the first cemetery of athens

the first cemetery of athens, opened in 1837, was – in its day – the “luxurious” cemetery for the city. many greek and foreign notables are buried there, including the actress melina mercouri; andreas and george papandreou, father-and-son prime ministers; georgios papadopoulos, the dictator during the junta period; heinrich schliemann, the german archaeologist who excavated the city of troy; and the british author t.h. white. the luxurious graves are, frankly, pretty luxurious. i imagine that ancient delphi looked like this at its height, with the treasuries from each city lined up one next to the other displaying their gifts to…

mykonos: windmills

in the 16th century, the venetians, who occupied mykonos for approximately 300 years, built windmills on the island to mill wheat. mykonos is sometimes referred to as “the island of wind.” given the number of times i had to chase my hat across the parking lot, i can attest to the accuracy of that. lately, i am a fan of the “one camera, one lens” philosophy, which means no wide angle or zoom lenses. this makes getting all of the windmills into one shot very difficult; hence, i had to go for a more “artistic” approach. windmills at sunset: and…

live at the apollo (part 4): corinth

(in which we come to realize that the filter on the lens needs to be replaced.) the apollo temple at corinth dates from the 6th century b.c. there doesn’t seem to be much history about it on the internet. the columns – of which there were originally six on each end and 15 on each side – are of the doric style: it turns out the corinthian columns, like corinthian leather, aren’t actually from corinth; the design was invented in athens. the lechaion road was the main road of ancient corinth. the archaeologist’s rendering shows it to be a thoroughfare…

churches of lesvos and chios

i am a big fan of medieval cathedrals, but the greek orthodox churches are particularly impressive. the paintings, the chandeliers, the gilded altarpieces … interior of the church of agios (saint) therapon in mytilini, lesvos. interior of the taxiarchis (archangel) michael monastery at mantamados, lesvos. the finest frescoes were in the 12th century church of agios apostolos (holy apostle).  unfortunately, they don’t allow photography inside, and i wasn’t going to be a d*** about it and take pictures while the docent wasn’t looking.  the best i can do to provide a taste of what they were like is to share photos…

the beehive tombs of mycenae – with the diana lens

recently, we visited mycenae, which, in the second millennium b.c., was one of greece’s major cities. according to myth, mycenae was founded by the hero perseus, who slew the gorgon medusa. mycenae was also where the bloody events of the house of atreus took place: atreus began his reign by trying to kill his brother, thyestes; his son, agamemnon, became king and went to war against troy after his brother’s wife, helen, ran off to troy with paris, and when the winds wouldn’t blow to send his ships to sea, he decided to sacrifice his daughter, iphigenia, to appease the…

the temple of poseidon

having seen the sanctuary and death oracle of poseidon earlier, it was only right for us to see the temple of poseidon at sounio, about an hour’s drive from athens.  the temple of poseidon dates from 440 b.c.  according to legend, this was the spot from which the greek hero theseus’ father, king aegeus, threw himself into the sea: theseus had gone to crete to fight the minotaur in a ship flying black sails, and had told his father that if he won, he would fly white sails on his ship upon his return, while if he died, the crew would…