|eaving the capital to the east, one comes into the Mesogeia area. With the term "Mesogeia" (Mediterranean) we call the district that lies behind Hymettus, starts at Stavros and goes all the way to Lavrio. The area is famous for its wine known as "retsina". Spata (20 km.) is one of the most famous villages in the Mesogeia. The new airport of Athens is being built there.|
After Spata comes the large beach of Artemis ("Loutsa"), which to the left goes all the way to Rafina, and right is a continuation of Brauron along the shore. Brauron is the homeland of the Peisistratos clan, of Miltiades and Kimon.
The sanctuary of Artemis Brauronia was founded to the back of the bay and at the foot of the hill, with a fortified prehistoric acropolis; it was one of the most ancient and respected temples in Attica.
|Artemis Brauronia was worshipped as the goddess of vegetation, the protector of fruits and animals, and the goddess of the hunt and outdoor life. At the same time she was the protector of women, particularly at the critical time of childbirth. Excavations have brought to light the temple of Artemis. In a local museum are housed reliefs with representations of the worship of the goddess. |
|o the right of Stavros lies Paiania, one of the oldest demes of Attica, the homeland of Demosthenes. The Vorres Museum is in the area, while the ascent up the slopes of Mt. Hymettus takes you to the Koutouki Cave. The cave is 4 km. from Paiania. The incredible stalactite and stalagmite formations, with their mythical names, lend an air of phantasmagoria to this cave.|
After Paiania, comes Markopoulo which is renowned for its vineyards and its excellent wine. Right of Markopoulo is Koropi (the largest town in Mesogeia) and left the road goes to Porto Rafti.
Porto Rafti, a bustling summer resort, is built in a small idyllic bay south of Brauron. It is identified with the ancient deme of Prassies which was an important harbor in Attica. From here sailed the ships of the official Athenian "Theoria" (Mission) to the celebrations of Apollo on Delos.
|From Stavros the road to Marathon reaches Pikermi after going through Pallini. Here during the 19th century a large paleontological treasure, consisting of fossilized skeletons of dinosaurs, who had lived in Greece 13 million years ago, was discovered to the rear of a natural ravine. Thousands of animals: mastodons, rhinos, lions, apes, and Mediterranean ponies were found at the back of that ravine, obviously driven there by a great fire. These fossils are on exhibit at the Paleontological Museum of the University of Athens.|
n the back side of Mt. Penteli and above the village of Pikermi is the small church of Daou Pentelis (16th century) which contains ancient and Byzantine sculpture and inscriptions. Rafina, at a distance of 26 km. away from Athens, lies to the right of Pikermi. It is one of the oldest harbors in Attica and serves a large number of the Cycladic islands with a regular schedule of ferries.
Continuing along Marathonos Avenue you reach Mati, a verdant seaside area and then Ayios Andreas (30 km.). The pine trees come right down to the sea. This is followed by Nea Makri (31 km.) another summer resort area.
|After Nea Makri a turn-off to the right takes you to Tymvos, Marathon and its Museum. In 490 BC there was a world famous battle on the plain of Marathon.|
he 192 Athenians who were killed in the battle were buried in the mound of Tymvos, which is 12 meters high and has a circumference of 185 meters. From the spot of the battle, which is 42 km. from Athens, the first Marathon runner set off to bring the joyful message to Athens.
|"We won" he said and then dropped dead. This is also the point where the modern Marathon Race begins. If you continue on the road past Tymvos you will pass through the village of Marathon and end up at the Marathon dam.|
ou can make excursions with a view of the lake through the elegant areas around Lake Marathon. From the village of Marathon the road goes to Kato Souli and Ramnous after passing trough the magnificent Schoinia beach.
Ramnous lies at the end of the northwest coast of Attica after Ayia Marina. The ancient deme of Ramnous was here as well as one of the most important sanctuaries in Attica, dedicated to Nemesis, which flourished during the 4th century BC. The sanctuary of Nemesis (Divine Justice) was built at the beginning of the 5th century BC on the top of a hill.
n the nave of the temple the statues of Themis, a priestess of Nemesis, Arsinoe, and Lysikleidis were found. The statue of Nemesis, a work of the Parian sculptor Agorakritos, a student of Pheidias, was erected in the flagged nave of the temple. Pausanias has described this statue in detail.
The fortification of Ramnous protected the town as well as the entrance to Evripos. In the northern part of the east of Attica we found beautiful villages and resorts like Kalamos, Oropos, Ayioi Apostoli and Halkoutsi, but above all is the unique Amphiareion.
|Amphiareion is 45 km. from Athens, in the area of Kalamos. The sanctuary there, a large Archaic structure, is dedicated to the hero from Argos, Amphiaraos.|
His sanctuary lies near a spring with medicinal water and was a combination of an oracle and a place for healing and was built in the Doric style in the 4th century BC. The temple, that lay in a ravine, also contained a large altar. Everyone who went there wanted advice from the oracle. Near the altar was a sacred fountain. Its water was drunk by pilgrims out of large shells-a few of these were found in the excavations.
In addition, a very large room was discovered with 30 bases for statues all set in a row and a large gallery where the patients were sent to sleep after their therapy, to wait for a prophetic dream. Behind the stoa was a small theater that could hold 3,000. The ruins of the Roman baths were found beyond all that. On the opposite side of the ravine, the excavations have brought to light the ruins of inns that also served for therapy, and a clepsydra.
Amphiaraos, in whose honor this oracular complex was built, was himself a seer. He came to a tragic end. He disappeared with his chariot into a chasm in the earth, wounded by Zeus. Later Zeus repented and made him immortal. There is an interesting museum at the site of the antiquities.
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