2022-05-09 Europe: 2022-07-24 09:34 (UTC)

Slowing down, the first daytrip. Which shortly after the morning departure could suddenly bring an end to the whole tour. I was trying to comprehend a traffic sign for the millionth fraction of the thousandth of a second (it appears there's some kind of national phenomena in whole Greece which tags, sprays, paints over, mutilates the traffic signs) and while I finally recognized that on the logically superior road, behind the lush flora actually a defaced STOP sign lurks — by then I was already rolling into the intersection and a two-track vehicle, having the right of way also already entered. Full throttle, slowing down, to the right, raising arm, Sorry!, letting the rule-abiding vehicle forward, then everyone continued their own peaceful paths.

The first destination Litochoro/Λιτόχωρο, which by trekking-hiking standards mean the base camp of Mount Olympus, but short story short: it wasn't planned to reach Mytikas (2917 mt), the highest peak of Greece. Maybe if I'm around there again, maybe if I have the accommodation directly in Litochoro. Altogether had a pleasant morning coffee, eyeballing, commenting, staring, then City Boy with his motorcycle ascended to the end of the mostly paved road up to Priónia (Πριόνια) on the real estate of the gods.

On the way back had a detour to the right and hairpins into the Enipeas gorge, where you can find the Holy Trinity monastery; by old name. It was established in the 16th century by St. Dionysius, a saint of the Greek Orthodox Church.

Not to be mistaken with Dionysus, the difference errs mortal.
The life of the saint wasn't ordinary, since he didn't want to ascend on the career ladder of the church, not even by the pressure of his followers, not even to become just a bishop, rather escaped into the mountains, and built a small chapel in a close cave to continue his ascetic life along with the difficult paths of enlightenment. By time and unlivable dry weather he had to change his views and returned among the people: then he established the monastery, close to the cave. The building was destroyed in the 19th century by Veli Pasha, in the 20th century it was blown up by the Wehrmacht, all and after the monks relocated themselves to the land of the order. The old monastery since then is under slow renovation. During my visit I met only with an excavator parking in the external yard and a closed huge iron door: couldn't figure out whether they're closed just by then or in general altogether.

Speaking of ancient gods, second destination Dion/Δίον and the Archaeological Museum. It's a rich venue of history, since the city existed between 600 BCE and 500 CE, thus homed and saved the artifacts of three cultures: Macedonian, Greek and Roman. The fortified city started only as a sanctuary for the Ancient Macedonians to worship Zeus and his daughters (the Muses) at the foot of Mount Olympus, rich in vegetation, shady trees and flowing springs — later the city and its infrastructure surrounded the sanctuary. Around 500 BCE along with the booming of the Macedonian nation morphed Dion into a main cultural center: festivals, dancing merriments, athletic competitions and theater plays celebrated the rise of the quality of life. Dion could retain its fame during the Hellenic years too, in 334 BCE Alexander the Great himself walked on the main avenue in his leather sandals on the eve of the Asian campaign.

The city survived the destruction by Aetolian troops in 219 BCE, as V. Philip Macedonian king after the war immediately ordered the reconstruction. From 139 BCE the Romans established a colony here and during the 2nd and 3rd centuries CE, the Roman emperors out of their admiration toward Alexander the Great made the city blooming again. The final doom arrived around the fifth century CE, when major earthquakes forced the surviving population to flee, and ultimately wiped off the city from the surface of the Earth. Its existence came into the daylight again in 1806, when William Martin Leake in the village running by the name Malathria then recognized the ruins of the ancient city. Since 1928 active archaeological excavations are ongoing on the sites, and paying tribute to history, the village in 1961 returned to the original name of Dion.

The most valuable artifacts of the museum are the statue of Isis, Dionysus and Aphrodite Hypolimpidia, also on the first floor you can find the Water organ which is a unique find by international means too.

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