Some of My Best Photos From My Greek Odyssey
Here are some of the most spectacular photos from my multi-part travel diary, Ancient Greece Odyssey. On those pages, I was telling you the tale of my journey, embellishing it with information on Greek art, history, and archaeology. Perhaps it's time to pause my lecturing and just let you look.
Several of these photos are from places my online Odyssey has not yet reached, or photos that I did not have a chance to show you before. So sit back, relax, and enjoy some of these images of Greece.
Right: Ferry from Naxos to Thera, Greek Isles.
Athens, Greece: Acropolis - Evening of Orthodox Easter, 1st May, 2005
The Acropolis glows softly on the evening of Orthodox Easter. Bells ring in all the cathedrals, and the faithful gather carrying candles. On the silent, ancient bastion above the modern city, the Parthenon gleams over the lip of the hill.
The Propylaia, Athens, Greece - Gateway to the Athenian Acropolis, built 5th century BCE
While the Parthenon has suffered many alterations and a devastating explosion since antiquity, the nearby Propylaia ("fore-gates") built at the same time has survived mostly unscathed. This image shows the left wing of the Propylaia, where in ancient times was an art gallery of Greece's finest painters.
Flowers in Athenian Agora, Athens, Greece - Poppies on an Easter Sunday
The Athenian Agora was the marketplace and also the place of assembly for the first democracy. This was once a cobblestone street along one side of the open area.
Wherever I went in Greece, I was struck by the blood-red poppies and grains of wild oats sprouting up through ruined marble blocks, reminding me of the goddess Demeter. Those flowers are the most vivid memory of my trip!
Tip: From here on, all the images are linked to Google Maps showing you the approximate location in Greece.
Temple of Hephaistos, Athens, Greece (449 BCE) - Best-Preserved Doric Greek Temple, Over 2500 Years Old
The Parthenon is justly famous, dominating the Athenian skyline. However, the smaller Temple of Hephaistos down below, at the edge of the Agora, is the only Greek temple I know which still has its roof.
Hephaistos the lame blacksmith-god was highly revered in Athens, second only to Athena.
Greek Bronze Statue: Artemesion Zeus - National Archaeological Museum, Athens
Most Greek bronzes were melted down long ago and only survive in Roman marble copies of famous originals. The Artemesion Zeus (or Poseidon) of about 460 BCE is a rare exception, saved by being lost in a shipwreck. Its identity is uncertain. I'm guessing he is Zeus the Thunderer, since a trident would pass through his head; Greek representations of thunderbolts are shorter than spears.
Greek Pottery: The Apollo Cup - From Delphi, Greece, Sanctuary of God Apollo, c. 480 BCE
Painted at about the same time as the Battle of Thermopylae or, more probably, in the decade after the Persians were defeated by the Greeks, this white-ground Greek vase is justly famous. It was dedicated at Delphi, site of Apollo's famous oracle. The vase shows the Greek god of prophecy sitting upon his ivory throne, pouring an offering to himself. Apollo rests his lyre against his shoulder, for he was the patron of music and the arts. His wise companion, crow, tells him what's happening in the world.
Gods vs. Giants, Siphnian Treasury, North Frieze - One of the Monuments at Delphi, Sanctuary of Apollo
The Sanctuary of Apollo, site of the god's famous oracle, was visited by travellers from all over the Mediterranean. Partly out of piety, partly as a status symbol, all the Greek city-states and principalities erected stone "treasuries" around Apollo's temple, full of rich offerings and spoils of war dedicated to the gods.
The Treasury of the Siphnians (c. 530-525 BCE) is especially well known for its early Greek sculpture around the outside of the building. This marble frieze depicts the Gigantomachy, a mythical battle between gods over giants which symbolized the triumph of (Greek) civilization over barbarism. The twin figures at left are Apollo and Artemis; the rest are giants.
Temple of Apollo, Delphi - On the Slopes of Sacred Mt. Parnassos
The temple of Apollo at Delphi was carved of local limestone, softer than marble, from the bones of Mount Parnassos. Earthquakes, repeated plunderings, and the ultimate destruction of the temple in the fifth century by zealous Christians left the site in ruins; a few stone columns have been reassembled by archaeologists.
Sanctuary of Apollo, Delphi, Greece - Slopes of Mt. Parnassos
The sanctuary of Apollo climbs the knees of the great mountain. Uphill, in the foreground, is an outdoor theater with a stunning backdrop. Dramas, even athletic games like those at Olympia, were held in the god Apollo's honor. In the middle ground lie the foundations of the temple. Below the temple, on either side of the switchback Sacred Way, are treasuries and monuments erected by all the cities of ancient Greece.
City of Nauplion (Nafplio), Peloponnese - Taken from Nafplia Palace Hotel
Crossing the isthmus to southern Greece, we reached the medieval city of Nauplion. Looking northeast from the Nafplia Palace Hotel, the Bronze Age citadel of Tiryns is the low outcropping to the left of the larger hills in the background.
So-Called "Treasury of Atreus," at Mycenae - Around 1400 BCE, Older than the Trojan War
Nearly a thousand years before the classical Greece we know, a Bronze Age civilization flourished. We call it Mycenaean after one of its chief citadels, Mycenae, remembered in Greek legends like Camelot and King Arthur. Greek epics tell many myths about its royal family: King Atreus and his famous sons Menelaus and Agamemnon, whom legends said waged war for ten years against Troy. This tomb outside the walls of the citadel is probably a few hundred years older than the Trojan War, but by the second century AD, ancient tour guides were calling it the Treasury of Atreus.
Theater of Epidaurus, Greece - Part of an Ancient Greek Spa and Resort
The Theater of Epidaurus was part of a health spa and resort where ancient Greeks came to rest and be treated for sickness and wounds. Priests of the kindly god Asclepius would tend them with medicine and put them on a regimen of fasting, exercise, hot baths, and enjoying sports, music, good food, and plays in this wonderful theater. Plays and operas are still performed there all summer!
Church, Town of Mykonos - In the Cyclades Islands
I fell in love with this little Greek Orthodox church while wandering around the twisty streets of Mykonos Island. Someone had just parked a garlic cart outside -- it wasn't posed; it was moved when I came by later. It was such a perfect scene of the Greek islands -- everything freshly white-washed for Easter and shining under that vivid blue sky!
Petros the Pelican (or Is It Irene?) - Mascot of Mykonos Island
The original Petros (Peter) the Pelican came to Mykonos Island in 1954 and was adopted as a mascot. When the original Peter died, three different replacement pelicans were introduced to the island, including an "Irene" whose travel arrangements were funded by Jackie Kennedy-Onassis. No, the bird in this photo isn't a statue, see my Mykonos Island tour for another photo of him/her.
Greek Cafe, Mykonos Island - Typical View of Greece
Greece looks towards the sea, and most of the dining consists of little outdoor cafes lining every overlook or harbor. Here's late afternoon on Mykonos Island.
In the old days, "Cycladic" windmills like this were the hallmark of the Greek islands. Now, alas, electricity has made them obsolete, but some still stand as tourist attractions.
Delos Island, Birthplace of Apollo - Hellenistic City, Modern Ferries
This sprawling ancient city was a thriving Greek port in the third to first century BCE, established on a barren, unpromising island revered as the birthplace of Apollo (and perhaps Artemis). In classical times it had been a religious site, but by the time of Alexander the Great it had become a crossroads of the Mediterranean. The ruins you see are the foundations of middle-class houses, much like Pompeii.
Hellenistic House, Delos Island - A Well-to-Do Family's Living Room in 100BCE
"Hellenistic" means the period from Alexander the Great onward, when classical Greece had given way to a more international, cosmopolitan Greek culture spread across the Mediterranean, mixing with the other cultures around the rim.
This was a typical Hellenistic house, complete with mosaic floors. Not bad for a living room, eh? The central rectangular area had a shallow pool; that short cylindrical pipe in the background leads down to a large cistern below the floor holding more water. A roof would have covered over all but the pool, the walls would have been plastered, and smaller, warmer bedrooms and storerooms surrounded the atrium.
Delos Museum, Greece - Delos Island, Birthplace of Apollo (and Artemis?)
Before it became a wealthy port, as I mentioned, Delos Island was a religious site. The artifacts in the museum reflect Delos' double life. In the foreground at left is a statue of the goddess Artemis, a huntress; in the background is a rich floor mosaic from a noble house that seems to show masked actors dressed for a play.
"Ariadne" on Naxos Island - Ruins of the Portara Temple
So little is left of the ancient Portara Temple on the island of Naxos that we're not 100% sure which god it was dedicated to. I like to think it was Dionysos, the god who rescued Ariadne after she was abandoned on Naxos by her faithless lover, King Theseus.
A windy day, a Greek gown I bought on Mykonos Island -- I was trying to play the part!
Greek Farmer on Naxos Island - Typical Scene of the Greek Countryside
The hills of Greece were deforested in antiquity, and now show the ancient lines of sheep, vinyards, old walls, some of which have been built and rebuilt for hundreds of years. Apart from a few telltales, this could be a scene from hundreds of years ago. Donkeys and mules are still used in many places, since so much of Greece is mountainous.
Town of Fira, Santorini (Thera) Island - The Last Stop on My Odyssey
Thera Island, aka Santorini, is a magical place for me, not just because of the modern city clinging to its cliffs. Long ago it was a much larger, cone-shaped island. Like Krakatoa, but four or five times larger, it exploded. That curving cliff-wall dwindling into the far distance is actually the inner wall of what was once an enormous magma chamber many miles across. Archaeologists have found the ruins of a Bronze Age city around the outskirts of what's left of the island. If it is not the Atlantis, the memories of this incredible cataclysm must have contributed to the legend.
There is almost no flat land left since the island was torn to pieces; towns hang upon the stair-step layers of prehistoric lava flows.
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© 2011 Ellen Brundige
Visitors' Guestbook - Drop a Note!
Vagabond Laborer on April 04, 2015:
Gorgeous photos of Athens, Greece: Acropolis - Evening of Orthodox Easter, 1st May, 2005.
My husband and I were in Athens in November of 2014 during the torrential rains. I would like to do a hub about my trip to Greece and you have set the bar very high. Great job!
craftycollector on November 16, 2012:
Lovely pictures that brought back precious memories. 'I also have gazed upon the face of Agamemnon'
anonymous on September 03, 2012:
As a matter of fact, I am halve greek! This is a great lens, thanks for sharing this, I enjoyed it!
anonymous on May 02, 2012:
Beautiful Pictures wonderful for you to share, my Great Grandparents were born and raised there not sure what part, but would love to someday visit...Thank You for sharing..Oh yeah How was the food? Thanks again Cassandra
anonymous on April 17, 2012:
Beautiful pictures and really great choice of places and art !
diamid on April 17, 2012:
Beautiful pictures. Thanks for sharing your odyssey. After a stressful day, these pictures and accompanying insights really brought peace and harmony to my day.
MindPowerProofs1 on April 01, 2012:
Great pictures. Thanks for sharing
Ellen de Casmaker from Powell RIver BC on January 26, 2012:
Just great. We went on our honeymoon and I would so much like to go back
isabella lm on December 25, 2011:
traveller27 on November 06, 2011:
Looks like I should be adding Greece to my list of places to travel to - these photos are amazing! Blessed by a traveling angel.
Tony Payne from Southampton, UK on March 17, 2011:
Wonderful photos, I would love to go to mainland Greece one day. I have been to Corfu and Rhodes, but not to any other areas. I really enjoyed this, Blessed by an angel.
Ellen Brundige (author) from California on March 10, 2011:
@NoYouAreNot: An old Pentax Optio. Of course, these are the best of the batch, and I've used gentle Photoshopping to tweak the contrast and levels. ;)
NoYouAreNot on March 10, 2011:
Like the pics, very clear, colourful, large frame. What camera did you use?
emmaklarkins on March 06, 2011:
These pictures are great! I'll have to show them to my Greek boyfriend :)
Ellen Brundige (author) from California on March 05, 2011:
I'm probably the only person who uses that trick on Squidoo. About 10 years ago, when we didn't all have broadband, it was very common for websites to break graphics into "slices" that all loaded together, speeding up load time, and allowing us to make parts of the image clickable or animated. Since each "slice" is its own graphic, you can make it a clickable link by using the usual HTML for "this is a link" around the image code. It's frowned on nowadays, since it's better to KISS and use text links, but it's the only way I could think of to sneak a navigation menu into the bio box with its character limit. :)
Katherine Tyrrell from London on March 05, 2011:
What great pics! I've been to Greece but never done the museums or archeological sites but this provides an incentive. Blessed.
PS How do you that pictorial table of contents thing? Have I missed a trick?