Olympus - Dion - Vergina
Mount Olympus is the highest mountain in Greece at 2917 meters high (9570 feet) and the second highest in the Balkans. According to Greek mythology, Olympus was the home of the Olympian gods and the supreme court for human offenses. These gods and goddesses did not actually live upon Olympus, rather the ancient myth can be understood to be a metaphor for the power of the sacred mountain. This spiritual power had drawn hermits and monks to live in the caves and forests of the mountain since long before the dawn of the Christian era.
With the coming of Christianity the myths and legends of the old Greeks were suppressed and forgotten, and the holy mountain was seldom visited. Today, weekend hikers and young travelers on the vagabond trail through Europe dash up and down the peak in a single day. It is certainly a beautiful place for such a hasty hike, yet to draw upon the real magic of Olympus one should come as a pilgrim and remain for a few quiet days in the woods. Mount Olympus is noted for its very rich flora with several species. It is a National Park of Greece and a World’s Biosphere Reserve.
It is a magnificent place with numerous forests, gorges and summits of different heights, blessed with mild climate. There are plenty of restaurants and fast food places to eat due to the promotion of the village as a resort area. Dion is a sacred ancient city in Macedonia, and its very name is reminiscent of the Gods of Olympus as it is derived from the word 'theos', meaning 'gods' in ancient Greek. Legend has it that this archaeological site was chosen for the springs of Mount Olympus. The first relics found here date back to the third century BC and were the work of the Macedonian kings, and Alexander the Great himself even stayed here, having 25 copper statues erected (in 334 BC) to ingratiate himself with Zeus before setting off to conquer new lands in Asia Minor.
Dion also played host to the Olympic Games for several centuries, and legend has it that plays by Euripides were performed in its impressive theatre as early as the 4th Century AD. Nowadays, Dion is experiencing something of a renaissance, and is once again hosting the same classical plays, which remain popular today. You can visit the Archeological site and museum at ancient Dion at the foot of Mount Olympus, sacred to the ancient Macedonians. The Dion Archaeological Site is located just outside the modern town and contains a number of interesting ruins from the Greek and Roman periods. Chief among these are the many Greek temples, including the large Temple of Zeus as well as temples to Demeter, Isis and Asclepius. Among Dion’s other treasures is an extremely well preserved Macedonian tomb. Dion Archaeology Museum operates at the site and contains a fascinating selection of artefacts found within the ruins.
Vergina is a small town in northern Greece, which is known for its remains of Aigai, the first capital of Macedon. It was here in 336 BC that Philip II was assassinated in the theatre and Alexander the Great was proclaimed king. Aigai has been awarded UNESCO World Heritage Site status as "an exceptional testimony to a significant development in European civilization, at the transition from classical city-state to the imperial structure of the Hellenistic and Roman periods". There is a museum in Vergina, 75km west of Thessaloniki. The museum has a dark, imposing atmosphere that surprises most visitors. Some of the most impressive and important exhibits from the Macedonian dominated period of the Greek history are available in the exact location that the original excavations took place.
The museum was built in 1993, 16 years after the discovery of the Royal tombs in «Aiges». It was built in order to create ideal conditions considering the humidity and temperature needed for the findings to be properly preserved and protected. Inside the museum there are four separate tombs and the “Heroon”, a small temple built for Phillip || of Macedon. In the beautiful town of Vergina you will be able to find some nice cafe, restaurants and traditional taverns. Some interesting souvenir shops are also available while a number of small hotels provide the basic comforts if you choose on staying for more than a day.
Duration: Full day (about 8-9 hours).
Inclusions: Transportation, Professional guide.
Exclusions: Entrance fees, food and drinks
Price: on request