Ultra Race - Delphi - Olympia - 255 kms

Historic Toponyms

ANCIENT TOPONYMES ON THE RACE ROUTE


THE ANCIENT PATH KIRRA–DELPHI

Kirra is a modern town on the Corinthian Gulf hiding in its sub-soil the ruins of the ancient city of Kirra, built 3.000 years ago. Homer refers to Kirra under the name of Krissa (Iliad, B-250).
The ancient city was rich and powerful and pilgrims disembarked in its port on their way to Delphi to search the oracle by the priestess Pythia.
According to Pausanias, the city was ornated with temples dedicated to Apollo and Artemis, with colossal statues and private houses richly decorated.
There were, too, buildings housing the port authorities, shipyards, aqueducts, and public buildings.
Ruins of the ancient city-walls, of the port and of residences have been preserved to the present days but they are covered by the sea water.
Nowadays, the ancient path starting from its port and leading to Delphi is well-preserved and it takes 4-5h walk to get there. It is crossed by the European path “E4” linking Gibraltar to Cyprus, 6.800m long which is also crossing the famous Amfissa, (the capital of the region), olive-grove. The ancient path terminates in front of the Delphi archeological site as in ancient times.
The ancient path Kirra-Delphi offers you the opportunity to be a part of History by walking in the foot-steps of the pilgrims who used to take this path up till Delphi oracle when they were in search of the famous prophesies out of Pythia’s words.

Ruins of an ancient temple next to the ancient path Kirra-Delphi

Excavations conducted since 2005, by the archeologist, Mrs. Despina Skorda, at about 300m.from Delphi, along the ancient path Kirra-Delphi, have brought into light ruins of an ancient temple of the archaic period, 6th c.B.C. and ruins of another building in the middle of the temple of the roman period.
These ruins can be visible on the right hand side on the way down the ancient path Kirra-Delphi shetered under a tent.

GALAXIDI

The small town of Galaxidi on the Corinthian Gulf was known as Halio in ancient times and flourished since the Prehistoric period thanks to its geographic configuration and the maritime trade being the sole occupation of its inhabitants.
Archeological findings in the area brought into light mostly amphora’s dating back to the 3rd millenary B.C. while parts of the city’s walls from the Hellenistic and roman period have been preserved down to the present time.
During the Greek Revolution (1821-1829) for the liberation from the Turkish yoke, the city had extensively contributed by scarifying its fortunes, its fleet and even more the life of its sons.
Over the years 1870, the expansion of sailing-boats brought wealth into the city and bestowed upon it its urban character unalterable up to now.
The Maritime and Historic Museum houses ancient art works and a unique collection of thematic paintings of sailing-boats.
Private residences most beautiful examples of last century’s architecture ornate the sea- side area.
A visit today at Galaxidi reminds of its maritime past with its old-times’ charm still met everywhere across the town bearing no traces of any decay.

NAFPAKTOS

naypaktos The history of Nafpaktos dates back to the ancient times. The city appears for the first time in 1104 B.C. with the descent of the Dorians who had been using it to construct there their first rudimentary crafts because of the abundant woodlands in the neighboring areas and thus been able to cross over the Gulf of Corinth.
During the ancient times, the city had been, successively, under the rule of the Athenians, the Spartans, king Philippos of Macedonia and the Romans as from 191 B.C.
During the roman dominion the city had flourished in large extent due to its vicinity with the Peloponnese.
The venetian castle and the venetian port, very well preserved down to the present time, date back to the roman sovereignty.(1407-1499)
The naval battle of Nafpaktos in 1571 won by the Christians against the Turcs had been a decisive landmark in the European history.


PATRAS

patra The third largest urban area of Greece and regional capital of Western Greece, located at 212km west of Athens.
The city is built in hemicycle around the homonymous Gulf, at a distance of 20km from the feet of Mount Panackaikon.
The first traces of settlement in Patras date as early as the 3rd millennium B.C.
Patras flourished for the first time in the Mycenaean period (1580-1100 B.C.).
In Roman times it was to be an important port and a Christian centre since the early days of Christianity It is also the city where Saint Andrews was martyrised and crucified.
Patras was one of the first cities in which the Greek Revolution began in 1821 for the liberation from the Turkish yoke that lasted for four centuries. The city was liberated by the French Expeditionary Force under the command of General MAISON in 1828 whose name was given to main streets in Patras and Athens.

Every year in February the city of Patras celebrates one of Europe’s greatest and most impressive Carnivals culminated by the parade of chars decorated with flowers and themes of current events turned into satirical sketches and numerous balls spreading enjoyment and cheerfulness to the tens of thousands of visitors in high spirits day and night.


FARES

City of Achaea, 50 stadia from Patras (9km), and 100 stadia from the sea (18km) built on the banks of the river Piros on the western slope of mount Erymanthos.
It was a member of the Achaean League too and a very important centre in the Mycenaean period.
Pausanias relates that in his time there were the surrounding wall of the agora, Herme’s marble statue and the famous altar from where people used to take the god’s prophesy following a precise procedure. There was, too, “a source with the god’s sacred water”.
Nowadays, the location and the boundaries of the ancient city have been established and excavations have brought into light public roman baths, epigraphs, an ancient cemetery and Mycenaean tombs.


TRITEIA

Ancient city-state of Achaea, located at 120 stadia from Fares, on the western slope of Mount Erymanthos, nearby the village of Kalentzi.
It was a flourishing city, a very important commercial centre and a member of the Achaean League.
According to Pausanias, a funeral monument of white marble was erected at the entrance of the city, decorated with a number of sculptured epigraphs, a work by the Athenian famous painter Nicias, contemporary and disciple of the great sculptor Praxiteles of the 5thc B.C.
Excavations carried out in the region have brought into light the agora foundations, funeral steles of the Roman times and ruins of a great temple close to Kalentzi.
Remains of a Roman temple had also been discovered within the enclosure of the city, under which another important building had been found, too, dating back to the 3rd c. B.C, a period of Triteia’s greater prosperity. The city had been inhabited already in the Mycenaean times as proven by cemeteries excavated at several sites in the region.


LASSION

The city of Lassion was located in the centre of the Foloi plateau and its first settlers were Achaeans. The date of its foundation remains unknown. It was an important and powerful city-state and member of the Achaean League.
The city’s castle, discovered and described by Walker in1842, was constructed on a grandiose site, a nature’s admirable work to be used as fortress.
Lassion had suffered catastrophes and plundering by Philippos E’of Macedonia, the Goths and other local invaders. Its total destruction was caused by a tremendous earthquake that pulled down the whole of Elis and Achaea in 522 AD.
In our days one can see traces of the city’s wall, ruins of dwellings, fragments of columns, tombs, (one of which is said to belong to Folos) and an ancient cemetery.
A civilization and a history absolutely remarkable had been buried under this heap of ruins, still historians and archeologists of all ages never paid attention to the cities of Akroria (ancient name of the Foloi plateau)as it has always been attracted by Olympia, the illustrious neighbour.


THE ACHAEAN LEAGUE

It was an ancient federation, founded in 289 B.C. by 12 Achaean cities. It was dissolved in 146 B.C. when the Peloponnese came under the Roman rule.
The cities-states of the League settled their conflicts and protected their common interests.
The administrative system of the League was one of the early representative political systems where decisions were taken by the cities’ representatives in the Central Assembly.


THE FOLOI WOODLAND

This is a plateau of 4.200 hectares, covering the SW sloping part of mount Erymanthos, located at 25km north of Olympia. It is one of the largest, most beautiful and rare oak woodlands in Europe. The trees are as high as 20m-40m and are among the few spermophore ones encountered across the European oak woodlands.
It is included in the NATURA 2000 programme because of its unique ecological, aesthetic and cultural importance, highly evaluated since ancient times.

foloiMyths of the Foloi woodland
The ancient Greeks’ imagination had set the Centaurs’ dwelling in the Foloi woodland, depicting them as mythological creatures with the upper part of their body human and the lower part that of an animal (horse).
The myth says that one of Hercules’s works, the 4th, is related to the Foloi woodland, to the Centaurs and to the Erymanthios wild boar, which was a colossal mythological animal living in the nearby ravine, killing people, animals and ravaging fields.
Hercules arrived at the forest following an order by the king of Argos to capture the wild boar and bring it back to him. There he met with his friend Folos, the Centaurs’ king, and as they were eating and drinking, the smell of the wine excited the other Centaurs which rushed at Hercules to take back their wine. There had been a combat, Hercules chased off after them to the far end of the Peloponnese, killing killing nearly all of them. When Hercules returned found his friend Folos dead, killed by a poisonous arrow that slipped from his hands, pierced his foot and killed him.
Hercules buried his friend and to honour him named the forest after him, and since that mythological era the forest is called the Foloi woodland. He then dashed out to exterminate the wild boar and managed, thanks to his extraordinary ingenious, to trap the beast in his net and bring it on his shoulders back to the king.
The Erymanthios wild boar symbolizes the furious river which, when overflowed, causes extended damage and Hercules the force that manages to turn it into a useful and irrigable river.
The ravine attributed to the wild boar is called, nowadays, “The Erymanthios Wild Boar Ravine” and is considered of great historical and ecological and cultural importance.

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