B.C. Archaeology

Study Tours of the Ancient World

ANCIENT GREECE:
HISTORY AND ARCHAEOLOGY


The island of Santorini

"As you set out for Ithaka
Hope that the voyage is a long one
Full of adventure, full of discovery ...
Laistrygonians and Cyclops,
Angry Poseidon - don't be afraid of them:
You'll never find things like that on your way
As long as you keep your thoughts raised high,
As long as a rare excitement
Stirs your spirit and your body ...
Keep Ithaka always in your mind
Arriving there is what you are destined for".

Constantine Cavafy, from the poem 'Ithaka'

THE TOUR

This three week study tour has an emphasis on the archaeological remains of ancient Greece. Our tour begins in Athens where we explore the outstanding remains of the Classical and Roman city. We take a walking tour of the ancient Agora and see the ruins of the Roman Forum. We walk up to the Akropolis to see the Parthenon and other temples and visit the newly opened Akropolis Museum which contains stunning sculpture from the area.

We next visit the nearby island of Aegina to enjoy the temple of Aphaia. We then head to the important classical site of Corinth. Here we see the ruins of the ancient city including the Temple of Apollo, and visit the superb Venetian and Ottoman castle on the 'Acrocorinth'. We head to Nauplion which is our base for exploring the wonderful Mycenaean remains in the Peloponnesus. We visit the ancient fortified citadels of Mycenae and Tiryns and explore the remarkable Late Bronze Age tholos tombs. In Nauplion we see the splendid collection of Mycenaean artefacts in the Archaeological Museum. From Nauplion we also see the classical temple of Zeus in Nemea, and the shrine of Asclepius in Epidaurus with its stunning classical theatre.

We then head west across the Peloponnesus to see the classical temple of Apollo at Bassae before exploring the site of Olympia. Here we see the newly restored Archaeological Museum and the picturesque ruins of the ancient site, home of the ancient Olympic Games - highlights include the Temples of Zeus and Hera and the ancient running track. We travel to Delphi where we explore the remains of the sanctuary of Apollo and visit the Delphi Museum with its collection of sculpture from the site.

We fly to Crete where we explore the ancient Minoan sites. Our tour begins at the Minoan Palace site of Knossos which was famously 'restored' by Arthur Evans in the late 19th Century. We see the Iraklion Archaeological Museum with its extensive collection of Minoan artefacts and also visit the Minoan Palace sites of Phaestus and Aghia Triadha. Located near the scenic southern coast of Crete, we enjoy the fabulous mountain scenery en route.

We next travel by ferry to the island of Santorini where we have the opportunity of enjoying this spectacular place. The island is a flooded volcano and our hotel has fantastic panoramic views of the caldera. On Santorini we visit the Minoan ruins of Akrotiri and see the fascinating local Museum. We return to Athens and spend a day exploring the fabulous National Archaeological Museum. Our program ends with a day trip by bus to see the battle site of Marathon and the marvellous Temple of Poseidon at Sounion.

The Parthenon on the Athenian Acropolis

ITINERARY*

Day 1: Depart Australia
Our flight on Emirates Airlines leaves Australia with a short stopover in Dubai.

Day 2: Arrive Athens - walking tour of Agora and Roman Forum
We arrive in Athens in the early morning and check into our hotel in the Plaka. From here we take a short walk to the Athenian Agora, the ancient heart of the city. This fascinating area retains numerous ancient structures from the classical period including the superb Temple of Hephaestus. The Agora Museum in the reconstructed Stoa of Attalus contains a wonderful selection of artefacts from the Agora area. After lunch we see the superb 'Library of Hadrian' and the Roman Forum. Most impressive is the 'Tower of the Winds' with beautiful relief scenes of personified breezes. Overnight Athens.

Day 3: Walking tour of the Acropolis - Acropolis Museum
The day is set aside to visit the acropolis of Athens and the newly opened Acropolis Museum. Our walk begins with a visit to the Temple of Olympian Zeus at the base of the Acropolis. We then see the Theatre of Dionysus and the Asclepius Shrine, located on the south slope of the acropolis. We climb up to the summit of the acropolis to see the recently restored Parthenon and the beautiful Erechtheion Temple. The view across the city from the summit is stunning. After lunch we see the new Acropolis Museum which contains a stunning collection of sculpture from the area. Overnight Athens.

The Lion Gate at Mycenae
The Theatre at Epidaurus

Day 4: Aegina - Temple of Aphaia
Today we visit the beautiful island of Aegina, located to the south of Athens in the Saronic Gulf. We catch the morning ferry from Piraeus Harbour to the island. We explore the ruins of the fortified Bronze Age city near the port, including the temple of Apollo and then make our way by bus across the island to see the beautiful Temple of Aphaia. This superb Doric shrine is located on a high point overlooking the sea and is very well preserved. Overnight Athens.

Day 5: Corinth - bus to Nauplion
We leave Athens in the early morning and travel the short distance to Corinth where we see the ruins of this important Greco-Roman city. The temple of Apollo is a highlight and the onsite museum contains interesting sculpture from the region. We then drive up to the 'Acrocorinth' to see the majestic Venetian and Ottoman castle which provides a superb view over the Gulf. In the afternoon we head to the picturesque seaside town of Nauplion where we check into our hotel - this will be our base for the next 4 days. Overnight Nauplio.

Day 6: Nemea - Mycenae
In the morning we travel north to see the recently reconstructed Temple of Zeus at Nemea and the nearby stadium for the pan-Hellenic Nemean games. This still retains evidence of the original mechanism which operated the starting gates. In the afternoon we head to Mycenae to see the impressive Late Bronze Age city and tombs. The enormous tholos tombs are particularly impressive as is the famous 'Lion Gate'. The site museum is excellent and has a fine collection of artefacts from the excavations. Overnight Nauplio.

Day 7: Epidauros - Tiryns
In the morning we visit the site of Epidauros, home of a major cult to the healing god Asclepius. A highlight of the visit is the famous theatre at Epidauros, one of the best preserved from the ancient world. Much of the sanctuary is being restored including the tholos temple and sleeping quarters. We then head to Tiryns to see the splendid Mycenaean city walls and palace. Most impressive are the corbelled storage rooms and the well defended gates. Overnight Nauplio.

Day 8: Nauplion Museum - Bassae
This morning we visit the Nauplion Museum which has recently been restored and is well laid out and labelled - artefacts include a number of suits of Mycenaean armour and numerous grave goods from the area. In the late morning we check out of our hotel and drive across the Peloponnese to the Classical site of Bassae where we see the amazing Temple of Apollo. We then head north and check into our hotel in Olympia. Overnight Olympia.

The tholos at Olpymia
The Temple of Apollo at Delphi

Day 9: Olympia - Olympia Museum
The day is devoted to the exploration of the fascinating site of Olympia. Olympia is a large site with many well preserved buildings. Most impressive are the tholos temple and the Doric Temples of Hera and Zeus. The Olympic running track also gives one a good impression of the games. After lunch we explore the excellent site museum which contains a superb new display of the restored pedimental sculpture from the temples as well as numerous artefacts from the sanctuaries. Overnight Olympia.

Day 10: Travel by bus to Delphi - Delphi Museum
In the morning we travel to Delphi, crossing the impressive suspension bridge over the Gulf of Corinth. The route is very scenic as we look out over a wide valley leading down to sea. We check into our hotel in Delphi and then explore the splendid archaeological finds in the Delphi Museum - a highlight is the magnificent pedimental sculpture from the archaic shrines. Overnight Delphi.

Day 11: Delphi
This day is set aside for our exploration of ancient Delphi - we walk up through the ancient sanctuary exploring the remains of numerous 'treasuries' to the Temple of Apollo, god of light and music. We then continue further up to see the magnificent theatre and stadium. In the afternoon we visit the gymnasium and the beautiful Sanctuary of Athena. Overnight Delphi.

The palace of Knossos
Sunset on Santorini

Day 12: Free day in Delphi
The day is set aside to rest and relax. Tour members can go for a walk around town, re-visit the antiquities, take a short day trip to one of the nearby villages or simply enjoy the wonderful atmosphere in Delphi. Overnight Delphi.

Day 13: Bus to Athens airport - fly to Iraklion
In the morning we leave Delphi and head south to Athens airport where we catch our one hour flight to Iraklion in Crete. We check into our new hotel which is our base for the next 3 nights. There is time to explore the Venetian fortress in Iraklion harbour and the Old Quarter of the city. Overnight Iraklion.

Day 14: Knossos - Iraklion Archaeological Museum
In the morning we visit the fascinating ruins of the ancient Minoan palace of Knossos, located on a scenic hill overlooking a picturesque valley. Extensively 'restored' by Arthur Evans in the late 19th Century, the palace remains are extensive and we explore them fully. In the afternoon we see the Iraklion archaeological museum which contains an impressive collection of artefacts from the Minoan palace sites (this has recently been restored). Overnight Iraklion.

Day 15: Phaestos - Aghia Triadha - ferry to Santorini
Today we head into the interior of Crete, passing through some very scenic country on our way to the archaeological sites of Phaestos and Aghia Triadha. The first site, Phaestos is a major Minoan palace with a spectacular view of the snow capped mountains in the distance; the private rooms of the palace are very well preserved. Aghia Triadha is a small Minoan palace near the coast with many well preserved rooms. In the afternoon we take the ferry to Santorini. Overnight Fira.

Day 16: Cruise to Nea Kameni - free afternoon on Santorini
This morning we catch a ferry to the volcanic island of Nea Kameni. The rest of the day is free to explore the many wonders of Santorini. The choices are endless: take a walk along the edge of the volcano rim for magnificent views of the entire caldera, explore the numerous shops in the town, read a book, or simply relax while enjoying the splendid views from the hotel. Overnight Fira.

The Athenian Acropolis
The Temple of Aphaia on Aegina

Day 17: Akrotiri ruins - Fira Archaeological Museum - fly to Athen
Today we explore the remarkable archaeological heritage of Santorini. We explore the fascinating ruins of Late Bronze Age settlement of Akrotiri. The site was buried in a volcanic eruption and is remarkably well preserved. In the afternoon we see the Fira Archaeological Museum which contains numerous artefacts from Akrotiri. We fly to Athens in the early evening. Overnight Athens.

Day 18: Athens National Archaeological Museum
Today we have an extended look at the wonderful National Archaeological Museum in Athens. This remarkable collection of antiquities includes magnificent sculpture and reliefs, including the famous bronze statue of Poseidon. After lunch in the Museum cafe we explore the extensive collection of Greek pottery. Overnight Athens.

Day 19: Marathon - Sounion Temple of Poseidon
In the morning we head to Marathon to see the famous battle site. We visit the tombs of the Athenians and the Plataeans and see artefacts from the area in the local museum. We have lunch by the seaside before making our way to the south coast of Attica Peninsula. Here we visit the picturesque Temple of Poseidon on the end of Cape Sounion. This beautiful Doric shrine was designed to give aid to travellers of the Aegean and commands a stunning view across the Saronic Gulf. Overnight Athens.

Day 20: Depart Athens
We board our plane for the flight back to Australia, stopping at Dubai on the way.

Day 21: Arrive in Australia
Arrive back in Australia.

* Please note that the Company reserves the right to make alterations to the itinerary in the period up to 60 days prior to a tour departure. The itinerary may also be subject to minor re-arrangement due to the scheduling of the operators and availability of access. If this occurs, the Company will endeavour to provide a comparable alternative.

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