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Byzantine Greece


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11 Days / 9 Nights, Thessaloniki, Mount Athos, Meteora, Delphi, Olympia, Mystras, Sparta, Epidarius, Mycenae, Corinth, Athens, Option: Mykonos,Tinos


Monasteries at Meteora, Greece


DAY BY DAY ITINERARY DAY 1: USA


Depart for our overnight flight to Thessaloniki.


DAY 2: THESSALONIKI Upon arrival you will be greeted by a Homeric Tours representative and transfer to your hotel. Rest of the day at leisure. Dinner and overnight in Thessaloniki. (D)


DAY 3: THESSALONIKI After breakfast, we will tour Thessaloniki, visiting St. Dimitrios Church, St. Sophia and the Church of the 12 Apostles. We will see the Arch of Galerius, St. George Rotunda and the White Tower. Tonight we have a discussion with a Greek religious specialist about Mt. Athos, and learn about the remarkable living museums of Byzantine art and culture, their impressive libraries, amazing frescoes, beautiful mosaics and fascinating way of life. Overnight in Thessaloniki. (B,D)


DAY 4: HOLY MOUNTAIN / (MOUNT ATHOS) Visit Mt. Athos a monastic state, which has conformed to unchanged rules of life and wor- ship for a thousand years. Emperor Constantine decreed that the Holy Mountain be set aside for exclusive veneration of the Virgin Mary, the protectress of the territory, and the area is off limits to women. Men need to have special permission to enter the Holy Site. In 20 sovereign monaster- ies, 2000 Orthodox Monks still live and work. Overnight in Thessaloniki. (B,L,D)


DAY 5: METEORA After breakfast, we depart for another Byzantine wonder - Meteora, where seemingly unscalable black rocks are topped by beautiful monaster- ies. Many monks believe that the founder of the first monastery was carried there by an eagle. The first monks were likely 10th century ascetics who climbed the rocks and lived in caves. By the 14th century, there were enough monks to build the Great Meteora monastery. In the late Byzantine period and during the Ottoman rule, this monastic community became a sanctuary of the prosecuted, and developed into a centre of Byzantine art. Of the original 24 monasteries, 5 remain and welcome visitors. Overnight in Kalambaka. (B,D)


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DAY 6: DELPHI Today we drive through the countryside of central Greece to “the navel of the world” – Delphi. Leaders from around the ancient world flocked to Apollo’s Delphi Oracle for advice. You understand the foresight of the ancients when you see here the first monument ever created to One God. Visit the Archaeological Site and its Museum. Dinner and overnight. (B,D)


DAY 7: OLYMPIA After breakfast, we depart for Olympia via the town of Nafpaktos with its old Venetian fortress. In Olympia we will see the pediments of the Temples of Zeus and Hera, and walk the length of the world’s most famous stadium, where in 776 BC, the first Olympic games were held in honor of Zeus. Dinner and overnight in Sparta. (B,D)


DAY 8: MYSTRAS / SPARTA After breakfast, we depart for Mystras, where the ruins of a dead Byzantine city are spread along the foothill of Mount Taigetos. This captivating site is one of the most extensive Byzantine monu- ments in Greece. Once a home to 45,000 people its only habitants now are the nuns who maintain the Pantanessa Convent. Dinner and overnight in Sparta. (B,D)


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