Are you a fan of Greek mythology? If so, then a trip to Greece ought to be on your travel bucket list because, really, where better can you experience Greek mythology first hand than in the cradle of Western civilization itself.
A Trip to the Temples
Various temples have been built in honor of the gods and goddesses of Greek mythology, so it goes without saying that a trip to these temples is essential for learning about the history behind the myths. A good start would be the famed Olympieion, which is allegedly the sanctuary of the powerful Olympian Zeus. Next is the Parthenon, which should be on your temples-to-visit list, because it is dedicated to the goddess Athena, who also happens to be the patron and protector of Athens.
Another temple worth checking out is the Temple of Hera, one of the oldest Greek temples that has stood the test of time. Built in 550 BC in honor of Hera, the goddess of marriage and childbirth, this temple stands proudly on the southern slopes of Kronios Hill. The temples of Hephaestus (god of metal-working), Poseidon (god of the sea), and Apollo (god of the sun) are definitely worth your while as well, and they are located in Agoraios Kolonos, Sounion, and on the Parnassos Mountain, respectively.
A Tour of the Trilogy
The Trilogy of Athens on Panepistimiou Street is a grand complex that consists of three elegant buildings built in honor of the 12 Olympians. Each of these structures show Athenian neoclassical architecture at its best, and one of them, the National Library, is an excellent resource for anything related to Greek mythology.
Checking Out Crete
The beautiful island of Crete is the backdrop of many a great stories connected to Greek mythology. Zeus, for instance, once defended this island from a ferocious beast, which he turned into stone by throwing a lightning bolt at it.The palace of King Minos, is located on Crete, and according to Greek myth there was a labyrinth under it that housed the Minotaur. For this trip, you will most certainly find useful the pointers we gave in our “A Student Guide to Crete, Greece – Budget Travel” post.
Various museums in Greece will get you closer to Greek mythology, and the Acropolis Museum should be at the top of your itinerary. Here, you will be able to learn about stories from Greek Mythology that are connected with both Acropolis and Athens.
The National Archaeological Museum is highly recommended as well, though you must be prepared to allocate at least an hour or two of your time to fully appreciate it. This museum contains a wide range of images connected with Greek mythology, including statues, carvings, and more. If you still have time on your hands and want to explore more in Athens, here is an additional three day guide in Athens to refer too.
Why Greek Mythology is still relevant today?
Tourism in Greece is a big part of the country’s economy, and the lure of experiencing Greek mythology is arguably a contributing factor as to why so many people descend upon this nation. Greek mythology has always held an important place in world culture, and this can be found in many different mediums. Even as far back as the 14th century, the Italian poet Dante Alighieri featured in his Divine Comedy characters from the legend of Troy.
Nowadays, interest has increased due to the myths and characters being featured in film, TV, and online games. The most famous example is how mythological characters have inspired the modern superhero genre. The character of Wonder Woman even has a direct connection to Greek myths as the daughter of Zeus.
The family of Zeus has been shown through many different formats, with even his father Kronos now considered a popular enough character to base games on. The online slot game Kronos by Foxy Bingo shows how Greek myths are being adapted to modern digital platforms due to the desire of audiences to find out more about the famous characters. Kronos is inspired by the son of Uranus and Gaia, the youngest of the first generation of Titans. Should you want to discover more about him, you might want to schedule your Greece visit sometime in July or August when the Kronia Festival is held on the 12th day of the Attic month of Hekatombaion. Experiencing this festival is yet another sure-fire way to experience Greek mythology first hand.
The aforementioned suggestions are just some of the ways for you to experience Greek mythology. Once you get to Greece, you will certainly discover even more.