3 November 2014

Ancient Greek Sanctuary of Heraion of Perahora, Vouliagmeni Lake and Malagavi lighthouse, Loutraki, Greece.


Ancient Greek Sanctuary of Heraion of Perahora, Vouliagmeni Lake, and,  Malagavi lighthouse, Loutraki, Greece.
Ancient Greek Sanctuary of Heraion of Perahora, Vouliagmeni Lake, and,
 Malagavi lighthouse, Loutraki, Greece.


There isn’t any part of Greece that doesn’t have ancient ruins, or at least traces of ancient ruins.

So yesterday MGG (My Greek God) and I went to see, yet again, some of the ancient ruins right on our doorstep.

We set off for ancient Heraion, the ancient sanctuary of Hera, nineteen kilometres from Loutraki.

The ancient sanctuary of Hera, was dedicated to the Greek Goddess Hera, powerful queen of the Olympian gods, and wife of Zeus and Goddess of women and marriage.

Hera was known for her beauty, which is said, was renewed every year, in the spring, when she washed away the traces of the previous years stress and worry.

 If only we all have that ability!


The Goddess Hera
The Goddess Hera


Ancient Heraion was in use from the eighth century BC until the late Hellenistic period, and, 
 was destroyed by the Romans in 146 BC.

According to Euripides, Media murdered and buried her children here while fleeing from Korinth.


To reach Heraion from our house in Loutraki we go through the town  and head up the winding mountain road to the small picturesque village of Perahora,

As we pass by acres of olive groves, suddenly, after rounding a tight bend, there in front of us,   totally unexpected, is Blue Lake, known to locals as Lake Vouliagmeni, a sheet of shining blue, winking from between the silver grey of the olive trees.




Vouliagmeni Lake, Loutraki, Greece.
Vouliagmeni Lake, Loutraki, Greece.

Vouligameni, in Greek, means submerged.

 The story goes, that many years ago, a village existed, which, after an enormous earthquake caused a break in the rocks, allowing the sea to rush in, was swallowed up forever more.



Vouligmeni Lake, in ancient times  called Eschatiotis, is three and a half kilometres from Heraion, which, in  1962, was the location for the film "300 Spartans", starring Richard Egan.




 The 1962 film "300 Spartans", starring Richard Egan.  Filmed around the Lake Vouliagmeni, Loutraki, Greece
 The 1962 film "300 Spartans", starring Richard Egan.
 Filmed around the Lake Vouliagmeni, Loutraki, Greece.



This is a salt water lake, created by the sea pouring in through a break in the rocks, from The Corinthian Gulf.



Break in the rocks, allowing water from The Corinthian Gulf,  flow into the Lake Vouliagmeni.
Break in the rocks, allowing sea - water from The Corinthian Gulf,
 flow into the Lake Vouliagmeni.


Sea - water flowing from The Corinthian Gulf, into  Vouliagmeni Lake.
Sea - water flowing from The Corinthian Gulf, into  Vouliagmeni Lake.


At the point where the sea flows into the lake, is a small, typically Greek, whitewashed church with a sky blue dome.

If you are very, very lucky, you just might happen upon a wedding being held here, and see the Bride and Groom, being ferried across the lake, in a tiny fishing boat!


A typically Greek, whitewashed church,  on the shores of Lake Vouliagmeni, Loutraki, Greece.
A typically Greek, whitewashed church,
 on the shores of Lake Vouliagmeni, Loutraki, Greece.


Along the lakeside are a variety of coffee shops, restaurants and tavernas; in summer, it can be quite busy, as the lake is a popular place for swimming.

The tavernas offer delicious sea food, fish, calamari and octopus, all caught locally. The fresh Greek salads will be dressed with olive, usually produced from the owners own olive trees.


Sitting at any of the tavernas, you are just a stone’s throw from the water, some have tables set up at the very edge, in the shade of convenient olive or pine trees.


Vouliagmeni Lake, Loutraki, Greece.
Vouliagmeni Lake, Loutraki, Greece.


Leaving the sparkling Blue Lake behind us, we head to Heraion of Perahora, an important archaeological site. Excavated by Humfry Payne, from the British School of Archaeology, Athens.



 
Ancient Greek site of Heraion of Perahora, Loutraki, Greece
Ancient Greek site of Heraion of Perahora, Loutraki, Greece


We parked the car at the top of the cliff and carefully made our way down to sea level.

The ancient sanctuary of Hera, belonged to the ancient city of Korinth, and developed over the years, to become one of the richest of Greece.


The site is located on two levels, with paths leading down to both.

 As you descend from one level to the other you will pass through the courtyard of the picturesque small church of Saint John, eventually arriving at the small ancient harbour, where, under the crystal clear waters, there still remain, more ancient ruins.




Church of Saint John. Heraion, Loutraki
Church of Saint John.
Heraion, Loutraki


The sanctuary is situated in a magnificent setting, on the cape of malagavi, in the area of Perahora, which means;

 “The land beyond the sea”


Perahora, Loutraki, Greece, A land beyond the sea
Perahora, Loutraki, Greece,
A land beyond the sea

Legend has it, that there was an oracle here, which, in ancient times, people came from far and wide to consult. Part of the ruins are thought to be a dormitory and dinning area, used to accommodate these pilgrims.

The ruins of cisterns and bathing pools, interestingly shows, how the ancient Greeks collected and stored water.

Sacred Pool
Sacred Pool
(Top level of ancient site of Heraion, Loutraki, Greece)

Legend also has it, that Medea, murdered and buried her children here, when fleeing from Corinth.
What a place, just full of legends, myths, mystery and intrigue!

Cult activity and goodness knows what else continued here from the 9th century BC to 146 BC, when the Romans destroyed the place.


On the top level there are  the sacred pool and the cistern where the water collected.


The site is extremely well  organised, I took pictures of the descriptions of various parts, much easier for you to understand than trying to explain it to you myself.



Information card at Ancient Heraion. Loutraki, Greece
Information card at Ancient Heraion.
Loutraki, Greece


Sacred Pool and Dinning Room,  1st level of the Ancient site of Heraion, Loutraki, Greece.
Sacred Pool and Dinning Room,
 Top level level of the Ancient site of Heraion, Loutraki, Greece.

MGG quite surprised me by being interested in the workings of the pool and the cistern!


MGG doesn’t like ancient ruins (He calls them piles of stones) and sight-seeing, I usually wander off alone., leaving him on any convenient bench!



Ancient Cistern Ancient Heraion, Loutraki, Greece.
Ancient Cistern
Ancient Heraion, Loutraki, Greece.
MGG, left behind!
MGG, left behind!



The Hearth Building Ancient Heraion Loutraki Greece
The Hearth Building
Ancient Heraion
Loutraki
Greece


Information card at Ancient Heraion. Loutraki, Greece
Information card at Ancient Heraion.
Loutraki, Greece

On the lower  level of the ancient site of Heraion, is the West court.



West Court Lower level of Ancient Heraion Loutraki Greece
West Court
Lower level of Ancient Heraion
Loutraki
Greece

Information card at Ancient Heraion. Loutraki, Greece
Information card at Ancient Heraion.
Loutraki, Greece.

 We had the place to ourselves, just as we were on our way back up a couple of coaches arrived: we had timed it just right!

I don't know if you can make this out but it was a cat scaling the mountain,it reached the top before we did!



Mountain Cat
Mountain Cat


Heraion was excavated by Humfry Payne in the 1930s.

Payne, an English archaeologist, became the director of the British school of archaeology in Athens
.
Before excavating Heraion  he was at the excavation of Knossos, Crete with Arthur Evans.

Payne was married to the journalist: Dilys Powell who has written quite a few books about Greece.

After Payne died from staphylococcus at a young age, Dilys Powell wrote about her memories of 

Heraion, Perahora and Loutraki;

 An Affair of the Heart by Dilys Powell 

 A magnificent book, published over forty years ago and still loved.



"An Affair of the Heart" Dilys Powell
"An Affair of the Heart"
Dilys Powell

I only just remembered this morning that there is a street in Loutraki named after Payne, so I had a nice little walk into the town to take a picture of it.

It is in Greek but it does say Payne (Pein)



"Odos Pein" Pein Street. Loutraki Greece
"Odos Pein"
Pein Street. Loutraki
Greece

Under the street sign "Pein" Payne Street Loutraki Greece
Under the street sign "Pein"
Payne Street
Loutraki
Greece

 A short way, above the ancient ruins of The Sanctuary of Hera, at the very tip of cape Gerania, proudly stands the Malagavi Lighthouse.


The Malagavi lighthouse is one of the oldest stone lighthouses in Greece, built in 1879 and still working.


Malagavi Lighthouse Cape Malagavi Loutraki Greece
Malagavi Lighthouse
Cape Malagavi
Loutraki
Greece

Just as soon as you have regained your breath, after the rather steep walk, up to the lighthouse, it will be taken away again!

The views from up here, really do, take your breath away, looking down; there is sparkling sea all around you, dotted with little sailing boats, looking back, inland, olive trees are scattered along the rocky terrain.


View from Malagavi Lighthouse Loutraki Greece
View from Malagavi Lighthouse
Loutraki
Greece


The sea, merges with the sky on the horizon, in fact, sometimes, depending on the weather and the time of day, it is difficult to make out, where the sea ends, and the sky begins.


  Where the sea ends, and, the sky begins.
Where the sea ends, and, the sky begins.


View from Malagavi Lighthouse Loutraki Greece
View from Malagavi Lighthouse
Loutraki
Greece


I see the  light from this lighthouse every night from our house in Loutraki.




Malagavi Lighthouse Cape Malagavi Loutraki Greece
Malagavi Lighthouse
Cape Malagavi
Loutraki
Greece


No matter how many times we visit this incredible place,
It will never lose its magic.



The views are spectacular, each time you observe them, is like  looking at them for the first time.



Ancient Heraion Loutraki, Greece
Ancient Heraion
Loutraki, Greece

 
Ancient Heraion Loutraki, Greece
Ancient Heraion
Loutraki, Greece




13 comments:

  1. Great stuff. I love this place too.As always, I've learnt even more things about Loutraki. Well done Susan ÷) Tina

    ReplyDelete
  2. We never stop learning Tina.
    I have only found out today, after thirty seven years, that Loutraki park at the harbour has a name: Irini !!!!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Brilliant Susan, loved it, well I never knew about Pein street, great pics too !! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Christine, yes pein, by the train station, I knew about that but the park having a name, Irini, can't believe I didn't know that!

      Delete
  4. Hi Susan, Thank you for finding me and introducing me to your wonderful location in Greece. Those sea views are wonderful and look so much warmer than here! Sarah x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Sarah, yes, I imagine that it is just a bit warmer here. Believe me, it can become rather cold though!
      You are also in a beautiful area, Thomas Hardy country!

      Delete
  5. So happy to find your sweet comment on my blog. Your blog space is really wonderful so I hope we can share a lot of things and who knows, meet you one day, I live close to you!
    So , the newest follower and an addition on my blog list!
    Have a nice day Susan!
    Olympia
    Olympia

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Olympia, yes, we can share many things, our love of Greece for one!
      It would be lovely to meet you one day.
      I will be following you for sure.
      Take care,
      Susan.x

      Delete
  6. Hi Susan,

    So lovely to meet you! Thank for stopping by Poppy View, it was such a nice surprise to see a comment from another expat! Your photos of the sea and surrounding landscape, so unmistakeably Greek, are divine! And speaking of things divine, the selfie YGG snapped is sweet!

    Have a wonderful evening,

    Poppy

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Nice to meet you too Poppy! Aren't we lucky to be living in Greece?
      Tassos (MGG)is quite getting into Selfies:some are rather scary! The ones I have tried are instantly deleted, can't even bear to look at them myself!
      Take care,
      Susan,x

      Delete
  7. So excited to have found this! My own GG and I hope to visit Loutraki this summer. How does one get to the Heraion without a car? We'll be traveling by KTEL this trip.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Marula,
      A very good question! I have never really thought how to get to Heraion without a car, there is a bus from Loutraki to Perahora, and then, a bus from Perahora to Lake Vouliagmeni, from there on though, I am not sure, it's not that far from vouligmeni, maybe a taxi? I'm sure a tour operator in Loutraki will have the answer.
      Enjoy your visit to Loutraki.
      Susan. xxx

      Delete
  8. Dear Susan,
    I went to Loutraki last fall and I could not find out wether there still is bustransportation from Loutraki to Heraion Lake? There were 9 years ago. Back then you could take a bus which picked you up again after some hours. Can you help me? I am going again this summer :)and I do not have a car.

    Best wishes
    Tina

    ReplyDelete

Thank you so much for reading my blog, I am always absolutely delighted to hear your thoughts, ideas or suggestions.
They make all my efforts worthwhile,.

Please do check back, after leaving a comment, as I make every effort to answer all your remarks promptly.
Thanks,
Susan.x

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