Mount Olympus, the highest peak in Greece, is the home of the gods. Thessaloniki , the second largest city in modern Greece, was also the second largest, after Constantinople, in the Byzantine, and later the Ottoman Empires. Under the Ottoman Turks it was nicknamed “Jerusalem of the Balkans,” due to its large community of Sephardic Jews. Opulent chamber tombs of Macedonian royalty were discovered in the town now called Vergina. Meteora, literally meaning “middle of the sky,” is the site of Orthodox monasteries dating to the 14th century, that perch atop towering sandstone outcroppings. Thermopylae is the name of the pass where the famed three hundred Spartans held off a much larger invading force. And Mount Pelion, home to ancient centaurs, remains a realm of mysterious beauty.
Thirteen intrepid Hollins students, led by two wise and brave professors, will experience these and other places in Greece firsthand this January. We will learn about the history and culture of ancient and modern Greece. We will sample the food, walk the land, view the art and architecture, and try to dance. And we will document it all here, in words, images and video. We set out on January 8, and our next entry will be written in Greece–but not in Greek! Follow us, and share the link to the blog with any friends or family who may be interested.
In the meantime, we offer this greeting to our Greeks hosts: Καλή Χρονιά, Χρονιά Πολλά, Happy New Year, Many Years!