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Necromanteion: Greek Oracle of the Dead offers visitors glimpse at the Bronze Age

Added: (Mon Sep 05 2005)

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Sailing to Hades up Acheron River near Parga, Greece bring ancient past back to life as "Gates to Underworld" explored

Necromanteion near Parga, Greece offers modern day tourists a glimpse at ancient life dating back to the 13th century BCE. The Greek Oracle of the Dead was believed to be the entrance to Hades and Persephone. While the ancients came to consult the souls of the dead for a peek at the future, today's visitors are accorded a view into the distant past. Travel writer and photographer Ruth Kozak offers her description of Necromanteion and surrounding ruins in the latest feature posted at www.Travel-Wise.com - "Where Smart Travelers Come First!"

Greece is well known for its ancient ruins, Greek myths and Socratic wisdom. Every year, thousands of visitors go back in time visiting the birthplaces of our western civilization. The Necromanteion near Ephyra is no exception.

"I am on a slow-moving motor launch sailing up the mysterious Acheron River, symbolized in Greek myth as the River Styx. [Fortunately] there are no corpses aboard this boat, their eyes sealed shut with gold coins," describes Ruth.

"I am on my way to visit the Oracle of the Dead, the Necromanteion, a mystical sanctuary that the ancient Greeks believed to be the entrance to the Underworld. Hades!"

The boat trip from the port of Parga ends with a two kilometer walk to the small village of Messopotamo.

"On a hillside behind the village, protected by cyclopean walls and an inner circuit of polygonal masonry, dark passageways lead to the mouth of an underground cavern which was believed to be the entrance to the realm of Hades and Persephone. Ancients came here to consult the souls of the dead who, on leaving their bodies, acquired knowledge of the future."

The Necromanteion near the beautiful town of Parga on Greeceís west coast, belonged to the ancient Bronze Age city of Ephyra. The site had been inhabited since Mycenaean times judging from the finding of several shards and a bronze sword dating to the 13th century BCE.

The Necromanteion was the most famous sanctuary of its kind in antiquity. Many pilgrims visited there including Odysseus, who attempted to conjure Achillesí ghost. The ancients believed that a personsí soul was immortal after its freedom from the body, and that a mortalís contact with the dead, with a view to predict the future, demanded special sacrifices and rituals.

Fortunately, today's tourists are not subjected to the three stages of physical and spiritual testing those ancient pilgrims experienced. Instead, they can simply enjoy the descent into the cold musty crypt and use their imagination to conjure up ghosts of old.

"It is an eerie place, not impossible to imagine how the pilgrims, disoriented and under the influence of potions, could be fooled into believing the Dead were really there communicating with them," says Ruth. Sailing to Hades is a chance to experience a sťance "ancient-style."

For more details about the Necromanteion, as well as other fascinating destinations around the world, visit www.Travel-Wise.com - "Where Smart Travelers Come First!" New travel reviews by professional travel writers are featured each week at this leading international travel website.

Travelers looking for more information about Greek mythological destinations often search for Necromanteion, Nekromanteion, Greek, Greece, Bronze Age, Athens, Ephrya, Aphrya, travellers, travelling, Port of Parga, River Styx, Acheron River and Socrates.

Submitted by:Peter James
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