My Greek God - MGG - One Greek God You Have Probably Never Heard Of


Apollo - By Leo Caillard
Apollo - By Leo Caillard


What made me up sticks, leave England, leave friends and family behind, and jump on a plane to Greece, never to return?

Love made me do it; I met my very own, personal Greek God!


Apollo, Greek God of the sun, prophecy, light, poetry and music, son of Zeus , twin of Artemis.
Apollo, Greek God of the sun, prophecy, light, poetry and music.
Son of Zeus, twin of Artemis.


You’ve probably heard of the great Greek Gods Zeus, Apollo and Poseidon, but I bet you’ve never heard of a Greek God named Anastassios.

 Anastassios means, in Greek, the resurrection of Christ, my Anastassios, or Tassos, was born at Easter, hence his name, let me introduce him!

From now on, I shall refer to him as MGG – My Greek God.


MGG - My Greek God - looking the part in Rome (Think Mafia)
MGG - My Greek God - looking the part in Rome
(Think Mafia)

First off, let me tell you, I didn’t meet MGG on Mount Olympus, the usual hang out for Greek Gods; I met him in the most unlikely of places, Bradford, England.


Mount Olympus Greece, home to the Greek Gods    The highest mountain in Greece
Mount Olympus Greece, home to the Greek Gods
   The highest mountain in Greece


It all happened in 1975, a glance across a crowed shop, Boots the Chemist, in the Arndale Centre, where I happened to be working at the time.

Most days, at around four in the afternoon, a group of boys would make an appearance and mooch around for a while, I had worked out that they were foreign from their rather exotic air, and from the fact that they spoke a strange lingo, I knew not which.

One of them caught my eye, but who was he, and how could I meet him?


MGG -My Greek God
MGG -My Greek God

The dilemma of how to meet this boy was soon solved, one day, as the unknowns were wandering around in the shop, a co-worker heard me exclaim to my friend, ‘oh, look, he’s here’.

 The co-worker piped up, ‘I know him’, after some intense interrogation of said co - worker, I knew where he spent his evenings, that his name was Tassos and he was Greek.


MGG - My Greek God  Student days in Bradford, England
MGG - My Greek God
Student days in Bradford, England

As I lived in Leeds, and apart from work, I didn’t frequent Bradford much, ‘Kamares of La Ronde’ and ‘Tropicana’ were foreign to me, not surprising, they were Greek nightclubs.


La Ronde- Greek nightclub Bradord England 1970s
La Ronde- Greek nightclub
Bradord England
1970s

Long story short, I dragged my friend to above dives, and they were dives, eventually met mystery man, who was studying mechanical engineering at Bradford Uni, and had pretty grotty student digs on Laisteridge Lane, Bradford.


Laisteridge Lane  Student Digs  Bradford England
Laisteridge Lane
Student Digs, Bradford England

I was in love, not just any love, I was besotted, you could go as far as to say I was in a state of lunacy!


MGG - My Greek God Laisteridge Lane, Bradford, England.
MGG - My Greek God
1975 Laisteridge Lane, Bradford, England.

MGG - My Greek God England -  a passion for Alfa Romeos
MGG - My Greek God
England -  a passion for Alfa Romeos


My friends and my family, especially my father, told me to end the affair, were they completley mad?

They just knew how devastated I would be when the time came for him to return to Greece after finishing his studies, and that time was growing near.

The time for him to leave England was closer than I thought, his father died, he returned to Greece for a short while, on his return, he dropped a bombshell, he was leaving England for good, like next month!

 I felt as though I had been struck by lightning.

Get ready folks; get the violins out, grab a tissue, Tassos asked me to go to Greece with him!

Think about it, he said, I didn’t need to; I was already on on my way!


Congratulations Mr & Mrs Greek God
Congratulations Mr & Mrs Greek God

Me and My Greek God, loving Poros Greece
Me and My Greek God, loving Poros Greece

Happy Christmas MGG
Happy Christmas MGG

Birthday celebrations, mine, in Syros
Birthday celebrations, mine, in Syros
MGG giving a beard a go, didn't last long.
MGG giving a beard a go, didn't last long.

And here I am, forty one years later, there have been rough patches, no sooner  than  Tassos returned to Greece, he left to do his national service, two and a half years of it, two and a half years of being alone in a foreign country, and not speaking the language.


MGG doing National Service Greek Air Force
MGG doing National Service
Greek Air Force

There were battles with language and my mother - in - law, I missed fish and chips and the Yorkshire Dales, but, I’m still here, and I’m still in love with MGG. (Mostly!)


MGG feeling happy
MGG feeling happy

Please excuse the terrible quality of some of the photos, but I fear they grow old, along with us.

Maybe  it's time for MGG - My Greek God, to become MAG - My Ancient Greek

Mani - Peloponnese - Greece - The Top 10 Must See Attractions

Towers of Vatheia - Mani- Peloponnese - photo - Copyright Phil Simmonds (philsim) for Trekearth
Towers of Vatheia - Mani- Peloponnese - photo - Copyright Phil Simmonds (philsim) for Trekearth

Mani, known in The Middle ages and Ottoman era as Morea, located on the Peloponnese Peninsula, connected to central Greece by the Isthmus of Corinth, was one of the most inaccessible, wildest and mutinous parts of Greece, which, until the 1970s, could only be reached by boat.

Mani is divided into three regions, Outer Mani (North West), Inner, or Deep Mani (South West), and Lower Mani (East).

Inner Mani, with its rugged coastline, is the most authentic region of Mani and starts at the capital city of Mani, Areopolis, which in Greek means ‘City of War’.

It’s no surprise then, that originating from a ‘City of War’, the inhabitants of Mani, the Maniots, more commonly known in Greece as Maniates, have the reputation of being the fiercest people of Greece.

Peloponnese Greece
Peloponnese Greece

These fierce warriors, descendants of the ancient Dorians, and direct descendants of the ancient Spartans, said to be the most pure-blooded of all Greeks, are also said to be some of the most vicious and ruthless of Greeks, known for piracy and vendettas, but above all, Maniates are known for their Independence.

Mani was the only region of Greece, which retained self-rule, when Greece fell under Ottoman rule in 1460.

As Ottoman power began to decline, four hundred years later, in the early 1800s, Mani became a stronghold for the Klephts (mountain bandits), Petros Mavromichalis, ‘chief in charge’ of Mani, leader of The Greek War of Independence, proclaimed the revolution on March 17 1821 at Areopolis.

A monument of Petros Mavromichalis in Areopoli - Mani - Peloponnese - photo Bgabel at wikivoyage
A monument of Petros Mavromichalis in Areopoli - Mani - Peloponnese - photo Bgabel at wikivoyage

 Mavromichalis and his heroic Palikaria, played a major role in gaining victory over the Turks in the revolution, resulting in Greece becoming independent, the First Hellenic Republic, governed by Ioannis Kapodistrias.

Greek independence meant Mani losing its local autonomy, which did not go down well with the Maniates, Mavromichalis and Governor of Greece, Kapodistrias, were forever at loggerheads, at the first opportunity, which happened to be the refusal of Mavromichalis to pay his taxes, Kapoditrias had him thrown in prison.

Ioannis Kapodistrias first governer of Independent Greece, The First Hellenic Republic
Ioannis Kapodistrias first governer of Independent Greece, The First Hellenic Republic

 This was a major affront to the proud Mavromichalis family, leaders of the successful uprising against the Turks, and on 27 September 1831, they took their revenge.

As Kapodistrias was about to attend a ceremony, at the church of Saint Spyridon, in Nafplion, (the capital of the Greek state in the years 1828 – 1833),  Mavromichalis’s brother, Konstantis, along with his son Georgos, assassinated Ioannis Kapodistrias, the  founder of modern Greece, on the church steps.


The murder of Kapodistrias by Charalambos Pachis 1844 1891
The murder of Kapodistrias by Charalambos Pachis 1844 1891

 The assassination of Kapodistrias, was the beginning of the end for Mani, in 1878 the Greek government pulled the plug on Mani’s local autonomy, the place became a backwater, people abandoned the dry, infertile land to find a better life elsewhere, many settled in major Greek cities, others tried their luck further afield, in Europe and America.

Quite a number of Maniates fled to Corsica (where their ancestors had settled, during the second half of the seventeenth century, not only due to the lack of arable land, but to avoid paying taxes to the Turks during the Ottoman rule), and founded the town of Cargese.


The village and the harbour of Cargese - Corsica - photo Jean-Pol GRANDMONT
The village and the harbour of Cargese - Corsica - photo Jean-Pol GRANDMONT

  The town of Vatheia, scene of so many family feuds and vendettas, with its isolated, fortified towers, became a ruin, and is now one of the most photographed places in Greece

The Maniates who stayed, scratched a living from the dry, rocky, infertile earth, concentrating on the Koroneiki olives, which produce the best virgin olive oil in Greece, and herbs such as oregano, thyme and mint, about the only things to grow in this unforgiving ground.

Piracy was still rife, the Maniates considered it legitimate, their compensation, so to speak, for the infertile land of Mani and lack of natural resources, local priests actually blessed the boats before pirates set off on a mission!

After the 1970s, when roads were constructed, and Mani was no longer only accessible by sea, the region, although wild and remote, began to prosper, tiny fishing villages, Byzantine churches, sandy beaches, and, of course, the abandoned towers of Vatheia, became popular tourist attractions, cafes, tavernas and souvenir shops, sprung up by the dozen, to cater to the crowds.

 Top 10 Must See Attractions of Mani

1. Kardamyli


View of Kardamyli and surrounding areas - Mani - Peloponnese
View of Kardamyli and surrounding areas - Mani - Peloponnese

Kardamyli, one of the oldest settlements of The Peloponnese, well known for its many beaches, consists of Upper Kardamyli, the old town, where the buildings are mostly Venetian; here you can see a medieval castle, and the beautiful church of St. Spyridon.

Lower Kardamyli is the newer part of town.
Nearby to Kardamyli is the village of Kalamitsi, home, for many years, to English author Patrick Leigh Fermor, who was made an honorary citizen, for his part in the Greek Resistance, during WWII.

2. Stoupa


Kalogria, a beach just outside Stoupa - Photo Paul Panagiotidis
Kalogria, a beach just outside Stoupa - Photo Paul Panagiotidis

 A fishing village with many beaches, Stoupa Beach, being the most popular, where, at the far end, is a snorkeling site, suitable for beginners.

Another popular beach is Kalogia Beach, with lots of bars and restaurants, about a hundred meters off shore, is an underground sea spring, visible as a disturbance on the surface of the sea.

3. Gytheio


Gythio Port - Mani - Photo Bgabel at wikivoyage
Gythio Port - Mani - Photo Bgabel at wikivoyage

 Gytheio, is said to have been founded in ancient times, by the Greek Gods, Hercules and Apollo.

The port, which opened in the 1960s, is the largest and most important of the Mani, ancient ruins are submerged in the sea, but some remains of ancient walls can be seen.

On the sandy beach of Valtaki, is the wreck of the Demitrios, a ship owned by the Matsinos brothers, said to have been used for smuggling cigarettes between Turkey and Italy, which ran ashore in 1981, and was then set fire to, to destroy evidence.


The Dimitrios shipwreck on Valtaki beach, near Gythio. Photo - Tsdinos
The Dimitrios shipwreck on Valtaki beach, near Gythio. Photo - Tsdinos


 4. Areopolis


Areopolis - Mani- Peloponnese - Greece
Areopolis - Mani- Peloponnese - Greece

 Areopolis, ‘City of War’, named for the Greek God of War, Ares, is the capital city of Mani, located above the bay of Itylo (Oitylo).

Areopolis is the birthplace of the Greek Revolution, Petros Mavromichalis declared war on the Ottomans there on March 17 1821, the town square, ‘Platia Athanatos’, bears his statue.

Although Areopolis is the capital of Mani, it’s a small town, with less than a thousand inhabitants.

5. Limeni


Limeni-Bay - Mani Peninsula, Peloponnese, Greece - foreground is Limeni, port of Areopoli, in the background Itylo- Photo Koppi2
Limeni-Bay - Mani Peninsula, Peloponnese, Greece - foreground is Limeni, port of Areopoli, in the background Itylo- Photo Koppi2

 Limeni, a beautiful coastal village, is the small port of Areopolis, which is five kilometers away.

There are no beaches, but steps do lead down to the sea, so you can swim in the crystal clear waters.

Limeni was home to the Mavromichalis family, of Greek Revolution fame, the family mansion is located here.


6. Gerolimenas


Gerolimenas -  Mani - Peloponnese  - Photograph Benny Marty Getty Images
Gerolimenas -  Mani - Peloponnese  - Photograph Benny Marty Getty Images

 Gerolimenas, meaning ‘Old Harbour’, in Greek, is a scenic fishing village, one of the remotest settlements of The Peloponnese, until the 1970s, only reachable by boat.

Gerolmenas was known to export quail to France in the 1870s.

In the past, Gerolimenas, boasted a shipyard, a large fish market, and an ice suppliers, the main industry was fishing, today, it is tourism.


7. Mezapos


Mezapos - Mani - Peloponnese - photo courtesy od Deskgram
Mezapos - Mani - Peloponnese - photo courtesy od Deskgram

 Mezapos, a small fishing cove, is not well-known; it’s a little piece of secret Greece, with two amazing, white-pebble beaches, Chalikia and Alonaki.

In summer, local fishermen will take you across to Cape Tigani, in Greek, ‘frying pan rock’, a flat rock, in the shape of a frying pan, where there are ruins of a castle, said to be an ancient fortress,  some say a Frankish castle, some say it’s older.

 The trip takes about fifteen minutes.


8. Diros Caves


Diros Caves Mani -Peloponnese - Photo submitted to Pixdaus by Danis51
Diros Caves Mani -Peloponnese - Photo submitted to Pixdaus by Danis51

 Over five thousand meters of underground caves, said to have been inhabited since Neolithic times, located between Pirgos Doros and Areopolis,.

The Diros caves have been continuously explored by geologist and archaeologists since 1949.

A guided tour, thirty minutes by boat, and ten on foot, is a must!

9. Vatheia – Ghost town


Vathia abandoned village of Man i- Peloponnese -  Photo Alamy
Vathia abandoned village of Man i- Peloponnese -  Photo Alamy

Vatheia, the 'ghost town', of Mani, is said to be one of the most photographed, and most creepiest places of Greece.

The abandoned stone towers, perched high above the sea, many dating back to the eighteenth century, were built on high ground to protect the notorious feuding families of Mani, from one another!

The view from  Vatheia is amazing, and you can stroll around the spooky, deserted  houses, entrance is free. 


10. Cape Tenaro, or, Cape Matapan


Cape Tenaro lighthouse - Mani - Peloponnese -Greece- Photo Almay
Cape Tenaro lighthouse - Mani - Peloponnese -Greece- Photo Almay

 Cape Tenaro separates the Aegean Sea, from the Ionian Sea, and in ancient times, is said to have a hidden entrance to Hades, the Greek underworld, through which Heracles took the three-headed dog, Cerberus, one of his labours.
Cape Tenaro is the southernmost point of mainland Greece, directly opposite lies Libya.

Way down in the Deep Mani, the Manites are still some of the most superstitious Greek people, believing in witches, vampires, demons and ghosts, they are also some of the most hospitable people of Greece.

The family feuds and vendettas, which can go on for months, if not years,  are still going strong, although they do declare a truce for religious ceremonies and the olive harvest, once they are over, it all fires up again.

One of the last recorded vendettas, against a Cretan was so ferocious, the Greek police, Army, and navy, had combine forces and intervene.

The only time the Maniates have been united, was against the Turks! 

Apart from their strong, independent character, how do you know if someone is a Maniatis?

 The surnames of Maniates, end in ‘akos’ in the inner or deep, southwestern and eastern part of Mani.

Guess what? I’m married to one, MGG - My Greek God's family, originates from the Deep Mani!

30 of the Most CREEPIEST and HAUNTED Places in Greece - Dare You Visit - Photos & Videos


Salem Mansion Thessaloniki
Photo used as a poster for hit American TV Show, American Horror Story'
Photo by Alexander Hadji


Each year thousands of visitors travel to Greece, they flock to all the usual tourist attractions.


They sun themselves on the golden beaches, and swim in the warm, turquoise waters of the Greek islands, totally unaware, that nearby, there may be some of the most creepiest places in all of Greece!

It's no surprise that Greece, with so many ruins and relics, has lots of ghostly stories about hauntings, unexplained phenomena, and creepy abandoned places, most of them not widely known.

Below, in six sub-sections, I have listed thirty of the most mysterious and unusual, places in Greece.

Some are scary, some quirky, some unexplained, some are sad, but, all of them are fascinating!

Ancient and not so Ancient Anomalies

1. Daveli’s Cave. Mount Parnitha, Athens

A cave, discovered in the fifth century BC, on Mount Penteli, named Daveli, after a thief (His real name was Christos Natsios) who used it as a hideout and a place to stash his ill-gotten gains, is one of the most mysterious places in Athens.

Davelis cave Mount Penteli Athens Greece
Davelis cave
Mount Penteli Athens Greece

Daveli’s Cave, once used as a marble quarry for the Acropolis, is said to have been used as a place of worship for the followers of satyr Pan and his nymphs

In the Middle Ages, Christian hermits built a church at the entrance to the cave, dedicated to two Saints; Saint Spyridion and Saint Nicholas.


Davelis cave  Photo  Dimitrios Fanourios Pischinas -The Blog of Dimi
Davelis cave  Photo  Dimitrios Fanourios Pischinas -The Blog of Dimi

Strange goings on occurred in 1977, when construction began at the cave, but what was being built and who was doing the building remains a mystery.

Was it the Greek government?


Davelis Cave  Photo Captain Sumo & Mad Dog, Web page Mad Dog
Davelis Cave  Photo Captain Sumo & Mad Dog, Web page Mad Dog

It’s rumoured that the construction work in and around Daveli's Cave, may have been storage for nuclear weapons, or a site for radar or a communications base.

Davelis Cave  Photo Captain Sumo & Mad Dog, Web page Mad Dog
Davelis Cave  Photo Captain Sumo & Mad Dog, Web page Mad Dog

Watch this amazing short video below and get a real feel for the place!

 A drone's eye view  of Mount Penteli and Daveli's Cave 




The site is said to be used today by Satanists and occultists.

Actually, since ancient times, the area has been associated with paranormal activity, such as water running uphill instead of down, electronics going crazy and apparitions of a cat-like creature, walking on two legs are also said to have been spotted.

2. The Frangokastello Fortress and the Drousoulites. Crete

A few kilometres East of Sfakia, Crete, in around 1373, the then rulers, the Venetians, built a garrison to keep the unruly locals in check.

The Venetians named the garrison The Castle of Nikitas, after a nearby church, the Sfakians named it Frangokastello, Castle of Catholic Foreigners.


Frangokastello Photo by CBrug  Flickr
Frangokastello Photo by CBrug  Flickr

Every spring, on the 17 of May, the anniversary of the Battle of Frangokastello 1828, during the Greek war of Independence, early in the morning, locals report seeing ghosts of soldiers, dressed in black, some walking, some on horseback, slowly making their way towards the castle.

Frangokastelli  Drosoulites - photo from  Kriti Online
Frangokastelli  Drosoulites - photo from  Kriti Online

These ghosts, are The Drosoulites, The Dew Men, so called because they arrive when the dew is still fresh.


Frangokastello   Photo from Rove me .
Frangokastello   Photo from Rove me .

The Drosoulites are said to be the ghosts of Hadzi Michalis Dalanis and his men, who defended the castle against the Turks, and whose bodies remained unburied, until a strong wind brought sand from the Orthi Ammos Beach to cover them.

See an exceptional short video clip of Frangokastello, home to The Drosoulites, below.



3. The Necromanteion of Acheron. Ephyra, Epirus

On the banks of the River Acheron, near Ephyra, at the point where three of the five rivers of the underworld meet, sometime around the third or fourth century BC, was built a temple, dedicated to Hades, God of the underworld and Persephone, Goddess of the underworld.

Necromanteion  Acheron River Photo Theudbald
Necromanteion  Acheron River Photo Theudbald

This was a temple of necromancy, said to be the entrance to Hades, the Underworld, which, once their bodies had decayed in the earth, and their spirits released, was the final resting place of the dead.


Necromanteion of Ephyra, the gates of hell, entrance to Hades (Underworls)  Photo by Dan Diffendale Flickr
Necromanteion  Photo by Dan Diffendale Flickr

Ceremonies held at the temple, involved eating special food, such as beans, pork and barley bread, narcotic potions were ingested or inhaled, and sheep were sacrificed, all in the belief that this would greatly help attempts to contact and converse with dead spirits.

Thousands of years after the destruction of the temple (167 BC), a monastery, dedicated to Saint John the Baptist, was built on the site.


Remains of Necromanteion, with the church of the monastery Agios Ioannis in the background on the right.  Photo Jean Housen
 Remains of Necromanteion, with the church of the monastery Agios Ioannis in the background on the right.
 Photo Jean Housen

Many ancient temples throughout Europe practised necromancy, but The Necromanteion of Acheron, Ephyra in Greece was the most famous.

4. The Heptapyrgion Fortress of Thessaloniki

Heptapyrgion, in Greek, and Yedi Kule, its old Turkish name, mean seven towers, despite this, the fortress of Thessaloniki, which became an infamous prison, has ten towers.

Originally part of the fourth century city walls, it became an enclosed castle around the twelfth century and was used as an Ottoman military fortress; it was converted into a prison in the 1890s.


Heptapyrgion Thessaloniki Greece  Photo by Joel Cusumano for Atlas Obscura .
Heptapyrgion Thessaloniki Greece
 Photo by Joel Cusumano for Atlas Obscura .

Yedi Kule prison, as it was known, was used to hold political prisoners during the Metaxas Regime of 1936, the Nazi occupation of Greece in WWII, The Greek Civil War, and later, political prisoners during the seven years of dictatorship 1967- 1974.

Yedi Kule was immortalised when referred to in the underground, Greek blues genre of songs; rebetiko.

Ironically, the prison chapel was dedicated to Saint Eleftherios, which means freedom!

The prison closed and moved outside the city in 1989, and now belongs to The Ministry of Culture.


Heptapyrgeion photo EntaXoyas Wikipedia
Heptapyrgeion photo EntaXoyas Wikipedia

Mostly, people visit the Heptapyrgion Fortress for the spectacular views, few know of the despair of the inmates, the haunting memories of the turbulent times of torture and execution.

Haunted Houses

5. The Longos Mansion or, the Red House of Thessaloniki

At the corner of Agia Sophia Street and Ermou, stands one of Thessaloniki’s landmarks, The Longos Mansion, also known simply as The Red house, owing to its striking colour.

From the time it was built (1926-1928), designed by architect Leonardo Gennari for wealthy textile industrialist, Giannis Longou, the house has been plagued with bad luck.


The Red House of Thessaloniki
The Red House of Thessaloniki / The Longos Mansion

No sooner than the house was finished, the construction company which built it unexpectedly went bankrupt, and the Longos factory, in Naousa, inexplicably burnt to the ground.

Owing to inheritance issues, The Red House of Thessaloniki remained abandoned for forty years, today, three coffee shops take up the ground floor of the building.

The house is thought to be haunted, ghosts are said to have been seen, and paranormal activity reported.


Red House Thessaloniki Photo by alekos athanasiadis Flickr
Red House Thessaloniki
 Photo by alekos athanasiadis Flickr

In 2014 Ivan Savvidis, owner of Greek football team PAOK, bought the property, it’s debatable whether the house has brought Savvidis and his football team good or bad luck!

6. The Villa Kazouli Kifisia Athens

Villa Kazouli was built, on the site of a Turkish cemetery (Mnimouri), at 241 Leoforos Kifisias as a summer residence for Alexandrian business man Nikolas Kazoulis.


Villa Kazouli  Kifissia Athens Photo by Maria Mytilinaiou
Villa Kazouli  Kifissia Athens Photo by Maria Mytilinaiou

During the German occupation of Greece in WWII, Villa Kazouli was used as Nazi headquarters, hundreds of Greeks were imprisoned, tortured and executed there.

Twelve bodies are said to be buried in the grounds.

From 1949 the house was used as a hospital, and in 1953 until 1955, it became a refuge for victims of the devastating Ionian earthquake.


Villa Kazouli Photo Ι.MAVRAKIS & PARTNERS S.A.
Villa Kazouli Photo Ι.MAVRAKIS & PARTNERS S.A.

Today, Villa Kazouli houses the National Centre for Environment & Sustainable Development and is a listed, protected building.

The poor tortured souls, victims of unspeakably cruel treatment by the Nazis, sufferers of pain and illness, are said to roam the building and its grounds, their voices crying out for justice and peace.

7. Villa Kallergis Rafina-Pikermi Attica

Villa Kallergis, in the Rafina area of Attica, was owned by Pericles Kallergis, who, in 1910, allegedly committed suicide after murdering his wife (Some versions of the story also have him murdering his children).

During WWII, the house was taken over by Nazis who used it to imprison and torture Greeks in the cellar.

Villa Kallergis Rafina-Pikermi Attica
Villa Kallergis Rafina-Pikermi Attica

Years later, while attempting to demolish the house, a bulldozer suddenly stopped working, and after two work men suddenly died from heart attacks, all thoughts of knocking down the house were abandoned.

Local legend tells of a man who accepted a bet from a friend, that he couldn’t last a night in the haunted house, well, he did last the night, but was unable to collect his winnings, he was found dead there the next morning!


Villa Kallergis Pikermi  Attica Photo by VASSILIS D. GONIS
Villa Kallergis Pikermi  Attica
 Photo by VASSILIS D. GONIS

It’s said that nothing at all will grow for a few meters around the building, experts who have investigated this peculiar phenomenon, found that the atmosphere surrounding the house is uncommonly high in negative ions, a fact thought to be linked to paranormal activity.

8. Kontos Mansion Ano Lehonia, Pelion

The Kontos Mansion, built in 1900 for Nikolas Kontos, the Russian consul for Greece, who lived there with his wife and four children, is located beside the sea, in the small village of Ano Lehonia, Pelion, on the road to Volos.


Kontos Mansion Photo by Eirini Papadaki Flicker
Kontos Mansion Photo by Eirini Papadaki Flicker

Sadly, three of the four children of Nikolas Kontos died from tuberculosis.

During WWII, the Kontos villa, like many other of the elite villas and mansions of Greece, was taken over by Nazis, who used the place to interrogate and torture Greek resistance activists.


Kontos Mansion  Ano Lehonia Pelion
Kontos Mansion
Ano Lehonia Pelion

Later occupants of Villa Kontos, reported hearing spine-chilling screams and cries and never stayed long, some, who began to renovate the villa, never saw end results as they unexpectedly died before finishing.

Until this day The Villa Kontos stands empty and abandoned.

Memento Mori

9. The Bogomil Cemetery Thessaloniki

In the Medieval graveyard of Agia Eleoussa church at Nea Chalkidona near Thessaloniki, are Celtic-style, Gothic crosses, all that is left of the Bogomils, a Gnostic, heretic sect who survived until the sixteenth century.


Bogomil cemetary Nea Chalkidona  Photo candiru
Bogomil cemetary Nea Chalkidona  Photo candiru

The Bogomils, who were found mostly in The Balkans, frequently sent missionaries to Western Europe, it seems some of them must have found their way to Greece.


Bogomil Cemetery Yiannis Neapoli
Bogomil Cemetery Yiannis Neapoli

Fifteen to twenty, tall (some about two metres in height), moss-covered Celtic crosses, and large holes, created by treasure hunters, are all that remain in this all but forgotten, eerie cemetery.

10. The Martyred Villages of Greece. Distomo, Kalavryta and Kommeno

The German occupation of Greece and her islands, during the Second World War, began in April 1941 and ended in 1945.

Over four thousand civilians died from starvation in Athens alone.

 The Jewish community of Thessaloniki was all but wiped out, most having been deported to the death camps of Auschwitz and Treblinka.

 Industry was destroyed, roads, bridges and railways blown sky high, and as the war progressed, attacks against German soldiers by the Greek resistance, caused the Germans to retaliate by executing thousands of civilians and  burning whole villages, leaving millions homeless.

These atrocities happened all over Greece and the Greek islands, far, far too many to mention here, here are details of only three.

 Memorials, built to honour and remember the unfortunate victims of the German’s wrath, can be found in every corner of the country.

There is not a village or town in Greece which does not honour the thousands of fallen Greeks, men, women and children, who died at the hands of the Germans during WWII.

Distomo Massacre June 10 1944

 The village in Boetia was set alight and looted.


218 civilians massacred.


Distomo Memorial by cargus for Trekearth
Distomo Memorial by cargus for Trekearth

 Kommeno, Arta,  August 16 1943

 The village was torched.


317 civilians executed.


Memorial of Massacre at Kommeno Arta
Memorial of Massacre at Kommeno Arta

The Kalavryta Massacre Peloponnese  December 13 1943

 Extermination of the entire male population and total destruction of the village.


1,200 executed by firing squad.


Kalavtyta Massacre Memorial Photo Greeker than the Greeks
Kalavtyta Massacre Memorial
Photo Greeker than the Greeks


The Massacre of Kalavryta Place of Sacrifice memorial with modern-day Kalavryta in the background Photo Hpschaefer
The Massacre of Kalavryta Place of Sacrifice memorial with modern-day Kalavryta in the background
 Photo Hpschaefer

In the 1960s, the West German government paid Greece 115 million Marks in restitution.

Four individual, private claims for compensation, to both the German court and The European Human Rights courts, were denied, and in 2003, again denied by The Federal Courts of Justice.

Had these claims gone to court, the Germans may have been liable for several billion dollars.

11. The Well at Meligala Messinia

After The Battle of Meligala, 13-14 September 1944,  fought between Greek communist guerrillas and a far right Greek military group, the victors, the communist guerrillas, executed hundreds of the military group (787 names are inscribed on the memorial),
and threw their bodies down a well.


The Well at Meligala Photo Katerina Nikolas
The Well at Meligala
 Photo Katerina Nikolas

Since September 1945, annual memorial services took place in memory of the dead, but in 1982, when the newly elected PASOK (The Panhellenic Socialist Movement) came into power, the services were halted.

Services are now undertaken by ‘The Society of Victims of The Meligala Well’



The Well at Meligala Photo Katerina Nikolas
The Well at Meligala
 Photo Katerina Nikolas

The Well Meligala Photo by  Peter Huby
The Well Meligala
Photo by  Peter Huby

There are no signs to direct visitors to the site of one of the worst massacres in Greece during WWII.

12. The First Cemetery of Athens

The first Cemetery of Athens, which opened in 1847, is Greece’s answer to the famous Père Lachaise Cemetery of Paris.

The cemetery is located behind the Temple of Olympian Zeus and the Panathinaiko Stadium, at the top of Anapaphseos Street (The Street of Eternal Rest).


The First Cemetery of Athens Photo by chriskats Instagram
The First Cemetery of Athens Photo by chriskats Instagram

The First cemetery of Athens is the final resting place of poets, painters and politicians.

 The most famous memorial here, is the tomb of Sofia Afentaki, niece of the philanthropist, and benefactor of The Afentaki Foundation, who commissioned Sculptor Yiannoulis Halepas to create the hauntingly beautiful ‘Sleeping Maiden’ for poor Sofia’s tomb, who died in 1873 at the tender age of eighteen from tuberculosis.


The First Cemetery Tomb of Sofia Afentaki photo Tilemahos Efthimiades
The First Cemetery of Athens
Tomb of Sofia Afentaki
 photo Tilemahos Efthimiades

Take a closer look at the magnificent momunments of Athens First Cemetary,  take a virtual stroll watching this fabulous short film below.




13. The Gestapo Interrogation Memorial Athens

Surely a place straight out of Dante’s Inferno, this building, at 6 Merlin Street, Athens, was taken over by the German Nazis, during the occupation of Greece in 1941 and used as a prison for many members of The Greek Resistance of WWII.

Gestapo Interagation Memorial Athens Photo gus619USA for Atlas Obscura
Gestapo Interagation Memorial Athens
 Photo gus619USA for Atlas Obscura

Here, in this truly living hell, Greek prisoners were tortured to death, and their bodies left hanging from trees, guarded by local Nazi sympathisers, as a warning to all Greeks.


Gestapo Prison cell door at Gestapo Interagation Memorial Athens Photo gus619USA For Atlas Obscura
Gestapo Prison cell door at Gestapo Interagation Memorial Athens
 Photo gus619USA For Atlas Obscura

In the 1980s the building became a Hondos Centre, one of a chain of beauty retailers in Greece.


Gestapo gus619USA for Atlas Obscura  Paque at Gestapo Interagation Memorial Athens
Gestapo gus619USA for Atlas Obscura
 Paque at Gestapo Interagation Memorial Athens
Caption says
'Here was the hell chamber of the Gestapo'

To the right of the main entrance to the Hondos centre, is a carving of a bound prisoner, and one of the original torture chamber doors is on display.

There are several plaques, one of which reads ‘Free people were led through these doors’.

Abandoned Spaces

14. Kallio. The Sunken Village of Fokida, Central Greece

The Morno Dam, an artificial lake, was constructed between 1969 and 1981, to help rectify the growing water shortage of Athens; water from the Morno River was transported to Athens via the Morno Aqueduct, at a hundred and ninety two kilometers long, the largest aqueduct in Europe.


Kallio Sunken Village Photo Copyright Danos kounenis (danos)
Kallio Sunken Village Photo Copyright Danos kounenis (danos)

In order to construct the Mornos dam, the typically Greek stone-built village of Kallio was evacuated, the inhabitants were compensated and rebuilt their village at a higher location.

Kallio Fishing in Mornos Photo by Yiannis Tsolakis (juantso)
Kallio Fishing in Mornos Photo by Yiannis Tsolakis (juantso)

During dry spells, and droughts, the water level of the dam falls, revealing ghostly images of the abandoned village of Kallio.

15. Vatheia, the Abandoned towers of Mani, Peloponnese

Vatheia on the Mani Peninsula of the Peloponnese, is said to be one of the most photographed places of Greece, square, stone towers, built on the rocky, infertile land of Mani, high above the sea, date back to the eighteenth century.


Vatheia Mani Peloponnese Greece
Vatheia Mani Peloponnese Greece

The Mani towers were built on high ground, not only to protect the inhabitants from their fierce, tough, warring neighbours,but as protection from their own families, family feuds were rife!


Vatheia Mani Peloponnese Greece Photo Condé Nast Traveler
Vatheia Mani Peloponnese Greece
 Photo Condé Nast Traveler

Maniates, the name given to inhabitants of the Mani area, are well known as being tough, hot-headed and wild, they are also among the most hospitable of the Greeks.

Vatheia Mani Peloponnese Greece
Vatheia Mani Peloponnese Greece

After 1980, (Vatheia had no electricity up until then), an unsuccessful attempt was made to turn the place into a tourist spot, with hotel, shops and tavernas.

Many are thankful the project failed,  now, the area is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, eight hundred towers still stand to attention.


Do watch this superb short video below, drone view of Mani, the towers and more.





16. Spinalonga, Crete and Lovokomeio, Chios, Deserted Leper Colonies

Spinalonga, today a popular tourist attraction, is a deserted leper colony, located on a small island in the Gulf of Mirabello, Crete, officially known as Kalydon, Spinalonga became famous worldwide with the publication of Victoria Hislop’s book ‘The Island’.

This barren, rocky island was used as a leper colony from 1903 until 1957.

 Any Greek diagnosed with Leprosy, known as Hansen's disease, was relieved of his property, financial assets, his citizen’s rights and had is identity erased before being exiled to the ‘leper island’, as it came to be known as.

At its peak, Spinalonga housed around four hundred patients, who, on arriving on the island, passed through the tunnel entrance, known as Dante’s Gate, the entrance to hell.

spinalonga Crete
spinalonga Crete

Even though a cure for Hansen’s disease was found in 1940, only after a British ex-pat visited the colony and filed a report about the inhuman conditions, poor medical treatment, and the incompetence of the one and only doctor there, did the Greek state close the colony in 1957.

The last inhabitant to leave the island in 1962 was the priest.


spinalonga Crete
spinalonga Crete

 Not surprisingly, the Greek government tried to keep quiet about the country’s shameful treatment towards the inhabitants of Spinalonga, Victoria Hislop’s book put paid to that!

Another leper colony, Lovokomeio of Chios, one of the first in Europe, built in the fourteenth century, and opened in 1378, is virtually unknown to anyone outside of the island.

 It has a history similar, if not the same, as the leper colony of Spinalonga.


Take a virtual boat trip from Plaka, to Spialonga, tour the abandoned leper colony ...video below...worth watching!






Lovokomeio Chios Photo by Christos Tolis   Χρήστος Τόλης @Grekamag lifo.gr
Lovokomeio Chios Photo by Christos Tolis
  Χρήστος Τόλης @Grekamag lifo.gr

The Lovokomeio leper colony was mostly destroyed by earthquake, in which over eight hundred were killed, it was restored in the eighteenth century and closed in 1957.

Lovokomeio Chios Photo by Christos Tolis Φωτογραφία Χρήστος Τόλης lifo.gr
Lovokomeio Chios Photo by Christos Tolis
 Φωτογραφία Χρήστος Τόλης lifo.gr

Until someone decides to write a book about Lovokomeio, it will remain unknown and forgotten.

17. The Old Madrasa of Athens

The door is all that remains of the Islam Mandrasa (Theological school), a rectangular building consisting of living quarters, class rooms and prayer areas, which was Built in 1721.

After moving to another location, the building was converted into a filthy, overcrowded prison. 

A large plane tree in the courtyard, once a meeting place for the Muslim community, which became a symbol of the Madrasa, was now used for hanging prisoners.


 Those not executed in the courtyard, suffered terrible torture.

Old Madrasa of Athens  Από τον οθωμανικό Μεντρεσέ απέμεινε μόνον η πύλη  Βασίλης Μαθιουδάκης Photo Basilis Mathiodakis
Old Madrasa of Athens
 Από τον οθωμανικό Μεντρεσέ απέμεινε μόνον η πύλη  Βασίλης Μαθιουδάκης
Photo Basilis Mathiodakis

Having been partly demolished during the Greek war of Independence, the Madrasa was rebuilt as a garrison for the Greek army, who, at the end of the war, again, converted it into a prison for Greek and Turkish political prisoners.

 The plane tree was once again used to hang prisoners.

The prison closed at the end of the nineteenth century.

Archaeologists, hoping to find interesting, valuable artifacts beneath the site, demolished the Madrasa.

Old Madrasa Athens    Βασίλης Μαθιουδάκης Photo Vasilis Mathioudakis
Old Madrasa Athens 
 Βασίλης Μαθιουδάκης
Photo Vasilis Mathioudakis

By 1915 only the door remained, as a memory to the unspeakable goings on of The Old Madrasa.

The remaining door is to be found in the Plaka area of Athens, outside the Roman Agora, opposite The Tower of the Winds.

18. Yaros (Gyaros) and Makronissos. The Secret Prison Islands

Yaros is a tiny, unpopulated Greek island of the Cyclades, close to the islands of Tinos and Andros.

The island was used during Roman times as a place of exile, and from 1948 to 1974, as a prison for leftist and communist dissidents of Greece (including women).

 During that time more than twenty two thousand were subjected to horrendous torture, forced labour, and inhuman living conditions.


Yaros Island Greece Photo Giorgos Stephanou
Yaros Island Greece Photo Giorgos Stephanou

The prison block, which held over ten thousand men, was built by the inmates, many of whom were members of the Greek resistance, involved in the Greek civil War (1945-1949), and in the seven-year dictatorship(1967-1974), Jehovah’s Witnesses were also held there.


Yaros Prison Yaros Photo TERRABOOK
Yaros Prison  Photo TERRABOOK

In 1952, The International Community and the United Nations, owing to  the barbaric conditions, demanded all prisoners be transferred to mainland prisons.

In 1967, reporters from the German news magazine, Stern, flew over the island, taking photographs which were published all over the World, later. reporters from the French magazine, Paris Match, would do the same.


Yaros Beach next to abandoned prisons in Yaros island by spyrosfly
Yaros Beach next to abandoned prisons in Yaros island
 by spyrosfly

These photographs, published by two of Europe’s most prestigious magazines, played a huge role in the exclusion of Greece from The Council of Europe for abuse of human rights.

Since 2011, the island has been a NATURA protected area, building is prohibited.

 The island has the largest colony of Monk seals in The Mediterranean.

The island is off limits to the public.

Makronnisos

Makronnissos is a small island in The Aegean Sea, close to the coast of Attica, opposite the Port of Lavrio and, from the 1940s, up until the 1970s, was the site of a political prison.

Inmates of the prison included communist and leftist dissidents during the Greek Civil War (1945-1949), and the military dictatorship (1967-1974).

Composer, Mikis Theodorakis, film director, Pantelis Voulgaris and poet Giannis Ritsos, are only a few of the famous Greeks who were imprisoned there.



Makronnissos Attica Greece Prison Block Secret Prison Island
Makronnissos Attica Greece
Prison Block
Secret Prison Island

In 1946, the then Greek Prime Minister, Sofoulis, ordered all communists of draft age to be exiled to Makronissos, to be ‘rehabilitated’, torture, living in tents in extreme weather conditions , hunger, thirst and solitary confinement were the order of the day.

The island is now deserted and is a Civil War Monument.

19. Mount Parnitha Sanatorium

Only two kilometers away from the well-known casino of Mount Parnitha, Attica, stands the forsaken sanatorium of Parnitha, built there, owing to the dry climate, for the treatment of tuberculosis, in 1912.


Mount Parnitha Sanotorium Photo athpap dpgr.gr
Mount Parnitha Sanotorium
 Photo athpap dpgr.gr

After the discovery and eventual use of the T.B vaccine in 1921, the sanatorium, no longer needed for T.B patients, was bought by the Hellenic Tourist Organization in around 1965.

The sanatorium was converted into one of the Xenia Hotels, a chain of hotels owned and run by the Greek government, and later became a school for tourism.

The project was eventually ditched in 1983, when it became clear they were no match for the nearby casino complex.


Mount Parnitha Sanatoruiom Athens Greece
Mount Parnitha Sanatoruiom
Athens Greece

After the Mount Parnitha fires of 2007, the building, used mostly now by drug addicts, stands on burnt ground, there are suggestions of satanic rituals, ghostly voices, and paranormal shenanigans.


Mount Parnitha Park of Souls Mount Parnitha Athens Greece
 Photo  Andrew Morang

Across the road from the abandoned sanatorium of Parnitha, artist, Spyridon Dassidis, has created ‘The Park of Souls’.

Disturbed figures, carved from burnt tree trunks, are dedicated to the memory of those who died in the sanatorium (50% of the patients were said to have died in the first five years).


See the old sanatorium in great detail in the short video clip below, the snow adds an extra touch of scary!





20. The Dragon Houses of Karystos, Evia

In the south of the island of Evia (Euboea), in the town of Karystos, are twenty eight, unique structures; huge blocks of stone, with no use of mortar, are piled one on top of the other and are  topped off by an even larger stone slab to create a roof.

Dragon house Photo by Klaus-Norbert Wikipedia
Dragon house Photo by Klaus-Norbert Wikipedia

These unusual structures were named ‘Dragon Houses’ by the ancient Greeks, as way back then, the word dragon, not only meant fire-breathing reptiles, but also other beings with super human powers.

Many archaeologists who have visited these mysterious structures, have failed to come up with a valid date of when they were built, or who built them.


Dragon house Photo by Klaus-Norbert Wikipedia
Dragon house Photo by Klaus-Norbert Wikipedia

The Dragon Houses are thought to have originated around the seventh century BC, but there was no mention of them anywhere (not even in ancient literature), until 1718, when British geologist, John Hawkins, wrote the first written account of The Dragon Houses.


Dragon-House Palli-Lakka building Photo Klaus-Norbert Wikipedia
Dragon-House Palli-Lakka building Photo Klaus-Norbert Wikipedia

Details found in a 2004 account, by researchers from the department of astrophysics, Athens University, have the structures as  being oriented to the Sirius star system.

Natural or Supernatural Phenomena

21. The Petrified Forest of Lesvos

In the UNESCO Geopark, designated as a protected natural monument, are four sites, located in the area enclosed by the villages of Sigri, Eresso and Antissa on the Western side of the island, containing the second largest petrified forests in the World, the largest is in Arizona.

Petrified Forest Lesvos  Rutger2 at nl.wikipedia
Petrified Forest Lesvos  Rutger2 at nl.wikipedia

Here at the Lesvos Geopark, are amazing specimens, not only of petrified tree trunks, including one with the thickest circumference of a petrified tree in the World, 13.7 meters, and one of the tallest at 7.2 meters, but also petrified plants, fruit and seeds, remnants of a sub-tropical forest.


Petrified forest Lesbos Geopark  Photo Lesvosgeopark . gr
Petrified forest Lesbos Geopark  Photo Lesvosgeopark . gr

The Petrified Forest of Lesvos was created over twenty million years ago, through volcanic activity when lava and ash covered the area, petrified tree trunks can even be seen in the sea, submerged to up to thirty meters.

Petrified Forest Lesvos Photo Greek Adventure .com  0
Petrified Forest Lesvos
 Photo Greek Adventure.com  

The museum at th site, next to the Sigri Park, is a wonderful and interesting place to visit, open Monday-Sunday 8.30 to 19.00 in summer and Monday-Friday 8.30 to 16.30 in winter.

22. The Volcanic Rocks of Lemnos

Lemnos (or Limnos) is an island in The Northern Aegean, located between the islands of Lesvos and Thassos.

Vocanic Rocks of Lemnos  Photo Kristo Pantera
Vocanic Rocks of Lemnos  Photo Kristo Pantera 

 
It is not surprising, that Greek mythology states the island to have been sacred to Hephaestus, god of metallurgy and blacksmiths, and is where his forge was said to be located, as Lemnos has a very fiery past!

Vocanic Rocks of Lemnos  Photo Kristo Pantera
Vocanic Rocks of Lemnos  Photo Kristo Pantera 

Volcanic activitny, more than 20 million years ago, caused hot lava to spew over parts of the island, creating a rather alien landscape, fabulous examples of this are the volcanic rocks at Faraklo beach.

23. The Moving Rock of Kefalonia

On the island of Kefalonia, in the Ionian Sea, at Lixouri, is the beach of the moving rock, (in Greek Kounopetra).

The moving rock, or ‘kounopetra’, a huge, flat rock, with a circumference of about twenty meters, one of the landmarks of the island, is a geological mystery.

Moving Rock  Kefalonia Photo naftemporiki.gr
Moving Rock  Kefalonia
Photo naftemporiki.gr

Until the devastating earthquake of 1953, the rock was unstoppable, it moved slowly, rhythmically, and continuously, twenty times a minute, from East to West.

The movement could be seen from the coast, and when one is actually on the rock, vibrations can be heard.

Moving Rock  Kefalonia
Moving Rock  Kefalonia

In 1867, the rock was extremely close to shore, but gradually moved further away until coming to a complete standstill after the earthquake.

Many scientists have visited the rock, but no one has come up with an explanation for this strange phenomena.

24. The Church of Agia Theodora of Vasta. Arcadia, Peloponnese.

Known as ‘The Miracle Church’, Agia Theodora of Vasta, in the Arcadia region of The Peloponnese, is a small Byzantine church, which, incredibly, has seventeen holly and maple trees, most of which are over thirty meters tall, growing from its roof!


Agia Theodora Arcadia Peloponnese
Agia Theodora Arcadia Peloponnese

Only one thin root, about the thickness of an arm, is visible at the entrance to the church, once inside the church, no roots at all are visible.

The local legend goes like this; version one...

 Coming from a family of only girls, Theodora, to save her father from having to join the army, disguised herself as a boy, and joined up.


Not long after joining the army, a local girl, believing Theodora to be a boy, fell in love with her, and when Theodora, for obvious reasons, rejected her, the girl, out of revenge, claimed she was pregnant by Theodora and demanded they be married.


Agia Theodora Arcadia Peloponnese
Agia Theodora Arcadia Peloponnese

For reasons known only to Theodora, she did not reveal her secret, which could have saved her, and refused to marry and was consequently put to death.

 Version two is more or less the same, only this time, Theodora, again disguised as a boy, joined a monastery as a monk, why she did not  save herself trouble and join a nun’s monastery is not known.

Anyway, a nun from a nearby monastery fell in love with the monk Theodora, the ending is the same.

Agia Theodora Arcadia Peloponnese
Agia Theodora Arcadia Peloponnese

Before her execution, Theodora prayed;

 “Let my body become a church, my blood a river, and my hair the trees.”

 On the very spot where Theodora was executed, a spring gushed forth and grew to become a river which still exists today, as the river which flows beneath the tiny church.

Quirky and Unexpected

25. The Fairytale Castle of Agrilis

In the 1960s, American-born Harry Founier or, Founarakis, a successful surgeon from Chicago, on retirement, returned to Greece, the country of his ancestors.

In his family’s seaside village of Agrilis, in the Messina region of The Peloponnese, Harry astonished the locals by building the most unexpected dwelling, a veritable Disneyland castle, complete with drawbridge and coats of arms.

Fairytale Castle of Agrilis Photo george_iapetos George Alexopoulos
Fairytale Castle of Agrilis Photo george_iapetos George Alexopoulos

The residence has all the trimmings of a medieval castle, a large gatehouse, red-topped conical towers, and inside, swords and murals, telling medieval stories, adorn the walls.

In the courtyard are three huge statues, one, the sea God Poseidon, one, the Goddess Athena and a large, white, kneeling horse.



Fairytale Castle of Agrilis Greece Photo by EXPLORABILIA for Atlas Obscura
Fairytale Castle of Agrilis
Photo by EXPLORABILIA for Atlas Obscura

A plaque on the wall reads;

‘You should appreciate a man not by his fortune or the extent of his knowledge, but by the happiness he brings to those around him’

See this amazing, whimsical castle, in all its glory, in the short video below (1.15 minutes), you really do have to see it to appreciate the imagination that went into creating this fantasy castle!




This fairytale castle is not your usual Greek tourist attraction, the look on people’s faces when they see it for the first time is priceless!

26. Pittaki Street. Psirri, Athens

Back in 2012, Pittaki Street, in the run-down Psirri area of Athens, was a dark, uninviting alleyway, an alley which you would rather not enter.

Pittaki Street Psirri Athens Christmas
Pittaki Street Psirri Athens
Christmas

With the help of a non-profit organisation, ‘Imagine the City’, and the creative design studio; ‘Beforelight’, not only Pittaki Street, but the whole Psirri area was transformed into the trendy, place to be seen, that it is today.


 Little Kook Cafe Pittaki St. Psirri Athens Greece
 Little Kook Cafe Pittaki St. Psirri Athens Greece

Locals donated ld lamp shades and light fittings which were refurbished and water proofed, before being hung across Pittaki street, giving it a rather permanent Christmas feel. 

Alternative, quirky bars and cafes sprung up, The Little Kook Café, at the end of Pittaki Street, being the quirkiest of them all!


Pittaki Little Kook Cafe in Halloween mode   Psirri Athens  Photo by Gogo Panagiotidi Garoufali ( Zorstel Instagram)
Pittaki Little Kook Cafe in Halloween mode
  Psirri Athens
 Photo by Gogo Panagiotidi Garoufali (Zorstel Instagram)

Psirri is now the most amazing, unique place in all of Athens, the place to see and be seen!

27. Agia Dynami Church Athens

Agia Dynami, the Church of holy Power, is located at the corner of Mitropoleos Street and Pentelis Street, Athens.

 It is a tiny, Byzantine Church, an inscription discovered there, shows that it may have been dedicated to Heracles.

Agyia Dynami Athens  Photo by gus619USA for Atlas Obscura
Agyia Dynami Athens  Photo by gus619USA for Atlas Obscura

During redevelopment of the city of Athens during the 1950s, the Greek Orthodox Church refused to give up the land to the Greek government, so, what could they do?

 Ever resourceful, and ones never to give up, the Greeks built around the church!

28. The Roman Tomb in the Central Zara Store Athens

Well, this is definitely not what you expect to come across while picking out that perfect little black dress.

In the basement of the Zara store on Stadiou Street, central Athens, right next to children’s wear, protected from customers by a glass screen, is a Roman tomb, yes, you read that correctly!

  Roman Tomb Zara Store Stadiou Street Athens Greece Photo by  gus619USA
Roman Tomb Zara Store Stadiou Street Athens Greece
Photo by  gus619USA

The nineteenth century building, home of Ioannis Hadjikyriakos, a wealthy philanthropist, added a clause to his will, stating that the building, upon his death should pass to the state, and should become a hotel, which is what happened.

 The hotel, named Hotel d’Egypt,  was not a success, so it was thought maybe a name change would do the trick, and it was changed to Hotel d’ Athens, the trick did not work.


zara Roman tombs in Zara store  © Camille Gazeau
zara Roman tombs in Zara store  © Camille Gazeau
Stadiuo Street Athens Greece

After being used, first as  a Greek army  headquarters, and then, during WWII, by the Germans, the building was left vacant until 2004, when the Olympic Games were held in Greece.

 Modernisation and renovation of the nearby Athens Metro revealed an ancient Roman tomb, right in front of the Hadjikyriakos building.

Strict Archaeological laws meant the tomb stayed where it was, which is how the tomb comes to be in the basement of Zara’s.

Well, if that’s not a magnet to attract customers, I don’t know what is!

29. The Andreas Syggrou Wax Museum Athens

The Andreas Syggrou wax Museum is a little-known, extraordinary museum, located in the grounds of the Andreas Syggrou Hospital of Venereal and Dermatological Diseases, located behind the Athens Hilton, at 5 Dragoumi Street, near to the Evangelismos Metro Station.


Wax The Museum of Wax of the Hospital “Andreas Syggros” Photo BETAPLAN S.A.
Wax The Museum of Wax of the Hospital “Andreas Syggros”
 Photo BETAPLAN S.A.

Andreas Syggrou (1830-1899) was a philanthropist and a Greek banker from Istanbul, who, after moving to Greece became the founder and benefactor of many banks, the building of an avenue from the Royal Palace, the bay at Palaio Faliro and much more, he was also responsible for the completion the Corinth Canal.


Wax Andreas Syggros Wax Museum Athens Photo by Aika for Atlas Obscura
Wax Andreas Syggros Wax Museum Athens
Photo by Aika for Atlas Obscura

Glass show cases display hundreds of grotesque body parts afflicted with various skin and venereal diseases. 

It is the largest collection of its sort in the world, composing of over sixteen thousand body parts, limbs, faces and even whole bodies.

Wax  Museum Athens Greece Aika for Atlas Obscura
Wax  Museum Athens Greece
Aika for Atlas Obscura

The museum opened as an educational department in 1913, the body parts are copies of actual symptoms seen on patients between 1913 and 1958.

 Today, the totally renovated museum is used to train doctors, and the museum is open every day and is free of charge.

30. The Political Exile Museum of Athens

Tucked away at number 1 Asomaton Street, in the Thissio-Kerameikos area of Athens, next door to each other, are two, small, sad, museums.

The Exile Museum of Ai Stratis, and The Exile Museum of Makronissos.

  Ai Stratis (Agios Efstratios) is a small Greek island in the northern Aegean Sea, an island where over a hundred thousand men, women and children were exiled between 1926 and 1967.


  Makronissos, another small island  in the Aegean Sea, was also the site of a political prison from the 1940s to the 1970s, located close to the coast of Attica, facing the port of Lavrio.


Exile Museum Ai Stratis Athens Photo www.exile-museum.gr
Exile Museum Ai Stratis Athens Photo www.exile-museum.gr

Displayed in the museums are heartbreaking exhibits, newspaper articles and stories about the mass exile of people the Greek government considered to be undesirables. 

The above mentioned places are not everyone’s cup of tea, nor are they on everyone’s to-see list, and some of these places, in my opinion, could be classed as ‘Dark Tourism’.

 As sad and disturbing as many of these places are, they should not be forgotten, in the hope that remembering, will go a long way to prevent similar attrocities ever happening again.

More Glorious Greek Lists!
     








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