It is telling too that the peony (Gr. paionia), a plant with haemostatic properties, was given by the gods to Apollo because he was a physician. Apollo subsequently gave it to his son, Asklepios. The name Paieon is attributed to the god from as early as the second millennium BC, in Mycenaean texts. Later, it became an epithet of Apollo as healing god. The hymn to Apollo, invoking him to relieve man of misfortunes, is called paian or paean.

Apollo, god and physician of the gods, appears to be the personification of therapeutic power. Capable of sending diseases and plagues to mankind, from the time of the Homeric epics, Apollo could, of course, prevent these or cure those suffering from them.

In the Euxine Pontus Apollo was named familiarly "Iatros" (= physician), while he also had curative powers as Apollo Maleatas on Κynortion, a mountain with many springs, which looms to the southeast of the valley of the Asklepieion of Epidavros. The very ancient cult born there, which was from the outset linked with securing divine aid to ensure health, was destined to develop into the most important healing cult of antiquity, that of Apollo.

The ancient Greeks were wont to trace their beginnings to mythical figures, and in order to prove the existence of these, they associated them with ruins. The three burials and the ruined buildings on the highest peak of Kynortion, of the third millennium BC, must have been the “proof” that here lived heroic ancestors who were gradually transformed into mythical heroes. Among them was the ancestral hero Malas, mythical king of Epidavros, founder of the cult of Apollo Maleatas on Kynortion and, myth has it, great grandfather of Asklepios.

Mount Kynortion was the locus of a very ancient cult in which believers sought healing by magical means. This included purification with water and a “communal” meal with the god. The ceremonial was continued when Apollo Maleatas became lord of the land, while it was kept also in the later Asklepieion of Epidavros, with the additional new element of incubation or enkoimeses (cure in the sleep).


At the top of the mountain, behind the Theatre of the Asklepieion of Epidavros, human presence is attested by three burials dated c. 2800 BC, which were revered until the end of antiquity. In the middle years of the third millennium BC, a small agricultural and stock-raising community existed, possibly because of the existence of many springs. After the third millennium BC the area remained without buildings. In the sixteenth century BC, a sanctuary was established, which enjoyed a heyday throughout the Mycenaean period (1550-1100 BC). The principal deity worshipped was a nature goddess. The Mycenaean sanctuary, unusually large for its time, included an “ash altar”, where animal sacrifices were made.

These were followed by a ceremonial meal. One part of the animal, usually the bones, fell into the pyre as an offering to the god, one part was broiled on skewers for the devotees and one part was boiled so that they took the meat with them as a blessing. This procedure was called “theoxenia” because the pilgrims believed that they offered hospitality (Gr. philoxenia) to the god (Gr. theos), who ate with them his own portion. The consumption of the divine food, a kind of holy communion, provided animal strength.

The Sanctuary of Apollo Maleatas was founded in the eighth century BC. After the founding of the Sanctuary of Asklepios in the adjacent valley, in the sixth century BC, father and son were worshipped in the now twin “Sanctuary of Apollo Maleatas and Asklepios”.

The Epidaurians never ceased to take care of the sanctuary on Mount Kynortion. Around 550 BC the cult of Apollo Maleatas was housed in a naiskos, which was replaced by a Doric temple in 380 BC.

In the fourth century BC a Temenos of the Muses was created. In the second century AD the house of the priests (“skana”) was rebuilt, a nymphaeum (building with fountain), an arched cistern, and other edifices were constructed, gift of the Roman senator Antoninus.


Epidavros Virtual Tour


Epidavros Virtual Tour



Athens, a modern metropolis, a european capital, a nest for all the Mediterranean cultures. Athens, the meeting point of East and West, the harbor of everyone, who still loves passionately life! There are so many different ways to describe and analyse Athens, that any given effort to do a short depiction of the city is nothing but a try doomed to fail. Nevertheless, we will try to underline some of the main characteristics of the city of Athens. Visit Virtual Tour


Knossos was undeniably the capital of Minoan Crete and is the site of one of the most important and better known palaces of Minoan civilisation. Knossos was inhabited for several thousand years, beginning with a neolithic settlement sometime in the seventh millennium BC, and was abandoned after its destruction in 1375 BC which marked the end of Minoan civilization. It was damaged several times during earthquakes, invasions, and in 1450 BC by the colossal volcanic eruption of Thera, and the invasion of Mycenaeans who used it as their capital, while they were ruling the island of Crete until 1375 BC. Knossos was ruled by the dynasty of King Minos and is connected with thrilling legends, such as the myth of the Labyrinth with the Minotaur. Visit Virtual Tour


Known from the Homeric myth, as the mythical island of Phaeacians where the shipwrecked Odysseus was soothed by princess Nausika, Corfu continues to welcome visitors from all around the world. Be a synchronous Odysseus and follow the new destination of YouGoCulture initiative. Having the Central Corfu and its old town which is in the list of the Unesco World Heritage Sites, a journey begins in the history, the traditions and the unique beauties of the island. Visit Virtual Tour


Situated in continental Greece on Mount Parnassus, Delphi was considered to be one of the most important cities of ancient Greece. It was believed to be home to the goddess Gaia, or Earth, and later to Apollo after slaying Gaia’s son, the snake Python. The Pythian games—similar to the Olympic Games—were held here every four years to honour Apollo’s slaying of the Python dragon. Visit Virtual Tour


A breath away from Athens, the birth place of Eleusinian Mysteries and goddess Demeter challenges you to explore it! Eleusis or Eleusina, as now known, one of the five sacred cities of antiquity enjoys the privilege of being located only thirty kilometers from the historic Athens. But let me refresh it! It could be the privilege of Athens to have so nearby a city full of life and history! Visit Virtual Tour


Even today’s visitors feel that they are in a sacred place as soon as they set foot in the Asklepieion of Epidavros. The place where healing was a religious mystery. The sick were cured by the god Asklepios in their sleep (enkoimesis) or received from him instructions on the therapy they should follow. From the sixth century BC until the end of antiquity, hosts of people resorted to the Sanctuary of Asklepios in expectation that their prayers for healing would be heard and answered by the god. These were patients and pilgrims who arrived there bringing precious votive offerings from all parts of the then-known world. Visit Virtual Tour


Peering over the plain of Argolis, up there from the heights of the acropolis, one comes to terms with the superiority of the Mycenaean civilization. It reached its heyday in the Late Bronze Age (1350 - 1200 BCE) and then disappeared, leaving to eternity its legendary acropolis, built on an inaccessible, rocky hill between two ravines. The footprints of the Atreidai, the mythical royal dynasty, are visible to today's visitor and inspire awe in an era like ours, in which myth meets the history of the most important period of the ancient world. Visit Virtual Tour

Ancient Olympia

What can be said of Olympia and not sound like a cliché? The significance of the archaeological site is self-evident, even if one is not familiar with the fascinating historical details and the political background, which literally span thousands of years. Known to the world as the cradle of the Olympic ideal, this open-air museum of imposing ruins and unique artefacts tells a story of religious piety, fair play, political ambition, and demonstration of power. All the buildings you can still admire were erected to please the gods and send a message to the thousands of visitors who swarmed to the sacred grounds. Walking around the Stadium, the Gymnasium and the Temples of Zeus and Hera – both instrumental in the ritual and competitive part of the Games – modern visitors will be able to understand why the event remained relevant even when the rest of the Ancient World was long dead. As an added bonus to the splendour of the site, the Museum of Olympia boasts some of the most famous works of art produced in the long course of Hellenic culture. Visit Virtual Tour


Travelling in the Messenian land from Mount Taygetus to the coast, our glance dives, following the sunlight dipping onto the Messenian plain. From the mountainous volumes to the fertile valley, the olive groves and herbs, we see a landscape of culture, myth, and history, unfold before our eyes. In the heart of the region of Messenia, one town stands out: Ancient Messene. This "blissful plain" as Homer calls it, became a theatre of war and mythical narrations offering a viewpoint on the past and the present. Visit Virtual Tour