Mythological tales are often enrapturing, no matter where they are from. However, Greek mythology has its own charm. Action, romance, drama and glamour in copious amounts, these tales are fodder for those who love epic stories. It is hardly possible to not be immersed in mythical Greece. But one can still step back into the interesting tales of the past by visiting places still present in Greece, that were once an important part of mythology. Here are 7 places in Greece that have been a vital part of their mythology:
An astonishing 10,000 feet towering mountain, Mount Olympus is thought to have been the home of the most prominent Greek Gods. Believed to be created after the war between the Olympians and the Titans (Titanomachy), the mountain became the new home to the victors, the Olympians. It is also the tallest mountain in the country. The tales of Olympus include enviable feasts of ambrosia and nectar and melodious tunes of Apollo’s lyre. While one can visit the site, Mount Olympus also soon became an idyllic concept signifying unreachable heaven perched atop the mountain.
Mount Ida (Crete)
The mention of Greek mythology instantly draws out an image of Zeus. And why wouldn’t it? He is, after all, the king of Gods. However, even Zeus suffered rough beginnings as goes the tale of Mount Ida. Titan Cronos, fearful of a prophecy that predicted his own offspring overthrowing him for the throne, began consuming his newborns. So, Zeus’s mother, Rhea then stashed him in the Ideon Cave on the mountain. This is where Zeus is believed to be born or at least raised until he was ready to face his father. Currently, people often trek the mountain and visit the cave.
Apart from being a UNESCO World Heritage Site, this island also holds historical and mythological significance. Much like Indian mythology, the wrath of Gods is well described in Greek mythology. To escape this famous wrath of Hera, Zeus’ lover Leto came to this island and gave birth to well-known twins Artemis and Apollo. Due to these sacred births, no mortal was ever allowed to be born or to die on these lands (as mentioned in mythology). Currently, the site is a store for invaluable antiquities that belong to the Archaic, Classical and Hellenistic periods.
The river of death, Acheron River was considered to flow to the underworld in many Greek mythologies. It is the only of the five rivers of the underworld that flow through the country’s mainland. The river was known to flow through many dark gorges and even go underground in a few places. The ruins of Necromanteion or Oracle of the Dead are found close to the river, what was once a temple for Hades and Persephone. Now the river, with its lush green surroundings, is a place for tourists to participate in rafting, horse riding and other outdoor activities.
The heart-wrenching tale of Odesseus’ 10 year journey back home is mentioned in intricate detail in the epic poem Odyssey. According to this mythological poem, Ithaca was the hero’s home. After the Trojan war, Odesseus travelled back home, passing many hurdles on the way. This mystical island is now a relaxation paradise with its emerald waters and lush green surroundings. In fact, diving is a popular activity at this island. Still, there are many archaeologically significant sites on this island.
The tale of the minotaur is an interesting one. Knossos is believed to have been the capital of King Minos’ empire. The king was blessed (or cursed) with a child who has the body of a man and the face of a bull. Out of embarrassment and for safety, the child was locked into a labyrinth where people would be sent to be devoured by the beast. Eventually, the minotaur was slain by the prince of Athens and Minos’ daughter. The exact location of the labyrinth is not known, however, many believe Kommos was the place where Minos’ throne existed.
Named after one of Zeus’ love interests, the island is situated in the Saronic Gulf. The story goes that the daughter of the river God Asopos and the nymph Metope, Aegina, was taken to Oenone island by Zeus. She gave birth to Aeacus, who would be the king of the island. The island was named after her. A plague sent by Hera killed many of the people on the island, that is when Zeus transformed the ants on the island into humans to repopulate the area. Achilles is believed to have commanded these very men. Now, the island is a relaxed weekend getaway.