Category Archive : 5 days Tours

Explore Macedonia, the land of Alexander the Great in a unique journey of 7.000 years of Greek history!

Description
Day 1: Leave the Capital by the towns of Thebes, Levadia and the picturesque village of Arachova. Arrival in Delphi.

Visit the most famous oracle of the ancient times, the Temple of Apollo, the Treasury of Athenians and the Museum where you will see Greek sculptures as the Sphinx, the famous athlete Aghias and the bronze Charioteer.

Departure for Kalambaka the picturesque town at the foot of the gigantic rocks, the famous Meteora. Dinner & overnight.

Day 2: Next stop is Meteora that means “middle of the sky”, seems to be “suspended in the air”. In Meteora you will visit ageless Monasteries and you will see first-hand unique specimens of Byzantine art.

Depart from Kalampaka to Thessaloniki along the longest river in Greece, Aliakcmon.

Arrival at Thessaloniki, the second largest city of Greece (dinner & overnight).

Day 3: At Thessaloniki, visit in the morning the era that throughout the Byzantine Empire was the “co-reigning” city. Visit the Museum of Byzantine Culture and the most characteristic churches of the Christian world. The rest of the day is free to explore more the city. Dinner & overnight.

Day 4: Departure for the historical Macedonia. Stop at Edessa where you will see the famous Waterfalls. Second stop at Naoussa where was the Aristotles School and the great philosopher taught the doctrines of morals and politics to Alexander the Great and the other Macedonians.

Next stop at Vergina (ancient Aigai) where you will see the royal tombs of Macedonia among others the tomb of King Philip II, Alexander’s father, and enjoy your visit at the unique museum.

You will visit Veria (Biblical Beroea) and the Saint Paul’s Bema and stroll through the old Jewish neighborhood and the market area.

Return to Thessaloniki. Dinner & overnight.

Day 5: Visit the capital of Alexander the Great, Pella and see the exquisite floor mosaics of the 4th century villas and the new Museum.

Next stop at the Archaeological Park of Dion, the sacred city of Macedonians cited at the foot of Mount Olympus, the highest Mountain of Greece and the residence of the 12 Gods of the Greek Mythology.

Return to Athens through Thessaly and the Valley of Tempi, pass by Lamia and see the Leonida’s Monument and Thebes.

Arrival at Athens: Late in the afternoon

The tour includes:

Overnight accommodation
Meals as per itinerary (Breakfast & Dinner)
Professional Guide
Entrance Fees
Pick-up service from your hotel (most of the hotels in Athens)
Transportation with luxurious air-conditioned coach
All taxes

The ancient city of Aigai was the capital of the kingdom of Macedonia. The first settlement on the site dates back to the Early Bronze Age in 3000 BC and was densely populated during the Early Iron Age (11th-8th c. BC). In the following centuries, during the Archaic and Classical periods (7th – 5th c. BC), Aigai was developed to a prosperous city, and became the capital of the Macedonian kingdom until the end of the 5th c. BC, when the seat of the Macedonian kings was transferred to Pella. Aigai remains the historic centre of the kingdom, where the kings are buried in the royal necropolis, the traditional cult is practised in the sanctuaries and the official and ritual ceremonies take place.
The first excavations on the site were carried out in the mid-19th c. by the French archaeologist L. Heuzey, bringing to light the first Macedonian tomb. In 1976 Prof. Manolis Andronikos revealed the royal tombs of the Great Mound and one year later came to light the tomb of king Philip II (359-336 BC). The excavation of the palace and the theatre followed, while excavations during the last decade, were conducted by the University of Thessaloniki and has focused on the the civic quarters of the ancient city and its extensive cemeteries.

Among the most important monuments of the site are:

– The royal tombs of the Great Mound (Toumba). This group includes:
– The tomb of Philip II, a monumental Macedonian type tomb, with two chambers and a temple-like facade which combines elements of both the Doric and Ionic order. A typical feature of the Ionic frieze of the tomb, is a wall painting that depicts a scene of royal hunting, a rare example of the ancient Greek painting. Among the central figures is recognized that of Alexander the Great. As this grave remained intact from destructions and plundering, it yielded a wealth of artifacts, among them the two gold larnakes, which contained the bones of the king and its wife.
– The tomb of Persephone. This is one of the largest cist graves found so far in Greece. It dates to 350 BC and it probably belonged to Nikesipolis, king Philip’s wife and Thessaloniki’s mother. The tomb was conventionally named after the theme of its wall painting, which depicts the abduction of Persephone by Plouto. The murals of the tombs of Philip and of Persephone comprise the most important specimens of ancient Greek wall painting preserved today. Unfortunately the tomb was looted probably during the invasion of the Gauls, who plundered the royal necropolis of Aigai in the 3rd century BC.
– The “tomb of the Prince” (tomb of Alexander IV) was built near that of Philip, about 30 years later. It contained the bones of a young adolescent, maybe the son of Alexander the Great and Roxane, Alexander IV, both murdered by Kassandros, usurper of the throne after the death of Alexander the Great.
– The tomb of the free-standing columns is the third tomb of the Macedonian type in the Great Tumulus. It dates to the 3rd c. BC and probably belonged to Antigonos Gonatas. The monument was heavily damaged due to repeated plundering of its building material and deprived from its most wealthy artefacts. The monument had an impressive entrance with four Doric columns, which are partly preserved today.

– The cemetery of the tumuli.
This is the necropolis of the Iron Age (11th-8th c. BC), which includes more than 300 small earthen tumuli, constructed over clusters of burials which contained rich offerings.

– The Palace and the Theatre
These two important monuments consist part of a wider building complex of the ancient city that dates to the late 4th c. BC. Built on a higher location, the palace overhung the ancient city. The two-storeyed building comprised luxurius halls, clustered around a central peristyle courtyard and a shrine dedicated to Herakles Patroos. Indicative of the rich decoration is the fine mosaic floor which was preserved in one of the palace rooms. The palace of Aigai is the only example preserved today of an ancient Greek palace dated as early as in the Late Classical period, being a forerunner of its Hellenistic successors.
The theatre was constructed very close to the palace, on a downhill slope. A distinctive architectural feature is the very large orchestra with a diameter of 28 m, while the cavea exploited the natural inclination of the slope, having only one series of stone seats. It was in this theatre that king Philip II was assassinated in the summer of 336 BC and Alexander the Great was proclaimed king.

– The City and its sanctuaries
The ancient city was fortified with a massive wall, which formed a circular enclosure around the city. The architectural remains – public buildings, private houses, workshops – uncovered so far provide a rough picture of the urban planning and the development of the city, a picture that the ongoing excavations keep filling in.
The public nucleus of the city, the agora, was located at a lower level beneath the palace and the theatre. The most important feature for the identification of this part of the city with the agora, was the sanctuary of Efkleia, the deity of glory and good repute, whose sanctuaries were erected in the agora, being the heart of the ancient Greek cities. In the case of the sanctuary of Aigai, the excavation revealed the foundations of two temples, a peristyle building and a series of offerings, including two bases of votive statues dedicated by the queen Eurydice, grandmother of Alexander the Great. The majority of the architectural remains are dated to the period of Philip II (359-336 BC) and Alexander (336-323).
Of major importance is also the sanctuary of the Mother of the Gods (Metroon), the panhellenic deity Rhea, which already in the 6th c. BC was associated with the Asian goddess Cybele. The sanctuary of Aigai consists of a complex of cult and auxiliary structures, which were erected over the ruins of an earlier sanctuary and date to the beginning of the 3rd c. BC. The Hellenistic sanctuary was destroyed in 150 BC.
In 167 BC the Macedonian kingdom submitted to the Romans and, as it was the case with the rest of Greece, became a province of the Roman Empire. The Roman era for Aigai is a period of gradual decline and shrinkage until the mid-1st c. AD, when the city is finally abandoned by its inhabitants.

VERGINA is included in both the guided tours that visit Northern Greece:
1) The 5 days guided tour of Northern Greece, visiting Delphi, Thermopylae, Meteora, Thessaloniki, Edessa, Naousa, Vergina, Berea (St. Paul), Pella, and the Archaeological park of Dion (feet of Mt. Olympus), and
2) The 7 days guided Grand tour of Greece, visiting Epidaurus, Nafplion, Mycenae, Olympia, Delphi, Thermopylae, Meteora, Thessaloniki, Edessa, Naousa, Vergina, Berea (St. Paul), Pella, and the Archaeological park of Dion (feet of Mt. Olympus).

Following the paths of monks to Meteora

The Meteora is a complex of Eastern Orthodox monasteries built on natural sandstone pillars. The sandstone pillars are beautiful. Today six are open to the public. Four monasteries and two nunneries.

If there is one place that you must visit is Meteora in central Greece. This huge Eastern Orthodox monastic complex is unlike anywhere else in the world – and despite how overused this phrase is nowadays, at Meteora it means the exact picture. If the unearthly landscape of massive pillar-like mountains and columns weren’t striking enough, monks went ahead and built huge monasteries ON TOP of them 800 years ago. 6 of them are still working monasteries nowadays and are open to the public if you are willing to make the trek up to them.

A view from Meteora is spectacular no matter where you stand, and it will make even the most seasoned traveler say “wow” out loud. In fact, While Greece is full of beautiful vistas and spectacular sites, you’d be hard-pressed to find one more unique and with so many fabulous views as you get in Meteora.

The World Heritage monasteries of Meteora, in the middle of Greece, are one of the most extraordinary sights.
Built on top of huge pinnacles of smooth rocks, the monasteries

Meteora map

Meteora map

provided monks with peaceful havens from increasing bloodshed as the Byzantine Empire waned at the end of the 14th c. The earliest monasteries were reached by climbing removable ladders. Later, windlasses were used so monks could be hauled up in nets, a method used until the 1920s. Apprehensive visitors enquiring how often the ropes were replaced were told ‘When the Lord lets them break’.

These days access to the monasteries is by steps hewn into the rocks and the windlasses are used only for hauling up provisions.

Don’t miss this unique place at this special price!