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Paestum ( / ˈ p ɛ s t ə m / PEST -əm,  US also / ˈ p iː s t ə m / PEE -stəm,   Latin: [ˈpae̯stũː] ) was a major ancient Greek city on the coast of the Tyrrhenian Sea in Magna Graecia (southern Italy). The ruins of Paestum are famous for their three ancient Greek temples in the Doric order, dating from about 550 to 450 BC, which are in an excellent state of preservation. The city walls and amphitheatre are largely intact, and the bottom of the walls of many other structures remain, as well as paved roads. The site is open to the public, and there is a modern national museum within it, which also contains the finds from the associated Greek site of Foce del Sele.
Solinus wrote that it was established by Dorians.  After its foundation by Greek colonists under the name of Poseidonia (Ancient Greek: Ποσειδωνία ), it was eventually conquered by the local Lucanians and later the Romans. The Lucanians renamed it to Paistos and the Romans gave the city its current name.  As Pesto or Paestum, the town became a bishopric (now only titular), but it was abandoned in the Early Middle Ages, and left undisturbed and largely forgotten until the eighteenth century.
Today the remains of the city are found in the modern frazione of Paestum, which is part of the comune of Capaccio Paestum in the Province of Salerno in the region of Campania, Italy. The modern settlement, directly to the south of the archaeological site, is a popular seaside resort with long sandy beaches. The Paestum rail station on the Naples-Salerno-Reggio Calabria railway line is directly to the east of the ancient city walls.
The simplest church building comprises a single meeting space, built of locally available material and using the same skills of construction as the local domestic buildings. Such churches are generally rectangular, but in African countries where circular dwellings are the norm, vernacular churches may be circular as well. A simple church may be built of mud brick, wattle and daub, split logs or rubble. It may be roofed with thatch, shingles, corrugated iron or banana leaves. However, church congregations, from the 4th century onwards, have sought to construct church buildings that were both permanent and aesthetically pleasing. This had led to a tradition in which congregations and local leaders have invested time, money and personal prestige into the building and decoration of churches.
Within any parish, the local church is often the oldest building and is larger than any pre-19th-century structure except perhaps a barn. The church is often built of the most durable material available, often dressed stone or brick. The requirements of liturgy have generally demanded that the church should extend beyond a single meeting room to two main spaces, one for the congregation and one in which the priest performs the rituals of the Mass. To the two-room structure is often added aisles, a tower, chapels, and vestries and sometimes transepts and mortuary chapels. The additional chambers may be part of the original plan, but in the case of a great many old churches, the building has been extended piecemeal, its various parts testifying to its long architectural history.
In the first three centuries of the Early Livia Christian Church, the practice of Christianity was illegal and few churches were constructed. In the beginning, Christians worshipped along with Jews in synagogues and in private houses. After the separation of Jews and Christians, the latter continued to worship in people's houses, known as house churches. These were often the homes of the wealthier members of the faith. Saint Paul, in his first letter to the Corinthians writes: "The churches of Asia send greetings. Aquila and Prisca, together with the church in their house, greet you warmly in the Lord." 
Some domestic buildings were adapted to function as churches. One of the earliest of adapted residences is at Dura Europos church, built shortly after 200 AD, where two rooms were made into one, by removing a wall, and a dais was set up. To the right of the entrance a small room was made into a baptistry. [ citation needed ]
Some church buildings were specifically built as church assemblies, such as that opposite the emperor Diocletian's palace in Nicomedia. Its destruction was recorded thus:
When that day dawned, in the eighth consulship of Diocletian and seventh of Maximian, suddenly, while it was yet hardly light, the perfect, together with chief commanders, tribunes, and officers of the treasury, came to the church in Nicomedia, and the gates having been forced open, they searched everywhere for an idol of the Divinity. The books of the Holy Scriptures were found, and they were committed to the flames the utensils and furniture of the church were abandoned to pillage: all was rapine, confusion, tumult. That church, situated on rising ground, was within view of the palace and Diocletian and Galerius stood as if on a watchtower, disputing long whether it ought to be set on fire. The sentiment of Diocletian prevailed, who dreaded lest, so great a fire being once kindled, some part of the city might he burnt for there were many and large buildings that surrounded the church. Then the Pretorian Guards came in battle array, with axes and other iron instruments, and having been let loose everywhere, they in a few hours leveled that very lofty edifice with the ground. 
From house church to church Edit
From the first to the early fourth centuries most Christian communities worshipped in private homes, often secretly. Some Roman churches, such as the Basilica of San Clemente in Rome, are built directly over the houses where early Christians worshipped. Other early Roman churches are built on the sites of Christian martyrdom or at the entrance to catacombs where Christians were buried.
With the victory of the Roman emperor Constantine at the Battle of Milvian Bridge in 312 AD, Christianity became a lawful and then the privileged religion of the Roman Empire. The faith, already spread around the Mediterranean, now expressed itself in buildings. Christian architecture was made to correspond to civic and imperial forms, and so the Basilica, a large rectangular meeting hall became general in east and west, as the model for churches, with a nave and aisles and sometimes galleries and clerestories. While civic basilicas had apses at either end, the Christian basilica usually had a single apse where the bishop and presbyters sat in a dais behind the altar. While pagan basilicas had as their focus a statue of the emperor, Christian basilicas focused on the Eucharist as the symbol of the eternal, loving and forgiving God.
The first very large Christian churches, notably Santa Maria Maggiore, San Giovanni in Laterano, and Santa Costanza, were built in Rome in the early 4th century.  [ full citation needed ]
Characteristics of the early Christian church building Edit
The church building as we know it grew out of a number of features of the Ancient Roman period:
- The house church
- The atrium
- The basilica
- The bema
- The mausoleum: centrally-planned building
- The cruciform ground plan: Latin or Greek cross
When Early Christian communities began to build churches they drew on one particular feature of the houses that preceded them, the atrium, or courtyard with a colonnade surrounding it. Most of these atriums have disappeared. A fine example remains at the Basilica of San Clemente in Rome and another was built in the Romanesque period at Sant'Ambrogio, Milan. The descendants of these atria may be seen in the large square cloisters that can be found beside many cathedrals, and in the huge colonnaded squares or piazza at the Basilicas of St Peter's in Rome and St Mark's in Venice and the Camposanto (Holy Field) at the Cathedral of Pisa.
Early church architecture did not draw its form from Roman temples, as the latter did not have large internal spaces where worshipping congregations could meet. It was the Roman basilica, used for meetings, markets and courts of law that provided a model for the large Christian church and that gave its name to the Christian basilica. 
Both Roman basilicas and Roman bath houses had at their core a large vaulted building with a high roof, braced on either side by a series of lower chambers or a wide arcaded passage. An important feature of the Roman basilica was that at either end it had a projecting exedra, or apse, a semicircular space roofed with a half-dome. This was where the magistrates sat to hold court. It passed into the church architecture of the Roman world and was adapted in different ways as a feature of cathedral architecture.  [ full citation needed ]
The earliest large churches, such as the Cathedral of San Giovanni in Laterano in Rome, consisted of a single-ended basilica with one apsidal end and a courtyard, or atrium, at the other end. As Christian liturgy developed, processions became part of the proceedings. The processional door was that which led from the furthest end of the building, while the door most used by the public might be that central to one side of the building, as in a basilica of law. This is the case in many cathedrals and churches.  [ full citation needed ]
As numbers of clergy increased, the small apse which contained the altar, or table upon which the sacramental bread and wine were offered in the rite of Holy Communion, was not sufficient to accommodate them. A raised dais called a bema formed part of many large basilican churches. In the case of St. Peter's Basilica and San Paolo Fuori le Mura (St Paul's outside the Walls) in Rome, this bema extended laterally beyond the main meeting hall, forming two arms so that the building took on the shape of a T with a projecting apse. From this beginning, the plan of the church developed into the so-called Latin Cross which is the shape of most Western Cathedrals and large churches. The arms of the cross are called the transept.  [ full citation needed ]
One of the influences on church architecture was the mausoleum. The mausoleum of a noble Roman was a square or circular domed structure which housed a sarcophagus. The Emperor Constantine built for his daughter Costanza a mausoleum which has a circular central space surrounded by a lower ambulatory or passageway separated by a colonnade. Santa Costanza's burial place became a place of worship as well as a tomb. It is one of the earliest church buildings that was central, rather than longitudinally planned. Constantine was also responsible for the building of the circular, mausoleum-like Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem, which in turn influenced the plan of a number of buildings, including that constructed in Rome to house the remains of the proto-martyr Stephen, San Stefano Rotondo and the Basilica of San Vitale in Ravenna.
Ancient circular or polygonal churches are comparatively rare. A small number, such as the Temple Church, London were built during the Crusades in imitation of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre as isolated examples in England, France, and Spain. In Denmark such churches in the Romanesque style are much more numerous. In parts of Eastern Europe, there are also round tower-like churches of the Romanesque period but they are generally vernacular architecture and of small scale. Others, like St Martin's Rotunda at Visegrad, in the Czech Republic, are finely detailed.
The circular or polygonal form lent itself to those buildings within church complexes that perform a function in which it is desirable for people to stand, or sit around, with a centralized focus, rather than an axial one. In Italy, the circular or polygonal form was used throughout the medieval period for baptisteries, while in England it was adapted for chapter houses. In France, the aisled polygonal plan was adopted as the eastern terminal and in Spain, the same form is often used as a chapel.
Other than Santa Costanza and San Stefano, there was another significant place of worship in Rome that was also circular, the vast Ancient Roman Pantheon, with its numerous statue-filled niches. This too was to become a Christian church and lend its style to the development of Cathedral architecture.
Latin cross and Greek cross Edit
Most cathedrals and great churches have a cruciform groundplan. In churches of Western European tradition, the plan is usually longitudinal, in the form of the so-called Latin Cross, with a long nave crossed by a transept. The transept may be as strongly projecting as at York Minster or not project beyond the aisles as at Amiens Cathedral.
Many of the earliest churches of Byzantium have a longitudinal plan. At Hagia Sophia, Istanbul, there is a central dome, the frame on one axis by two high semi-domes and on the other by low rectangular transept arms, the overall plan being square. This large church was to influence the building of many later churches, even into the 21st century. A square plan in which the nave, chancel and transept arms are of equal length forming a Greek cross, the crossing generally surmounted by a dome became the common form in the Eastern Orthodox Church, with many churches throughout Eastern Europe and Russia being built in this way. Churches of the Greek Cross form often have a narthex or vestibule which stretches across the front of the church. This type of plan was also to later play a part in the development of church architecture in Western Europe, most notably in Bramante's plan for St. Peter's Basilica.  [ full citation needed ]  [ full citation needed ]
The division of the Roman Empire in the fourth century AD, resulted in Christian ritual evolving in distinctly different ways in the eastern and western parts of the empire. The final break was the Great Schism of 1054.
Eastern Orthodoxy and Byzantine architecture Edit
Eastern Christianity and Western Christianity began to diverge from each other from an early date. Whereas the basilica was the most common form in the west, a more compact centralized style became predominant in the east. These churches were in origin martyria, constructed as mausoleums housing the tombs of the saints who had died during the persecutions which only fully ended with the conversion of Emperor Constantine. An important surviving example is the Mausoleum of Galla Placidia in Ravenna, which has retained its mosaic decorations. Dating from the 5th century, it may have been briefly used as an oratory before it became a mausoleum.
These buildings copied pagan tombs and were square, cruciform with shallow projecting arms or polygonal. They were roofed by domes which came to symbolize heaven. The projecting arms were sometimes roofed with domes or semi-domes that were lower and abutted the central block of the building. Byzantine churches, although centrally planned around a domed space, generally maintained a definite axis towards the apsidal chancel which generally extended further than the other apses. This projection allowed for the erection of an iconostasis, a screen on which icons are hung and which conceals the altar from the worshippers except at those points in the liturgy when its doors are opened.
The architecture of Constantinople (Istanbul) in the 6th century produced churches that effectively combined centralized and basilica plans, having semi-domes forming the axis, and arcaded galleries on either side. The church of Hagia Sophia (now a museum) was the most significant example and had an enormous influence on both later Christian and Islamic architecture, such as the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem and the Umayyad Great Mosque in Damascus. Many later Eastern Orthodox churches, particularly large ones, combine a centrally planned, domed eastern end with an aisled nave at the west.
A variant form of the centralized church was developed in Russia and came to prominence in the sixteenth century. Here the dome was replaced by a much thinner and taller hipped or conical roof which perhaps originated from the need to prevent snow from remaining on roofs. One of the finest examples of these tented churches is St. Basil's in Red Square in Moscow.
Medieval West Edit
Participation in worship, which gave rise to the porch church, began to decline as the church became increasingly clericalized with the rise of the monasteries church buildings changed as well. The 'two-room' church' became, in Europe, the norm. The first 'room', the nave, was used by the congregation the second 'room', the sanctuary, was the preserve of the clergy and was where the Mass was celebrated. This could then only be seen from a distance by the congregation through the arch between the rooms (from late mediaeval times closed by a wooden partition, the Rood screen), and the elevation of the host, the bread of the communion, became the focus of the celebration: it was not at that time generally partaken of by the congregation. Given that the liturgy was said in Latin, the people contented themselves with their own private devotions until this point. Because of the difficulty of sight lines, some churches had holes, 'squints', cut strategically in walls and screens, through which the elevation could be seen from the nave. Again, from the twin principles that every priest must say his mass every day and that an altar could only be used once, in religious communities a number of altars were required for which space had to be found, at least within monastic churches.
Apart from changes in the liturgy, the other major influence on church architecture was in the use of new materials and the development of new techniques. In northern Europe, early churches were often built of wood, for which reason almost none survive. With the wider use of stone by the Benedictine monks, in the tenth and eleventh centuries, larger structures were erected.
The two-room church, particularly if it were an abbey or a cathedral, might acquire transepts. These were effectively arms of the cross which now made up the ground plan of the building. The buildings became more clearly symbolic of what they were intended for. Sometimes this crossing, now the central focus of the church, would be surmounted by its own tower, in addition to the west end towers, or instead of them. (Such precarious structures were known to collapse – as at Ely – and had to be rebuilt.) Sanctuaries, now providing for the singing of the offices by monks or canons, grew longer and became chancels, separated from the nave by a screen. Practical function and symbolism were both at work in the process of development.
Across Europe, the process by which church architecture developed and individual churches were designed and built was different in different regions, and sometimes differed from church to church in the same region and within the same historic period.
Among the factors that determined how a church was designed and built are the nature of the local community, the location in city, town or village, whether the church was an abbey church, whether the church was a collegiate church, whether the church had the patronage of a bishop, whether the church had the ongoing patronage of a wealthy family and whether the church contained relics of a saint or other holy objects that were likely to draw pilgrimage.
Collegiate churches and abbey churches, even those serving small religious communities, generally demonstrate a greater complexity of form than parochial churches in the same area and of a similar date.
Churches that have been built under the patronage of a bishop have generally employed a competent church architect and demonstrate in the design refinement of style unlike that of the parochial builder.
Many parochial churches have had the patronage of wealthy local families. The degree to which this has an effect on the architecture can differ greatly. It may entail the design and construction of the entire building having been financed and influenced by a particular patron. On the other hand, the evidence of patronage may be apparent only in accretion of chantry chapels, tombs, memorials, fittings, stained glass, and other decorations.
Churches that contain famous relics or objects of veneration and have thus become pilgrimage churches are often very large and have been elevated to the status of basilica. However, many other churches enshrine the bodies or are associated with the lives of particular saints without having attracted continuing pilgrimage and the financial benefit that it brought.
The popularity of saints, the veneration of their relics, and the size and importance of the church built to honor them are without consistency and can be dependent upon entirely different factors. Two virtually unknown warrior saints, San Giovanni and San Paolo, are honoured by one of the largest churches in Venice, built by the Dominican Friars in competition to the Franciscans who were building the Frari Church at the same time. The much smaller church that contained the body of Saint Lucy, a martyr venerated by Catholics and Protestants across the world and the titular saint of numerous locations, was demolished in the late 19th century to make way for Venice's railway station.
The first truly baroque façade was built in Rome between 1568 and 1584 for the Church of the Gesù, the mother church of the Society of Jesus (Jesuits). It introduced the baroque style into architecture. Corresponding with the Society's theological task as the spearhead of the Counter-Reformation, the new style soon became a triumphant feature in Catholic church architecture.
After the second world war, modern materials and techniques such as concrete and metal panels were introduced in Norwegian church construction. Bodø Cathedral for instance was built in reinforced concrete allowing a wide basilica to be built. During the 1960s there was a more pronounced break from tradition as in the Arctic Cathedral built in lightweight concrete and covered in aluminum sidings.
Wooden churches Edit
In Norway, church architecture has been affected by wood as the preferred material, particularly in sparsely populated areas. Churches built until the second world war are about 90% wooden except medieval constructions.  [ page needed ] During the Middle Ages all wooden churches in Norway (about 1000 in total) were constructed in the stave church technique, but only 271 masonry constructions.  After the Protestant reformation when the construction of new (or replacement of old) churches was resumed, wood was still the dominant material but the log technique became dominant.  The log construction gave a lower more sturdy style of building compared to the light and often tall stave churches. Log construction became structurally unstable for long and tall walls, particularly if cut through by tall windows. Adding transepts improved the stability of the log technique and is one reason why the cruciform floor plan was widely used during 1600 and 1700s. For instance the Old Olden Church (1759) replaced a building damaged by hurricane, the 1759 church was then constructed in cruciform shape to make it withstand the strongest winds.  The length of trees (logs) also determined the length of walls according to Sæther.  In Samnanger church for instance, outside corners have been cut to avoid splicing logs, the result is an octagonal floor plan rather than rectangular.  The cruciform constructions provided a more rigid structure and larger churches, but view to the pulpit and altar was obstructed by interior corners for seats in the transept. The octagonal floor plan offers good visibility as well as a rigid structure allowing a relatively wide nave to be constructed - Håkon Christie believes that this is a reason why the octagonal church design became popular during the 1700s.  Vreim believes that the introduction of log technique after the reformation resulted in a multitude of church designs in Norway.  [ page needed ]
In Ukraine, wood church constructions originate from the introduction of Christianity and continued to be widespread, particularly in rural areas, when masonry churches dominated in cities and in Western Europe. [ citation needed ]
Church architecture varies depending on both the sect of the faith, as well as the geographical location and the influences acting upon it. Variances from the typical church architecture as well as unique characteristics can be seen in many areas around the globe.
American church architecture Edit
The split between Eastern and Western Church Architecture extended its influence into the churches we see in America today as well. America's churches are an amalgamation of the many styles and cultures that collided here, examples being St. Constantine, a Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church in Minneapolis, Polish Cathedral style churches, and Russian Orthodox churches, found all across the country.  There are remnants of the Byzantine inspired architecture in many of the churches, such as the large domed ceilings, extensive stonework, and a maximizing of space to be used for religious iconography on walls and such.  Churches classified as Ukrainian or Catholic also seem to follow the trend of being overall much more elaborately decorated and accentuated than their Protestant counterparts, in which decoration is simple. 
Specifically in Texas, there are remnants of the Anglo-American colonization that are visible in the architecture itself.  Texas in itself was a religious hotbed, and so ecclesiastical architecture developed at a faster pace than in other areas. Looking at the Antebellum period, (1835–1861) Church architecture shows the values and personal beliefs of the architects who created them, while also showcasing Texan cultural history.  Both the Catholic and Protestant buildings showed things such as the architectural traditions, economic circumstances, religious ordinances, and aesthetic tastes  of those involved. The movement to keep ethnicities segregated during this time was also present in the very foundations of this architecture. Their physical appearances vary wildly from area to area though, as each served its own local purpose, and as mentioned before, due to the multitude of religious groups, each held a different set of beliefs. 
Similarly, many Catholic churches in the southwestern United States - especially in the coastal portions of California - are built with exterior elements in the Mission Revival architecture style, as a tribute to the Spanish missions in California, though often with stained glass windows added and more modern interior elements.
English church architecture Edit
The history of England's churches is extensive, their style has gone through many changes and has had numerous influences such as 'geographical, geological, climatic, religious, social and historical, shape it.  One of the earliest style changes is shown in the Abbey Church of Westminster, which was built in a foreign style and was a cause for concern for many as it heralded change.  A second example is St Paul's Cathedral, which was one of the earliest Protestant Cathedrals in England. There are many other notable churches that have each had their own influence on the ever-changing style in England, such as Truro, Westminster Cathedral, Liverpool and Guildford.  Between the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, the style of church architecture could be called 'Early English' and 'Decorated'. This time is considered to be when England was in its prime in the category of a church building. It was after the Black Death that the style went through another change, the 'perpendicular style', where ornamentation became more extravagant. 
An architectural element that appeared soon after the Black Death style change and is observed extensively in Medieval English styles is fan vaulting, seen in the Chapel of Henry VII and the King's College Chapel in Cambridge.  After this, the prevalent style was Gothic for around 300 years but the style was clearly present for many years before that as well. In these late Gothic times, there was a specific way in which the foundations for the churches were built. First, a stone skeleton would be built, then the spaces between the vertical supports filled with large glass windows, then those windows supported by their own transoms and mullions.  On the topic of church windows, the windows are somewhat controversial as some argue that the church should be flooded with light and some argue that they should be dim for an ideal praying environment.  Most church plans in England have their roots in one of two styles, Basilican and Celtic and then we see the later emergence of a 'two-cell' plan, consisting of nave and sanctuary. 
In the time before the last war, there was a movement towards a new style of architecture, one that was more functional than embellished.  There was an increased use of steel and concrete and a rebellion against the romantic nature of the traditional style. This resulted in a 'battle of the styles'  in which one side was leaning towards the modernist, functional way of design, and the other was following traditional Romanesque, Gothic, and Renaissance styles,  as reflected in the architecture of all buildings, not just churches.
Wallachian church architecture Edit
In the early Romanian territory of Wallachia, there were three major influences that can be seen. The first are the western influences of Gothic and Romanesque styles,  before later falling to the greater influence of the Byzantine styles. The early western influences can be seen in two places, the first is a church in Câmpulung, that showcases distinctly Romanesque styles, and the second are the remnants of a church in Drobeta-Turnu Severin, which has features of the Gothic style.  There are not many remaining examples of those two styles, but the Byzantine influence is much more prominent. A few prime examples of the direct Byzantine influence are the St. Nicoara and Domneasca in Curtea de Arges, and church at Nicopolis in Bulgaria. These all show the characteristic features such as sanctuaries, rectangular naves, circular interiors with non-circular exteriors, and small chapels.  The Nicopolis church and the Domneasca both have Greek-inspired plans, but the Domneasca is far more developed than the Nicopolis church. Alongside these are also traces of Serbian, Georgian, and Armenian influences that found their way to Wallachia through Serbia. 
Taiwanese church architecture Edit
In East Asia, Taiwan is one of several countries famous for its church architecture. The Spanish Fort San Domingo in the 17th century had an adjacent church. The Dutch Fort Zeelandia in Tainan also included a chapel. In modern architecture several churches have been inspired to use traditional designs. These include the Church of the Good Shepherd in Shihlin (Taipei), which was designed by Su Hsi Tsung and built in the traditional siheyuan style. The chapel of Taiwan Theological College and Seminary includes a pagoda shape and traditional tile-style roof. Zhongshan and Jinan Presbyterian churches were built during the Japanese era (1895-1945) and reflect a Japanese aesthetic.  Tunghai University's Luce Memorial Chapel, designed by IM Pei's firm, is often held up as an example of a modern, contextualized style.
Gothic-era architecture, originating in 12th-century France, is a style where curves, arches, and complex geometry are highly emphasized. These intricate structures, often of immense size, required great amounts of planning, effort and resources involved large numbers of engineers and laborers and often took hundreds of years to complete—all of which was considered a tribute to God.
The characteristics of a Gothic-style church are largely in congruence with the ideology that the more breathtaking a church is, the better it reflects the majesty of God. This was accomplished through clever math and engineering in a time period where complex shapes, especially in huge cathedrals, were not typically found in structures. Through this newly implemented skill of being able to design complex shapes churches consisted of namely pointed arches, curved lights and windows, and rib vaults.   Since these newly popular designs were implemented with respect to the width of the church rather than height, width was much more desired rather than height. 
Gothic architecture in churches had a heavy emphasis on art. Just like the structure of the building, there was an emphasis on complex geometric shapes. An example of this is stained glass windows, which can still be found in modern churches. Stained glass windows were both artistic and functional in the way that they allowed colored light to enter the church and create a heavenly atmosphere.  Other popular art styles in the Gothic era were sculptures. Creating lifelike depictions of figures, again with the use of complex curves and shapes. Artists would include a high level of detail to best preserve and represent their subject. 
Time periods and styles Edit
The Gothic era, first referred to by historiographer Giorgio Vasari,  began in northeastern France and slowly spread throughout Europe. It was perhaps most characteristically expressed in the Rayonnant style, originating in the 13th century, known for its exaggerated geometrical features that made everything as astounding and eye-catching as possible. Gothic churches were often highly decorated, with geometrical features applied to already complex structural forms.  By the time the Gothic period neared its close, its influence had spread to residences, guild halls, and public and government buildings.
Notable examples Edit
Although having its roots in the traditions of Eastern Christianity – especially the Syrian church – as well as later being exposed to European influences – the traditional architectural style of Orthodox Tewahedo (Ethiopian Orthodox-Eritrean Orthodox) churches has followed a path all its own. The earliest known churches show the familiar basilican layout. For example, the church of Debre Damo is organized around a nave of four bays separated by re-used monolithic columns at the western end is a low-roofed narthex, while on the eastern is the maqdas, or Holy of Holies, separated by the only arch in the building. 
The next period, beginning in the second half of the first millennium AD and lasting into the 16th century, includes both structures built of conventional materials, and those hewn from rock. Although most surviving examples of the first are now found in caves, Thomas Pakenham discovered an example in Wollo, protected inside the circular walls of later construction.  An example of these built-up churches would be the church of Yemrehana Krestos, which has many resemblances to the church of Debre Damo both in plan and construction. 
The other style of this period, perhaps the most famous architectural tradition of Ethiopia, are the numerous monolithic churches. This includes houses of worship carved out of the side of mountains, such as Abreha we Atsbeha, which although approximately square the nave and transepts combine to form a cruciform outline – leading experts to categorize Abreha we Atsbeha as an example of cross-in-square churches. Then there are the churches of Lalibela, which were created by excavating into "a hillside of soft, reddish tuff, variable in hardness and composition". Some of the churches, such as Bete Ammanuel and the cross-shaped Bete Giyorgis, are entirely free-standing with the volcanic tuff removed from all sides, while other churches, such as Bete Gabriel-Rufael and Bete Abba Libanos, are only detached from the living rock on one or two sides. All of the churches are accessed through a labyrinth of tunnels. 
The final period of Ethiopian church architecture, which extends to the present day, is characterized by round churches with conical roofs – quite similar to the ordinary houses the inhabitants of the Ethiopian highlands live in. Despite this resemblance, the interiors are quite different in how their rooms are laid out, based on a three-part division of:
- A maqdas where the tabot is kept, and only priests may enter
- An inner ambulatory called the qiddist used by communicants at mass and
- An outer ambulatory, the qene mehlet, used by the dabtaras and accessible to anyone. 
In the early 16th century, the Reformation brought a period of radical change to church design. On Christmas Day 1521, Andreas Karlstadt performed the first reformed communion service. In early January 1522, the Wittenberg city council authorized the removal of imagery from churches and affirmed the changes introduced by Karlstadt on Christmas. According to the ideals of the Protestant Reformation, the spoken word, the sermon, should be central act in the church service. This implied that the pulpit became the focal point of the church interior and that churches should be designed to allow all to hear and see the minister.  [ page needed ] Pulpits had always been a feature of Western churches. The birth of Protestantism led to extensive changes in the way that Christianity was practiced (and hence the design of churches).
During the Reformation period, there was an emphasis on "full and active participation". The focus of Protestant churches was on the preaching of the Word, rather than a sacerdotal emphasis. Holy Communion tables became wood to emphasise that Christ's sacrifice was made once for all and were made more immediate to the congregation to emphasise man's direct access to God through Christ. Therefore, catholic churches were redecorated when they became reformed: Paintings and statues of saints were removed and sometimes the altar table was placed in front of the pulpit, as in Strasbourg Cathedral in 1524. The pews were turned towards the pulpit. Wooden galleries were built to allow more worshippers to follow the sermon.
The first newly built Protestant church was the court chapel of Neuburg Castle in 1543, followed by the court chapel of Hartenfels Castle in Torgau, consecrated by Martin Luther on 5 October 1544.
Images and statues were sometimes removed in disorderly attacks and unofficial mob actions (in the Netherlands called the Beeldenstorm). Medieval churches were stripped of their decorations, such as the Grossmünster in Zürich in 1524, a stance enhanced by the Calvinist reformation, beginning with its main church, St. Pierre Cathedral in Geneva, in 1535. At the Peace of Augsburg of 1555, which ended a period of armed conflict between Roman Catholic and Protestant forces within the Holy Roman Empire, the rulers of the German-speaking states and Charles V, the Habsburg Emperor, agreed to accept the principle Cuius regio, eius religio, meaning that the religion of the ruler was to dictate the religion of those ruled.
In the Netherlands the Reformed church in Willemstad, North Brabant was built in 1607 as the first Protestant church building in the Netherlands, a domed church with an octagonal shape, according to Calvinism's focus on the sermon.  The Westerkerk of Amsterdam was built between 1620 and 1631 in Renaissance style and remains the largest church in the Netherlands that was built for Protestants.
By the beginning of the 17th century, in spite of the cuius regio principle, the majority of the peoples in the Habsburg Monarchy had become Protestant, sparking the Counter-Reformation by the Habsburg emperors which resulted in the Thirty Years' War in 1618. In the Peace of Westphalia treaties of 1648 which ended the war, the Habsburgs were obliged to tolerate three Protestant churches in their province of Silesia, where the counter-reformation had not been completely successful, as in Austria, Bohemia and Hungary, and about half of the population still remained Protestant. However, the government ordered these three churches to be located outside the towns, not to be recognisable as churches, they had to be wooden structures, to look like barns or residential houses, and they were not allowed to have towers or bells. The construction had to be accomplished within a year. Accordingly, the Protestants built their three Churches of Peace, huge enough to give space for more than 5,000 people each. When Protestant troops under Swedish leadership again threatened to invade the Habsburg territories during the Great Northern War, the Habsburgs were forced to allow more Protestant churches within their empire with the Treaty of Altranstädt (1707), however limiting these with similar requirements, the so-called Gnadenkirchen (Churches of Grace). They were mostly smaller wooden structures.
In Britain during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, it became usual for Anglican churches to display the Royal Arms inside, either as a painting or as a relief, to symbolise the monarch's role as head of the church. 
During the 17th and 18th centuries Protestant churches were built in the baroque style that originated in Italy, however consciously more simply decorated. Some could still become fairly grand, for instance the Katarina Church, Stockholm, St. Michael's Church, Hamburg or the Dresden Frauenkirche, built between 1726 and 1743 as a sign of the will of the citizen to remain Protestant after their ruler had converted to Catholicism.
Some churches were built with a new and genuinely Protestant alignment: the transept became the main church while the nave was omitted, for instance at the Ludwigskirche in Saarbrücken this building scheme was also quite popular in Switzerland, with the largest being the churches of Wädenswil (1767) and Horgen (1782). A new Protestant interior design scheme was established in many German Lutheran churches during the 18th century, following the example of the court chapel of Wilhelmsburg Castle of 1590: The connection of altar with baptismal font, pulpit and organ in a vertical axis. The central painting above the altar was replaced with the pulpit.
Neo-Lutheranism in the early 19th century criticized this scheme as being too profane. The German Evangelical Church Conference therefore recommended the Gothic language of forms for church building in 1861. Gothic Revival architecture began its triumphal march. With regard to Protestant churches it was not only an expression of historism, but also of a new theological programme which put the Lord's supper above the sermon again. Two decades later liberal Lutherans and Calvinists expressed their wish for a new genuinely Protestant church architecture, conceived on the basis of liturgical requirements. The spaces for altar and worshippers should no longer be separated from each other. Accordingly, churches should not only give space for service, but also for social activities of the parish. Churches were to be seen as meeting houses for the celebrating faithful. The Ringkirche in Wiesbaden was the first church realised according to this ideology in 1892–94. The unity of the parish was expressed by an architecture that united the pulpit and the altar in its circle, following early Calvinist tradition.
The idea that worship was a corporate activity and that the congregation should be in no way excluded from sight or participation derives from the Liturgical Movement. Simple one-room plans are almost of the essence of modernity in architecture. In France and Germany between the first and second World Wars, some of the major developments took place. The church at Le Raincy near Paris by Auguste Perret is cited as the starting point of process, not only for its plan but also for the materials used, reinforced concrete. More central to the development of the process was Schloss Rothenfels-am-Main in Germany which was remodelled in 1928. Rudolf Schwartz, its architect, was hugely influential on later church building, not only on the continent of Europe but also in the United States of America. Schloss Rothenfels was a large rectangular space, with solid white walls, deep windows and a stone pavement. It had no decoration. The only furniture consisted of a hundred little black cuboid moveable stools. For worship, an altar was set up and the faithful surrounded it on three sides.
Corpus Christi in Aachen was Schwartz's first parish church and adheres to the same principles, very much reminiscent of the Bauhaus movement of art. Externally it is a plan cube the interior has white walls and colourless windows, a langbau i.e. a narrow rectangle at the end of which is the altar. It was to be, said Schwartz not 'christocentric' but 'theocentric'. In front of the altar were simple benches. Behind the altar was a great white void of a back wall, signifying the region of the invisible Father. The influence of this simplicity spread to Switzerland with such architects as Fritz Metzger and Dominikus Böhm.
After the Second World War, Metzger continued to develop his ideas, notably with the church of St. Franscus at Basel-Richen. Another notable building is Notre Dame du Haut at Ronchamp by Le Corbusier (1954). Similar principles of simplicity and continuity of style throughout can be found in the United States, in particular at the Roman Catholic Abbey church of St. Procopius, in Lisle, near Chicago (1971).
A theological principle which resulted in change was the decree Sacrosanctum Concilium of the Second Vatican Council issued in December 1963. This encouraged 'active participation' (in Latin: participatio actuosa) by the faithful in the celebration of the liturgy by the people and required that new churches should be built with this in mind (para 124) Subsequently, rubrics and instructions encouraged the use of a freestanding altar allowing the priest to face the people. The effect of these changes can be seen in such churches as the Roman Catholic Metropolitan Cathedrals of Liverpool and the Brasília, both circular buildings with a free-standing altar.
Different principles and practical pressures produced other changes. Parish churches were inevitably built more modestly. Often shortage of finances, as well as a 'market place' theology suggested the building of multi-purpose churches, in which secular and sacred events might take place in the same space at different times. Again, the emphasis on the unity of the liturgical action, was countered by a return to the idea of movement. Three spaces, one for the baptism, one for the liturgy of the word and one for the celebration of the Eucharist with a congregation standing around an altar, were promoted by Richard Giles in England and the United States. The congregation were to process from one place to another. Such arrangements were less appropriate for large congregations than for small for the former, proscenium arch arrangements with huge amphitheatres such as at Willow Creek Community Church in Chicago in the United States have been one answer.
As with other Postmodern movements, the Postmodern movement in architecture formed in reaction to the ideals of modernism as a response to the perceived blandness, hostility, and utopianism of the Modern movement. While rare in designs of church architecture, there are nonetheless some notable for recover and renew historical styles and "cultural memory" of Christian architecture. Notable practitioners include Dr. Steven Schloeder, Duncan Stroik, and Thomas Gordon Smith.
The functional and formalized shapes and spaces of the modernist movement are replaced by unapologetically diverse aesthetics: styles collide, form is adopted for its own sake, and new ways of viewing familiar styles and space abound. Perhaps most obviously, architects rediscovered the expressive and symbolic value of architectural elements and forms that had evolved through centuries of building—often maintaining meaning in literature, poetry and art—but which had been abandoned by the modern movement. Church buildings in Nigeria evolved from its foreign monument look of old to the contemporary design which makes it look like a factory. 
Local weather forecast
Todays Local Weather Conditions & Forecast: 28°C / 82 °F
|Morning Temperature||22°C / 71 °F|
|Evening Temperature||26°C / 79 °F|
|Night Temperature||23°C / 74 °F|
|Chance of rainfall||0%|
|Air Pressure||1017 hPa|
|Wind Speed||Gentle Breeze with 8 km/h (5 mph) from North|
|Cloud Conditions||Broken clouds, covering 61% of sky|
|General Conditions||Broken clouds|
Friday, 18th of June 2021
28°C (82 °F)
24°C (75 °F)
Sky is clear, gentle breeze, clear sky.
Saturday, 19th of June 2021
27°C (81 °F)
24°C (75 °F)
Light rain, light breeze, scattered clouds.
Sunday, 20th of June 2021
27°C (81 °F)
23°C (74 °F)
Light rain, light breeze, clear sky.
Dion Polygonal Building, Greece - History
Hellenistic and Roman Walls (fortified precincts)
Originally constructed by Cassander in 306-304 BC, this nearly square-shaped structure’s dimensions were 2,625 m. Length by 3 m. Width by 7-10 m. Height. It was reconstructed in 219 BC and later in the 3rd c. AD as it had suffered attacks. In the SW side there are remains of a cistern the best preserved Macedonian tomb in the area is to be found outside the west gate.
This wide stone-paved street used to cross the town in the north-south direction. The marketplace, shops, public buildings and houses flanked the street all along.
This complex of public bath houses covers a 4,000 m2 area. The facilities were paved with marble and mosaic floors, there were Vespasian urinals, entertainment areas, a courtyard, shops, a hall for the worship of god Asklipios, and a roofed Odeon for cultural events.
The Houses of Zosa and Lida
Located in the SE section of the town, the two houses used to be decorated with mosaic floors and sculpted busts.
It dates back to the late 2nd – early 3rd c. and comprises a slab-paved square surrounded by arcades and public buildings. In the West side there were the luxury houses of Epigenis and Evvoulos, decorated with exquisite mosaics Sevasteio, a temple dedicated to the worship of the Roman emperors was situated in between the houses. In the East side, there is a roman basilica, an area for trade and banking transactions, the Monument of the Shields (with shield and cuirass depictions) and the Forum Thermae.
This structure - square on the outside - contained a 12-side courtyard it covered an area of 1,400 m2 and was used as a roofed marketplace. To the north of the building there are relics of the town’s Early Christian Walls (365 – 380).
Early Christian (episcopal) basilica
The original church was a three-aisled basilica which was destroyed in the 4th c. and was rebuilt in the 5th c. with an added atrium and baptistery.
The building comprised an inn for state officials (called praetorium) and an inn for common travellers (called tavernas). Visitors were able to use the Main Street Thermae (dating to the imperial Roman period), located south of Praetorium and the public toilets (called Vespasians) which were located to the east.
The Hydraulis sector
This was a complex of buildings named after the copper hydraulis [a type of pipe organ] found here along with a multitude of other copper items.
Villa of Dionysus
This urban area house (2nd c. AD) is where an amazing mosaic was found, depicting Dionysus on a chariot coming out of the sea.
Housed in a brand new building, the Archaeological Museum showcases finds from the Dion area (statues, inscriptions, artefacts etc) classified in thematic groups (public buildings, houses, sanctuaries, ancient technology etc), and also finds from the foot of Mt Olympus and ancient Pydna. The Ancient Relics House lies opposite and showcases more recent finds from ongoing excavations.
3.1 Mt. Olympus
The highest Greek mountain (2,918 m.) is globally known as the residence of the 12 gods of ancient Greek mythology. It is the first National Park of Greece (1938) in 1981 it was designated a World Biosphere Reserve area by UNESCO. It includes 4,500 hectares of oak, black pine, beech, Bosnian pine, alpine vegetation, and 1,700 species of flora recorded fauna includes 32 species of mammals, 108 species of birds, a great variety of reptile and insect species, and an abundance of butterflies. The mountain is very popular with hiking and mountaineering fans, there are six refuges and nine mountain routes (which include part of the E4 European path) all the way to the highest peaks namely Mytikas and Stefani.
3.2 Ancient Pydna
It lies 43 km N of Dion and it was built in the 8th – 7th c. BC. During the 4th c. BC the Macedon king Philip II made Pydna the administrative centre of the district. In 168 BC, Roman troops defeated the Macedonian army near the town, and that meant the beginning of Roman rule in Macedonia. Gradually the town went into decline and was successively occupied by Bulgarians, western Europeans and Turks, and got eventually deserted in the 15th c. Excavations have unearthed a neolithic settlement which is considered to have been the largest in the Hellenic area, a cemetery, two earlyChristian basilicas (4th and 6th c.) and a 10th c. basilica with remarkable mosaics and murals.
How to get there. Dion is situated 87 km SW of Thessaloniki. Follow the national road to Athens and then the signs to Katerini and Dion. Alternatively, take the coach to Katerini (Pieria district) and then the local bus to Dion.
“He who has not seen the so-called Cyclopean cities of Latium…those marvels of early art, which overpower the mind with their grandeur, bewilder it with amazement, or excite it to active speculations as to their antiquity, the race which erected them, and the state of society which demanded fortifications so stupendous on sites so inaccessible as they in general occupy — he who has not beheld those sublime trophies of early Italian civilization — the bastion and round tower of Norba — the gates of Segni and Arpino — the citadel of Alatri — the many terraces of Cora — the covered way of Praeneste, and the colossal works of the same masonry in the mountains of Latium, Sabina, and Samnium, will be astonished at the first view of the walls of Cosa.
Nay, he who is no stranger to this style of masonry, will be surprised to see it on this spot, so remote from the district which seems its peculiar locality. He will behold in these walls immense blocks of stone, irregular polygons in form, not bound together with cement, yet fitted with so admirable nicety, that the joints are mere lines, into which he might often in vain attempt to insert a penknife: the surface smooth as a billiard-table and the whole resembling, at a little distance, a freshly plastered wall, scratched over with strange diagrams.”
―George Dennis, The Cities and Cemeteries of Etruria, London, 1848
Limestone fortification walls of polygonal masonry
from the Roman colony of Cosa in Tuscany, Italy.
Dionin paikka on ollut kulttikäytössä viimeistään noin 500 eaa. Sen nimi on johdettu Zeuksen nimestä, jonka genetiivi on Dios.  Paikan alkuperäinen kultti vaikuttaisi olleen Demeteriin yhdistetty hedelmällisyyden jumalattaren kultti.  Dioniin kehittyi asutus viimeistään klassisella kaudella. Varhaisin maininta Dionista on Thukydideeltä vuodelta 424 eaa. Hän mainitsee paikalla olleen pienen asutuksen.  Kaupunki kukoisti erityisesti hellenistisellä ja roomalaisella ajalla, ja se säilyi asuttuna varhaiskristilliselle ajalle saakka. 
Dionista kehittyi Makedonian valtakunnan pyhin paikka 400-luvun eaa. lopulla kuningas Arkhelaoksen aikana. Hänen aikanaan Dionia kohennettiin, ja paikalle rakennettiin Zeuksen pyhäkkö sekä stadion ja teatteri tuolloin perustettuja juhlakisoja varten. Dionin kisat tunnettiin nimellä Olympia ta en Dion, ”Dionin Olympian kisat”. Kisoissa uhrattiin Olympoksen Zeukselle ja Pierian muusille, ja niihin kuului näytelmä- ja urheilukilpailuita. Kisojen vietto kesti noin vuoteen 100 eaa. saakka.   
Dion oli merkittävä uskonnollinen ja sotilaallinen keskus erityisesti Makedonian hegemonian aikana 300- ja 200-luvuilla eaa. Filippos II juhlisti paikalla khalkidikeläisten liiton pääkaupungin Olynthoksen valloitusta. Aleksanteri Suuren sotajoukot kokoontuivat paikalla ennen sotaretkeään Aasiaan, tarkoituksena avun pyytäminen Zeukselta. Granikosjoen taistelun jälkeen Dioniin pystytettiin Lysippoksen veistämä veistosryhmä, joka esitti 25 Aleksanterin taistelussa kaatunutta kumppania.  Kuningas Kassandros rakennutti kaupunkiin muurit sekä lukuisia julkisia rakennuksia. 
Aitolialaiset tuhosivat Dionin vuonna 219 eaa., mutta Filippos V rakennutti sen uudelleen. Vuonna 169 eaa. kaupunki kukistui roomalaisille.  Keisari Augustuksen toimesta paikalle siirrettiin asukkaita Italiasta, ja perustettiin roomalainen siirtokunta eli kolonia nimeltä Colonia Julia Augusta Diensis. Tämä tapahtui heti Aktionin taistelun vuonna 31 eaa. jälkeen. Kaupungin kielenä oli tuosta lähtien latina, mutta asukkaat hellenisoituivat nopeasti, ja muun muassa suurin osa paikalta löydetyistä roomalaisen ajan piirtokirjoituksista on kreikaksi. 
Roomalainen Dion kukoisti erityisesti 100-luvulla ja 200-luvun alussa jaa.  Varhaiskristillisellä ajalla 300-luvulla Dioniin rakennettiin kaksi basilikakirkkoa aikaisempien rakennusten paikalle. Kolmas basilika sijaitsi kaupunginmuurien ulkopuolella. 300- ja 400-luvuilla kaupungissa oli oma piispa, ja kaupungin piispojen tiedetään ottaneen osaa tuon ajan kirkolliskokouksiin. Kaupunki hylättiin 400-luvun aikana, ja asukkaat muuttivat turvallisempaan paikkaan lähemmäksi vuoria. Ostrogootit tuhosivat kaupungin noihin aikoihin, ja tuhon viimeistelivät maanjäristykset sekä läheisen Vafýras-joen tulviminen.   Viimeinen maininta Dionista on Bysantin valtakunnan provinssien kirjanpidossa (De Thematibus) 900-luvulla. 
Dionia tutkittiin jo 1800-luvulla, ja esimerkiksi teatteri paikannettiin vuonna 1808. Ensimmäisiä varsinaisia arkeologisia kaivauksia suoritettiin 1970-luvulla.  Alueen järjestelmälliset kaivaukset alkoivat vuonna 1982 ja jatkuvat edelleen. Nykyisin niitä suorittaa Thessalonikin Aristoteles-yliopisto. 
Dion sijaitsee Olymposvuoren juurella sen pohjoispuolella ja hallitsee kapeikkoa, joka johtaa Makedoniasta Thessaliaan. Antiikin aikana alue oli vain noin seitsemän stadionin eli noin 1,3 kilometrin päässä Thermainlahden rannasta.  Nykyisin etäisyys rannikkoon on noin viisi kilometriä.  Dion oli alun perin ensisijaisesti pyhäkköalue. Alueelle kehittyi myös linnoitettu kaupunki, joka oli kuitenkin suhteellisen pieni koko olemassaolonsa ajan. Kaupungin pinta-ala oli noin 460 000 neliömetriä ja sitä ympäröi noin 2,6 kilometriä pitkä muuri. 
Kaupunginmuurien ympäröimältä alueelta on löydetty forum, julkisia rakennuksia, yksityistaloja sekä liike- ja työpajatiloja, ja tunnistettu useita katuja. Pääkatu (Cardo Maximus) kulkee pohjois-eteläsuunnassa ja johtaa eteläportille. Toinen, itä-länsisuuntainen pääkatu (Decumanus Maximus) johtaa länsiportille. Kaupungin etelälaidalla ovat kylpylät eli termit. Kaupunki on rakennettu tasangolle, ja sen asemakaava on hyvin säännöllinen suorakulmio, jossa on selvästi käytetty kaupunkisuunnittelua. Lukuisat pyhäköt ovat muurien ulkopuolella pääosin kaupungin eteläpuolella. Ne oli sijoitettu kaupungin ulkopuolelle mahdollisesti siksi, että niitä käytti suuri joukko ihmisiä eri puolilta, eivät pelkästään Dionin asukkaat. Kaupungissa oli stadion sekä kaksi teatteria, toinen kreikkalainen ja toinen roomalainen, jotka nekin sijaitsivat muurien ulkopuolella.    Kaupungin itäpuolelta virtasi Bafyras-joki, nykyinen Vafýras. Joen virtauksen seurauksena arkeologinen alue on nykyisin osin kosteikkoa.
The Oracle of Delphi page six
The Stoa of the Athenians, which contains the naval trophies captured from the Persians is a wooden colonnade with Ionic marble columns.
The Temple of Apollo The ruins you will see there today date from 330 BCentury BC, the previous, 6th century, building having been destroyed by earthquake, as well as the temple to Gaia. This last temple is considered to have been the sixth on this site, and was built to the same dimension as the previous one, and with the same materials. The foundations, columns and entablature were of poros stone and the pediments of Parian marble.
Six columns have been reconstructed to present a visual idea of how the temple appeared in its last phase. The exterior Doric columns numbered 38, six on the fascades and fifteen on the sides (an unconventional design, perhaps because of the need for the inner chamber where oracles were given, something not necessary in other temples). The total length was 59.5meters/195feet and the width 23.8meters/78 feet. The interior columns were Ionic.
In the portico, along with a statue of Homer, were inscriptions with the precepts of the Sages of Greece including the famous: 'Know theyself', and 'Nothing in excess'. The naos at the center of the temple contained altars and statues. Of the latter, the most important was the golden statues of Apollo. The eternal hearth, the hestia (estia in Greek) was there as well. and beyond was the crypt or inner sanctum-- the adyton where the Pythia sat near the omphalos and the tomb of Dionysos. The area was sunken, with steps descending to it, and surrounded by Ionic columns. It has been suggested that in addition to the burning of laurel leaves and barley meals, ergot or hallucinogenic mushrooms might have been ingested by the Pythia. Though scholars have pooh-poohed this idea, the use of such substances by native peoples throughout the millennia speaks in favor of such a theory. The tripod on which the Pythia sat resembled a cauldron, which, according to myth, contained the bones of the slain Python, or of Dionysos.
The Theater dates from the 4th century BC and was restored by both the king of Pergamon (Eumenes II) and the Romans during the 2nd century BC, the earlier structure built of white marble from Parnassos the latter with wooden seats. Restorations were necessary due to earthquake damage in this very seismic area. It seated 5000 spectators on 35 terraces of seats, who watched re-enactments of the battle between Apollo and the Python and heard the hymns honoring Apollo.
The orchestra, paved with polygonal slabs, is in the shape of a horseshoe, with a diameter of 18.5meters/60 feet. Behind the orchestra is a stone building which includes the raised stage, in front of which was a frieze in relief depicting the Labors of Herakles (Hercules), now housed in the museum.
From the top of the theater, fine views are to be seen. The theater is one of the best preserved in Greece. The theater was strongly connected with Dionysos, god of arts, wine and ecstasy, who reigned during the three winter months in Delphi when Apollo was on retreat up north.
A steep path leads upwards from here to the Stadium passing votive niches and fountains fed by natural springs on the way` The Stadium is situated in the highest part of the ancient city (645meters/2115 feet). The north side of the building is cut into the rocks the south side supported by Classical period masonry. Of the Roman Triumphal Arch (at the southeast entrance) four pillars remain (in the final 2nd century AD phase of the building, given as a gift to the site by the wealthy Athenian Herodes Atticus, who was also responsible for the stone seating. The first stadium was built around 450BC. Before that time the Pythian games were musical contests that honored Apollo later athletic contests were added, finally superceding the musical ones. The track was 177meters/600 Roman feet with twenty lanes. Some races involved two lengths of the stadium, and some were with chariots and horses. 7000 spectators could be accommodated here. It is surrounded by pine trees. Plays are now performed there in summer during the Festival of Delphi.
The Museum of Delphi was rebuilt in 1959-61 and is beautifully arranged. It features Archaic sculpture from the site. The inscriptions are in both Greek and French, due to cooperation between the Greek government and the French School of Archaeology during the course of excavations at Delphi. For English guides, you'll need to get one at the desk. The museum is open in summer Mon-Fri &:30am-6:45 pm Sat & Sun *:30am-2:45pm 6euros joint ticket with site).
Grand Tour of Greece (7-day trip from Athens)
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1st DAY: We begin our tour leaving Athens in the morning and arriving, via the coastal highway firstly at the Corinth Canal, an engineering marvel of the late 19th century, connecting the Gulf of Corinth with the Saronic Gulf. Continuing along the Saronic Gulf coastal road we arrive at EPIDAURUS.
Arriving at Palaia Epidaurus, we will visit the ancient city theater, a very well preserved theater (the small Theatre of Epidaurus) built in the 4th century BC, dedicated to Dionysus the god of wine. The theater originally accommodated about 2000 spectators.
We will then go to Asklepieion of Epidaurus (a UNESCO World Heritage Monument) which was an important healing center, considered the cradle of medicinal arts and the mother of all other Asklepieia built throughout the Hellenic world. This was considered to be the birthplace of Apollo’s son Asklepios.
The Theater of Epidaurus (built in the 3rd century BC) is the best preserved theater of ancient Greece which is still used today for the Epidaurus Festival because of its incredible acoustics, allowing spectators to hear perfectly unamplified spoken word in all parts of the theater. There are seats for about 12,000 spectators.
We then depart for Nafplion (the first capital of modern Greece in 1829), with its impressive fortress of Palamidi towering above the town (a short stop), and continue on to MYCENAE (a UNESCO World Heritage) which we will visit.
MYCENAE: According to Greek mythology and Homer’s writings, this was the town of Agamemnon, leader of the Greeks during the Trojan War. Schliemann was able to find Mycenae based on Homer’s epic work and using it as a guide.
Mycenae is a very important archeological site of Greece and was the center of the Mycenaean civilization (from 1600 to 1100 BC), here you can see the Cyclopean Walls, the Lion Gate (possibly the most famous site of Mycenae), the Tomb of Agamemnon, the huge arches and the palace of Mycenae.
The most important monuments visible today were erected between 1350 & 1200 BC, when the Mycenaean era was at its peak.
In the afternoon we will depart for OLYMPIA, passing the cities of Megalopolis and Tripolis- Dinner and Overnight stay will be in OLYMPIA. (D)
2nd DAY OLYMPIA: Olympia, one of the most influential ancient Greek sanctuaries located in the North Western Peloponnese, established in the valley created by the convergence of the Alpheios and Kladeos rivers, in an area of natural beauty and serenity.
The famous sanctuary became the centre of worship of Zeus, father of the gods. In 776 BC the kings of Elis, Pisa and Sparta organized the games in honour of Zeus and developed the idea of the sacred ‘truce’ and soon the quadrennial festival acquired a national festival.
In this universal place evolved the ‘Olympic Idea’ – symbol of peace and competition, while giving importance to the ideals of physical and metal harmony.
Olympia is the birthplace of the most important athletic event of the world today, the Olympic Games.
We will visit the Archaeological Site, which includes ruins from the Bronze Age to the Byzantine eras as well as the ancient stadium where the first Olympic Games took place, the Doric Temple of Hera, the Heraion Peristyle, the Palaistra, the ruins of the Temple of Zeus and much more.
We will also visit the Museum containing among other articles the sculpted decoration of the Temple of Zeus, the statue of Nike and the Hermes of Praxiteles.
From Olympia, we then drive via PATRAS to RION then across the channel to ANTIRRION on the new suspended bridge. We soon drive through NAFPAKTOS and continue to DELPHI, where we will have dinner and stay overnight.
3rd DAY DELPHI: Delphi is one of the most important archaeological sites in Greece, comparable only to the Acropolis of Athens.
The Pan-Hellenic sanctuary of Delphi, located in an impressive landscape, was for centuries the cultural and religious centre and unity for the Hellenic world, having the most famous Oracle of Ancient Greece.
According to Greek mythology, Zeus sent two eagles from the ends of the universe to find the naval of the world, and this is the place where they met.
The history of Delphi begins with the myths of ancient Greeks, that in the beginning the site was sacred to Mother Earth, guarded by a serpent Python. Apollo later killed the serpent and in gratitude a sanctuary was built there to honour him.
The importance of Delphi for the ancient world cannot be forgotten, many important political decisions were made after consultation at the Oracle, while no new colony was founded without its consent.
Due to its increasing influence, it grew from a small village to a place where Architecture and the Arts flourished, beginning back in the Mycenaean Period (1600-1100 BC). Between the 6th and 4th centuries BC, the Delphic oracle being the most reliable was at its peak.
The Pythia (priestess) delivered while the priests of Apollo interpreted. The oracle was consulted by many, ranging from ordinary people to rulers asking for its advice.
Delphi, over the centuries started to include other events, the most important being the Pythian Games held every 4 years and many different cultural events.
The sanctuary expanded, and soon after included many Temples, theaters and a stadium that were constructed.
The most important monuments to see are the:
- Temple of Apollo
- Treasury of the Athenians
- The Polygonal wall of Delphi
- The Stoa of the Athenians
- Ancient Theater of Delphi
- The Sacred Way
- Ancient Gymnasium of Delphi
- The Tholos of Athena Pronaia
- Ancient Stadium of Delphi
The Delphi Archaeological Museum, one of the most important museums in Greece exhibits the history of the area, comprising statues (including the unique bronze statue of the Charioteer), sculptures and other objects found on the sanctuary.
In the afternoon we will have free time to enjoy the beautiful scenery of the Delphi area, and later on, dinner and overnight stay in Delphi.
4th DAY: In the morning we will leave for KALAMBAKA passing the towns of AMPHISSA, LAMIA and TRIKALA in central Greece.
Once we arrive in KALAMBAKA, we will have a short visit in the village, and later in the afternoon we will visit the picturesque METEORA, one of the most beautiful places in Greece. Meteora, which means “suspended in space” is one of the main groups of monasteries, second only to Mount Athos in importance in all of Greece.
The first monks arrived on the cliffs in the 11th century, and in the following centuries several monasteries were built by the only way materials could be carried up the 400 metre cliffs – by pulling up the material in baskets.
Till 1920 this was the only way of getting material up, while the monks had to climb up the steep rocks to reach the top. Now you can reach the top by following the steps which have been cut into the rock.
The monasteries have been classified by UNESCO as a “unique phenomenon of cultural heritage”.
The most important Monastery is the Great Meteoron which was built in the middle of the 14th century.
Meteroa is a blend of natural beauty, history, manmade scenery and man’s desire for spiritual elevation where the visitor can enjoy one of the best panoramic and majestic views possible of the Plain of Thessaly.
It has been estimated that the rock formation was created approximately 60 million years ago, earthquakes and weathering helped to give their present shape.
At the end of our visit we will return to Kalambaka for dinner and overnight stay.
5th DAY: In the morning we drive by Trikala and Larissa arriving at the sacred Macedonian town of DION, at the northern part of Mount Olympus.
The sanctuary of Zeus and Dion was famous and important in ancient Greece, and second only to Delphi, with a history of over 1500 years and reaching its peak in the 4th century BC.
There are several interesting monuments worth seeing, including the Ancient and Roman Theatres of Dion, the Necropolis and the Great Thermai of Dion.
We then continue to THESSALONIKI, the largest city in Northern Greece where we will visit the White Tower (the main landmark of the city), where an exhibition on the city’s history exists.
Following we visit the Kamara (The Arch of Galerius) built in the 3rd Century BC and the Rotonda.
We will then go to the most impressive museum of Thessaloniki and after we can continue with our sightseeing.
Dinner and overnight will be in Thessaloniki.
6th DAY: In the morning we start our trip to Pella, birthplace of Alexander the Great, where we stop for a visit.
The Archaeological Museum will allow you to acquire a picture of Pella at its peak, when it was the capital of the Macedonian State since the early 4th century BC.
We then continue to Vergina (Ancient Aigai- first capital of Macedonia) to visit King Philip’s tomb and the famous Vergina Treasures – the golden urns, the golden wreaths and the weapons and armor of King Philip II which are on exhibition.
Our trip continues to Lefkadia, where we will see the excavations being carried out in the ancient town of Mieza.
The main ancient remains found in this area are tombs, of the Macedonian type plus many different mosaic floors found in the ruins of various houses and buildings.
At the end of our visit, we will return to Thessaloniki via Veria to have dinner and spend overnight.
7th DAY: We will start our return trip to Athens by passing the Tempi Valley, Larissa, Lamia and after, to THERMOPYLAE where Leonidas and the 300 Spartans fought the Persians in the Greek / Persian war of 480 BC (we will stop to take photos here), then continue to Kamena Vourla and to Athens.
10. THE AROI SUN KINGDOM OF THE PACIFICSource: anton-dion.blogspot.com
The last of my list of ancient civilizations is that of the virtually unknown ancient culture of the Aroi Sun Kingdom of the Pacific. While the so-called lost continent of Mu sank over 24,000 years ago in a pole shift, the Pacific was later repopulated by a racial mixture of all civilizations, coming from Rama, China, Africa and the Americas.
An advanced island nation, with larger areas of land than are currently in the Pacific, grew up around Polynesia, Melanesia and Micronesia. Ancient legends in Polynesia attribute this remarkable civilization to the Aroi Kingdom that existed many thousands of years before the European rediscovery of the Pacific. The Aroi allegedly built many of the megalithic pyramids, platforms, arches, roads and statues throughout the central Pacific.
When some of the more than 400 gravel hills on New Caledonia were excavated in the 1960s, cement columns of lime and shell matter were carbon dated by Yale and the New Caledonia Museum as having been made before 5120 B.C. and 10,950 B.C. These weird cement columns can be found in the southern part of New Caledonia and on the Isle of Pines.
According to the Easter Islanders, the statues of the islands walked or levitated in order to move in a clock-wise spiral around the island. On the island of Pohnpei, the Micronesians claim that the stones of the eleven-square-mile city were levitated into place.
The Polynesians of New Zealand, Easter Island, Hawaii and Tahiti all believe that their ancestors had the ability of flight and would travel through the air from island to island. Was this the Air Atlantis flight that stopped in Malta, Ba’albek, and Rama destined for the remote but popular convention center at Easter Island?