Greece the land of gods
Greece is considered the cradle of Western civilization, being the birthplace of democracy, Western philosophy, Western literature, historiography, political science, major scientific and mathematical principles, theatre and the Olympic Games. From the eighth century BC, the Greeks were organised into various independent city-states, known as poleis (singular polis), which spanned the Mediterranean and the Black Sea. Philip II of Macedon united most of present-day Greece in the fourth century BC, with his son Alexander the Great rapidly conquering much of the ancient world, from the eastern Mediterranean to India. The subsequent Hellenistic period saw the height of Greek culture and influence in antiquity. Greece was annexed by Rome in the second century BC, becoming an integral part of the Roman Empire and its continuation, the Byzantine Empire, which was culturally and linguistically predominantly Greek. The Greek Orthodox Church, which emerged in the first century AD, helped shape modern Greek identity and transmitted Greek traditions to the wider Orthodox world. After falling under Ottoman rule in the mid-15th century, Greece emerged as a modern nation state in 1830 following a war of independence. The country's rich historical legacy is reflected in part by its 18 UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
The sacred precinct occupies a delineated region on the south-western slope of Mount Parnassus. It is now an extensive archaeological site, and since 1938 a part of Parnassos National Park. Adjacent to the sacred precinct is a small modern town of the same name. The precinct is recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site in having had a great influence in the ancient world, as evidenced by the various monuments built there by most of the important ancient Greek city-states, demonstrating their fundamental Hellenic unity.
The prosperity brought by the asclepeion enabled Epidaurus to construct civic monuments, including the huge theatre that delighted Pausanias for its symmetry and beauty, used again today for dramatic performances, the ceremonial hestiatoreion (banqueting hall), and a palaestra. The theatre of Epidaurus was designed by Polykleitos the Younger in the 4th century BC. The original 34 rows were extended in Roman times by another 21 rows. As is usual for Greek theatres, the view on a lush landscape behind the skênê is an integral part of the theatre itself and is not to be obscured.
Experience Greek island life without a hotel reservation on a day cruise from Athens. Leave the bustle of the city behind as you sail into the Saronic Gulf, stopping at three of the most picturesque islands within easy reach of the capital. Stroll under the red-tiles roofs of Hydra, do some shopping in Poros, and visit the Temple of Aphaia in Aegina. With free time to explore each island and a barbecue lunch on board, it’s a stress-free way to see more of Greece, even with just a day to spare.
Mycenae is among the most important archaeological sites in Greece. It is located on the eastern side of Peloponnese, close to Nafplion Town, and can be easily visited for a day trip from Athens. According to mythology, this was the town of the legendary king Agamemnon. This place was also the setting of many myths in ancient Greek tragedies. Holidays in Mycenae usually last no more than a day, as tourists mostly go on a road trip to from the close town of Nafplion.