Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Old Houses in Greek Island

I have been to many Greek Islands and each of them is unique. Usually I spent some time to see the normal life there, specially the houses, small lanes and people. These are some house in Aegina and Poros.

These two pictures had taken randomly in Aegina by normal camera, not very special to me. But still I have posted to feel how the houses are. But the main reason is to feel how special the third one to me. It may be simple but this neoclassical house in Poros Island is taken by my Canon 350D. I avoided the distractions on the ground floor and only captured the main object. The original version is here.

This one is my 50th post in this blog.
Though intotal I completed century week back.
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Saturday, August 25, 2007

Weekend Photo Upload : Small Video of Meteora,Greece

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Weekend Photo Upload: Athens in Fire

This was a terrific week for Athens, for many reasons. The roads are almost like a desert and hardly there are any cars because of summer vacations. People used to enjoy their vacation in the island.

Another unfortunate incident took place this Thursday, in the Hills of Athens. A fire broke out and almost the whole forest and few houses burnt. However the fire did not came to main city, it caused significant damage. Athenians are bit scared. There were same incident months back. Due to global warming this is the hottest summer in the history of Europe. The previous hottest was 1997, but the average temperature of this year is more than 1 degree this time than 1997. In Greece it almost touched 50C, thanks to low humidity the suffering and casualties are less. But fire bloke out in many places.

This picture is taken in mobile from my desk in office and this is the normal view .

We went to the forest a day before, took the following pictures. The last one is taken in a special way. Can anyone guess how this one is taken?

This was taken keeping my sun-glass in front of the Camera Lens.

Updated 25th August 2007.

OH my GOD!! Fire again, I read the comment of GMG and opened my windows and its horrible, sky is covered by the smoke and the color of sunlight changed. We still can smell the fire from our balcony.Phone line is not working, it was a massive massive fire caused 41 lives. Check CNN today. and some more photos. (not by me as I was sleeping the whole morning) .

Global Warming is in action. we are slowly leading to a big disaster. This summer was a warning of it. Massive flood in Indian sub-continent, Fires in Greece, Heat wave across the Europe, high temperature, unpredictable seasonal changes etc are final knocking in our doors, but very small initiatives have been taken so far.

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Thursday, August 16, 2007

Monasteries in Meteora : World Heritage Site

This is the continuation of my last post to Meteora. For quick reference -

“Meteora is an area in Thessaly (Central Greece) and Kalampaka is the city under
the rock towers of Meteora. The thing that makes Meteora so special is the
monasteries on the top of the rock towers. The monasteries, the amound of peaks
to climb and the paths for hiking brings in Meteora the whole year many

The view was absolutely amazing, but the most atomizing was the Monasteries in the top of the mountains, which was built 1000 years back, without the help of modern science, in a typical way. It is beautiful and the painting in the monasteries reveals the orthodox Greek culture, reflects the way they lived throughout ages.

Wikipedia is describing this place as “The Metéora is one of the largest and most important complex of monasteries in Greece, second only to Mount Athos.The monasteries are built on spectacular natural sandstone rock pillars, at the northwestern edge of the Plain of Thessaly near the Peneios river and Pindus Mountains, in central Greece. The Metéora is home to six monasteries and is included on the UNESCO World Heritage List.”

Matt Barrett explained how the Monasteries were built.
The area of Meteora was originally settled by monks who lived in caves within
the rocks during the 11th Century. But as the times became more unsure during an
age of Turkish occupation, brigandry and lawlessness, they climbed higher and
higher up the rock face until they were living on the inaccessable peaks where
they were able to build by bringing material and people up with ladders and
baskets and build the first monasteries. This was also how the monasteries were
reached until the nineteen twenties and now there are roads, pathways and steps
to the top.

List of Monasteries in Metéora (from Wikipedia)
All of these monasteries are located at Metéora in Greece, and most are perched on high cliffs and accessible only by treacherous staircases cut into the rock formations. They were created to serve monks and nuns following the teachings of the Greek Orthodox Church. Much of the architecture of these buildings is Athonite in origin.
The Holy Monastery of Great Meteoron – This is the largest of the monasteries located at Metéora. It was erected in the mid-14th century AD and was the subject of restoration and embellishment projects in 1483 and 1552. The building serves as the main museum for tourists.
The Holy Monastery of Varlaam – This is the second largest monastery in the Metéora complex. It was built in 1541 and embellished in 1548. The refectory of the church serves as a museum.
The Holy Monastery of Rousanou - This was founded in the middle of 16th century AD and decorated in 1560.
The Holy Monastery of St. Nicholas Anapausas - Built in the 16th century AD, this is a small church. It was decorated by the Cretan painter Theophanis Strelitzas, in 1527.
The Holy Monastery of St. Stephen - This small church and convent was built in the 16th century and decorated in 1545. This monastery is more easily reached than many of the others, as it rests on the plain rather than on a cliff.
The Monastery of Holy Trinity - This monastery is very difficult to reach, due to its location, on top of the cliffs. It was built in 1475 and was remodeled many times .

What I found some interesting facts about the dress codes in these monasteries, Women with short dress are not allowed, and also the visiting hours. In some of the monasteries communication is done through rope way. When we came back from the place it was almost night and the visibility in the hill was poor, so better to leave the place well in advance.
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Sunday, August 12, 2007

On The way to Meteora

We went to a short trip to Meteora last weekend. We started enjoying Greece again after coming back to Athens. But the main difference this time is the scorching heat. This is one of the hottest summers and temperature almost touched 50C some days. It’s unbelievable and unbearable. Almost 100 people died here due to this consequence of Global warming. The worst effect of the warming is massive flood in Indian subcontinent, another catastrophe but different in nature. What I heard from one of my Greek colleague is, if the summer continues like this way, part of Greece will be desert in few years, but I really don’t know the authenticity of it.

Well, keeping aside the Global warming, what I observed this time is nature lost its color here in Greece, its bit shabby but still enchanting. The sky is not that blue (so as the water as it’s the reelection of the sky), but very natural. See the original version of the picture below on the way to Meteora.

Meteora is wonderful, formed by many big meteors it’s a true gift of nature. The nearest town from his place is Kalambaka, almost 400km away from Athens. Passing through lovely crowded beaches to small gray mountains it took almost four and half hour to reach Meteora. I was the only driver and it was tough for me to drive 800km in a day, especially in hilly highways. This is my longest drive as a driver and enjoyed every moment of it with Hindi songs, witty comments with co-passengers and cokes.

The first view of the place is very impressive; the fascinating rocks bewildered me in first glance .Greek: Μετέωρα, "suspended rocks", "suspended in the air" or "in the heavens above", however there are many theories for the rocks creation, like meteors, dropped from sky; nothing is full proven. But it looks amazing, soothing heavenly, very unique and absolutely natural. That’s the reason it is considered to be one of the best tourist attractions of Greece.

We were hungry and not wasting any time started searching for restaurants. But in the mountains there was hardly any house or restaurants. We found one board “Eagel Restaurant – 8 km from here” and followed the path. It took us to the top of the mountain and driving there would have been extremely difficult if not the infrastructures are so good. Scenic beauty was fascinating and so the Lunch. Very tasty traditional Greek Lunch in cheap price (compared to islands).

Meteora is not only famous for the natural beauty of rocks, mainly because of the world-famous monasteries. I am going to write about them in my next post.
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Weekend Photo Upload: Videos of Paros & Naxos

Naxos Island

Paros Island

Monday, August 06, 2007

Weekend Photo Upload 10: Small Vedio of Sunion

Saturday, August 04, 2007

The Temple of Poseidon at Sounion

The Temple of Poseidon at Sounion is one of the main attractions of Greece.

I have been twice and still I feel to go there. In my second visit, I enjoyed more than the first one. I strongly feel this is must seen place, and very easily reachable from Athens.

The site is accessible by road from Athens .This is the scenic highway 91, which closely follows the west coast of Attica (the "Attic riviera"), passing through numerous upscale residential districts and resorts, such as Glyfada, Vouliagmeni, Varkiza. There is a regular municipal bus service to Sounion from Omonia Square. (from wikipedia)

As I mentioned in my first post the driveway is just amazing, probably the best I have ever had. Even our manager from Germany, who was in a short visit to Greece, agrees that it’s much better than the coastal drives of US. The beauty of the driveway is wonderful for the combination of different gray colour of rocks and hills and the other way the red and blue combination of setting sun in Mediterranean. The green valleys and modern-old houses was enriching the sceneries.
We left Athens through Glyfada and took the coastal root. We were in the coastal town of Anavassos, famous for its seaside fish taverns, after that couple of nice beaches in blue Mediterranean. Every bent of the hills unfolded fascinating secrets of nature. I cant express the beauty of the place, quoting some lines from Matt Barrett's Greece Travel Guides
As you leave the coastal suburbs of Athens you pass towns and settlements,
mostly in bays, harbors and beaches. Some Athenians have built their summer and
weekend homes out here and villages have sprung up out of nowhere. But the
closer you get to Sounion on the tip of the Attiki peninsula the less houses
there are until finally you come to a few hotels and a nice little beach with
two tavernas. The temple of Sounion sits above the beach on a mountain that juts
out into the sea and was dedicated to Poseidon. In ancient times the temple was
the last sign of civilization the Athenians saw as they sailed away from home..

The Temple of Poseidon at Sounion

And the details of the temple is quoting from this site.

The temple that we see today was built in 444 BCE and stands on the site of an
older temple. An Ionic frieze, made from 13 slabs of Parian marble, is located
on the east side of the temple's main approach path. The frieze is very eroded,
but is known to have depicted the mythological battle of the Lapiths and
Centaurs, the Gigantomachia, and the adventures of the hero Theseus who was said
in some legends to be the son of Poseidon. The east pediment (of which only a
seated female figure is preserved) probably depicted the fight between Poseidon
and Athena for the domination of Attica. Local marble, taken from quarries at
nearby Agriléza, was used for the temple's 34 slender Doric columns. The
remaining 15 columns have been restored. When the temple was built there were
special features incorporated which helped it combat its unique location on the
water's edge. The columns were cut with only 16 flutings instead of the usual
20, thus reducing the surface area exposed to the elements and subsequently
reducing the corrosion caused by the constant sea spray.

The temple of Poseidon is truly amazing; the robust architecture just in the end of mainland reminded me Kannyakumarika of India (the south most point). The sunset from this point is just awesome, but we were unlucky because the sky was clouded. But the view of small islands in the sea, the boats in serene Mediterranean, and the temple in land side made it one of the favorites of mine.

A view of the sea from Poseidon Temple

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