Going on an Odyssey: a literary tour of Greece
Greece is the setting for many of the world’s most venerated myths and legends. The country also forms the backdrop to many modern stories of courage and heroism that have captivated readers who may never have visited Greece.
Whether you prefer the cut and thrust of Homer’s epics or the tender romance of Captain Corelli’s Mandolin by Louis de Bernières, it’s impossible to ignore the charm of Greece. The great thing is, you can travel to this ancient world of myths, gods and monsters in just a few hours. Satisfy your bookish side at these five distinctive destinations.
Many of you will know the mysterious tale of Atlantis – an advanced ancient civilisation that was swept away by the sea. The Athenian philosopher Plato penned this enduring story 2,500 years ago. But, did you know that modern day Santorini is thought by many to be the original site of this lost city?
Some scholars believe that the site of Akrotiri holds the secret to Atlantis. Scientists have calculated that this ancient city was buried under 60 metres of volcanic material in the year 1628 BC. Take a look at frescoes from the site in the Museum of Prehistoric Thera and dine with panoramic views over the surrounding landscape.
The Mycenaean Empire provides the setting for many Greek myths and the ancient history that surrounds this country – including the Trojan Epic Cycle. This glorious period of heroes, wealth and happy gods features prominently in Homer’s Iliad and Aeschylus’ Oresteia.
A short journey from Athens, the ancient city of Mycenae is thought to have been inhabited since the 7th millennium BC. Marvel at impressive palace ruins, arches, fountains and the Tomb of Agamemnon here.
Crete is the largest and most southerly of the Greek Islands – lapped by the beautiful blue Aegean and adorned with staggering mountains. In Ancient Greece, Crete was thought to be the home of the forbidding King Minos.
Minos lived at Knossos, where there is now a ruined palace that you can visit. He is associated with the Labyrinth and the Minotaur, who was said to stalk the halls of the palace. Crete pops up in both the Iliad and the Odyssey many times. Minoan Crete was rediscovered at the beginning of the 20th century by British archaeologist Arthur Evans. Discover it for yourself on Titan’s Captivating Crete Tour.
In ancient times the cosmopolitan Mediterranean port of Delos was said to be the birthplace of Apollo, the God of poetry, truth and prophecy.
Apollo’s holy sanctuary is now one of the most significant historical sites in Greece and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. One ancient king thought Delos was such a sacred place that he declared there should be no burials there, ordering all existing remains to be dug up and removed.
Ithaca is famously the home of Odysseus in Homer’s Odyssey and one of the world’s largest natural harbours. In this epic tale, Odysseus is intent on returning to his native Ithaca and once you have visited you will see why. Ithaca also features heavily in Alfred Lord Tennyson’s poem, Ulysses, which boasts the famous line: ‘To strive, to seek, to find and not to yield.’ You know the one!
Travel to Greece with Titan this year to enjoy a literary adventure.
Nicola considers herself very lucky to have had the opportunity to visit a number of places around the world and these experiences usually involve searching for as many kinds of wildlife as possible. Recent highlights include penguins in Antarctica, bears and whales in Canada and Alaska and sea otters in California - but there are always more animals to search for.
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