1971, p. 415)
Archaeologist have found evidence that the site of Delphi was inhabited as far back as the Neolithic era, and that by the end of the Mycenaean period (1600-1100 BCE) it had become an important religious and political center of influence. While the function of the oracle during prehistory is obscured by the lack of records, the importance of Delphi during historical times is well documented by a plethora of ancient writers and the rich archeological finds of the site.
Ancient Olympia is located at the west end of the Peloponnese peninsula in the midst of a fertile plain between the rivers Alpheios and Kladeos. The complex of ancient structures at the south slopes of Kronos hill developed over many centuries into a sanctuary. A multitude of deities were represented there during the bronze age until it was dominated by the worship of Zeus at the end of the Mycenaean era.
The history of habitation of Olympia is lost in prehistoric times, but buildings have been unearthed dating as far back as the middle Helladic era (1600-1900 BCE). It is believed that the first god worshiped at the sanctuary was Kronos who was replaced by his son Zeus about the same time that Doric tribes replaced the Mycenaeans in the Peloponnese around 1100 BCE. The largest temple at the center of the Olympia sanctuary is thus dedicated to Zeus.
The sanctuary of Asclepios at Epidaurus is a spiritual place worth traveling around the world to visit! In fact the ancient Greeks did just that in order to pay tribute to their spiritual entities in the face of Asclepios, and to ask the gods for remedies for their physical ailments. It was a healing center as well as a cultural center in ancient times. Epidaurus was built round the 3d Century BC and it is adorned with a multitude of buildings most famous of which is the ancient Theater of Epidaurus.
The second largest palace of Crete, Phaistos is located in a spectacular setting. The buildings atop a rocky hill overlook the entire Messara plane and the Asterousia mountains to the South, and the Lasithi mountains to the East. To the west one can see the Messara gulf, while the imposing Mt. Idi or Psiloretis towers over the site to the North.
As spectacular as the scenery is, the palace buildings themselves comprised arguably the most beautiful of all the Minoan palaces. The ruins span several Minoan eras, and one of the most challenging, and interesting activities for the visitor is to explore which parts are from the Proto-Palatial and which walls have stood since the Neo-palatial periods.
Our next stop was Rhodes, Greece. This was by far, one of our
favorite ports. It is such a historical town and
so rich in culture.
It is here that the famous Colossus of Rhodes once stood;
One of the seven wonders of the ancient world.
It was built in 304 B.C. and was toppled a mere
56 years later by an earthquake.
The ruins of Aphrodite's Temple
The Palace of the Grand Masters
The inner courtyard
This was actually made for the Italian king in anticipation of winning WWII. He was going to take over the palace if they won.
Luckily, they didnt win and the Greek people maintained control of Rhodes.
More ruins, view from clocktower
After a late lunch we decided to wander out to the lookout point.