Goddess Demeter & Persephone
The Eleusinian Mysteries:
"The best kept secret of the ancient world".
After Athens our journey will begin with a search into the traces of ancient Greek mysteries, which were initiations in the truths of Mother Earth and afterlife.
Anyone who would reveal what happened during the Eleusinian Mysteries ceremonies was sentenced to death. Therefore, the Eleusinian Mysteries are the ancient’s world best kept secret. They had two goals. One was to show respect to Mother Earth and dedicate agricultural goods to please her in order to provide the fertility of the fields. The second was to make peace with death and afterlife. These two goals were interconnected and seen as a unity, because we belong to the Earth and our planet’s natural life circle.
The Eleusinian Mysteries were initiations held every year for the cult of the goddess of the Earth and agriculture, Demeter (goddess of the harvest) and her daughter Persephone based at the Panhellenic Sanctuary of Eleusis. Everyone was encouraged to participate at least once in his life. They were free even for women, slaves and children.
"The biggest Aphrodite’s cult center in the ancient world"
“I belong to Aphrodite”. Corinth, where the goddess of love Aphrodite was born, was also known for sexuality. Corinth is a port city that is located between Athens and Sparta, and it offers trade through land and sea, making it more wealthy than other cities. Corinth's temples are known as the one that are the most socially accepting to prostitution. It was the home town of the lures of Eros and sex. Ancient Greek geographer Strabo said that the temple of Aphrodite once had acquired more than a thousand prostitutes, donated by both men and women to the service of the goddess. Sacred prostitution was a form of prostitution in which people dedicated either themselves or their children to the deity as a form of religious worship.
Here we will visit Corinth Museum, where artifacts of everyday life are exhibited, in order to observe and visualize how women in the ancient world lived, how were their beds constructed, what did they eat, how did they cook, how did they entertained themselves and others, how were they dressed.
Tribute to Eva Palmer
a beach town next to the
One of the first American openly Lesbian women, Eva Palmer, has chosen to live and built her villa here. Born in 1874 in NYC, at a time when the proto-lesbian identity was articulated, she was an active part of Sappho-inspired communities formulated through creative salons and social/literary networks. (The earliest lover of Natalie Clifford Barnes). An emblematic figure for the Greek culture as well, she was the one and the first who revived,in 1927, the ancient Greek theater and festivities.
The next day we will hike on the mountain Nymphs waterfalls. On Mountain Kyllene the God Hermes, mediator between the gods and the mortals, as well as the music, the first lyre, were born. On the way we will stop to Trikala village, a beloved winter resort in Greece, where we will have a traditional lunch after our hiking. Though the hiking lasts less than an hour, the village offers nice cafes, for those who would prefer to stroll around there.
The place of women's emancipation
We will visit the relics of the only city in the ancient world, where women were relatively emancipated.
Education was free and for both girls and boys, from the age to 7 to the age of 18. Women were polygamous and homosexuality among both men and women along with heterosexuality flourished.
We will sense empowerment next to the relics of the Bronze Athena temple, overlooking the biggest theater of ancient Greece and the cosmic Taygetos mountain top.
The sacred plant of Athena
By visiting the Olive Tree and Greek Oil Museum, we will understand the wisdom of nature and why this plant was dedicated to Athena, the goddess of wisdom.
It will transport you to the culture, history and technology of the olive and olive oil production in the Greek realm, from prehistoric times to the early 20th century.
The Museum's objective is to highlight the ineffable relation of the olive with the identity of our country and, more generally, the Mediterranean basin. The olive and olive oil are presented here from different optical angles: the economy, nutrition and the olive's uses, religious worship, art and technology
Agios Demetrios Zarakas Village
Demeter’s sanctuary was built inside an oak tree forest and next to threshing floors for separating wheat stems from seeds.
The sanctuary has turned into St. Dimitrius church, after which the village, Agios Dimitrios Zarakos, took its name. Here we will stay at Sparta Gaia, Dimitra's family home and various other guest houses.
Every morning we will enjoy a “Greek breakfast” of homemade delights together with coffee and local herbal tea. We will explore this authentic farmers’ and shepherds’ village.
Due to its very characteristic culinary tradition, a Gastronomy Museum has been established here by Dimitra which we will explore. It is named the “Zarakas Life and Gastronomy Museum”.
We will have hands-on experiences of Greece’s culinary traditions since antiquity and learn about the roots of the Mediterranean diet and sustainability in food production and consumption.
Guesthouse & Mythical Garden
This rural 18th century mansion bears witness to Greece's architectural heritage. Sparta Gaia has managed to preserve
the traditional garden design and many original hand-crafted pieces of furniture while at the same time embodying modern amenities such as air conditioning, wifi and various artistic details. The traditional bioclimatic architecture of the building complex is intact.
The four stone apartments are embraced by two acres of garden surrounded by a dry stone-built fence.The organic herbs, olive and almond trees are watered by the rainwater cistern. Dimitra will lead a botanical walk narrating the mythology of the plants.
Sparta Gaia is an peaceful getaway for serenity and inspiration while being only a four minute walk to the village taverns.
Dimitra, our host, guide and award winning archaeologist, inherited this special place from her family. This home inspired in her the love of archaeology and the values of the Greek earth.
Dimitra’s main interest is to give guests a comfortable and unforgettable visit while preserving the old mansion’s authenticity.
Artemis Valley at Mariorema
A unique experience is to sense the deity in the original Artemis valley at Marius, where Pausanias, the ancient Greek traveler mentions that there she was worshipped.
“Marius is another town of the Free Laconians, distant from Geronthrae [Geraki] one hundred stades. Here is an ancient sanctuary common to all the gods, and around it is a grove containing springs. In the sanctuary of Artemis also there are fresh water springs. In fact Marius has an unsurpassed supply of water.” (Pausanias, XXII.8)
We will drive to Artemis stream and fairies valley, Mariorema where Artemis and her Nymphs bathed. Next to old stone “laundries” we will weave together songs and myths and we will be baptized into the wild free women spirit that Artemis represents. Drinking the spring water, we will enjoy a traditional farmer’s picnic with pies cooked by old ladies.
We will continue our itinerary to Geraki (15 km from SG), a village and castle town of byzantine architecture, which preserves the “Penelope’s Loom” tradition. It is also know as the standing loom.
The art of weaving on the vertical loom was developed in Geraki both as a domestic art to meet the family’s needs and as a commercial activity. It is vital to the inhabitants’ cultural identity.
The knowledge of weaving on a vertical loom is passed down from grandmothers and mothers to daughters. In fact, efforts have been made to promote the Geraki weavers with awards at international exhibitions
We will celebrate women's art, learn the symbols on the old carpets and have our own special experience using these historical styles of looms.
The Mythical Rock
The most attractive historical city of Greece today was called in ancient times Minoa, a female name originating from Crete.
Built on a rock and being an important trading harbor along history, it preserves the traces of its occupants - Greeks, Ottomans, Venetians and Arab pirates.
The largest part of the town has been restored under the auspices of the Ephorate of Byzantine Antiquities keeping its character intact.
Enlivening its historical life, we will stroll through the cobble stoned streets that today host cafes, stores, hotels and taverns for its visitors.
Hosting erotic pleasures for the sailors in the past, Monemvasia is present day a romantic destination for many.
The Little Piece of Heaven
Simos Beach on Elafonisos Island is considered one of the best beaches in the country and is known as the "Caribbean of Greece.
It offers an unforgettable experience because of the unsurpassed natural beauty this small island has to offer. Located between the Peloponnese and Kythira, Elafonisos is a small island that is only approximately nineteen square kilometers, or seven square miles, in area.
Journey Through the
Magic of Nature
Yes! We will be on a boat tour through Vlychada Cave in Diros. It is one of the most beautiful caves in the world and is located on the west coast of the Laconian Peninsula, in Diros Bay.
Under the sparse Mani landscape, nature has patiently and artistically sculpted a miracle beyond imagination – white stalactites and stalagmites, impressive waterfalls and glittering crystals adorn every corner, creating an incomparable spectacle that takes your breath away!
Sea Turtle Haven
Located in the south of Mani, a tiny spot in the Peloponnese, Limeni is known for its natural beauty and history. The great news is that Limeni is a hidden gem – not that many tourists know about this beautiful spot, at least not yet, and that means you can explore the untouched landscapes without crowds.
It’s also a place where you can experience local history in abundance.The most striking thing about this small village? The bright blue of the sea – you won’t believe your eyes.
Get Lost in Old Town
It's easy to just get lost in Nafplio’s old town, which is built on a hilly peninsula and topped by a castle.
We can wander through the cobblestone streets, narrow pathways and pedestrianized areas filled with bougainvillea. Around every corner there are cafes, tavernas, and high-end shops to beckon you.
Architecture-wise, there are two Turkish mosques, as well as other historical buildings and
monuments worth seeing, including one that housed the first Greek parliament.
Nafplio’s old town very much has the feel of a typical Greek island and the whole experience is magical.