The museums of Irakleion are veritable treasure chests of knowledge about the history, culture and traditions of Crete. What’s more, they have adopted new technologies to provide unique interactive experiences.
5,500 years of history brought to life
Treasures of world cultural heritage, including the Phaistos Disk, the Snake Goddess figurines, the bull-leaping frescoes from the Palace of Knossos, the gold bee pendant from Malia, and the colorful Kamares pottery, are all beautifully presented in the newly renovated Archaeological Museum of Irakleion. The tour begins on the ground floor dedicated to Neolithic Crete and the Minoan civilization, and continues onto the first floor in the room that features the Knossos frescos. Here, The Prince of the Lilies competes in the beauty stakes with La Parisienne, also known as The Minoan Lady. Returning downstairs, you can conclude your tour at the display of archaic sculptures, which includes some of the oldest in existence in Greece.
Meet El Greco
Irakleion was the birthplace of Domenikos Theotokopoulos, better known as El Greco, and here at the Historical Museum of Crete you can see two of the artist’s most important works – the View of Mount Sinai and the Monastery (1570) and the Baptism of Christ (1569). The museum is housed in 1903 mansion and covers the history of Crete from the early Byzantine period up to the World War II. Of particular interest is an impressive 15m2 scale model of the city of Irakleion, then called Chandakas. The hall devoted to Christian religious art is also a must-see. Browse through one of the applications designed especially for the museum and when you’re done, finish off your visit in the garden, sipping homemade lemonade while enjoying the sea views.
The life and times of an eminent Greek
The village of Myrtia, lies 15 kilometers outside Irakleion; it is “the soil where they (the ancestors of Nikos Kazantzakis) were caught and buried,” as the famous writer, poet and philosopher put it in his novel Report to El Greco. During renovations in 2009, the museum took the opportunity to modernize its tour methods, leveraging digital media to create a “living, breathing” space where you can open the drawers of the furniture, browse through the author’s work via touch screens and take an up-close look at the table where he sat and wrote most of his novels. You can also see his pipe, his glasses and his handwritten manuscripts. The room dedicated to Katzantzakis’ epic poem The Odyssey stands out, as does the space with the suspended suitcases that symbolize all his voyages.
Homage to Byzantine Iconography
With the low lighting, an atmosphere of solemnity and prayer chants, it’s easy to think that you’ve come to church instead of a museum dedicated to Christian art. Housed in the largest monastery of the city – St Catherine of Sinai, a 13th century Venetian building – this recently renovated space serves as a small museum while still operating as a church. Among the treasures housed here are 15th century icons attributed to the great icon painter Angelos, as well as six icons by Michael Damaskinos and the 1721 icon of the Virgin Kardiotissa. After the occupation of Irakleion by the Ottomans, the monastery was converted into a mosque known as the Zoulfikiar Ali Pasha. At the coin exhibit, press the button and look left: a section of the minaret which remains visible becomes illuminated.
A look back at everyday living in Crete
More than 3,000 objects, most of which were part of the lives of Cretans up until the middle of the last century, are on display at this museum, in operation since 1973 and located in Voroi, just a few kilometers from the archaeological site of Phaistos. A tour of the two-story 500m2 building is an initiation into popular Cretan culture and into the history of the island. The objects date from 1000 AD until the middle of the 20th century. Another space is dedicated to those crafts that have been lost as professions, such as basket-making.
Meet a Deinotherium!
The most striking exhibit at the museum is the model of the third largest mammal to have ever walked the Earth, Deinotherium giganteum. This creature, which lived in Crete 9 million years ago, has been modeled by the scientists at the Natural History Museum of Crete. Set in an industrial building on the coastal road, the Natural History Museum of Crete delivers a full sensory experience, with impressive representations of nature presented in actual scale, as well as a simulated earthquake. Children love the animated dinosaurs and the Discovery Center, where they can play in caves, look for fossils in the sand and watch a video projection.
*Originally published on Greeceis0 Read More
The resolute cultural dynamism of Greeks, despite a long-drawn-out debt crisis that their county has faced, has landed Athens on the New York Times list of “52 Places To Go in 2017.”
The NYT listing recognizes and celebrates what it describes as the Greek capital’s “thriving arts scene.” The paper’s recommendation singles out for mention Radio Athenes for its pop-up lectures and performances, the recently renovated National Museum of Contemporary Art, which houses some of the most exemplary artworks by Greece’s modern artists, the Nomadic Architecture Network, which runs events in urban and public spaces; and the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center, which opened at the end of summer and will be home to the Greek National Opera and National Library. It also entices its readers to dive head first into the city’s cultural action, its “surge of galleries, collectives and nonprofit art organizations built for leaner times” and artistic events, such as the Documenta 14 art exhibition.
*Originally Published on greeceis.com0 Read More
There is always something new to discover in a country like Italy — even for Italians. Thanks to a special person, I had the chance to visit Bologna and fell in love with it at once. Emilia Romagna’s main urban center is one of the most beautiful and ancient cities in the country, and a treasure trove of artistic riches. And that’s not all: Bologna’s food is delicious, there are a lot of secrets to discover and plenty of other things to do. Of course, there are also numerous sights to visit, but since the weekend only lasts a few hours, we picked the best ones according to G&I Custom Luxury Travel.
Book your trip with G&I Custom Luxury Travel, we are here with a list of activities for you!
Ristorantino Il Tinello (Via Dè Giudei, 1c)
You can’t be thinking of leaving town without trying tortellini, right? In this little place, just a few steps away from the Due Torri, the two towers that are a landmark of the city, you will eat the best tortellini in brodo (tortellini in a broth) in town. The place isn’t very touristy, but still, it is very small so we really recommend that you book. And if you really don’t like tortellini, don’t worry: tagliatelle al ragu — also known as bolognese to foreigners — are the wonderful fallback option here.
Trattoria Del Rosso (Via Augusto Righi, 30)
In case you hadn’t realized yet, we really are giving you insider tips today. This is a trattoria that is part of the city’s history and a point of reference for locals. Their fresh pasta is rigorously handmade by the women working here. From pappardelle to lasagne, everything has the genuine taste of bygone times. I tried their spezzatino di manzo (beef stew)… And I still remember its delicious taste!
Vasinikò (Via Santo Stefano, 40)
Trust us: the best pizza in town is here… And their primi are great, too. This is a rather new place that opened recently, and it is managed by a bunch of young, friendly guys from Naples. It is big and has a lot of tables, and to honor the restaurant’s name, which means basil in the Neapolitan dialect, basil green is everywhere in the decor. We couldn’t help suggesting a pizza place: this is Italy after all!
WHAT TO SEE
Basilica di San Petronio (Piazza Galvani, 5)
This church is the biggest in town and one of the largest in Italy, too. Its unusual facade will already entice you and make you want to explore the church — which is great! Inside, on top of lots of famous paintings and a statue by Michelangelo, there is a work of art that will leave you awestruck: the famous painting that shows Prophet Mohammed in hell — an artistic masterpiece that has caused lots of controversy over the years.
Torre degli Asinelli (Piazza di Porta Ravegnana)
Looking for the best view in town? Then you should head to the top of this tower, the most famous symbol of Bologna. Don’t worry about the fact that it is leaning, it is solid enough to hold your weight while you make your way up the 498 stairs. Take a deep breath, climb up and get ready for a beautiful view.
Finestrella di Via Piella (Window of via Piella)
Guys, this is a true gem, one of those secret tips we love to discover and share with you. At first sight, this alley will look pretty boring — but you will discover very soon why locals love it. The window of Via Piella facing the Moline Canal, that winds through the buildings of the city, is a very unusual site, and absolutely deserves a visit. It looks like a corner of Venice in another location. Canals were very important for the city in medieval times, and some of them were used as waterways. The Moline Canal, specifically, was used to produce the energy necessary to power the 15 water mills of the town — as the name says, since “Moline” means “mill” in Italian.
Complesso delle Sette Chiese (Via Santo Stefano)
This might be a bit of an obvious tip, but this cluster of seven churches in one complex is a must-visit, especially since you can access it for free. You will visit beautiful medieval courtyards, crypts and cathedrals — it’s hard to explain. Just go see for yourself, it’s wonderful and moving.
Everyone knows Bologna is the city where you can stroll underneath arched colonnades: these arches are in the city center, they’re in the outskirts and even on the way to San Luca sanctuary: and this specific sanctuary is a special one, because the way up to it is the longest colonnade in the world! It’s a wonderful way to get a break from the heat in summertime, and in winter, it’s very nice for a little hike. Start training, so it will be easier for you to walk up under the colonnade — the walk is 4km long. San Luca Sanctuary and a beautiful view on the city will be awaiting you on top.
Mercato della Piazzola (Piazza dell Otto Agosto)
Last but not least, a shopping tip for those who will be here at the weekend, this place couldn’t be missing from our list and it is one of the biggest markets of the region — only open on Friday and Saturday. People from faraway areas of Italy come look for all sorts of stuff in the 400 stalls of this market, whose products range from regular clothing to vintage clothes, or flower-print shoes. The good thing is, you can find all sorts of stuff here starting from just 2 euro!
A low-key Cycladic island experience, conveniently close to Athens.
One of the country’s more low-profile islands, Kythnos is located in the western Cyclades, just a three-hour ferry trip from Piraeus port. It features five main villages, Merihas, serving as the island’s port, Hora, the main town, also known as Messaria, Dryopida, Loutra and Kanala, as well as some smaller villages. The autumn season suits this island well as it derives its beauty more from the interior than the coastline. The greenery between Messaria and Merihas, the scene of ceramic roof-topped houses at Dryopida and the medieval castle at Oria are examples of the island’s inland charm.
Emotional and impulsive, the people of Kythnos, once called Thermia, are lively and full of surprises. Don’t be caught off guard if asked to take command of a traditional wooden boat (trehadiri), as was the case during our first visit to the island, when we found ourselves steering a 12-meter vessel at Kavouroheri, Potamia and Aghios Sostis, three small bays close to Loutra. Also, don’t feel awkward if offered a sip of local wine from a hollowed-out bull horn. They were used as spoons in the old days here. Another of our unusual experiences on the island was when a wine-filled horn spoon was passed around one night during an outdoor celebration to the sound of lute (lauto) and tsabouna (traditional bagpipe) in Dryopida.
When the dancing begins, locals let visitors know that it is time to get up and move. Any claims by outsiders of not knowing the steps to traditional dances are immediately brushed off. Visitors really have no choice but to join the traditional syrtobalos dance. Locals can be insistent on such issues and may seem a touch harsh or mad but, deep down, they are hospitable people.
The island’s culinary offerings are exceptional. On our brief trip, we tried thesfoungata (cheese croquettes), tarahto (scrambled eggs with tomato),tyropitaria (cheese pies), dried olives and, of course, souma (distilled spirit). The sweet-toothed members of our group were drawn to theTratamento confectionary workshop and store in Messaria, whose products included beetroot sweet preserve, verbena (louiza) liqueur andamygdaloto (almond-based biscuits).
*Originally Published on GreeceIs0 Read More
Four sharks are heading your way, but all you can think about is getting a selfie with them. You’re at CretAquarium – Europe’s most modern aquarium and part of Thalassocosmos, the Mediterranean’s biggest center formarine research. Spread over an area of 5,000m², it is home to more than2,000 marine animals and 200 species, living in softly lit tanks big and small that are designed to emulate Crete’s marine environment.
The largest of these tanks, standing 20 meters high, contains the big fish of the open sea and dozens of dusky groupers, languidly swimming around among them. If you choose the audio tour, you will learn all sorts of interesting details such as the fact that all groupers are actually born female.
Another highlight – which, however, needs to be arranged beforehand – is the tour of the “backstage” area. Guides take you through the “nursery” where newborn octopuses are allowed to grow in peace; the fish “hotel” that takes in new arrivals and allows them to become acclimated before being introduced to tanks; and the “hospital” for injured Caretta caretta sea turtles.
Designed by US-based architect Bernard Tschumi, the modernist building at the foot of the Acropolis’ southern slope showcases surviving treasures from the Archaic and Roman periods, with particular emphasis on the Acropolis of the 5th century BC. The Acropolis museum opened in 2009 and has been a favorite with visitors every since.
The top 10 institutions according to the 2016 edition of TripAdvisor’s Travelers’ Choice Awards for best museums, are headed by the Metropolitan Museum in New York. The top 10 list, which mostly features European museums, also includes the Art Institute of Chicago, St Petersburg’s Hermitage, the Musee d’Orsay in Paris, and the British Museum in London.
The ranking is based on millions of TripAdvisor reviews from travelers over a 12-month period.
Originally published in ekathimerini.com1 Read More
The Greek cuisine is known worldwide and also is rated as one of the most healthy because of the ingredients they put in all kind of recipes. The abundance of the seafood and herbs make every meal tastes succulent and delicious.
And what about the Greek sweets and desserts? There are also a lot traditional and unique Greek desserts that you have to try if you go over there. Baklava, loukoumades or galaktoboureko, we really can’t decide which one tastes better!
Loukoumades are a popular Greek sweets. They are golden balls of fried dough that are bathed in sweet syrup and sprinkled with cinnamon and walnuts.
Greek yoghurt with oranges go perfect. The phyllo dough gives this orange-scented custard cake its layered texture. It’s believed that the origin of this cake comes from the island Crete.
Considering that this recipe include phyllo dough, takes more time for preparing, but at the end you’ll see that worth it. This is nothing else but layers of crispy, buttery, flaky pastry.
Cook the pieces until golden brown. Then place them somewhere to cool. When you’ll add the topping leave them to cool down and then serve.
When preparing a Greek halva, the semolina is firstly toasted in oil, bringing an irresistible smell and then soaked in hot syrup, with the aromas and blends of cinnamon and clove.
0 Read More
When it comes to cuisine, the Greeks definitely have got it going on!
The European Best Destinations platform asked travelers to vote for the best European beaches.
With the weather heating up, Brussels-based European Best Destinations(EBD) compiled its list of the most breathtaking beaches in Europe. Greece ‒ with its clear blue skies, crystal clear water and golden sand – could not be missing from the lineup. Beaches on the islands of Lefkada, Karpathos, Samos and Zakynthos were praised for their beauty, making the Top 12 which was topped by Stiniva Beach on Vis Island in Croatia.
The European beaches from a selection of 280 beaches shorlisted by the EBD jury were voted on by 10,218 travelers from 136 different countries. The beaches were assessed on a number of criteria, such as their suitability for relaxing, partying or simply walking.
•Stiniva Beach, Vis Island – Croatia
•Tossa de mar, Costa Brava – Spain
•The Concha, San Sebastian – Spain
•Berlanga Island – Portugal
•Cala Acciarino, Lavezzi Island – Corsica
•Kavalikefta Beach, Lefkada – Greece
•Armacao de Pera, Algarve – Portugal
•Apela Beach, Karpathos – Greece
•Santa Maria Dell’ Isola, Calabria – Italy
•Ksamil Beach, Ksamil Islands – Albania
•Kokkari Beach, Samos Island – Greece
•Zakynthos Islands – Greece
0 Read More
Greece’s seabed is known for its endless array of ancient treasures, so when some snorkelers swimming in Alikanas Bay in Zakynthos observed what looked like large circular colonnades, courtyards and paved floors – but mysteriously no pottery or other ruins indicating a former settlement – at a depth of around 2-5m, they were convinced they had discovered an ancient port city that had been lost to the sea.
The site was soon examined in situ by the Ephorate of Underwater Antiquities of Greece, with Archaeologist Magda Athanasoula and diver Petros Tsampourakis, together with Professor Michael Stamatakis from theDepartment of Geology and Geoenvironment at the University of Athens (UoA).
This took place in 2012, when the Greek authorities initiated a scientific cooperation to examine the phenomenon together with The University of East Anglia (UEA). The research team went on to investigate in detail the mineral content and texture of the underwater formations in minute detail, using microscopy, X-ray and stable isotope techniques.
Working on the joint project, the universities have now determined that despite its startling resemblance to a man-made ancient city, the site is in fact made up of formations that have occurred naturally over the course of thousands of years.
“Despite its startling resemblance to a man-made ancient city, the site is in fact made up of formations that have occurred naturally over the course of thousands of years. ”
“As geologists we are always excited to find out more about how the Earth works.” Professor Julian Andrews, from UEA’s School of Environmental Sciences, said. “I suppose a new archaeological discovery would have been seen as very, very exciting by everyone, but you can’t win them all!”
It has now been officially confirmed that the disk and doughnut morphology, which appeared like column bases, is typical of mineralization at hydrocarbon seeps. Professor Andrews said: “We found that the linear distribution of these doughnut-shaped concretions is likely the result of a subsurface fault which has not fully ruptured the surface of the sea bed.
“The fault allowed gases, particularly methane, to escape. Microbes in the sediment use the carbon in methane as fuel. Microbe-driven oxidation of the methane then changes the chemistry of the sediment, forming a kind ofnatural cement, known to geologists as concretion. In this case the cement was an unusual mineral called dolomite which rarely forms in seawater, but can be quite common in microbe-rich sediments. These concretions were then exhumed by erosion to be exposed on the seabed today.”
“This type of concretion is known all over the world from the Pacific to the North Sea and the Mediterranean,” Professor Andrews continued. “These ones are a bit unusual in that they are found in very shallow water. Most are found in hundreds or thousands of meters of water.”
“We found that the linear distribution of these doughnut-shaped concretions is likely the result of a subsurface fault which has not fully ruptured the surface of the sea bed”0 Read More
We are G&I. Greece and Italy Custom-made Services. And we know these two glorious countries like no-one else.
© Copyright 2016
Dousmani 20A, Glyfada 16675, Athens, Greece
+30 211 0128 448
+30 694 5300960