ARRIVAL – THESSALONIKI -SHORT CITY TOUR
Arrival at Thessaloniki. Thessaloniki is the second largest city, in Northern Greece. It was first established in 316 B. C. by Kassandros and named after his wife, Thessaloniki, sister of Alexander the Great. It is here that Paul, the Apostle of Nations, first brought the message of Christianity (50 A.D.) and that Demetrius, a Roman officer died in martyrdom, thus becoming the holy patron of the city for ever (303A.D.). Thessalonica, Dion, Pella, Vergina are names that date since Alexander the Great‘s era and even further back. Names that have remained unaltered for thousands of years,that have been passed on from generation to generation, while this land saw one invasion follow another. Yet, in spite of so many conquests everything remained, as before, Greek. Some of the great sights of the city are the White Tower, the Rotunda, St. Agios Dimitrios and others, which we certainly visit. Transfer to our hotel. Dinner and overnight in the hotel.
PHILLIPI- MOUNT ATHOS- THESSALONICA
After breakfast we will visit the archaeological site of Philippi and the Church of Lydia. Philipi, site of the famous battle where the armies of Mark Antony and Octavius met and defeated the armies of Julius Ceasars assassins in 42BC. In 49 AD Saint Paul came to preach to the inhabitants of Philippi and ended up in prison. Despite Paul’s misfortune Phillipi was the first European city to accept Christianity, though the first two churches they built suffered some bad luck. The remains of both can be seen, as well as the ancient theatre built by Phillip II. Optional cruise to Mount Athos by ferry boat either from the port of Ouranoupolis for west coast monasteries or Ierrisos for those on the east coast. Mount Athos is a mountain on the peninsula of the same name in Macedonia, called in Greek Agion Oros or in English, “Holy Mountain”. Spiritually, Mount Athos comes under the direct jurisdiction of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinopole. Return to Thessaloniki. Dinner and overnight.
PELLA – VERIA – KALAMBAKA
In the morning we start our tour by visiting Berea. The Apostle Paul arrived here and according to the custom went to the Synagogue where he discovered that these Jews were “more noble” than those he had encountered in Thessaloniki. The Capital of Macedonia moved from Vergina to Pella in the 5th Century BC and was in effect the capital of Greece. Many people come here to see the exceptional mosaics discovered in the remains of houses and public buildings.The remains of the buildings have impressed archaeologists and led them to believe that the Macedonians enjoyed a high level of wealth. Overnight in our hotel in Kalambaka.
METEORA MONASTERIES – DELPHI
In the morning we visit the monasteries of Meteora built in the 14th century. A rare geological phenomenon, a quirk of nature as it were, created these looming rocks which thrust skywards from the plain of Thessaly, as if striving to come closer to God. These peculiarly impressive natural sculptures are known as Meteora because they do indeed seem to hang or hover (meteoro in Greek) above the plain. Their summits, totally isolated from the rest of the world, were a refuge for many hermits from as early as the 11th century. Three hundred years later the first monasteries were founded. Most of the monasteries were built or renovated in the 16th century. Nowadays six are in use. Today a good road leads from Kalambaka to the monasteries with their wonderful wall paintings, ecclesiastical treasures, rich libraries with precious manuscripts, exquisite icons. After our visit departure to Delphi. Overnight in Delphi.
DELPHI – OSSIO LOUCA – TOLON IN ARGOLIC GULF
After breakfast visit of the archeological sites in Delphi. The famous sanctuary of Delphi is located in Phokis, in one of the loveliest and most impressive Greek landscapes. Its ancient ruins spread out over the southern slopes of Parnassos, beneath the looming gigantic Phaidriad rocks,known in antiquity as Yampeia and Nauplia. Delphi was believed to be the center of the world. According to tradition Zeus, in order to find the center of the earth, sent two eagles to fly around the earth in opposite directions. Since they met over Delphi, he pointed that specific area as the center of the earth. On our route to Argolis a short stop for visiting the famous monastery of Ossio Louca. In the year 946 AC Osios Louca first built his cell, a small church to pray. The monastery is famous for its wall paintings. Departure to Tolon. Dinner and overnight in our hotel.
ARGOLIS (CORINTH – MYCENAE – EPIDAVRIA) – ATHENS
Our excursion begins by visitin Corinth. It was Corinth where the Apostle Paul lived and preached for a year and a half, and to this church he wrote two of his new Testament Letters. We continue to Mycenae, the most powerful, brilliant and sovereign influence in Greece up to 1100 BC when it was destroyed by fire. One enters the Acropolis through the Lion Gate, the oldest example of monumental sculpture in Europe. In the afternoon we visit the Ancient theater of Epidavria. The theatre of Epidavria is marveled for its exceptional acoustic, which permit almost perfect intelligibility of unamplified spoken word from the scene to all 15,000 spectators, regardless of their seating. Departure to Athens. Dinner and overnight in our hotel in Athens.
ATHENS SIGHTSEEING – DINNER IN THE OLD CITY OF ATHENS, PLAKA
Enjoy a tour of Athens, combining many of the city’s principal modern and classical sights. For thousands years Acropolis has been the symbol of Athens, the sacred rock, the link that connects the magnificent ancient with the modern civilization. Entering on the south slope of the Acropolis, you’ll visit the Dionysus Sanctuary and Dionysus Theater before you walk up the slope leading to the Acropolis monuments. Panoramic views of the city will be perfect for your photo album. In this area we also visit Parthenon, Propylaea, Temple of Athena Nike and Erechtheion. Visit of Arios Pagos, where Paul spoke to the ancient Athenians about the one and only God. In the afternoon the dinner will be taken in a tradtional restaurant in the old city of Athens, Plaka. Return to our hotel.
After breakfast, transfer to Athens’s airport, Eleftherios Venizelos.