Sirmione Italy in on the Lake Garda and it is really an amazing town. What can you do in Sirmione? Let’s see togheter!
Sirmione things to do
In Sirmione you can:
Visit the center of the town where there are many nice shops
Walk along the Lake
Visit the beautiful castle
Enjoy the food and especially one of the enormous ice cream!
Sirmione Italy in Winter
Sirmione can surprise you in every season. Sirmione in winter it really worthy to be visited. You should stay in Sirmione till the night when the castle get magically illuminated. Watch the video! Have you already Subscribedto our YouTube Channel?
We are in Sirmione Italy Lake Garda. One of the most beautiful things you can visit here is the Sirmione castle. Sirmione Castle dates back to the second half of the 1300. Sirmione Castle is not only interesting for its history, on the contrary! Sirmione castle is very beautiful because you can go up to its highest tower and have a magnificent view of Lake Garda and Sirmione from above.
Sirmione Ice Cream
In Italy there are many places where you can have a good ice cream. In Sirmione is not only good but also enormous!
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For many peoples the main reason to visit the Archaeological Site of the Sanctuary of Asklepios at Epidaurus is the Epidaurus Theater.
The Epidaurus Theater is in fact the best preserved monument in the Sanctuary of Asklepios.
Let’s see a few information about the Epidaurus Theater!
How old is the Epidaurus Theater?
The Epidaurus Theater was erected at the end of the 4th century B.C.
Who built the theater of Epidaurus?
According to the ancient traveler Pausanias (2nd century A.D.), it was the work of the architect Polykleitos, who built also the Tholos in the same Sanctuary.
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How many people could the original Theatre of Epidaurus seat?
The auditorium of the Theatre the koilon or cavea, consists of two unequal parts, which are divided by a horizontal walkway, known as the diazoma. The lower part is divided by 13 radiating staircases into 12 wedge-shaped segments, the kerkides or cunei, with 34 rows of seats each. At the upper part of the cavea 23 radiating passages divide it into 22 wedge-shaped segments with 20 rows of seats.
To each segment of the lower part correspond two segments of the upper part. The seats of the lowest row were provided with backrests and used as “prohedriae” (front seats of honour); similarly shaped were the seats of the upper part’s first row. Uphill pathways outside the Theatre led on both sides to the horizontal passage which divided the upper from the lower part of the cavea.
It is estimated that the Epidaurus Theater could accommodate 12,000 spectators.
What is remarkable about the theater at Epidaurus?
Epidaurus Theater is a characteristic example of Hellenic theatres’ tripartite structure (orchestra – cavea – stage building). Its original form remained intact in Roman times, during which most Greek theatres underwent major changes. The floor of the circular orchestra (diameter 20 m) is beaten earth. It is outlined in stone, while at its center, a circular base of an altar, the thymele, is preserved. A walkway surrounds the orchestra on the lower level, which served additionally as a drain for rainwater.
The scene (stage building) in front of the orchestra and the cavea served the needs of the actors and had a parallel use as storage room of theatrical equipment.
The scene building was composed of
a rectangular oblong hall with two smaller square rooms on each side,
a proscenium (stage), on whose facade was fixed panels representing the setting of each play,
two ramps, one on each side, which provided access to the roof of the proscenium for the actors, and
an upper storey of the scene building, of which no evidence has been preserved.
Scholars estimate that the total height of the stage building was 7.60 m. Spectators entered the Epidaurus Theater through two impressive gates situated on both sides of the stage building, between it and the lower part of the retaining wall of the cavea. The seats of the cavea were made out of local grey at reddish hard limestone, while for the stage building, a yellow soft limestone was used.
The cavea was constructed at the end of the 4th century B.C. while the stage building was modified during the 2nd century B.C. A characteristic feature of the Theatre was (and still is) its excellent acoustics. It had largely to do with its design. The creation of the circular shape of the cavea was based on three centres. The eight central cunei corresponded to a circumference which had as centre the centre of the orchestra.
The two lateral cunei were designed with different centers, which lay further away from the orchestra’s center, providing a larger radius and, consequently, a larger circle. Besides its contribution to acoustics, this “opening” on the edges of the cave allowed a better view of those sitting in the lateral cunei.
What was the Theatre of Epidaurus used for?
The Theatre of the Sanctuary was closely connected to the cult of Asklepios.
During the festivals held in honor of the god, athletic games, musical and dramatic contests also took place. The latter was surely housed in the Theatre, where most probably deep-rooted ceremonies were closely connected with the cult.
Why is the Theatre at Epidaurus still famous?
Today theatrical plays are again performed in the Epidaurus Theater during the summer (Epidauros festival). The Theatre was excavated in 1881 by P. Kavvadias, who then carried out partial restorations. Restoration works by An. Orlandos took place in the monument in the years 1954-1963.
He proceeded then to a reconstruction of the proscenium, which was later removed. The Committee for the Conservation of the Epidauros Monuments restored the western parodos gate, the last upper western cuneus (1988-1999) and the ancient drains (1992-2007). A third program includes restoration works in the cavea and the stage building.
Ancient Corinth is a very good day trip from Athens. From Athens it takes about 1 hour and 15 minuted by car. Ancient Corinth is worthy of a visit for several reasons.
Firstly it’s very interesting in trying to understand the life in the this rich city. It was a very multicultural city because of the Corinth Canal. It’s true it wasn’t navigable till the end of the 1800 so ships had to be transported to the other side and they prefered this option rather than navigate all around the Peloponnese Region. You can see how the Corinth Canal is now, watching the video below:
Ancient Corinth is also linked with the Apostle Paul who lived and preached in the city for several time.
In order to enjoy more the visit we examine a few information about the Ancient Corinth.
What are the characteristics of the Ancient Corinth? What was life like there? You’ll discover it while reading this post.
Outside the walls of Ancient Corinth
Ancient Corinth covered a range of 900 km2 because there wasn’t only the main city but also many smaller settlements.
Already from the 8th c. B.C., it was a rich and a powerful city-state especially due to two ports:
At Lechaion in the Corinthian Gulf
At Kenchreai from the side of the Saronic Gulf
Ancient Corinth and its reign
The eastern region of Corinthia was relatively underpopulated. The most important settlement of the region must have been Solygeia, close to the modern village Galataki.
The most northern settlement of Corinthia was Krommyon, close to the modern village Ayoio Theodoroi. According to myth, this is where Theseus killed the dangerous sow, Phaia.
Corinth consisted of dozens of settlements, small and large. But what did their residents have in common?
These people drew their common descent from the Dorians. And of course, they shared a common language and alphabet.
Ancient Corinth was built at the foot of the Acrocorinth, a majestic hill, dominating the landscape.
The home’s life in Ancient Corinth
In ancient Greece private buildings were usually humble structures unlike many public magnificent constructions.
Households were run by women. They were responsible for raising their children and supervising the slaves, who were given the heaviest duties in the house.
Men were usually absent. mainly occupied with political and professional engagements.
Visiting the Ancient Corinth you easily understand how the women’s habits were very similar to ours. In the museum you can see face care sets, such as profumes and cosmetics, hair accessories and eyebrow tweezers.
Gods Venerating And Heroes
The Corinthians worshiped Aphrodite, Athena, Apollo, Demeter, Kore, Hera and Poseidon. Hero cult was a distinctive aspect of ancient Greek religious life.
Heroes, men who had showed remarkable activity during their lifetime, were honored after their death with rituals performed at their tombs or at an open-air sanctuary. Heroes’ sanctuaries were built along side roads or over older graves.
A temple dedicated to Apollo
The Temple of Apollo is the archaeological site biggest monument. The temple was built in the 6th c. B.C., when Corinth was at its zenith, on the site of an earlier temple. It was constructed from the local poros limestone.
The temple is in Doric order and originally had six columns at each end and fifteen along each side. Notable characteristics of its archaic date include the great length of the temple relative to its width, the large monolithic columns, and the squat, widely flaring capitals. Although most of this mid-6th century B.C. building has been destroyed, the bedrock preserves cut-tings made to receive the foundation blocks and thus allows a reconstruction of the temple’s plan.
The main part of the temple (sekos) was split into two non-communicating rooms. The roof was decorated with colorful architectural elements.
The interior of the temple consists of a porch at either end and a long central part (the cella) divided into two rooms by a cross wall. The traditional reconstruction of the plan makes this cross wall a solid wall and provides access to the western room of the cella through the western door.
The seven standing columns of the Archaic temple are one of the most prominent landmarks of Corinth.
The Acrocorinth: The sanctuary of Demeter and Kore
Demeter and her daughter, Kore or Persephone, were worshiped in a large sanctuary on the northern slope of the Acrocorinth.
In the 4th c. B.C., a small theater was carved into the rock. Three small temples were also built in the Roman Period.
Odeum & theater of Ancient Corinth
The theater was a place in which dramatic and musical events were staged. In the roman period staged fighting was added.
The theater has several phases. The original structure was built late in the 5th c. B.C. and had permanent seats but only a wooden stage building.
This was supplemented with a new orchestra and stage structure in the Hellenistic period.
In later antiquity theatrical tastes changed and the orchestra was converted into a gladiatorial arena.
Ancient Corinth and Cristianity
Ancient Corinth is also important because is linked with apostle Paul’s or Apostle of the Nations. Paul lived and preached in Corinth. When you visit the ancient Corinth you can also see the famous Bema.
This was likely the tribunal were Paul was brought for judgment before the proconsul Lucius Junius Gallio Annaeanus. He was accused of illegal proselitism and they brought him in the tribunal or bèma.
Because of its position the bema was used to speak to the crowd. Not only the Ancient Corinth has a bema. In the ancient greek cities it was in fact common to meet in front to a Bema.
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Montmartre Paris – In the Northern part of Paris there’s the famous neighborhood of Montmartre, also known as the the painter’s neighborhood. Montmartre enjoys considerable fame thanks to the illustrious artists who lived here such as Van Gogh, Toulouse-Lautrec and Picasso.
You should dedicate half a day to Montmartre Paris in order to enjoy the atmoshere and because it’s not very close to the Eiffel Tower. How far is Montmartre from the Eiffel Tower? It takes less than a hour to get to Montmatre but at least 40 minutes by train.
It’s really worthy to visit Montmartre Paris. So what should you see in the Montmartre Paris area? In this post you’ll find 3 things you should’t miss!
What to see in Montmartre Paris
1 – The Basilica of the Sacre Coeur
The particularity of this neighborhood is that it is on a hill. On top of this hill there’s the Basilica of the Sacre Coeur. What makes this Basilica so famous besides its position it is the stone with which it’s made. It has in fact a very light color limestone.
It is easily the first thing you see in the Montmartre area because once out of the subway one of the first things you see is a flight of stairs. You can get to the top of the hill by walking on this flight of stairs. On the top there is the Basilica.
When you arrive near the Basilica you can admire and appreciate all the details of this monument. It has the peculiarity of not retaining the smog. For this reason the rain can clean the Basilica so the Basilica is shinier after a rain.
The Basilica of the Sacre Coeur is also famous because it appears 2 times in the movie “The Fabulous Destiny of Amelie”.
From the square under the Basilica you can admire Paris from above. This is a wonderful balcony on the city, a nice surprise for the tourists visiting the Basilica.
Everything gets even better if you enjoy the view tasting one of the excellent Macarons bought in one of the shops of the area.
2 – The square of the artists
Next to the Basilica of the Sacre Coeur, there’s the famous square of the artists. This is the square where you can find painters and other artists who expose and sell their works. If you want you can also ask them to make you a portrait. Thanks to them the square is more colorful and characteristic.
Very enjoyable is also walking through the central streets of Montmartre. You’ll noticed many characteristic restaurants and shops that contribuite to create the unique atmosphere of Montmartre.
3 – Visit the Montmartre Neighborhood
After visiting the Basilica of Sacre Coeur and the square of the artists you can visit something more of the neighborhood. You can visit it on foot but it’s much better if you take the touristic train.
You can get it in the Basilica square. The ticket costs only a few euros and it’ll bring you in all around Montmartre Paris. You’ll pass near the most famous areas of Montmartre. For example it’ll pass in front of the cimitery where are placed the tombs of some famous people who lived in Montmartre.
You should take the touristc train if you want to see Montmartre Paris better without walking too much. You can also see the famous Moulin Rouge safely. You shouldn’t go in the street of the Moulin Rouge on foot because the area it doesn’t seem so safe.
Greece Mycenae. Treasury of Atreus: the Legendary Tomb of Agamemnon. The Tholos or ‘Beehive’ tomb dubbed the ‘Treasury of Atreus’ or the Tomb of Agamemnon is one of the most splendid monuments of Mycenaen architecture.
Let’s see something about it so you can appreciate more your visit.
This tomb is incredibly large and what makes it amazing is how it was made. It has been preserved down to our days, in fact it is just as it was originally made. Some details could go unnoticed but with a more detailed examination we understand the purpose.
This applies for example to the empty triangle above the entrance door. This triangle was used in case of earthquakes to keep the structure intact.
Another extraordinary detail that strikes our imagination is the stone block always placed above the entrance. This is in fact a single huge and very heavy block placed at a considerable height. One wonders how they got it. Maybe with rollers? In any case, it must not have been easy.
We understand the size of the Treasury of Atreus by comparing the size of the door with a person placed at the entrance. In this comparison, the person is tiny. Just think that when you go outside on top of the monument it seems to go up a hill. This becomes an observation point for the surrounding landscape.
Treasury of Atreus
The Treasury of Atreus was built between 1350 and 1250 BC, it consists of a domos or passage, stomion or entrance, tholos or vaulted chamber and a smaller side chamber.
Distinctive features of its construction are the use of megalithic elements in the entrance such as jambs and lintel and its carefully coated masonry.
The monumental facade was decorated with a variety of materials. Parts of the sculpted decorations are today in the British Museum in London and in the National Archeological Museum in Athens.
The tomb was found robbed, like all the tholos tombs, and there is no information on either the grave goods or the burials it once housed. It was never buried by earth and remained always visible, attracting the attention of ancient and later travellers.
Watch the following video! Then see what I described above about the Treasury of Atreus
The Treasury of Atreus is located very close to the archaeological site of the ruins of Mycenae. The visit to the Treasury of Atreus does not take long. Therefore it is easy to visit on the same day both the Treasury of Atreus and the ruins of ancient Mycenae with its attached museum.
In addition, the ticket you buy at the Treasury of Atreus is also valid for Mycenae. So don’t make the mistake of buying the same ticket twice!
Unforgettable Ancient Sparta – The history of Ancient Sparta is very famous but we may wonder: are still there ruins of Ancient Sparta?
Yes, there are. To find the answer we have visited the ruins of Sparta. What can you visit and what is still visible of Ancient Sparta? In this post, we are going to examine what you can see if you visit the Sparta Ruins.
Video of Ancient Sparta Ruins, Leonidas’ Tomb and the museum
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Ruins of Sparta
Ancient Sparta was very important in its times but this greatness was lost in the past. When you visit the ruins of Sparta, you don’t feel it. The area is nice because it’s on a hill and you can enjoy walking through a lot of trees and the view around you.
Anyway, the ruins of Ancient Sparta are not well preserved. The best ruins you can visit in Ancient Sparta are the ones of the Ancient Theatre. That’s why we start our tour at the Theatre.
The Theatre of Ancient Sparta
The ancient theatre of Sparta is situated at the southern slope of Acropolis Hill. Ancient authors confirm the existence of a theatre in the city of Ancient Sparta since the 5th century BC. It’s closely connected with the celebration of religious ceremonies. It is not confirmed that it was founded in the same position as the one visible to modern visitors.
The main theatre had ten staircases and nine bleachers, whereas the upper part of the theatre (epitheatron) had seventeen staircases with sixteen bleachers.
The theatre had a cavea of 141 m in diameter and was one of the biggest theatres in Peloponnese. It had a large scene building (skene), an acting area (proskenion) and also a U-shaped orchestra.
By the end of the 1st century AD, the theatre was furnished with a monumental marble building of the Corinthian order, the erection of which was founded by Emperor Vespasian.
The theatre was in use by the end of the 3rd to the beginning of the 4th century AD. By that time, the Late Roman Fortification had been erected, which incorporated the skene’s west wall. However, after a period of abandonment, a Byzantine settlement was established at the theatre area (10th to 14th century AD).
The Agora of Ancient Sparta
The monument known as the “Agora” was excavated during the 1960s by the Greek archaeologist Chrysanthos Christou. He revealed the southwest inner corner of a large stoa. The walls were constructed from large porous stone blocks in the polygonal style. The upper part of the walls as well as the inner walls forming small rooms within the portico. Which differ as they are made of limestone in a pseudo-isodomic way.
The stoa is located to the north of the “Round Building” in the Agora area. Due to the adjacent west hill’s slope, it probably had two floors on the southeast side and a single floor at the northwest. The building also served as a retaining wall.
There were foundations of houses and construction from the Byzantine period to the east and north of the building. During this time, additional construction and repairs were conducted at the stoa.
According to Christou, the stoa was built in the 4th or 3rd century BC and underwent alterations in the 2nd century BC. There is evidence confirming the operation and use of the building up to the 3rd century AD. Inside the building, a large bronze statue of Julia Aquilia Severn (3rd century AD) was found.
The monument has been associated with the Persian Stoa, the building that impressed Pausanias during his visit to the Agora of Sparta.
In the Persian Stoa, statues of captive Persians supported the roof instead of columns. According to some scholars, this monumental stoa was part of a larger complex of two-storey porticos. That complex defined the Agora area at the southwest.
The “round” Building
The “round” Building was essentially configured around a natural low hill. It’s a construction of a heavy retaining wall that followed the contour of the mound. The wall consisted of a three-stepped base upon which rested tiers of a large conglomerate stone. Bands of marble plaques were placed between the tiers. The inner part of the imposing curved wall consisted of large unworked stones.
This retaining wall, along with the natural mound of earth, created a large platform on the hill’s upper surface, which also hosted several practices and structures throughout antiquity.
The structures on the top of the hill are partly preserved. Their surface was artificially leveled and contained holes carved into natural bedrock, part of a marble statue base of the Roman period and twenty-two rectangular blocks of porous stone.
At the northwest and higher part of the summit, a wall was revealed carved into the natural bedrock. This enabled access to the plateau with the colonnade. A group of early Christian graves and a sacrificial deposit were uncovered at the south side of this summit.
The identification of the monument is problematic. Among those proposed, the most favored identification has been that of the “circular building” of Epimenides containing statues of Zeus and Aphrodite Olympia (ca. 600 BC).
Scholars have also suggested the monument could be the Skias. The Skias is a place for public and musical performances built by Theodoros of Samos (mid-6th century BC).
The new evidence, which came to light during the current project, suggests an early date of the monument. Probably of the Archaic period (late 7th to early 6th century BC). That includes a reconstruction and an extensive repair having taken place around the 1st century BC.
The Byzantine church at the round Building
The church is located on the south slope of Acropolis Hill. It’s built at the western edge of the retaining wall of the “Round Building”.
It is an almost square building. The entrance of the church was probably located in the middle of the west wall. There is evidence of another door on the north side of the same wall. The building’s exterior sidewalls extended further to the west, but their original length cannot be determined.
The church walls have been revealed and can be attributed with certainty to the time of its construction. They are made of rubble with broken bricks at the joints and mortar covering the stones’ outlines. Traces of mortar in contact with the northern part of the middle apse reveal the church floor’s level. Faded traces of painted decoration are preserved on the inner side of the north wall of the church.
According to the current state of research, the church may be dated to the Middle Byzantine period.
The so called “ST.NIKON S” Basilica
The basilica was demarcated to the north and south by an enclosure wall. Is located some meters to the east of the theatre.
The church is a three-aisled basilica with three-sided apses to the east and a narthex to the west. The aisles were separated by columns resting on high bases. The narthex and the nave were communicating through a large opening (tribelon). Smaller openings provided access to the side aisles.
The tripartite sanctuary is of unique architectural interest. The main sanctuary is separated from the bipartite rooms next to it (parabemata). Walls separate it in the middle of which a semi-circular niche with a passage was formed. At the middle apse, there was a semi-circular area with seats (synthronon). The bishop and the priests used those seats during the ceremonies.
Between the synthronon and the wall of the apse there is an ambulatory. It’s a corridor to facilitate the movement of the priests in the sanctuary during the Divine Liturgy.
There is no secure evidence for the time of the monument’s construction. Its dating ranges from the second half of the 6th century to the 7th century AD.
Sanctuary of Athena CHALKIOIKOS in Ancient Sparta
The remains of the Sanctuary of Athena Chalkioikos. The longest and most important sanctuary in the area of the Acropolis, are located above the Roman theatre.
The earliest archaeological finds date from the Mycenaean period. The cult of Athena on the Acropolis began in the 8th century BC. The sanctuary was abandoned in the 4th century AD and houses were built in its place.
The temple of Athena originally belonged to the kome Pitane. Eventually, the Athena of the Acropolis became a patron goddess (Poliouchos). The name Chalkioikos (of the Bronze or Brazen House) most probably results from the bronze plaques bearing mythological scenes.
A few remains of the Sanctuary of Athena Chalkioikos are still preserved. The south wall consists of roughly dressed conglomerate stones. It forms an angle at its east part with another wall of the same construction. The east wall of the sanctuary is revealed further north.
The marble torso of a hoplite known as “Leonidas” was also found in the sanctuary area. In the Archaeological Museum of Sparta, there is a statue. The sculpture is of the Severe Style. It’s a work of a Laconian workshop, possibly part of a statue group assigned to the sanctuary.
The Archaic Stoa
The remains of a portico (stoa) were uncovered during the British School’s excavation at Athens in 1924-1925.
The south wall of the sanctuary of Athena Chalkioikos and the ancient theater surround them. It consisted of a wall of 11m. long forming the north side, also with a return to the west 3.50m. long.
Five poros blocks are forming the south side of the monument. A shallow sinking is thought to carry a small base for a wooden column on the upper surface. The remains of a Roman building, which intersects the stoa’s north wall, are preserved further south.
The British School’s excavation at the site brought to light a considerable amount of Geometric pottery and potsherds dated until the Roman times, spearheads, iron obeloi, various bronze objects, terracotta figurines, bone artifacts, etc.
The late Roman fortification wall
The late roman fortification wall surrounds Acropolis Hill and the plateau of Palaiokastro. It had towers and gates, is a strong construction made of rubble, bricks, many blocks and architectural members from earlier buildings of the Acropolis and the Agora.
Not very far from Ancient Sparta ruins, but in modern Sparta, you can find what probably is the tomb of the famous king Leonidas.
Bellagio Italy Lake Como Winter. In a beautiful day we have visited Bellagio Lake Como. It’s still winter but the shining sun helps us to enjoy the day. Many hotels are closed but the restaurants are opened and we can really enjoy the food (see the pictures at italian food lake como bellagio). To see better Bellagio Lake Como in winter we take the boat.
Video Bellagio Italy
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Watch the following video! It shows the sunset in Paris and the colorful Lights after the sunset. Last but not least we can’t miss the Eiffel Tower illuminated. Subscribe to our YouTube Channel if you aren’t already subscrided! Subscribe here!