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Monday, April 29, 2013

Are the Greek Islands full of Greek Gods?

If you’re visiting any of the Greek Islands for the first time, the one thing you will notice besides the blue seas and the sunshine are the Greek men. The sun-bronzed eye candy who all think their ‘gods’. Well, they are mostly descended from them aren’t they? You may not be the only person who books into hotels in Crete to find out!

Yes as well as the perfect cheap holiday destination for sea and sunshine, the Greek islands have many connections with the ancient gods of Greece. Take your pick as every island has its own character and its own connections with the ancient culture too. Some of our favourites are Crete, Corfu, Kos, Rhodes and Zakynthos.

So when you’re not day dreaming about meeting your own Greek god à la Shirley Valentine, take a peek at the ancient culture of Greece. Here’s a taster.

Zakynthos

The island is named after the chief god, Zeus’ grandson Zakynthos after he sailed to the island in 1500BC. The goddess of hunting, Artemis spent time here and her brother Apollo played his lira to ‘make the island more beautiful’.

The beauty of the island is certainly what brings tourists to Zante as the island is also known today. When you’re not catching the Mediterranean sun’s rays, search out the beaches where the loggerhead turtles lay their eggs ... but don’t disturb them.

Kos

In Kos you can still find the remains of a Doric temple with the sacrificial altar of Dionysos, son of Zeus and the God of Wine. It’s certainly the right place for flowing wine. Raise your glass of retsina with a ‘Yiamas’.

Hercules landed on this beautiful island on his way back from Troy. Kos is also the birthplace of Hippocrates who is considered the father of medicine. Oh yes and there’s a link to the gods of course – he’s the 20th grandson of Hercules.

In the centre of Kos Town you’ll find the tree of Hippocrates, an old Plane tree under which he taught his students. This tree is only about 500 years old and is probably a descendant of the original.

Other cultural places to visit on the island are the Asklepion and the Gymnasium. Asklepions grew up in Greece because of the god Asclepios. He was a healer and these area’s are forerunners of hospitals or doctor’s surgeries. His treatments often included a trip to the Gymnasium, so you won’t be surprised to find the ruins of one on the island too.

Kos’ Odeon is not the local cinema but an amphitheatre originally for singing competitions. Do any of the Greek men have the X Factor? Find out for yourself on a cheap holiday to Greece!

The Asklepion, Kos

 *This is a collaborative post.

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