Knossos

Heraklion, Crete, Greece, 12 October 2018.

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(Click on any image to see it in a larger size, if you are on a PC or tablet at least.)

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This is a koulouras, from the West Court of the First “Palace” of Knossos, 2000 to 1700BC.  It was used for storing grain and presumably had a cover, probably wooden, perhaps woven.

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West Court.

Knossos was first excavated by Sir Arthur Evans, in the first two decades of the twentieth century.  He named the Minoan civilisation after the legendary King Minos. If Minos actually existed, he was probably from an earlier period than the “Palace” of Knossos.

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West Porch, Corridor of the Procession.

The West Porch (foreground) had a double door and led to the long Corridor of the Procession.  That was named after a fresco on an adjoining wall showing a procession of people with gifts and also musicians.

There was a settlement at Knossos as early as 7,000BC.  The first “palace” though, dates from around 2000BC.  There were also other equivalent “palaces at various sites in Crete with the main other ones been at Phaestos, Malia and Khania.  In this period the “palaces” had different styles so they were probably independent.  Around 1700BC they were all destroyed by earthquakes and fire and the rebuilt.  Knossos was rebuilt to a higher standard and the others now followed the Knossos style, indicating Knossos had now become dominant.

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South House

This is from the New Palace Period of 1700 to 1450 BC, and reconstructed with three stories.  Evans reconstructions are controversial as they are often based as much on imagination as evidence.  A modern archaeologist would not duplicate his approach.

The Minoan civilisation survived tsunamis from the Thira eruption around 1550BC but that eruption and resulting climatic disturbance probably undermined it.  The Mycenaeans from the mainland took over in 1450BC.  There was widespread devastation at this time and subsequent rebuilding, though in a simpler style with less naturalistic art.  The “palace” and outlying buildings were then destroyed by fire around 1300BC.  There was little reconstruction after that and the site was abandoned by 1100BC, though it was later occupied by Greeks and Romans.  The Cretans were not wiped out by the Mycenaeans because the distinctive pottery pithoi persisted and it is now believed there was a joint culture after 1450BC.

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Same place, different viewpoint.  Some may wonder at the hyper-realistic sculpture in the open doorway  of a young woman in full colour and in modern dress with perhaps a brochure and wearing a wristwatch.  It may be difficult at this distance to establish definitively if this is a creation of Evans or an unrestored original work of Minoan art.

The Minoan civilisation had a maritime culture with extensive trade and also colonies or partner states in Rhodes, Thira and the Cyclades.  Knossos and the other “palaces” were not fortified, indicating a relatively peaceful society that was not threatened by external invasion.  There were weapons and armour though and there was no doubt conflict at times between regional centres.  There were also guard posts on main roads, indicating some existence of banditry.

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Evans called Knossos and other centres palaces but it is by no means clear exactly how they operated.  Functions may have included administration, trade, religion, politics and social activities.

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Cup-Bearer Fresco, South Propylæum.

The South Propylæum was originally part of the Corridor of the Procession as shown in this fresco, related to the fresco of the procession mentioned earlier.

There was hieroglyphic script in the First Palatial Period and this was replaced after 1700BC by Linear A script, mainly on clay tablets.  Neither of these have been deciphered and the language used is unknown.  After 1450BC, there was Linear B script and the language was Greek.

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Large pithoi (storage jars), South Propylæum, Postpalatial Period (1450-1100BC).

More is known of activities in Knossos after 1450BC due to writings in Linear B script which can be read.  The was a leader called the Wanax and the administration was concerned with land tenure, religion and textiles.  There were over 700 shepherds harvesting 50–75 tons of raw wool, woven by nearly 1,000 workers, and producing up to 20,000 textile items.  It is not known whether this may have differed before theMycenaeans took over in 1450BC.

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Piano Nobile.

The piano nobile is largely Evan’s creation.  He thought there would be first floor reception rooms like in a Italian Renaissance palazzo.  In the background it the Central Court, where bull-jumping and other activities would have occurred.  (I did not think to photograph this more directly).

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Bases of columns near the West Magazines, long narrow spaces for storing pithoi.

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Les Parisiennes.

When an early archaeologist saw this fresco, impressed by the sophistication of their attire, he exclaimes “But these are les Parisiennes!”.  (Sorry about the reflections).

We now see a succession of frescoes from the Hall of the Fresco Copies.  So these are not the originals,  held in controlled environments in museums.  I presume that the originals, usually fragmentary, would have been found in various locations in Knossos.

What is known of Minoan art and religion indicate it was a culture with a much more prominent role for women than later cultures.  It is not known whether it was a matriarchal culture but one aspect must have been men going off in ships to trade and leaving women with a large role in running the homeland.

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The Bull-Jumping Fresco.

A feature of Minoan culture was bull-jumping, an initiation ritual for young men. The bull would presumably be charging at them and their task was to grab the horns, somersault over the bull and be caught by attendants.

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The fresco represents an octopus, it’s recreated from fragments (as you can see if you click on it for a larger view and look carefully) and the original is 3,500 years old or more but it could almost be modern art.

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This is nearby the Hall of the Fresco Copies, but I’m not sure exactly where.

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This shows something of the context.

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Prince of the Lillies Fresco.

This is a very fragmentary reconstruction by Evans at the South Entrance.  There are various opinions as to how it should appear.

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A set of stairs, now seemingly into the void.

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This is the North Entrance, seen from the side.

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Moving around, the actual entrance was just to the right.

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… and here is a closer view of what remains of the fresco.

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This is The Throne Room.

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A slightly different viewpoint.

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And the “throne”.

This is a wooden copy of a stone “throne” from an adjoining room.  The purpose of the room is unknown.  It may have been used for religious ceremonies but was unlikely to have been a throne room in the modern sense.

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Shrine of the Double Axes.

A stone double axe and votive clay offerings were fond here.

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Outside The Hall of Double Axes.

This was named by Evans after double axe signs carved into the walls of the lightwell at the rear.  Evans thought it was the King’s residence.

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Inside The Queen’s Megaron.

A richly decorated room that Evans though must have belonged to the Queen.  A small side-room is named the Queen’s bathroom due to ceramic fragments that he thought were remains of a bath.

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Outside The Queen’s Megaron.

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Pithoi from The Magazines of the Giant Pithoi.

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Pithoi from the Corridor of the Bays.

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North Lustral Basin

This leads down to a room at a lower level than the rest of Knossos that Evans thought was something like a cistern, used for purification ceremonies.  However, it is unlikely that there was water here and its purpose is unknown.

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Theatral Area.

This reminded Evans of later Greek theatres and he thought this may have been used for performances viewed by a standing crowd.

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The Royal Road.

So-named by Evans with his usual royalist preoccupation.  It continues on (under the modern road) to the Minoan town that eventually became Heraklion.

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References:

Pyrgos – Bell towers and doors

Thira (Santorini), Greece, 12 October 2018.

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(Click on any image to see it in a larger size, if you are on a PC or tablet at least.)

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On our last day on Thira, we drove back from Perissa through Emporio to Pyrgos.  This was on the way, I think just past Emporio.  The structure at the top is obviously old, perhaps Venetian.  I couldn’t find it on Google Earth and can’t identify it.

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We are now in Megalochori, on the back-street route to Pyrgos.

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This image and the following ones are all from Pyrgos.

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They are generally aesthetic images rather than historic and need little description.

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Pyrgos is a traditional village in the centre of the island, declared a protected settlement since 1995.  It was the capital of the island until 1800.

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One thing that caught my eye was the old doors.

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… or new and old in this case.

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Below is Perissa, where we had come from earlier.

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This is a view of Kamari, a bit further north than Perissa.

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Agia Theodosia Church, at the highest point on the island.  We will see this popping up in several of the images below.

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. Architecture, Art, Belltowers, Doors, Greece, History, Landscape, Photography, Pyrgos, Santorini, Street photography, Thira, Travel A different bell tower.

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Looking towards the caldera, I think.

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We are now inside the Church of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary.

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Architecture, Art, Belltowers, Doors, Greece, History, Landscape, Photography, Pyrgos, Santorini, Street photography, Thira, Travel .

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. Architecture, Art, Belltowers, Doors, Greece, History, Landscape, Photography, Pyrgos, Santorini, Street photography, Thira, Travel .

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Looking towards the south end of the island, on the caldera side.

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Looking towards Oia.

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The centre of the island.

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Some of the ruins of the Venetian castle that once stood here.

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I think this is the Church of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary from the outside.

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From here, we headed to the port where we dropped off the rental car and caught the ferry to Crete.

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Akrotiri

Thira (Santorini), Greece, 12 October 2018.

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Akrotiri is a town that was buried in ash and mud over 2.500 years ago.  It survived though buried because it is on the far south of the main island, on the opposite side to the caldera.  No bodies were found here, though there was the impressions of furniture in the volcanic ash, so the population was likely forewarned to evacuate.  (Some readers may remember my visit to Plymouth on Montserrat, a town that was buried in volcanic ash in 1997 and later inundated by a lahar.)

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Archaeological excavations are still ongoing.

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There is an extensive modern roof built to protect the ancient city.  It collapsed in 2005, just before completion, killing one visitor.  The site was closed and not reopened until 2012.

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There is a whole city here, with a central street, houses clustered around small squares and a sewage system.

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Some of the stonework is quite precise.

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In the fifth millennium BC, Akrotiti was a small fishing village and we visited the current equivalent of that port in the post Red Beach and Akrotiri Lighthouse, except that the modern shore line and water level may be quite different.

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In the third millennium BC, Akrotiri greatly expanded and frequent finds of foreign pottery speak of a thriving trade centre with links to Cyprus and Minoan Crete.

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This is the West House, adjoining triangle square.  It was a large well-constructed private residence with at least three stories.

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Hundreds of loom weights found in the ruins of this house, fallen from upper floors, attest to significant weaving activities there.

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The ground floor included store rooms, workshops, a kitchen and a mill with machinery for grinding grain into flour.  The first floor included a toilet and bathroom.  The house also included some remarkable frescos including the Flotilla Fresco, now housed in the Museum of Archaeology in Athens.  Unfortunately, when we were at that museum, we missed the mezzanine floor with relics from Minoan Crete and Thira.  However, I will have some frescos from Crete to show you in a later post.

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Triangle Square with the West House on the left.

Thira is prone to Plinian Eruptions (extremely explosive eruptions, producing ash columns that extend many tens of miles into the stratosphere and that spread out into an umbrella shape).  There have been at least twelve in the last 360,000 years.

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This is a representation of a view of pre-eruption Thira from the Flotilla Fresco, found in the West House.  It shows a maritime festival, with galleys rowing from a town on the left (on the current island of Thirasia) to a town on the right (in the current location of Oia).  There are many dolphins in the sea and the landscape on the right does not have the current high cliffs of Oia.

The much smaller inundated caldera of this time was left over from the Cape Riva eruption around 22,000 years ago.  the small central island slowly rose in the caldera from 20,000 years ago.  The view from the fresco is confirmed by stratographic archaeological evidence.

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The red outline shows the pre-eruption island.  According to Herodotus, at the time of the eruption, the island was named Strongyli (“the Round One” in ancient Greek).  Akrotiri is at bottom centre and Ancient Thera (previous post) at bottom right.  The two towns from the fresco are indicated with stars near the mouth of the small caldera.  There is no trace of them any more.

There were four phases to the historic eruption, within a fairly short time frame.  It was preceded by earthquakes and a light ash flow which may have allowed people to escape.  The first phase included deposits of pumice up to six metres thick.  In the second and third phases, the vent had migrated to underneath the old caldera so they were phreatomagmatic (ie underwater, like the recent Tongan eruptions; I bet you’ve never heard that word before).  The fourth phase included extremely hot pyroclastic flows.

Earlier eruptions built up a cone of tuff and the final eruption blew all that away and produced a huge tsumani that devastated the coast of Crete.  It was one of the largest eruptions of human history, four times larger than the Krakatoa eruption of 1883.  In 536AD a smaller eruption of unknown source (possibly Krakatoa) caused climate conditions that devastated Justinian’s Eastern Roman Empire for years afterwards.  So although the tsunami didn’t wipe out Minoan Crete, its climatic aftermath may have been a major cause of decline.

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Akrotiri slowly rises from the ashes.

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No cisterns have been found that collected drinking water from rain but the discovery of a different type of pipe to that used for sewage may indicate an aqueduct from Mount Prophitis Elias, near Ancient Thera.

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Perhaps this is a basin for washing grain, food or clothing.

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An ancient bucket, it would seem.

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Mortar and pestle.

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Excavations continue and some areas are roped off where archaeologists are working.  A house adjoining Triangle Square near West House is yet to be excavated for example.  Perhaps there are more frescos to uncover.

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Archaeologists at work.

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There are many pithoi, or large jars for storage.  they are generally in situ, though presumably they have been lifted out, cleaned or repaired, and replaced where they were.  The pithoi were used for storing water, wine, olive oil, grain or other vegetable products.

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Reference:   Constraining the landscape of Late Bronze Age Santorini prior to the Minoan eruption: Insights from volcanological, geomorphological and archaeological findings; Karátson, Telbisz, Gertisser, Strasser, Nomikou, Druitte, Vereb, Quidelleur and Kósikg; Journal of Volcanology abd Geotyhermal Research, 1 September 2020.

Perissa Beach to Oia

Thira (Santorini), Greece, 11 October 2018.

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From Emporio, we headed to Perissa and here we are on the beach.

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We hoped to visit Ancient Thera, a ruined town that spanned many eras, potentially stretching back 11,000 years, but visible elements are mainly Roman and Byzantine.  The site was abandoned after an eruption of the volcano in the 8th century AD.

I wasn’t aware that there were opening times and we got there five or ten minutes too late.  There was at least half an hour before all visitors had to return and I tried to persuade the gate keeper to let us race up there and be back before that time but he wouldn’t budge.  So the above view of a wall at the top of a cliff was all we got to see.

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I’m not sure exactly where this church belltower is.  Perhaps we are looking back at Perissa.

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This is the Chapel of Panagia Katefiani, below the Ancient City of Thira.

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Back at Perissa Beach again and the yacht has probably moved.  We would have had lunch at the small town here.

. Architecture, Greece, History, Landscape, Oia, Perissa, Photography, Santorini, Street photography, Thira, Travel We have now gone back to the caldera side of the island and are somewhere above the Port of Thira, looking north.  in the distance, a cruise ship and a three-masted ship pass by while people lounge below on a house or hotel balcony.

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In the other direction, we see a catamaran and a ferry at the port.

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A catamaran is leaving port.

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Also a ferry, probably heading for Crete.  The ferry takes three and a half hours and the cat two.  The ferry is much cheaper and also takes cars.

. Architecture, Greece, History, Landscape, Oia, Perissa, Photography, Santorini, Street photography, Thira, Travel

Donkeys returning from a hard day carrying tourists (some overweight) up the steep slopes from the port.  Picturesque and traditional they may be but there is controversy here about cruelty to the donkeys.

. Architecture, Greece, History, Landscape, Oia, Perissa, Photography, Santorini, Street photography, Thira, Travel

Now it’s much later and we have returned to Oia and I have fought through the dense crowds to get a key position for sunset views at the point.  This is as far as you can go and we are in the ruins of a Venetian Fort, built to safeguard the island from pirates.  Some photographers kindly made room for me when I arrived.

. Architecture, Greece, History, Landscape, Oia, Perissa, Photography, Santorini, Street photography, Thira, Travel

This image may look crooked but it’s actually not.  The eye is drawn to the island on the right rather than the faint horizon behind it..

. Architecture, Greece, History, Landscape, Oia, Perissa, Photography, Santorini, Street photography, Thira, Travel

I am now looking back at the township of Oia, looking towards the north coast.  This is taken with a wide angle lens.

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This image and the next three are taken from the same viewpoint, looking at the township of Oia, with a long telephoto lens.  There are a couple in close communion holding beers at the bottom.

. Architecture, Greece, History, Landscape, Oia, Perissa, Photography, Santorini, Street photography, Thira, Travel

This is one of the two windmills visible in the earlier wide angle view.  There is a light on in one of the rooms of the windmill and thirteen people at bottom right camped for a sunset view (though partly obscured by the watermark, even if you click for a larger view).

. Architecture, Greece, History, Landscape, Oia, Perissa, Photography, Santorini, Street photography, Thira, Travel

This is the other one.  Only two people visible in this one.

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Still with the long lens.  St Sostis Orthodox Church at the top.  I make it twenty one people visible in this one.

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Back to the wide angle.  Looking south at the Township of Oia along the caldera coast.  It’s getting darker now.  this is a thirteen second exposure.

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Looking over the Venetian castle at the view across the caldera.  Fifty second exposure this time.

. Architecture, Greece, History, Landscape, Oia, Perissa, Photography, Santorini, Street photography, Thira, Travel

Much later, after dinner and back across the road from where we were staying at the other end of Oia.

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Emporio

Thira (Santorini), Greece, 11 October 2018.

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(Click on any image to see it in a larger size, if you are on a PC or tablet at least.)

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From the lighthouse at the south end of Thira, we drove north and then headed towards the other coast, away from the caldera.  On the way, we stopped at Emporio, always one of my main planned points of interest for Thira.  It is a traditional village, the largest on the island, and the name refers to trade as it was once the main trading centre for the island.

There is little point trying to add captions for most of the images.  they are a visual feast of a wonderful urban microcosm.

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Architecture, Emporio, Greece, History, Landscape, Macro, Photography, Santorini, Street photography, Thira, Travel .

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Architecture, Emporio, Greece, History, Landscape, Macro, Photography, Santorini, Street photography, Thira, Travel .

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. Architecture, Emporio, Greece, History, Landscape, Macro, Photography, Santorini, Street photography, Thira, Travel .

. Architecture, Emporio, Greece, History, Landscape, Macro, Photography, Santorini, Street photography, Thira, Travel .

.Architecture, Emporio, Greece, History, Landscape, Macro, Photography, Santorini, Street photography, Thira, Travel

There are two ways to take this sign.  One, you may be a pedestrian and should beware of others hooning around on motorcycles in the narrow laneways.  Alternatively, you may be on a motorbike and this is how you should do it.  Crouch down for better aerodynamics and ride really fast.

.Architecture, Emporio, Greece, History, Landscape, Macro, Photography, Santorini, Street photography, Thira, Travel .

.Architecture, Emporio, Greece, History, Landscape, Macro, Photography, Santorini, Street photography, Thira, Travel .

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Architecture, Emporio, Greece, History, Landscape, Macro, Photography, Santorini, Street photography, Thira, Travel .

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. Architecture, Emporio, Greece, History, Landscape, Macro, Photography, Santorini, Street photography, Thira, Travel .

. Architecture, Emporio, Greece, History, Landscape, Macro, Photography, Santorini, Street photography, Thira, Travel .

. Architecture, Emporio, Greece, History, Landscape, Macro, Photography, Santorini, Street photography, Thira, Travel

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. Architecture, Emporio, Greece, History, Landscape, Macro, Photography, Santorini, Street photography, Thira, Travel .

.Architecture, Emporio, Greece, History, Landscape, Macro, Photography, Santorini, Street photography, Thira, Travel .

.Architecture, Emporio, Greece, History, Landscape, Macro, Photography, Santorini, Street photography, Thira, Travel .

.Architecture, Emporio, Greece, History, Landscape, Macro, Photography, Santorini, Street photography, Thira, Travel .

.Architecture, Emporio, Greece, History, Landscape, Macro, Photography, Santorini, Street photography, Thira, Travel .

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Architecture, Emporio, Greece, History, Landscape, Macro, Photography, Santorini, Street photography, Thira, Travel .

.Architecture, Emporio, Greece, History, Landscape, Macro, Photography, Santorini, Street photography, Thira, Travel .

.Architecture, Emporio, Greece, History, Landscape, Macro, Photography, Santorini, Street photography, Thira, Travel .

. Architecture, Emporio, Greece, History, Landscape, Macro, Photography, Santorini, Street photography, Thira, Travel .

.Architecture, Emporio, Greece, History, Landscape, Macro, Photography, Santorini, Street photography, Thira, Travel

Finally a few macro shots on the way out, probably near the church where we started from.

. Architecture, Emporio, Greece, History, Landscape, Macro, Photography, Santorini, Street photography, Thira, Travel . Architecture, Emporio, Greece, History, Landscape, Macro, Photography, Santorini, Street photography, Thira, Travel .

Red Beach and Akrotiri Lighthouse

Thira (Santorini), Greece, 11 October 2018.

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(Click on any image to see it in a larger size, if you are on a PC or tablet at least.)

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Usually, the images in each post are chronological.  But this time even after adjusting for one camera being 20 minutes out from the other, the order still didn’t make sense.  Also, I took photos from similar places at quite different times in the morning.  So I’ve worked out where I took them from and grouped them by location.

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Akrotiri Lighthouse, Greece, History, Landscape, Photography, Santorini, Sculpture, seascape, Street photography, Thira, Travel

This is a view of the caldera coast of the main island, looking south, from just past the port of Thira.

. Akrotiri Lighthouse, Greece, History, Landscape, Photography, Santorini, Sculpture, seascape, Street photography, Thira, Travel

With an extreme telephoto view from the same location, you can see Caldera Beach and the same launch and catamaran.

. Akrotiri Lighthouse, Greece, History, Landscape, Photography, Santorini, Sculpture, seascape, Street photography, Thira, Travel

Not the same catamaran, this one is much smaller.

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Akrotiri Lighthouse, Greece, History, Landscape, Photography, Santorini, Sculpture, seascape, Street photography, Thira, Travel

Another view of the same coastline from further on.  You can just see some of the boats moored at Caldera Beach in the corner at the mid left.

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Akrotiri Lighthouse, Greece, History, Landscape, Photography, Santorini, Sculpture, seascape, Street photography, Thira, Travel

Now we are past Caldera Beach and above it, looking north across the caldera.

. Akrotiri Lighthouse, Greece, History, Landscape, Photography, Santorini, Sculpture, seascape, Street photography, Thira, Travel

A couple of the small boats moored off the beach.

. Akrotiri Lighthouse, Greece, History, Landscape, Photography, Santorini, Sculpture, seascape, Street photography, Thira, Travel .

. Akrotiri Lighthouse, Greece, History, Landscape, Photography, Santorini, Sculpture, seascape, Street photography, Thira, Travel

We have now driven a short distance to the south coast.  I can’t find a name for this little seaside village so i presume it is just part of Akrotiri, which is also a historic site we shall visit later.  The boats have just pulled up, spruiking customers to take on a tour to red, white and black beaches (but we didn’t have enough time).

Just to the left of the village you might be able to see part of the white outline of a tiny church.

. Akrotiri Lighthouse, Greece, History, Landscape, Photography, Santorini, Sculpture, seascape, Street photography, Thira, Travel

This is a wider view, taken a few minutes before, prior to the boats tying up at the wharf.

. Akrotiri Lighthouse, Greece, History, Landscape, Photography, Santorini, Sculpture, seascape, Street photography, Thira, Travel

This is an ancient boatshed.  You can also see it at the right of the previous image if you click for a larger view.

. Akrotiri Lighthouse, Greece, History, Landscape, Photography, Santorini, Sculpture, seascape, Street photography, Thira, Travel

The tiny Church of St Nicholas.

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Akrotiri Lighthouse, Greece, History, Landscape, Photography, Santorini, Sculpture, seascape, Street photography, Thira, Travel

The bell tower.

. Akrotiri Lighthouse, Greece, History, Landscape, Photography, Santorini, Sculpture, seascape, Street photography, Thira, Travel

A musician busking on the headland before Red Beach.

. Akrotiri Lighthouse, Greece, History, Landscape, Photography, Santorini, Sculpture, seascape, Street photography, Thira, Travel

A bit further on, here is a view of Red Beach (left distance) and the walk in.  We didn’t go any further.  We weren’t looking for a swim and there’s not much room on the beach anyway.

. Akrotiri Lighthouse, Greece, History, Landscape, Photography, Santorini, Sculpture, seascape, Street photography, Thira, Travel

A view further over to the left.  This almost joins on the the photo of the musician but it’s not taken from quite the same place.

. Akrotiri Lighthouse, Greece, History, Landscape, Photography, Santorini, Sculpture, seascape, Street photography, Thira, Travel

The yacht was evidently a commercial cruise for sightseers.

. Akrotiri Lighthouse, Greece, History, Landscape, Photography, Santorini, Sculpture, seascape, Street photography, Thira, Travel

Looking back towards where we came from.  The white building is Hotel Akrotiri and there are several boatsheds at the water’s edge.

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Akrotiri Lighthouse, Greece, History, Landscape, Photography, Santorini, Sculpture, seascape, Street photography, Thira, Travel

We’ve now driven back, and then further on to Akrotiri Lighthouse at the far south corner of the island.

. Akrotiri Lighthouse, Greece, History, Landscape, Photography, Santorini, Sculpture, seascape, Street photography, Thira, Travel

A view from the other side.

. Akrotiri Lighthouse, Greece, History, Landscape, Photography, Santorini, Sculpture, seascape, Street photography, Thira, Travel

Looking north-west from near the lighthouse.  The point is Akro Aspronisi.

. Akrotiri Lighthouse, Greece, History, Landscape, Photography, Santorini, Sculpture, seascape, Street photography, Thira, Travel

A closer view.  What a view those houses on the point must have as the weather changes!

Do you think the white covering of the top of the island is snow or perhaps pumice from the eruption?

Actually no, it’s the houses which are all white.

. Akrotiri Lighthouse, Greece, History, Landscape, Photography, Santorini, Sculpture, seascape, Street photography, Thira, Travel

A passenger hydofoil from Thira Port heading towards Crete.  The ferry is slower but a lot cheaper.

. Akrotiri Lighthouse, Greece, History, Landscape, Photography, Santorini, Sculpture, seascape, Street photography, Thira, Travel

A launch below the lighthouse.

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Akrotiri Lighthouse, Greece, History, Landscape, Photography, Santorini, Sculpture, seascape, Street photography, Thira, Travel

A bit further around, this is looking up the south coast now, but where we were previously is beyond that point.  If you click for a larger image you can see Acro Beach Bar on the left, then White Beach (though mainly obscured) before the headland.

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Akrotiri Lighthouse, Greece, History, Landscape, Photography, Santorini, Sculpture, seascape, Street photography, Thira, Travel

Curious the things you can see.  I am reliably informed that this is not a relic from before the eruption, more than three thousand years ago.  For one thing, they didn’t have bicycles with pneumatic tyres then.

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Oia

Oia, Thira (Santorini), Greece, 10 October 2018.

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(Click on any image to see it in a larger size, if you are on a PC or tablet at least.)

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Architecture, Greece, History, Landscape, Oia, Photography, Santorini, Street photography, Thira, Travel

This is the map of Thira, where we were to spend the next few days.  It is more commonly known as Santorini, which is the Byzantine name.  Thira is the Greek name and after all, it is in Greece.  The blue lines show our planned travel route, which should be pretty close to our actual route, because I had this route saved in our car GPS.  (You may like to click for a larger image and more detail).

You can see there is a kind of a great blue hole in the centre of the map.  This is the caldera of Thira.  It was dry land until the volcano exploded somewhere around 1650BC, causing no small inconvenience for the locals and also devastating the northern coast of Crete with tsunami.

We stayed in Oia, in the far north of the island, well known for its scenic vistas.  This post is for our first night on the island, in Oia.

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Architecture, Greece, History, Landscape, Oia, Photography, Santorini, Street photography, Thira, Travel

This is looking back along the coast of the island.  The light would have been low and I have resisted any temptation to over-saturate or overly increase contrast in these images.  (Still, most people will be viewing these images on unprofiled screens which may not be entirely accurate).

. Architecture, Greece, History, Landscape, Oia, Photography, Santorini, Street photography, Thira, Travel

We are now looking in the other direction, north towards the small township of Oia.  The island of Thirassia is in the distance (one island though it may appear as two).

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A wider view looking south that gives a good idea of the size of the caldera.

. Architecture, Greece, History, Landscape, Oia, Photography, Santorini, Street photography, Thira, Travel

There are many houses perched on the steep slopes of the cliffs, and inviting paths.

. Architecture, Greece, History, Landscape, Oia, Photography, Santorini, Street photography, Thira, Travel

This would be a tempting place to loll in the sun in a hot day.

. Architecture, Greece, History, Landscape, Oia, Photography, Santorini, Street photography, Thira, Travel

This is just across the road from where we were staying.

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People we encounter while walking towards the north point of the island….

. Architecture, Greece, History, Landscape, Oia, Photography, Santorini, Street photography, Thira, Travel .

. Architecture, Greece, History, Landscape, Oia, Photography, Santorini, Street photography, Thira, Travel .

. Architecture, Greece, History, Landscape, Oia, Photography, Santorini, Street photography, Thira, Travel

At the top is the Church of Panagia Platsani.

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Young woman contemplating the sunset.

This is much closer and 25 minutes later, but with a much wider angle lens.

. Architecture, Greece, History, Landscape, Oia, Photography, Santorini, Street photography, Thira, Travel

The lights of the town come on as the sun goes down.

. Architecture, Greece, History, Landscape, Oia, Photography, Santorini, Street photography, Thira, Travel

The island of Thirassia in the distance again.

. Architecture, Greece, History, Landscape, Oia, Photography, Santorini, Street photography, Thira, Travel

A vignette of the multi-layered settlement on the steep slope.

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Trivia Note:  30,000 images.

Following an update of my index of live music posts for the  first time in two years, there are now over 30,000 images either in this Blog or linked to from this Blog.  There are 17,000 images in the Blog (in 1,100 posts and with 430,000 words) and links to another 13,000 live music images (from 1,150 performances).

Monochromes from Athens

9 to 10 October 2018, Athens, Greece.

Links go to colour posts (with more information and historical context). If an image does not have a link, the preceding one applies.

Click on any image to see it larger (if on a PC at least).

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Acropolis, Ancient Agora of Athens, Archaeology, Architecture, Athens, Black and White, Greece, History, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Roman Agora, Street photography, Travel

The Acropolis from the Temple of Hephaistos.

Ancient Agora in Athens

. Acropolis, Ancient Agora of Athens, Archaeology, Architecture, Athens, Black and White, Greece, History, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Roman Agora, Street photography, Travel

Looking down on the Odeon of Herodes Atticus.

Acropolis Now.

. Acropolis, Ancient Agora of Athens, Archaeology, Architecture, Athens, Black and White, Greece, History, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Roman Agora, Street photography, Travel

The Temple of Athena Nike, looking up from the path to the Acropolis.

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The steps of the Propylaea.

. Acropolis, Ancient Agora of Athens, Archaeology, Architecture, Athens, Black and White, Greece, History, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Roman Agora, Street photography, Travel

Inside the Propylaea.

. Acropolis, Ancient Agora of Athens, Archaeology, Architecture, Athens, Black and White, Greece, History, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Roman Agora, Street photography, Travel

Looking back at the Propylaea.

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Acropolis, Ancient Agora of Athens, Archaeology, Architecture, Athens, Black and White, Greece, History, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Roman Agora, Street photography, Travel

Approaching the Parthenon.

. Acropolis, Ancient Agora of Athens, Archaeology, Architecture, Athens, Black and White, Greece, History, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Roman Agora, Street photography, Travel

The Caryatids, the Erechtheion.

. Acropolis, Ancient Agora of Athens, Archaeology, Architecture, Athens, Black and White, Greece, History, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Roman Agora, Street photography, Travel

The Erechtheion.

. Acropolis, Ancient Agora of Athens, Archaeology, Architecture, Athens, Black and White, Greece, History, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Roman Agora, Street photography, Travel

Parthenon detail.

. Acropolis, Ancient Agora of Athens, Archaeology, Architecture, Athens, Black and White, Greece, History, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Roman Agora, Street photography, Travel

Parthenon relief.

. Acropolis, Ancient Agora of Athens, Archaeology, Architecture, Athens, Black and White, Greece, History, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Roman Agora, Street photography, Travel

Front steps of the Parthenon.

. Acropolis, Ancient Agora of Athens, Archaeology, Architecture, Athens, Black and White, Greece, History, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Roman Agora, Street photography, Travel

Temple of Olympian Zeus.

. Acropolis, Ancient Agora of Athens, Archaeology, Architecture, Athens, Black and White, Greece, History, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Roman Agora, Street photography, Travel

The top of Mount Lycabettus.

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Acropolis, Ancient Agora of Athens, Archaeology, Architecture, Athens, Black and White, Greece, History, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Roman Agora, Street photography, Travel

Church of Saint Marina at Thiselo.

Roman Agora in Athens

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Acropolis, Ancient Agora of Athens, Archaeology, Architecture, Athens, Black and White, Greece, History, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Roman Agora, Street photography, Travel

Church of the Holy Apostles.

Ancient Agora in Athens

. Acropolis, Ancient Agora of Athens, Archaeology, Architecture, Athens, Black and White, Greece, History, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Roman Agora, Street photography, Travel

On the pathway down from the Acropolis.

Roman Agora in Athens

. Acropolis, Ancient Agora of Athens, Archaeology, Architecture, Athens, Black and White, Greece, History, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Roman Agora, Street photography, Travel .

. Acropolis, Ancient Agora of Athens, Archaeology, Architecture, Athens, Black and White, Greece, History, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Roman Agora, Street photography, Travel

Roman Agora.

. Acropolis, Ancient Agora of Athens, Archaeology, Architecture, Athens, Black and White, Greece, History, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Roman Agora, Street photography, Travel

Relief on the Horologion.

. Acropolis, Ancient Agora of Athens, Archaeology, Architecture, Athens, Black and White, Greece, History, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Roman Agora, Street photography, Travel

Roman Agora and the Horologion.

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Inside the Horologion.

. Acropolis, Ancient Agora of Athens, Archaeology, Architecture, Athens, Black and White, Greece, History, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Roman Agora, Street photography, Travel

The streets of Athens.

Ancient Agora in Athens

. Acropolis, Ancient Agora of Athens, Archaeology, Architecture, Athens, Black and White, Greece, History, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Roman Agora, Street photography, Travel

The Stoa of Attalo and the Ancient Agora.

. Acropolis, Ancient Agora of Athens, Archaeology, Architecture, Athens, Black and White, Greece, History, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Roman Agora, Street photography, Travel

Portrait head of a man, 2nd century AD.

. Acropolis, Ancient Agora of Athens, Archaeology, Architecture, Athens, Black and White, Greece, History, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Roman Agora, Street photography, Travel

Under the dome of the Church of the Holy Apostles.

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Relief, Church of the Holy Apostles.

. Acropolis, Ancient Agora of Athens, Archaeology, Architecture, Athens, Black and White, Greece, History, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Roman Agora, Street photography, Travel

The Temple of Hephaistos.

. Acropolis, Ancient Agora of Athens, Archaeology, Architecture, Athens, Black and White, Greece, History, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Roman Agora, Street photography, Travel … closer view.

. Acropolis, Ancient Agora of Athens, Archaeology, Architecture, Athens, Black and White, Greece, History, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Roman Agora, Street photography, Travel

The Propylaea in late afternoon light from the City of Athens.

. Acropolis, Ancient Agora of Athens, Archaeology, Architecture, Athens, Black and White, Greece, History, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Roman Agora, Street photography, Travel

Part of a marble disk with female head in relief, perhaps Aphrodite. c. 460-450 BC.

National Archaeological Museum, Athens

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From Delos (“Palaestra of Granite”). Early 1st c. BC.

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Bronze helmet of illyrian type and gold funerary mask.  530-510 BC.

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Grave stele. End of the fifth century BC.

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National Archaeological Museum, Athens

Athens, 10 October 2018.

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(Click on any image to see it in a larger size, if you are on a PC or tablet at least.)

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On the morning before our flight out to Thira, we visited the Archaeological museum, near where we were staying.  Unfortunately, we missed the mezzanine floor with items from Crete, and by the time we realised this it was too late to turn back.  Still, there was a lot to see.  They are in the order we walked around the museum, which was roughly chronological for the exhibits.  Descriptions are from the labels with the items.

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Archaeology, Architecture, Art, Athens, Greece, History, National Archaeological Museum, Photography, Sculpture, Travel

Gold diadem with repoussé circles and rosettes, grave items, 17th to 16th centuries BC, Mycenae.

. Archaeology, Architecture, Art, Athens, Greece, History, National Archaeological Museum, Photography, Sculpture, Travel

Elephant or hippopotamus ivory warriors’ head wearing boar’s tusk helmet.  From a Mycenaean Chamber Tomb from the palace period of the 14th and 13th centuries BC.

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Necklaces made of carnelian beads, Mycenae Chamber tombs, 15th-12th centuries BC.

.Archaeology, Architecture, Art, Athens, Greece, History, National Archaeological Museum, Photography, Sculpture, Travel

Three-handled Palace Style amphora with three large octopuses within a marinescape of rocks and seaweed. A Mycenaean imitation of the Minoan Marine Style.  15th century BC.

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Gold signet ring, the largest extant Mycenaean ring.  It depicts a procession of lion-headed daemons holding libation jugs and moving towards an enthroned goddess.  The goddess wears a long chiton and raises a ritual vessel.  Behind the throne is an eagle-symbo! of dominion. The sun’s heel and crescent moon appear in the sky. 15th century BC.

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The ‘Mycenaean Lady’. The serious and pensive expression of the goddess reveals the solemnity of the moment, as she accepts, slightly smiling, the gift, a necklace, which she holds tightly in her right hand.  She wears a short-sleeved bodice over a sheer blouse, which delineates her ample bosom. Her intricate hairstyle and rich jewellery (necklaces and bracelets) are striking.  Wall-painting from the Acropolis of Mycenae, 13th century BC.

The art of wail-painting first appeared in the Aegean in Minoan Crete and was closely associated with palatial architecture. Indeed, monumental painting was an official art, undertaken by artists who worked for the king. The iconography is inspired from the natural world or exhibits religious ceremonies from the royal court. The art of wall-painting spread to mainland Greece with the construction of the palaces at Myconae, Tiryns, Thebes and Pylos, after the Mycenaeans established themselves at the palace of Knossos in Crete, at the end of the 15th century BC. The Mycenaean artist used natural earth colours, made mainly of metal oxides, which he applied onto a wet plaster surface.

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Fragment of a wall-painting depicting three women looking out of the windows of a festooned house. The scene’s festive character and women’s gestures of veneration and surprise indicate that they are watching a religious spectacle.  From the ‘Ramp House’, Mycenae acropolis. 14th century BC.

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Gold signet rings depicting religious scenes: ecstatic dances in open air sanctuaries, processions of women approaching sanctuaries, preparations for animal sacrifices and ‘sacred conversation’.  Mycenae Chamber tombs, 15th-14th centuries BC.  (Also next two images).

. Archaeology, Architecture, Art, Athens, Greece, History, National Archaeological Museum, Photography, Sculpture, Travel .

. Archaeology, Architecture, Art, Athens, Greece, History, National Archaeological Museum, Photography, Sculpture, Travel .

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In a landscape of olive trees, a bull is captured by peaceful means: a man ties a thick rope around the bull’s leg, while the beast flirts with a cow. (Though just the flirting shown in this image.)

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In a landscape of olive and palm trees, a raging bull attacks and repels two hunters (and on the other side of the object, another bull  is caught in a net).

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Bronze statue of a horse and young jockey.  Retrieved in pieces from the shipwreck off Cape Artemision in Euboea. The young jockey of the galloping horse will have held the reins in his left hand and a whip in his right. The contractions and furrows on his face, especially on the forehead, reveal agony and passion. The work is known as the “Artemision Jockey”. About 140 BC.

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Female funerary statue. Marble.  Found on Delos. The female figure is rendered in the type of the Small Herculaneum Woman. She wears a full-length chiton and a himation that covers her entire body and arms.  Copy made in the 2nd c. BC of a famous original dating from about 300 BC.

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Votive relief. Marble.  Found to the south of the river Ilissos, Athens.  The relief has the form of a naiskos with pilasters, an epistyle and a cornice. Herakles is depicted at the right holding the lion’s pelt and club.  In the centre of the scene, a bull is led to sacrifice by a servant. At the left is depicted a family of worshipers with their maidservant, who carries a basket covered with a cloth on her head. The votive inscription on the epistyle mentions: Panis Aigirios to Herakles. The relief probably comes from the sanctuary of Herakles at Kynosarges.  4th c. BC.

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Votive relief and base. Marble.  Found in the cave of the Nymphs on Mount Penteli, Attica. The relief, in the form of a cave, is set on a tall, rectangular base, on which is carved an inscription stating that the relief was dedicated to the Nymphs by Agathemeros. The dedicator is depicted at the right holding in his right hand a kantharos, which a nude wine-server is filling. In front of them, seated on a rock, the goat-footed god Pan holds the pan-pipe.  Next to him is Hermes, holding the caduceus and wearing a chlamys.
Three Nymphs are depicted behind him.  About 330 BC.

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Part of a marble disk with female head in relief.  The goddess of beauty, Aphrodite, is perhaps depicted. Her rich hair is gathered in a sakkos (snood), which curves over the nape of the lean neck. An additional curl would be attached to the temple. The face emits grace and balanced beauty.  From Melos. Around 460-450 BC.

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Golden bracelets.  Two realistically shown snakes, with red precious stones, were wrapped around the arms of a priestess, protecting her from all evil.  The bracelet in the form of a coiled snake was the paramount type than predominated in the Hellenistic period.  Unknown provenance (from the so-called Karpenissi Treasure). Late 3rd – early 2nd century BC.

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Gold chain-net head jewel.  A fine chain net, adorned with red gems and blue enamel.  The goddess Artemis, wearing her arrow case on her right shoulder, is shown on the medallion.  It was perhaps made to fasten the gathered up hair of a priestess.  Unknown provenance (from the so-called Karpenissi Treasure). 4th – early 3rd century BC.

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Hexagonal wooden pyxis.  Wooden box, decorated with rectangular gold plates, ornamented in the repousse technique.  Three decorative themes are repeated on the side panels of the pyxis:  a lion chase of a deer and a roe in a tropical landscape, and a running spiral pattern.  From Mycenaean Grave Circle A, Shaft Grave V.  Second half of 16th century BC.

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Grave stele of an athlete.  The athlete is depicted naked, holding a javelin in the left hand.  The treatment of the musculature in the torso and hands follows the archaic conventions but it is marked by plastic contours and soft transitions. The elaborate headdress is tied with a ribbon and combed in twisted braids and tresses with spiral and helicoid terminals.  Red paint is preserved in the background of the relief and on the hair.  From Athens. 550-540 BC.

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From Delos (“Palaestra of Granite”).  A distinctively realistic face of an anonymous figure carrying the burden of ephemeral thoughts and evryday concerns. Wrinkles on the forehead, at the edges of the eyes, melancholic expression of a wet look, made more lively by the colour variegation of the eyes, are characteristics that contrast the idealism of the classic rule.  Early 1st c. BC.

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Bronze helmet of illyrian type and gold funerary mask.  From Chalcidice. 530-510 B.C

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Goddess on a throne. Attic workshop. Terracotta.  End of 6th/beginning of 5th century BC.

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Statue of the princess-priestess Takushit.  Found on Kom Tourougka, near Lake Mareotis, south of Alexandria, in 1880. The woman’s name means ‘the Ethiopian’ and may refer to her relation or marriage to an Ethiopian. Her father was Akanosh Il, great chief of the Ma tribe from Libya.   The figure’s characteristic garment is executed with inlaid decoration, a technique in which the engraved design is inlaid with precious metal wire. The motifs are hieroglyphs and deities of the northeast region of the Nile Delta, Takushit’s homeland.  The statue had a ritual, votive, and funerary use.  Copper alloy with precious metal inlay.  End of 25th Dynasty, approximately 670 BC.

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Copper alloy statuette of the god Sarapis Amun Agathodaemon.  One of the rare preserved statues of this deity.

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Copper alloy statue of Isis with Horus the child.

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Copper alloy sarcophagus for a cat.

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Helmet of Corinthian type. A fragmentary inscription on the right cheekpiece indicates that it was dedicated by the Athenians. Late 6th-early 5th century BC.

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Grave stele. Thespian marble. Found in the outskirts of Thebes.  Two figures, a bearded man with a staff on the right and a spinning (?) woman on the left, sit facing each other. Three more figures, two men and a woman, stand in the background. A very small female attendant is represented at far left.  Characteristic attributes are the pomegranate and torch (?) held by the standing bearded man in his left hand, as well as the aryballos in the right hand of the beardless youth. The solemnity of the relief, which is emphasized by the rhythmic arrangement of the magnificent figures in two levels, points to the heroization of the dead —a fact that accords with the Boeotian origin of the stele.  End of the fifth century BC.

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Grave stele. Marble.  Found northeast of Athens, in Chalandri (ancient Phlya).  A bearded man supported on a staff offers a bird to a young boy standing before him. Both figures are draped. The inscription identifies them as Philokles and his son Dikaios, and also records their patronymics.  ca. 410 BC.

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Head of a bearded god. Pentelic marble.  Found in Piraeus, in a sanctuary of Eetioneia. It represents Zeus or Hermes.  This may be the head of the herm dedicated by Python from Abdera in Thrace, a work of the Parian sculptor Euphron.  450 – 440 BC.

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Votive relief. Pentelic marble. Found in Sounion, near the Temple of Athena. It represents a self-crowning athlete and was probably dedicated by a victor in local games.  His wreath was made of metal and fitted to the drilled holes that are visible around the head. ca. 460 BC.

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Statue of a Sphinx. Pentelic marble. Found in Spata, Attica.  One of the earliest known Archaic Sphinxes, it was once used as finial of a grave stele.  About 570 B.C.

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Statue of a kore. Parian marble.  Found in Merenda (ancient Myrrhinous), Attica. The fully
preserved statue stood atop the grave of Phrasikleia, as is indicated by the inscription on the pedestal. The expression of the face and the rendering of garment that follows the curves of the body underneath are remarkable.  The chiton retains in many places its painted decoration with rosettes, swastikas, stars and meanders. An extraordinary work, one of the most important of the ripe Archaic style. Made by the sculptor Aristion from Paros. 550-540 B.C.

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Monumental Attic grave-amphora.  From the Kerameikos cemetery. The main scene, shows the prothesis and mourning for the dead. Over the bier is the shroud.  Men, women and a child lament with the hands on their heads, in the usual mourning gesture.  Work by the «Dipylon Painter». Late Geometric Period. 760-750 BC.

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Ancient Agora in Athens

Athens, 9 October 2018.

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(Click on any image to see it in a larger size, if you are on a PC or tablet at least.)

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Ancient Agora of Athens, Archaeology, Architecture, Athens, Greece, History, Landscape, Photography, Stoa of Attalos, Street photography, Temple of Hephaistos, Travel

From the Roman Agora of Athens (in the previous post) we headed to the Ancient Agora of Athens, which involved a brief walk through the city.

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This is from the Temple of Hephaistos, later in the afternoon, but it gives a good overview of where we are.  Up at the top right on the horizon is the Acropolis.  We walked down from the Propylae, at the right end, to the Roman Agora, somewhere behind the poplars in the middle distance.  The long low building is the Stoa of Attalos, now a museum, which we will visit.  We also visit the Church of the Holy Apostles, which you can just see off to the right of the Stoa (maybe click on the image for a larger view).  The whole area in between the viewpoint of the photograph and the Stoa is the Ancient Agora, though not a lot of it remains.

The Agora was a large open square gradually surrounded with administrative buildings.  it was the heart of public life in the city and the centre of Democracy.  It was also the administrative centre, the judicial centre and the religious centre.  As well as that it was the centre for theatrical events, musical events, commercial transactions, religious events and athletic contests.  It was also the centre of the Great Panathenaia, a festival held every four years.

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Here is a view of the Ancient Agora, taken from a notice board.  On the far right (20) is the Temple of Hephaistos and on the left (13) is the Stoa of Attalos. In the middle (12) is the Odeon of Agrippa, which must have been quite impressive in its time but hardly anything remains.  At the far top right is the Pnyx, the open air site for the democratic assembly.

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Back to the timeline:  we are now approaching the Stoa of Attalos.

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You can line it up with Mount Lycabettus in the distance.

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The Stoa of Attalos was the gift of Attalos II, King of Pergamon, in the second century BC.  It was 120 metres long and had 21 shops at the back of both floors, which could be rented by merchants.  It was also a meeting place for the general public and an ideal place from which to view the Procession of the  Great Panathenaia.

Along with many other monumental buildings, the Stoa was destroyed during the sack of Athens by the Herulians, a barbarian tribe, in 267AD.  Its ruins were later incorporated in the Late Roman Fortification Wall, as after the sack Athens remained greatly reduced.  In 1950 little remained other than the foundations but it was completely restored from 1953 to 1956 and the first floor houses the Ancient Agora Museum, where we now go.

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Inside the museum, here is a model of the Agora, viewed now from a different angle.  The Stoa of Attalos is on the right, the Temple of Hephaistos (coming up) is on the far left.

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This is a model of the Pnyx, the meeting place of the democratic assembly, in its later form.  Unfortunately I missed an opportunity and didn’t go up to what remains of it (not much) or photograph that in its context.

The Ekklesia was the ancient democratic assembly (curious how words evolve).  Originally it was in the large square of the Agora but in the early 5th century it moved up the hill.  At first it was just on the rock of the hillside with the speakers platform at the bottom but in the late 5th century BC the structure was built and the speakers faced the other way.  It was extended in later years and could accommodate 6,000 citizens or more.  The name Pnyx is a Greek word for “tightly packed together”.

Of course ancient Athenian democracy was just slightly different from what we call democracy today.  All citizens had the right to participate, debate and vote.  Citizens though excluded women and slaves though slavery was not as predatory as later in the US for example.

Athenian democracy produced many great leaders including Cleisthenes, Themistocles, Ephialtes and Pericles. Athens was also the maritime superpower of its time and came to have an empire with territories and allies covering the shores and islands of the Aegean, while Greek colonies of various forms stretched from Georgia to near Valencia.

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Head of Alexander the Great or Eubouleus, a god connected with the Elusinian mysteries, unfinished 2nd century AD Roman copy of 4th century BC Greek original.

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Portrait head of a man, probably an African athlete, 250-260AD.

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Portrait head of a man, 2nd century AD.

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Portrait bust of the Emperor Antoninus Pius 138-161AD.

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Outside again, of course.  I know where this is; I found it on Google Earth.  It’s about thirty metres from the south end of the Stoa of Attalos and the remains of the walls behind are part of the Middle Stoa. What these circular shapes are though I don’t know.  Perhaps the two with indents in the middle were bases for statues.

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Not far from the Stoa of Attalos (as we can see in the background) and taken during the walkk down from the Acropolis, is the 11th century Church of the Holy Apostles, restored 1954-56.

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I find the surviving frescoes much more artistically appealing than more modern equivalents, which are more technically perfect, less expressive and ethnically anachronistic.

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This is the Temple of Hephaistos, the only surviving part of the Ancient Agora.  This image was taken from a distance, from near the Stoa of Attalos.

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… while this is taken from close beside it.  The temple dates from 460 to 415BC and Hephaistos was patron of metal workers.  It is “a Doric peripteral temple, with pronaos (fore-temple), cella (inner shrine) and opisthanaos (rear temple), the best preserved of its type in the Greek world”.

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Here is one of the reliefs high above the columns, of either the Labours of Hercules or the Labours of Theseus.

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A view of the Acropolis from the Temple of Hephaistos.

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Crowds at the entrance of the Propylaea.

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Walking back, this is the remains of the Temple of Ares, from the 5th century BC, which was about the same size and date as the Temple of Hephaistos.  There is a sign “Altar of Ares” in the background.

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The remains of two statues from the Odeon of Agrippa.  Thgis was a grand luxurious building for musical performances constructed around 15BC.  Its unsupported roof collapsed around 150AD and it was then rebuilt with a different method but it was destroyed by the Herulians in 267AD.

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We then walked down to the city and had dinner on a rooftop restaurant where I was able to take some photos with a long lens as the sun went down.  These people are waiting on the Areopagus to photograph the Acropolis during the sunset.  The Areopagus in ancient times was the site of the supreme court.  In the previous photograph of the Acropolis, it is off to the right.

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Sunset and the Acropolis is closed or closing.  This is the last person leaving the entrance of the Propylae.

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The Acropolis by night.

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