A Travellerspoint blog

September 2009

Eternal Olive

Athens – Greece

sunny 31 °C

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Olea Europaea or Olive tree (from Greek word elaion).

It was purely a matter of local pride that the Athenians claimed that the olive first grew in Athens. In an archaic Athenian foundation myth, Goddess Athena won the patronship of Athens from Poseidon with the gift of the olive. The olive was sacred to Athena and appeared on the Athenian coinage.
An olive tree in west Athens, named "Plato's Olive Tree", was rumored to be a remnant of the grove within which Plato's Academy was situated, which would date it to approximately 2,400 years ago.

In ancient Greece, athletes ritually rubbed olive oil all over their bodies. At the original Olympic Games, more than 2,500 years ago, an olive wreath was the sole tangible reward offered to champion athletes. In the case of the chariot races, the wreath went to the owner of the winning team of horses. Olive branches were chosen because of the tree's association with the Greek god, Zeus. A sacred olive tree was said to have grown near his spectacular temple in ancient Olympia.

Olive oil has been more than mere food to the peoples of the Mediterranean. It has been medicinal and magical, an endless source of fascination and wonder and the fountain of great wealth and power.

More at: Kevrekidis Photography

© 2009 Jordan Kevrekidis

Posted by Kevrekidis 14:16 Archived in Greece Tagged educational Comments (0)

Patmos Monastery

The Island of the Apocalypse

sunny 33 °C

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Patmos Island – Greece.

The first thing you notice when you approach Patmos, is the monastery of Saint John the Divine (or the Evangelist). Its presence is overwhelming. It looks like a Byzantine castle and was built like a fortress. It was founded in 1088 by Saint Christodoulos following a grant by the Byzantine Emperor Alexios I Komnenos. The monastery’s walls are over 15 meters high, its length from north to south is 53 meters and from east to west 70 meters. It seems even larger when you stand at the entrance, noticing its thick walls and heavily reinforced door.
Above the entrance several meters high there is a small opening from which burning hot oil, water and even lead was poured over to attack pirates and other invaders trying to break the gate. This opening was called "the killer", and was considered the last resort for keeping the monastery safe. The monks used to sound the bells to warn the people of Patmos to take refuge behind the fortified walls, keeping Christianity safe as was intended by its founder, the blessed Christodoulos.

Patmos is mentioned in the Christian scriptural Book of Revelation. The book's introduction states that its author, John, was on Patmos when he was given and recorded a vision from Jesus Christ. Earliest Christian tradition identifies this writer as John the Apostle. As such, Patmos is a destination for Christian pilgrimage. Visitors can see the Cave of the Apocalypse where John is said to have received his Revelation.

More images at: Kevrekidis Photography
© 2009 Jordan Kevrekidis

Posted by Kevrekidis 22:57 Archived in Greece Tagged educational Comments (0)

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