Mount Olympus (Greek: Όλυμπος) is the highest mountain in Greece and the second highest mountain in the Balkans. It is located in the Olympus Range on the border between Thessaly and Macedonia, between the regional units of Pieria and Larissa, about 80 km southwest from Thessaloniki. Mount Olympus has 52 peaks, deep gorges, and exceptional biodiversity. The highest peak Mytikas, meaning "nose", rises to 2,918 metres. It is one of the highest peaks in Europe in terms of topographic prominence. Olympus was notable in Greek mythology as the home of the Greek gods, on the Mytikas peak. Mount Olympus is also noted for its very rich flora with several species. It has been a National Park, the first in Greece, since 1938. It is also a World's Biosphere Reserve. Every year thousands of people visit Olympus to admire its fauna and flora, to tour its slopes, and reach its peaks. Organized mountain refuges and various mountaineering and climbing routes are available to visitors who want to explore it. There are multiple theories for the origin of the name Olympus. It has been suggested that it means "sky", "bright", "high" or "rock". One theory holds that Olympus is a prehellenic toponym that simply means "mountain". In Greek mythology Olympus was the home of the Twelve Olympian gods of the ancient Greek world. It is the setting of many Greek mythical stories. The Twelve Olympian gods lived in the gorges, where there were also their palaces. Pantheon (today Mytikas) was their meeting place and theater of their stormy discussions. The Throne of Zeus (today Stefani) hosted solely him, the leader of the gods. From there he unleashed his thunderbolts, expressing his godly wrath. The Twelve Olympians were Zeus, Hera, Demeter, Poseidon, Athena, Apollo, Artemis, Aphrodite, Ares, Hermes, Hephaestus, and the twelfth was either Hestia or Dionysus. In Pieria, on Olympus' northern foot, the mythological tradition had placed the nine Muses, patrons of the Fine Arts, daughters of Zeus and the Titanide Mnemosyne: Calliope (Epic Poetry), Clio (History), Erato (Love Poetry), Euterpe (Music), Melpomene, (Tragedy), Polyhymnia (Hymns), Terpsichore (Dance), Thalia (Comedy) and Urania (Astronomy).
The Meteora (Greek: Μετέωρα) is a formation of immense monolithic pillars and hills like huge rounded boulders dominate the local area. It is also associated with one of the largest and most precipitously built complexes of Eastern Orthodox monasteries in Greece, second in importance only to Mount Athos. The six monasteries are built on natural sandstone rock pillars, at the northwestern edge of the Plain of Thessaly near the Pineios river and Pindus Mountains, in central Greece. Meteora is included on the UNESCO World Heritage List under criteria I, II, IV, V and VII. Beside the Pindos Mountains, in the western region of Thessaly, these unique and enormous columns of rock rise precipitously from the ground. But their unusual form is not easy to explain geologically. The conglomerate was formed of deposits of stone, sand and mud from streams flowing into a delta at the edge of a lake, over millions of years.
The huge rock pillars were then formed by weathering by water, wind and extremes of temperature on the vertical faults. It is unusual that this conglomerate formation and type of weathering are confined to a relatively localised area within the surrounding mountain formation. In the 9th century AD, an ascetic group of hermit monks moved up to the ancient pinnacles; they were the first people to inhabit Meteora since the Neolithic Era. They lived in hollows and fissures in the rock towers, some as high as 550m above the plain. This great height, combined with the sheerness of the cliff walls, kept away all but the most determined visitors. Initially, the hermits led a life of solitude, meeting only on Sundays and special days to worship and pray in a chapel built at the foot of a rock known as Dhoupiani. The exact date of the establishment of the monasteries is unknown. By the late 11th and early 12th centuries, a rudimentary monastic state had formed called the Skete of Stagoi and was centered around the still-standing church of Theotokos. By the end of the 12th century, an ascetic community had flocked to Meteora. More than 20 monasteries were built, beginning in the 14th century. Access to the monasteries was originally (and deliberately) difficult, requiring either long ladders lashed together or large nets used to haul up both goods and people. This required quite a leap of faith – the ropes were replaced, so the story goes, only "when the Lord let them break". Six of the monasteries remain today and they are Monastery of Great Meteoron, Monastery of Varlaam, Monastery of Rousanou, Monastery of Saint Nicholas Anapausas, Monastery of the Holy Trinity and Monastery of Saint Stephen. Of these six, four were inhabited by men, and two by women. Each monastery has fewer than 10 inhabitants. The monasteries are now tourist attractions.
Skiathos (Greek: Σκιάθος,) is a small Greek island in the northwest Aegean Sea. Skiathos is the westernmost island in the Northern Sporades group, east of the Pelion peninsula in Magnesia on the mainland, and west of the island of Skopelos. Skiathos is among the most popular islands of Greece. Famous for the golden beaches, the green nature and the vivid atmosphere, Skiathos Greece is a favourite destination for both youth and families. The most popular beaches are located on the southern side of the island, including the famous bay of Koukounaries. However, very impressive is the exotic beach of Lalaria, accessible only by boat trip that also goes to the Medieval Castle of the island. The Town is the centre of activities on the island, where visitors head in the evenings to enjoy a relaxing drink. From Skiathos island, visitors can make day excursions to Skopelos and Alonissos, the other islands of Sporades. In Ancient times, the island played a minor role during the Persian Wars. In 480 BC, the fleet of the Persian King Xerxes was hit by a storm and was badly damaged on the rocks of the Skiathos coast. Following this the Greek fleet blockaded the adjacent seas to prevent the Persians from invading the mainland and supplying provisions to the army facing the 300 Spartans defending the pass at Thermopylae. The Persian fleet was defeated there at Artemisium and finally destroyed at the Battle of Salamis a year later. Skiathos remained in the Delian League until it lost its independence. The city was destroyed by Philip V of Macedon in 200 BC. In 1207 the Ghisi brothers captured the island and built the Bourtzi, a small Venetian-styled fortress similar to the Bourtzi in Nafplio, on an islet just out of Skiathos Town, to protect the capital from the pirates. But the Bourtzi was ineffective in protecting the population and in the mid-14th century the inhabitants moved the capital from the ancient site that lay where modern Skiathos Town is to Kastro (the Greek word for castle), located on a high rock, overlooking a steep cliff above the sea at the northernmost part of the island. The island returned to Byzantine control in the 1270s, and remained in Byzantine hands until after the Fall of Constantinople in 1453, when it passed to the Republic of Venice. Like the rest of the Northern Sporades, Skiathos was conquered by the Ottoman admiral Hayreddin Barbarossa in 1538. In 1704 monks from Athos built the Evangelistria Monastery, which played a part on the Greek War of Independence as a hide-out for Greek rebels. The first flag of Greece was created and hoisted in the Evangelistria Monastery in Skiathos in 1807, where several prominent military leaders (including Theodoros Kolokotronis and Andreas Miaoulis) had gathered for consultation concerning an uprising, and they were sworn to this flag by the local bishop.
Mount Athos (Greek: Άθως ) is a mountain and peninsula in northeastern Greece and an important centre of Eastern Orthodox monasticism. It is governed as an autonomous polity within the Greek Republic under the official name Autonomous Monastic State of the Holy Mountain Mount Athos is home to 20 monasteries under the direct jurisdiction of the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople. Mount Athos has been inhabited since ancient times and is known for its nearly 1,800-year continuous Christian presence and its long historical monastic traditions, which date back to at least 800 A.D. and the Byzantine era. Today, over 2,000 monks from Greece and many other Eastern Orthodox countries, such as Romania, Moldova, Georgia, Bulgaria, Serbia and Russia, live an ascetic life in Athos, isolated from the rest of the world. The Athonite monasteries feature a rich collection of well-preserved artifacts, rare books, ancient documents, and artworks of immense historical value, and Mount Athos has been listed as a World Heritage Site since 1988. Although Mount Athos is technically part of the European Union like the rest of Greece, the status of the Monastic State of the Holy Mountain, and the jurisdiction of the Athonite institutions, were expressly described and ratified upon admission of Greece to the European Community (precursor to the EU). The free movement of people and goods in its territory is prohibited, unless formal permission is granted by the Monastic State's authorities. The number of daily visitors to Mount Athos is restricted, and all are required to obtain a special entrance permit valid for a limited period. Only males are permitted to visit the territory, which is called the "Garden of Virgin Mary" by the monks, with Orthodox Christians taking precedence in permit issuance procedures. Residents on the peninsula must be males aged 18 and over who are members of the Eastern Orthodox Church and also either monks or workers. As described above, today the 20 monasteries of Mount Athos are the dominant holy institutions for both spiritual and administrative purposes, consolidated by the Constitutional Chart of the Holy Mountain. The sovereign monasteries, in the order of their place in the Athonite hierarchy: Graet Lavra monastery, Vatopedi monastery, Iviron monastery, Helandariou monastery (Serbian monastery), Dionysiou monastery, Koutloumousiou monastery, Pantokratoros monastery, Xiromotamou monastery, Zografou monastery (Bulgarian monastery), Docheiariou monastery, Karakalou monastery, Filotheou monastery, Simonos Petras monastery, Agiou Pavlou monastery, Stavronikita monastery, Xenophontos monastery, Osiou Grigoriou monastery, Esphigmenou monastery, Agiou Panteleimonos monastery (Russian monastery) and Konstamonitou monastery.
Waterland is a waterpark of Thessaloniki, Greece. The park is located near the village of Tagarades, at the outskirts of Thessaloniki on the way to Chalkidiki. About 130.000 people from all over Greece and Europe visit the park each year; with over 2.900.000 visitors so far. Waterland is an active member of the World and European water parks association and the international association of amusement park attractions.The park first opened its gates to the public in 1994 and at the time was the largest waterpark in south-eastern Europe. Waterland is the first water park that operated in Greece and is unique in Northern Greece. Welcome to the most exciting, water frenzy waterpark in Europe! Get ready to enjoy pools, slides, games and dozens of amazing attractions for all ages. Waterland is one of the largest waterparks in Europe with an area 150.000 m² powered up for pure water fun!Put your suimsuit on and live the most exciting water frenzy experience in Greece! Come with your friends, come with your family, come with your sweetheart, but make sure you won’t miss the opportunity to pump up adrenaline and fun in the the most amusing waterpark in Europe! In Waterland there are a million things to discover and experience. In Waterland your safety comes first. All attractions, pools and games are scrupulously checked according to the highest health and safety standards. In the wonderful green Waterland estate, a dream came true. We created the Wzoo park! Come and see camels, llamas, deer, horses, ponies, coati, raccoon, ostriches, pheasants and a lovely farm of sheep, cows, donkeys, chickens, geese, guinea fowl, peacocks, ducks and wild boars. The park, which is made according to the strictest standards, is a great opportunity for children and adults to learn and love the animals!
Thessaloniki (Greek: Θεσσαλονίκη) is the second-largest city in Greece and the capital of Greek Macedonia, the administrative region of Central Macedonia and the Decentralized Administration of Macedonia and Thrace. Its nickname is Symprotévousa (η Συμπρωτεύουσα), literally "the co-capital", a reference to its historical status as the Symvasilévousa (Συμβασιλεύουσα) or "co-reigning" city of the Eastern Roman (Byzantine) Empire, alongside Constantinople. The municipality of Thessaloniki, the historical center, had a population of 385.406 in 2007, while the Thessaloniki Urban Area had a population of 800.764 and the Thessaloniki Metropolitan Area had 1.104.460 inhabitants in 2011. Thessaloniki is Greece's second major economic, industrial, commercial and political centre and a major transportation hub for the rest of southeastern Europe; its commercial port is also of great importance for Greece and the southeastern European hinterland. The city is renowned for its festivals, events and vibrant cultural life in general and is considered to be Greece's cultural capital. The city of Thessaloniki was founded in 315 BC by Cassander of Macedon. An important metropolis by the Roman period, Thessaloniki was the second largest and wealthiest city of the Byzantine Empire. It was conquered by the Ottomans in 1430, and passed from the Ottoman Empire to modern Greece on 8th November 1912. Thessaloniki is home to numerous notable Byzantine monuments, including the Paleochristian and Byzantine monuments of Thessaloniki, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, as well as several Roman, Ottoman and Sephardic Jewish structures. The city's main university, Aristotle University, is the largest in Greece and the Balkans. Thessaloniki is a popular tourist destination in Greece. For 2013, National Geographic Magazine included Thessaloniki in its top tourist destinations worldwide, while in 2014 Financial Times FDI magazine (Foreign Direct Investments) declared Thessaloniki as the best mid-sized European city of the future for human capital and lifestyle. Among street photographers, the center of Thessaloniki is also considered the most popular destination for street photography in Greece.
Euboea or Evia (Greek: Εύβοια) is the second-largest Greek island in area and population, after Crete. The narrow Euripus Strait separates it from Boeotia in mainland Greece. In general outline it is a long and narrow, seahorse-shaped island; it is about 180 kilometres long, and varies in breadth from 50 kilometres to 6 kilometres. Its general direction is from northwest to southeast, and it is traversed throughout its length by a mountain range, which forms part of the chain that bounds Thessaly on the east, and is continued south of Euboea in the lofty islands of Andros, Tinos and Mykonos. The history of the island of Euboea is largely that of its two principal cities, Chalcis and Eretria, both mentioned in the Catalogue of Ships. Both cities were settled by Ionian Greeks from Attica, and would eventually settle numerous colonies in Magna Graecia and Sicily and on the coast of Macedonia. The commercial influence of these city-states is evident in the fact that the Euboic scale of weights and measures was used among the Ionic cities generally, and in Athens until the end of the 7th century BC, during the time of Solon. Following the infamous battles of Thermopylae and Artemisium, Persian forces captured and sacked Athens and also took Euboea, Boeotia, and Attica, allowing them to overrun almost all of Greece. In 490 BC, Eretria was utterly ruined and its inhabitants were transported to Persia. Athens invaded Chalcis in 506 BC and settled 4.000 Attic Greeks on their lands. After this conflict, the whole of the island was gradually reduced to an Athenian dependency. Due to its relatively isolated location, Euboea was spared the bulk of the barbarian raids during Late Antiquity and the early medieval period. In 1157 all the coastal towns of Euboea were destroyed by a Sicilian force, while Chalcis was burned down by the Venetians in 1171. In the partition of the Byzantine Empire by the crusaders after 1204, the island was occupied by a number of Lombard families, who divided it into three (later six) baronies. On 12 July 1470, during the Ottoman–Venetian War of 1463–1479 and after a protracted and bloody siege, the well-fortified city of Negroponte (Chalcis) was wrested from Venice by Mehmed II and the whole island fell into the hands of the Ottoman Empire. At the conclusion of the Greek War of Independence in 1830, the island constituted a part of the newly established independent Greek kingdom. Euboea is linked to the mainland by two bridges, one that runs through Chalkis and is also accessible from Thebes, and another which bypasses Chalcis and is accessed from Athens. All of Euboea's modern bridges are suspended.
Athens (Greek: Αθήνα) is the capital and largest city of Greece. Athens dominates the Attica region and is one of the world's oldest cities, with its recorded history spanning over 3.400 years, and its earliest human presence starting somewhere between the 11th and 7th millennia BC. Classical Athens was a powerful city-state that emerged in conjunction with the seagoing development of the port of Piraeus. A center for the arts, learning and philosophy, home of Plato's Academy and Aristotle's Lyceum, it is widely referred to as the cradle of Western civilization and the birthplace of democracy, largely because of its cultural and political impact on the European continent, and in particular the Romans. In modern times, Athens is a large cosmopolitan metropolis and central to economic, financial, industrial, maritime, political and cultural life in Greece. In 2015, Athens was ranked the world's 29th richest city by purchasing power and the 67th most expensive in a UBS study. Athens is recognised as a global city because of its location and its importance in shipping, finance, commerce, media, entertainment, arts, international trade, culture, education and tourism. It is one of the biggest economic centres in southeastern Europe, with a large financial sector, and its port Piraeus is the largest passenger port in Europe, and the second largest in the world. The urban area of Athens (Greater Athens and Greater Piraeus) extends beyond its administrative municipal city limits, with a population of 3.090.508 (in 2011) over an area of 412 km². Athens is also the southernmost capital on the European mainland. The heritage of the classical era is still evident in the city, represented by ancient monuments and works of art, the most famous of all being the Parthenon, considered a key landmark of early Western civilization. The city also retains Roman and Byzantine monuments, as well as a smaller number of Ottoman monuments. Athens is home to two UNESCO World Heritage Sites, the Acropolis of Athens and the medieval Daphni Monastery. Landmarks of the modern era, dating back to the establishment of Athens as the capital of the independent Greek state in 1834, include the Hellenic Parliament (19th century) and the Athens Trilogy, consisting of the National Library of Greece, the Athens University and the Academy of Athens. Athens was the host city of the first modern-day Olympic Games in 1896, and 108 years later it welcomed home the 2004 Summer Olympics. Athens is home to the National Archeological Museum, featuring the world's largest collection of ancient Greek antiquities, as well as the new Acropolis Museum.
Edessa (Greek: Ἔδεσσα) was an ancient city in upper Mesopotamia, refounded on an earlier site by Seleucus I Nicator, and is now Şanlıurfa, Turkey. The earliest name of the city was Adma which first appeared in Assyrian cuneiform sources in the 7th century BC. A Hellenistic settlement was founded on the location of the Syrian town by Seleucus I Nicator in 304 B.C. The new settlement was named "Edessa" after the ancient capital of Macedonia, perhaps due to its abundant water, just like its Macedonian eponym. During Byzantine rule it was named Justinopolis. Waterfalls are considered as one of the most impressive natural phenomenon around the world. Enjoy a visit to Greece’s picturesque waterfall in Edessa town which happens to be the capital of Pella. The river forming this renowned Greek waterfall is Edessaios. The city is filled with little bridges and the sound of running water will accompany your strolls around the town. The main volume of water was collected in a small basin in the west side of the city, up to the end of the 14th century, but due to a geological phenomenon the water changed course and crossed the city forming this spectacular waterfall; meanwhile numerous smaller sized rivers were created and the lake, where the water was once accumulated, eventually dried out. Many 17th and 18th century travelers described the city as built on a rock from which many waterfalls fell. The area where you can take your snapshots of the waterfall today was for decades unreachable. The mesmerising view of the falls wasn’t accessible because of the steep slopes and the dense vegetation. The region started to take a touristic twist in 1942, during German occupation, when the locals built ponds and flowerbeds embellishing the city. The town was completely restored by the Municipality in the 60s. Enjoy the view of a green setting filled with tall trees and flowerbeds, located at the northeasternmost part of the town. Karanos waterfall measures 70 metres in height and is the biggest one in Greece. Don’t miss a walk behind the huge water curtain, built for enjoying the magnificent views of the running water as well as of the fertile Macedonian plain that lays in front of you. At a lower level you’ll see the entrance to a cave, of great geological value, which is mostly covered by the falling water. Walk down the cobblestoned path where the water hits the rocks creating a double waterfall, known as Lamda falls, which end up in two bluish-green water pools. Finally, don’t miss a visit to the Open Air Water Museum and to the Aquarium.