This delightful and informative private same-day programme focusses on two of the most important archaeological sites of Eastern Attica: Amphiareon and Rhamnous. Participants are afforded the opportunity to take in some of the most fantastic inland and coastal scenery of Attica whilst the tour culminates in the savouring of top-notch traditional Greek cuisine, true to the heritage of ancient Greek symposia.
The tour is accompanied by a licenced guide-archaeologist and includes irresistible food at a picturesque taverna featuring fabulous dishes.
The day is off to an early start with our visit to Amphiarieon, the extensive sanctuary of Amphiaraus (Amphiaraos), delightfully located in a dense forest of pines. Amphiaraus was a Bronze Age King of Argos, a mortal with the ability to predict the future, who was transformed after death into a healing divinity. Although he is one of the lesser known ancient Greek gods, his powers as a healer and a seer made him popular enough to have twelve temples and sanctuaries dedicated to him around the country.
There is much to see and to fire the imagination here. Amongst the many ruins of the sanctuary dedicated to the cult are the remains of a small amphitheatre and a Doric temple. One of the most distinguishing features of Amphiareion not commonly found on other sanctuaries of the time is an intriguing ancient water clock (Klepsydra), believed to be the first of its kind – a reminder of the geometric and mathematical skills of ancient Greeks.
We then proceed among the verdant hills of NE Attica south-east to Rhamnous, which of all the ancient towns of Attica, remains in the best condition – truly one of Attica’s hidden gems! Rhamnous lies just a few kilometres north of the site of the great Battle of Marathon, where the Athenians thwarted the Persian army’s attempts to invade their land in 490 B.C. Although less of a household name than Marathon even amongst modern day Greeks, Rhamnous was no less significant historically, for here was a major town with its own fortified acropolis looking out over its two harbours, strategically positioned across the strait from the island of Euboea to receive supply ships carrying grain and other resources for the city state of Athens. This was of utmost importance when the Athenians and their allies were at war with the Peloponnesian states.
Just over half a kilometre inland, we will see the further attraction of the site of the Sanctuary of Nemesis, the goddess of justice and divine vengeance. Dating back as early as the 6th century BC, this was the goddess’s most popular sanctuary in ancient times; hence, Nemesis was given the surname Rhamnous.
Our day of delightful exploration would never be complete without a hearty and delicious meal at our hand-picked venue, true to the Greek tradition where food and drink are central to community and help create bonds as well as foment discussions. After all, Greece is the birthplace of philosophy and a glass of good wine is certainly conducive to this noble quest ! Return via Lake Marathon to your central Athens hotel or other pre-agreed point as per the morning’s pickup.
Day’s total driving distance and indicative time: 156 km (97 mi) / 3 hours and 11 minutes. Routeing, distance and time subject to change depending on external factors.