Monday, July 02, 2007

Taygetos Taleton 3


Blogger vetdino said...

The way through the mountain paths is magical. The main asphalt road to the north part of the mountain drives by the legendary Kaeadas, and connects the city of Kalamata with Sparta.

From Sparta you will find the refuge of the mountaineering society, where you can begin your ascent from the eastern slope. From the western slope you should begin from Mani and ascend from the Vasiliki forest.

Every walk through this piece of land called “Mani” is enough to realize how unique the landscape is. The gorge of Vyros is an example of the variety and beauty of the area.

The mountain path through the gorge is thought to be the same path known as the “Royal Avenue” (Vasiliki Odos) connecting Sparta with the ancient port of Kardamyli. The “Royal Avenue” begun at the ancient polygonal bridge at Laconia, ascended to the Vasiliki (=Royal) forest and going through to the gorge ended at Kardamyli.

This path was followed by the son of Achilles, Pyros going to Sparta to marry Hermione, the daughter of Helen (of Troy) and Menelaus. Aristomenes crossed the same path to invade the valley of Evrotas during the Messinian wars.

The Vasiliki forest got its name from this “Royal Avenue”. There, on an altitude of 1,550 meter lies the highest settlement of the Peloponnese: Saint Demetrius. From there the Messinians begin their ascent to the mountain-top.

This is one of the most beautiful mountain walks in Greece, characterized by the beauty of the landscape and the amazing view towards the Laconic and the Messinian bays.

Due to the untamable Alpine environment of the mountain the weather is very difficult to forecast. The easiest and shortest way up begins at the eastern slopes of the Taygetus.

From the first minutes you will realize why all refugees found shelter on this mountain and why 98 out of the 118 traditional settlement of the Peloponnese are located on the slopes of the Taygetus.

In ancient times people believed that the pyramid helped the Sun to rise and then to set in the west. This was an ancient belief of the Spartans and gave them the idea to climb to the top of the mountain and built a temple dedicated to the God-Sun. They presented him on a golden chariot pulled by 3 pairs of white horses. The horses would take off from the pyramid towards space (Diastema=Dias-eimai=Zeus I am) carrying prayers to Zeus.

Today, after more than 2 millennia, on the 19th-20th of July people continue this celebration dedicated not to the God-Sun but Prophet Eliah.

7:18 PM  

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