Temples of Apollo and Athena

July 18th, 2007 · No Comments · Greece

Temple of Apollo, Tzia, Greece

Temple of Athena, Tzia, Greece


Today we got up early to make the big hike down to the ruins of the ancient settlement of Karthea. Forty-five minutes straight down the mountain and along a rocky river bed and we arrived at one of the most beautiful beaches on the island. Another hike up a hill along the beach and we were at the temple of Apollo, then further up, the temple of Athena.

Strange being in such ancient sites all alone in the wild. We ate an orange on a marble bench chiseled with faded Greek lettering under an olive tree right in the middle of massive archaeological bounty. Athena’s temple is in better shape than Apollo’s, with several columns partially standing and the footprint of the temple still intact. Thousands of years ago, this lonely, lovely outpost was fully operational. We hiked down to swim in the perfect sea and then hiked a full hour straight up what was once a busy road, lined with massive stones now worn down and jumbled by millennia of earthquakes.

One thing about ruins like this: they are slowly being rebuilt. New hewn blocks of marble are stacked, waiting for master masons to line them up on top of the old. At first, we were bothered by the casual rebuilding of something so sacred and ancient. Now, we’ve come to appreciate the impulse to rebuild; to live life in the present; to honor the past without dismissing today.

On the way down from the temples, we crossed paths with a modern-day mason repairing a stone wall. He was old, tan, and very good at his trade. We stopped to watch him work and said, “bravo!” He began speaking to us in a torrent of Greek, clearly wanting to explain his work, his craft, of which he was very proud. We understood nothing. We understood everything.

Category: Greece

No Comments so far ↓

There are no comments yet...Kick things off by filling out the form below.

Leave a Comment