Wetlands? In Greece?

Yes!  Today (May 16) we walked through a wetland preserve about an hour from Athens — and did many other wonderful things.  Here’s how the morning went:

First, breakfast.  More from the lavish hotel spread: croissant with honey, layered phyllo dough baked with spinach, and tea.

Then we rode a bus out to the Vravrona Wetland, near an ancient temple to Artemis, goddess of the hunt and protector of children and women.  I like that the people of Greece are now protecting Artemis’ sacred place.

This stream leaves the wetlands and travels to the nearby sea.

The Erasinos River leaves the wetlands and travels to the nearby sea.

Vravrona Wetland is a truly mixed-use environment.  Education:

Our guide

Our guide from the Hellenic Ornithological Society.

Conservation:

Some really tall plants!

Some really tall wetland plants!

And agriculture:

We made the sheep a little nervous.

We made the sheep a little nervous.

And where there are sheep, there are sheepdogs.

He's not so sure about us either.

He’s not so sure about us either.

It was an enlightening walk in a unique and beautiful place.

Afterwards, we visited the nearby Archeological Museum of Vravrona displaying items from the Artemis temple site.

Artemis graciously receives a deer.

Artemis graciously receives a deer.

In ancient times, the women of Athens would walk to the temple once every five years in order to hold a festival there honoring their protector.  Girls of 5-10 years would dress in saffron-colored robes or furs in order to resemble little bears, emulating one of Artemis’ sacred animals.

The museum holds many important and beautiful objects found recently at the adjacent archeological site, most of which are feminine objects like combs and toiletry jars not often found at other sites.  One intriguing find is several statues of children; while ancient Greek art rarely depicted children, at Artemis’ temple they were right at home.

Children, more than 2000 years old.

Children, more than 2000 years old.

As at the Acropolis Museum, I am astonished at the freedom we had in this facility to get up close and personal with such ancient items.  No glass, no velvet ropes, between us and stonework carved by tremendously talented artists who are long since gone.  It was a privilege to be so close.

…but what did you eat? I hear you asking.  Well, that’s a story for another post!

 

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