Today was our last day of our Greece-mainland tour, and it was another great one! The weather would once again be perfect, with sun and blue skies, and temps in the 80s. The weather has provided clear visibilities the entire trip so far! Thanks be to God for this blessing!
“Today we saw two different type of sites – one from the Old Testament period with the other mentioned in the New Testament. The scenery of the Peloponnese is so very beautiful too. It was another perfect weather day!”
Leaving our hotel around 8 a.m., we drove along the coastline of the Adriatic Sea as well as through the scenic mountains of the Peloponnese for about 2 hours to Mycenae. Unlike some of the classical and biblical sites we have seen so far, this site takes us back to about 1,400 BC. The site resembles an Old Testament tel, in certain ways, in Israel. Fortified by a huge stone wall around the city and the famous Lion’s Gate, we ascended up to the top. The views in all directions were fantastic. Just inside the gate we saw what is left of one of ten circular beehive tombs. It was here where the famous gold masks were discovered! Nearby we actually walked into one of this tombs, the famous tomb of Agamemnon (dating to around 1,250 BC).
What makes this site so interesting is the theory that the Mycenaeans were the Aegean area forerunners to the Philistines of the Old Testament (some would suggest the Minoans were as well). In either case, people migrated to Israel from somewhere in this Aegean area.
After seeing the site, we enjoyed a wonderful lunch in the small town of Mycenae.
About 30 minutes away is the impressive New Testament site of Corinth. Paul spent a year and a half here during his second missionary journey. While there was Jewish population that lived here in Paul’s day, the city was quite pagan, with 14 temples. We read from Acts 18 and 2 Corinthians 4 by the bema overlooking the forum. Paul would have addressed people here. Gallio also would have spoken from here when address the accusations about Paul. The bema was where judgement was pronounced.
At the site we saw the Temple of Apollo (now with only 7 pillars of the 30 still standing, it dates to the 6th century BC), the cardo (or main north-south pavement used by people coming into Corinth from the port), and the area sacrificial meat was sold (1 Cor. 10). We also saw the recent inscription of a man named Erastus (Romans 16:24). He was Corinth’s director of public works. Upon leaving the site, we drove up to the acropolis of Corinth. While we could not enter due to being closed, the view from here was spectacular!
On our way to Athens, we stopped briefly to see the Corinthian Canal. This canal joins the Adriatic (Ionian) Sea with the Aegean Sea. It is 3.4 miles in length, 80 feet wide, 280 feet high, with the water level only 26 feet. At the eastern end of the canal is Cenchrea. From this small harbor Paul ended his second journey and sailed back to Jerusalem.
After crossing this canal, we drove about an hour, arriving at our hotel in Athens about 6:45. We checked in and enjoyed dinner together. About half the group then walked after dinner to the Parliamentary Building to watch the changing of the royal guards! We returned to the hotel, looking forward to the start of our four day cruise tomorrow morning!