Posted by: Joseph J. Skarzenski | July 10, 2009

A great adventure to start off a memorable weekend!

Session 1 students at the Temple of Poseidon in Sounion

Session 1 students at the Temple of Poseidon in Sounion

Today students left Athens in the afternoon to spend time in Sounion. We had a magnificent view of the ocean from the Temple of Poseidon.

The day began at class, starting at 11:00 AM as usual. Dr. Dimitriou continued the lecture he began yesterday, examining some of the influences on Greek culture from a cultural perspective. Today we focused mainly on culture of the Byzantine and Turkokratia era. We started with learning about some of the growing differences of the Western and Eastern churches. Students then learned that these ideological differences eventually led to the Great Schism of 1054. Dr. Dimitriou continued on the gap between Western and Eastern societies– which continued to increase due to the fourth campaign of the Crusades. The subject of Byzantine influences concluded with stating the fall of Constantinople in 1453, which only worsened the relationship between the east and west.

Finishing the subject of Byzantine culture, we moved on to the period of the Tourkokratia. Dr. Dimitriou began his lecture on this period of Greek history by introducing the Ottoman Millet, a system the Turks used to divide people into groups based on religion. He then brought up importance of family during this period, since Greeks turned to extended family members due to the poor relationship they had with Turkish rule. One of the reasons Greeks were so dissatisfied with the government was because of all the corruption present in the system. According to Dr. Dimitriou, this led to many Greeks to come to power, taking positions of government as they saw Turks incapable of fulfilling responsibilities. We also learned about the brutality of Janissaries in Greece.

Listening to Dr. Dimitriou explain the history of the temple

Listening to Dr. Dimitriou explain the history of the temple

Following class we all rushed to George’s for lunch so we could get back to the apartments and prepare for our afternoon in Sounion. We left the campus around 2:45 PM on a private bus. Students enjoyed the beautiful, coast-line route that we took to Sounion. Once we arrived we began our ascent to the Temple of Poseidon. The area truly is a picture-perfect place. Dr. Dimitriou explained to students why Sounion was the chosen location for the temple. We then spent a little over an hour enjoying the beautiful area and marveling architecture of the temple. Some returned down the hill early to enjoy water and/or frappes at the on-site coffee shop. Soon enough, we were on our way down from the temple and en route to Glyfada.

Relaxing after seeing the temple

Relaxing after seeing the temple

On our way back we stopped at a local hot springs spot. Dr. Dimitriou informed us that the specific spring was the personal favourite of Greek politician, Eleftherios Venizelos. When we reached Glyfada, some students got off the bus to enjoy the rest of their afternoon and early evening at the beach. The rest returned to Syntagma Square so they could go to their apartments.

Tomorrow we have the entire day all to our selves. On Sunday we leave for our weekend excursion. Details on the excursion itenirary will be posted tomorrow morning.

To view photos from today’s visit to Sounion, click the link below:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/39885149@N06/sets/72157621236982972/show/

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