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Religious buildings in the Peloponnese
-Agia Triada: Byzantine monastery from 1715 with beautiful mosaics.
-Panagia and Agios Charlambos: double church.
-Agii Taxiarchi (Archangels): church of the Mavromichalis family, with beautiful frescoes. Petros Mavromichalis liberated Kalamata from the Turks on 17 March 1821.
-Ioannis O Prodromos: restored Byzantine church.
-Panagia Faneromeni: cathedral designed by the architect Ernst Ziller and frescoed by Constaninos Fanelis.
-Panagia Tripiti: at the place in the rock where an icon was found, first a chapel was built and later the Tripiti. In the narthex of the church there is a spring with, it is said, healing waters.
-Dekoula: monastery with frescoes from the period 1760-1765. In the nearby Dekoulou there are a few cave churches.
-Agia Lavra: Monastery on high with beautiful icons, frescoes and a large library with books from the 12th and 13th century. The adjacent church is from 1600 and opposite the complex is a monument to the heroes of the 1821 independence struggle.
-Ekklisia Sotiros: new Church of the Redeemer from 1973.
-Agia Sophia: Byzantine church.
-Saint Charalambos: church.
-Panagia Eleistria: church.
-Agios Ioannis Prodromos: nunnery.
-Island in the Argolic Gulf near Nauplion and Tolo with only a small church. Popular with wedding couples.
-Eloni: nunnery built against the mountainside (since 1970). From the end of 1600 the monastery flourished and in the early 1900s it became one of the richest in the Peloponnese.
-Mystras has many churches, including Metropolis, Evangilistria, Agii Theodori and Afendiko. There is also the Pantanassa Monastery.
-Saint Spiridon: church built in 1702.
-Metamorphosis Sotiras: church built in the 11th century with frescoes and engravings.
-Agios Andreas: Greek Orthodox church that stands on the site where the apostle Andrew was murdered. Saint Andrew is the patron saint of Patras.
-Aghoi Anargiroi: monastery.
-Great Church of St. John the Baptist from 1335.
-Apollo Epicurius: temple from 420 BC, at an altitude of 1130 metres, dedicated to Apollo Epicurius or Apollo the Helper. Special combination of Doric, Ionic and Corinthian architectural styles. Designed by the architect of the Parthenon in Athens, Iktinos. It is on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
-Paleomonasteri: Rock monastery from the 13th century.
Mega Spileo: 17th century monastery, but supposedly founded in 362 AD, built in a rock and with a museum, mosaics and a decorative bronze door. It was once one of the richest monasteries in Greece.
The word myth is derived from the word "muthos", which first meant utterance and later was often interpreted as "a spoken or written story".
Mythology (muthologia) is thus "storytelling", or a collection of myths, or the study of myths.
When writing emerged in Greece, myths and legends were already embedded in oral traditions, and later poets in particular changed the course of the stories. Greek mythology is very similar to other mythologies. For example, the Norse god Odin corresponds to the Greek Zeus and the Norse heroes often perform the same heroic deeds as their Greek counterparts.
The name Peloponnese is derived from the mythical figure Pelops, the son of King Tantalus, founder of the Olympic Games and king of Pisa, a city-state in the western Peloponnese.
Pelops wanted to marry the daughter of King Oenomous, Hippodamea. However, it was predicted that if Hippodamea married, the king would die. Anyone wishing to marry his daughter had to enter into a race with him, which could never be won by the suitors because the king's horses were invincible, for they had been given to him by the sea god Poseidon. Pelops, however, bribed the charioteer, who sabotaged the chariot and Oenomous was killed. Pelops then became king alongside Hippodamea, the Peloponnese enjoyed a period of prosperity and the peninsula was named after Pelops.
Some Greek gods and mythical figures popular in the Peloponnese.
-Artemis was the twin sister of Apollo, and daughter of Zeus and Leto. She was the goddess of nature and hunting and therefore popular in the Peloponnese.
-Pan was the god of the wilderness and of shepherds, popular in Arcadia.
-Heracles or Hercules, half man (mother Alcmene), half god (father of the supreme god Zeus), was one of the most important mythical figures of the Peloponnese and known for the Twelve Works that he was forced to perform by his enemy Eurystheus because he had killed his wife and children. The first six works and the last work were performed on the Peloponnese.
Work 1: Kill the lion of Nemea (area between Argos and Corinth)
Work 2: Kill the Hydra of Lerna (lived in a swamp near Argos)
Work 3: Capture the doe of Keryneia, dedicated to the goddess Artemis, and take it to Mycenae (for this he crossed all of Arcadia to capture the animal)
Work 4: Capture the Erymanthian boar and bring it to King Eurystheus in Mycenae (the boar made the area around the mountain Erymanthos unsafe, which lies south of Achaea and northeast of the region Elis)
Job 5: clean the stables of King Augias (king in the region of Elis)
Work 6: Chase away the Stymphalian birds (lived near the Stymphalos lake in Arcadia)
Work 12: Abduct the three-headed hellhound Cerberus from the underworld (entrance to the underworld was in the south of the Peloponnese, at Cape Matapan)
KORINTHE IN MYTHOLOGY
-Jasson and his new wife, Medea, are said to have settled in Corinth after stealing the Golden Fleece. Jason, however, fell in love with the younger Glauke, princess of Corinth. Medea, a powerful sorceress, made short work of Gauke, giving her a poisonous cape that burned her.
-Another mythological story is about Sisyphus, ruler of Corinth and a man so cunning that he cheated death twice. When he finally died and reached the underworld, Hades punished him with an endless task. He had to push a heavy stone up a mountain, and when he reached the top, the stone would roll down again and he could start all over again.
-The grandfather of Sisyphus was Bellorophon, whose task it was to kill the Chimera, a beast with the head of a lion, the body of a goat and the tail of a snake. To achieve this, however, he needed the help of Pegasus, the winged horse. Pegasus was used to drinking from the spring on Mount Akrokórinthos, a 575 metre high rocky hill on the isthmus of Corinth, and Bellerophon captured the animal using a golden bridle, a gift from Pallas Athena, goddess of heaven. Flying above the Chimera, Bellerophon fatally struck the animal with a lead-soaked spear.
NAUPLION IN MYTHOLOGY
-Nauplion was founded by king Nauplios, son of Poseidon, the sea god. Nauplios' son Palamedes, one of the Greek leaders in the Trojan War, was falsely accused of treason against Ulysses and then executed by the Greeks. Nauplios took revenge on the Greeks by setting up false fire beacons that caused the Greek ships to crash on the rocks of Cape Caphareus on the south-eastern tip of Euboea (Evia). The Greeks who managed to escape were then slaughtered by Nauplios himself and he also incited the Greek women to commit adultery.
LACONIA and SPARTA IN MYTHOLOGIE
-The most important myth of this region was set around the beginning of the Trojan War and involves three rival goddesses, Hera, queen of all gods and partner of Zeus; Athena, goddess of wisdom; Aphrodite, goddess of love. They wanted to know which of the three was the most beautiful and the jury was to be Paris, a young prince of Troy, a city in Asia Minor. None of them played the game fairly, but Aphrodite won because she promised him the love of the most beautiful woman in the world, Helena. There was a 'small' problem though, Helena was already married to King Menelaus of Sparta. Paris, however, simply left for Sparta and was received with great esteem by Menelaus. During a feast in honour of Paris, Aphrodite arranged for him to meet Helena, who immediately fell in love with the young man. Together they fled from Sparta and their first night together was at Gythio, a town in the Mani. This event precipitated the ten-year siege in the Trojan War by the Greeks led by King Agamemnon of Mycenae.
MOUNTAIN KILLINI IN MYTHOLOGY
Hermes, messenger of the gods and god of trade, traffic, wind, cunning and eloquence, was born on Mount Killini in the northern Peloponnese as the son of Zeus and mother Maia, a nymph. She was one of the Pleiades, daughters of Atlas the Titan. Hermes was a precocious child as he invented the lyre, a musical instrument made of turtle shells, at the age of one. On the same day, he managed to steal Apollo's immortal livestock. Apollo accused Hermes of this, but he pretended, supported by his mother, to be a normal baby. Finally, Apollo calmed down when he received the newly invented lyre as a gift.
CIA - World Factbook
BBC - Country ProfilesLast updated February 2024
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