Natural Enigmas

There are certain places in Greece that give out a sense of the “extraordinaire”. Whether mythological connotations, historical ambiguity, or the unlikely existence of something metaphysical come into play, these places serve as points of interest for the inquisitive traveller. Peloponnese has its own share of these not-so-common “attractions”, definitely worth a visit.

THE CHURCH OF SAINT THEODORA (Arcadia)
“THE MIRACULOUS CHAPEL”

In the village Vasta of Megalopolis, there is a Byzantine church of particular interest; one that has made its way to the Guinness World of Records: the Church of Saint Theodora. Positioned next to a creek, the church is a real-life paradox: 17 trees up to 20m high are popping out of its roof! And though the trees have penetrated the stone structure—their branches and trunks literally passing through the walls—the church still stands upright ever since its construction in the 12th cent. AD. The church is named after Theodora, a local girl who died at the site. Story has it that her father, who was very ill, had been ordered to report to the army. As the family was poor and could not afford to hire a mercenary in his place, Theodora, as the eldest child, disguised herself as a male, and joined instead. That led to a series of unfortunate events that eventually got her killed. She was seventeen at the time. Theodora’s last words were: “Lord, may my years become trees and my blood become water”. And so they did!                Source: The Insider’s Travel Guide

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THE PEAK OF MOUNT TAYGETOS (Laconia)
“THE PEAK OF PEAKS”
On the mountain of Taygetos―at an altitude of 2,407m― there is a peak that differs from the rest. The peak of Prophet Elijah, which is the highest peak in southern Greece, forms an almost perfect isosceles triangle.
Visible from miles away, this rock structure raises questions about how it came about: whether it is man-made or a natural occurrence. Some claim it is artificial and that it is actually a carved geo pyramid; others say that the formation is the result of wind-related natural phenomena. The most prevalent view however is that the flat-shaped base of the pyramid serves as an entrance to an 8m deep cave lying underneath.
Another interesting interpretation suggests that the peak once served as an observatory, much like a giant transmitter which directed the geopathic negative energy of the region elsewhere. Legend also has it that the peak of Taygetos is the 1st pyramid ever built on earth. Who really knows!

THE TEMPLE OF SAINT FOTINI (Arcadia)
“MOST UNUSUAL CHURCH IN GREECE”
In the heart of the land of Arcadia, about 12km from the city of Tripoli, there is a stone architectural paradox: a Byzantine church that stands among ruins of ancient temples. The design of Saint Fotini is a particular blend of different architectural styles, combining elements from Greek folk tradition and classical antiquity, as well as from the civilisations of Egypt and Byzantium. The church is built using simple, natural materials (such as stone, marble, wood, tiles) without any cement. Moreover, dissimilar elements come together: mosaic floors depicting ancient myths and Christian stories, internal arches, columns and pediments, the classic octagonal Byzantine design along with elements from the houses of the poor. And as if that wasn’t enough, in the iconographies found within the church, the faces of the saints resemble ancient Greek philosophers, clearly bringing to mind ancient Greece. See the connection?

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