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across the lake, in a sort of yellow border on the rooks.
The modern Phonia is now a considerable town. Tho Pheneus of history was placed upon an insulated hill, south-east of the modem town, where the ruins of the whole circuit of tho walls are visible. The rest of the ruins consist of scattered blocks and confused heaps. But it is probable that interesting objects might be discovered by excavations. Pheneus was one of the most ancient cities in Greece. Hermes, who was the particular object of worship here, had a temple consecrated to him, and was honoured with games called Hermaia.
From Phonia to Tripolitza; 12 hrs. The road crosses tho river Aroanius, having Mount Ziria (Kyllene) to the 1. Leaving the lake of Phonia, we cross a level plain; 1 hr. afterwards is a very romantic and confined hollow, whence the road ascends to a summit commanding a view of a small lake to tho rt. A very rugged descent through a glen succeeds; soon after is a fine fountain by the roadside; and another path turns off to Stymphalut, Zaraka, &o. The road passes another fine source, and a plain, with a small lake surrounded by mountains; and leaving on the rt some vestiges of tho ancient city of Kaphijsc, reaches
Kalpaki, This is a small village, a little above which are the foundations nf a Doric temple; 15 min. distant, on the Minimi t of a hill, are the remains (if the Acropolis of Orchomenos. The city extended as far as Kalpaki, as proved by the walls. The Acropolis commands a fine view. Kalpaki is 6 hrs. from Phonia.
The road proceeds by the village of Lebidi, and then, by a high pass, to Kapsa. Down the valley, it enters the plain of Mantinea, passing a Katabothron, whore some streams fall into an abyss. The ruins of Mantinea are passed to the 1.; the road continues thence along the plain to Tripolitza, 6 hrs. from Kalpaki, making in all 12 hrs. from Phonia.
Tripoli; or Tripolitza (see Ete. 23).
KARYTENA BY DIMITZANA TO KAI.ABRYTA AND THE STYX.
Karytena to— Hrs.
After leaving Karytena, the path follows up the rt. bank of the valley of the Grontifniui, which falls into the Alpheus below Karytena. The scenery is very fine, with views of the old castle on its peak, and further on, of the wooded folds of Lylcxus, and the "meeting of the waters" at tho end of the valley. The path runs mostly high above the stream.
After 1J hr. we aro opposite Alzikolo (Gortys) on the 1. bank, with a ch. and monastery on a platform of rock, half-covered with the hanging green of the hill-side. This is a beautiful spot. Further on the ravine increases in grandeur, and is one of the most striking in the whole Peloponnesus, with its combination of rock, water, and foliago. Dimitzana, high on its hill, ends the view.
IHmitzana, 6 hrs., on the site of
the ancient Ttuthis, was a flourishing
place before the revolution, and has
1 now recovered the ravages of Ibrahim
I Pasha's army, which laid waste these
'beautiful valleys with fire and sword.
I Hence the path strikes N. from the
valley of the Gortyniut, over a bare
upland country, with low, fir-crowned
hills, and passes between the villages
of Langada and Kaltesiniko, after
which it crosses a branch of the
Ladon, flowing in a wooded ravine.
I Toporista (10 hrs.), is a wretched I village, where, however, the traveller will have to sleep.
1J hr. from Toporista, the path crosses the Ladon by a bridge, near which there is a khan. The Ladon flows in a full strong stream, fringed with willows, through the plain of I'hilia. Afterwards, the road leads over the plain of Cleiior to Mazi; and thence up the valley of the Aroanius, very dreary and savage, under Mount Khelmos, to Sudhera, with its little upland lake and plain, marked by the gravel tracks of the torrents from Khelmos. Thence it is 1J hr. to
Kalabryta (Rte. 35).
The Styx should be visited from Kalabryta, on the way to Phonia, or else vice versa, on the way/rom Phonia to Kalabryta or Megaspelion. The distance is 6 hrs. from either Kalabryta or the Convent, so the excursion might possibly be made in one long day, returning at night. From Kalabryta there is a rugged path over Mount Khelmos (hardly passable in winter from the depth of the snow upon it, which reaches in 4 hrs. Solos, passing at 2 m. from that village' the Falls of the Styx. Solos is on or near the site of the ancient Nonacris, and the river which flows past it and falls into the Corinthian Gulf at Altrata is the Crathis. The Styx is the torrent which, coming down from Khelmos, joins the Crathis just below Solos. The mountains around exhibit a sublime but l>arrcn and gloomy scene. The Styx descends rapidly through a deep and rocky glen, at the upper extremity of which the eastern part of the great summit of Khelmos terminates in a huge precipice. Two slender cascades fall perpendicularly over the precipice, and after winding for some distance among a labyrinth of rocks, the waters unite to form the Styx. This waterfall is the Karti&ufvov 2tu7>s vimp, or dotm-distilling water of Styx, the Srvybs BSaros anri j>it6pa, or lofty torrents of Styx, which Homer has by these epithets described more correctly than any subsequent author. Pausanias also had a correct idea of the place; and Hesiod (Theog. v.) in the midst of his poetical allusions to Styx, whom he personifies as an infernal deity, has given an accurate
notion of the reality in describing the water upon which the oath of the gods was taken. The reputed poisonous quality of the Stygian water, and the other fables told of it by the ancient Greeks, arose naturally from its gloomy position, and from the veneration in which it had been so long held. Even at the present day, some of the peasants of the neighbourhood preserve the old notion that the water of the Styx is unwholesome, and call the cascade the Black Water—(fiavpovtpo).
PATRA8 TO CORINTH, BY VOBTTTZA, MEOA9PELION, AND SrKYON.
Patras to Vostitza 8
Rasilika (Sikyon) +
Vostitza 19 on tho site of the ancient Mqium (Rte. 1).
t^rom Vostitza to Megaspelion the distance is about 20 m., and occupies 7 hrs. For 2 hrs. the road lies through the maritime plain of Achaia, J m. in breadth from the mountains to the Gulf of Corinth. It crosses a rapid river, which is, however, sometimes only tho bed of a torrent; this is the Selinus: it afterwards passes across the Buraicus, now called tho river of Kalabryta.
The city of Helike, which once stood on the rt. of this road, was swallowed up by an earthquake in n.c. 373; it contained a fine temple of Neptune, whence that god was surnamod Heliconiades.
At 2 hrs. from Vostitza the road for Borne time follows the bed of a torrent, and then turns to the rt. among the mountains. It now becomes very picturesque, passing under the perpendicular rocks of Bura, which project over the road. The remains of the ancient city of Sura are on a high rock near the projecting cliff just mentioned. Tho Cave of Hercules Suraicas is on the N. side of the rock; it is accessible by climbing among the bushes. Before the cave is a terrace, and holes in the walla for beams indicate a former portico in front The cavern has been enlarged by art, and a number of niches for votive offerings attest its ancient sanctity. Half an hour's ride from the Bura another summit commands a magnificent prospect Another half hour's ride brings the traveller to a height whence there is a still finer prospect of the Gulf of Corinth, with Parnassus, Helicon, and Pindus beyond. On the side of Achaia tho country is equally picturesque. The traveller then descends a ridge of the Arcadian mountains, and reaches a hamlet in a valley, whence the Convent is approached by a zigzag ascent from a bridge across the Kalabryta river. To the S. a green Swisslike valley winds away towards the town of Kalabryta, 2 hrs. from the Convent, but not visible from it. (Rte. 35).
The Convent of Megaspelion (correctly ItegaspeUcon Meya<rirti\aiov), according to the tradition of the monks, was one of the earliest monastic foundations in Greece, but it has been several times destroyed by fire, and the front part of the present bnilding, except a small part at the N. end, dates only from the close of the 18th centy. It is a vast wall, 12 ft thick, built in the face of an immense cavern, which, towards the middle, extends 90 ft. within the precipitous front of the mountain, but diminishes in depth from that point, both laterally and vertically. The average height of the wall is b'5 ft.; that of tho precipice, |
from its summit to the bottom of the cavern, or ground floor of the Convent 300 ft; the length of the wall in front is 180 ft. Within the cavern are a ch., numerous oratories (-Kpoirtvxai), store-houses, kitchens, and a great cellar, cool even in the midst of summer, and containing a large stock of wine. There are also numerous cells for monks and servants. The massive wall forming the front of the convent is surmounted by a row of odd-looking structures like Swiss cottages cut in half and stuck upon it, which have given a quaint but picturesque character to the place. They seem like huge swallows' nests stuck upon the cliffs. The abbot has a small chamber and kiosk at the S. end. The roof of the building, being sheltered by the upper part of the cavern, is formed only of deal plank. The slope of the hill below the convent is divided, us far down as the river-side, into terraces of gardens, bordered by firs and other trees. The bare precipices at the back, crowned with pine forests, complete this striking scene. But the monastery itself is more curious than picturesque. The most valuable possessions of Megaspelion are in the plain of Elis; and when land in Greece shall have acquired its proper value, this monastic institution will be one of tho richest in Europe. There are from 250 to 300 caloyers or monks belonging to it, but it never happens that they are all present, as a certain number reside in the villages, or are engaged in superintending tho numerous Metokhia. or farms, belonging to the establishment. Tho ch. has a mosaic pavement, in which appears the imperial eagle, in honour of the Greek emperors, by whom it was so richly endowed. Its ornaments are rich and showy. Capodistria presented to tho ch. a picture from the Emperor of Russia, which is probably the best in Greece. The subject is, "The Agony in the Garden, and the Apostles sleeping." The ch. possesses likewise one of the miraculous pictures of the Panughia, or Virgin, said by the monks to be the work of St. Luke; this tradition is generally believed by the Eastern Christians,
■who hold it in high repute, and make pilgrimages to the shrine. The image is said to have repeatedly spoken during the Greek war, to have encouraged the Greeks to victory, and to have shed tears on the occasion of a defeat.
Megaspelion owes its foundation or completion to the Greek emperors, John Cantacuzene, and Andronicus und Constantino Palffiologus.
Within the convent wero formed some of the first designs for the liberation of Greece; and Gcrmanos, the patriot Archbishop of Patras, proceeded hence to Kalnbryta, near which he raised the standard of the Cross, April 6, 1821. The Turks, conceiving tbi9 convent to be impregnable, made no attempt to dis[>osscss the monks during the early part of the contest, and it continued to afford a safe retreat till 182G, when Ibrahim Pasha hesieged it with a powerful army. The monks raised batteries, planted cannon, and fortilied the front of the building, on which side it is alono accessible, with admirable skill and promptitude. They called in a band of bravo Palikars to their aid, and set Ibrahim Pasha at defiance, Kepulsed in front, the Arabs ascended the summit of the overhanging mountain, and rolled down large masses of rock and trunks of trees from above, hoping thus to destroy the convent and the monks, but the rocks fell beyond the walls, without occasioning any injury. Thus the Pasha, having failed in all his attempts to reduce it, was obliged to raise the siege, witli the loss of several hundreds of his tnx>ps, while that of the defenders was very trifling.
This religious community forms a small republic, governed by its own laws, under chiefs annually elected. In other words this is an ldiurhythmic convent, that is, it is not governed, like the Cenobia, by a single abbot chosen for life, but by Wardens ('Eir,'rpoiroi) annually elected. During the Turkish dominion the monks purchased, at considerable expense, tho free exercise of their own privileges, amongst the most important of which was the exclusion of Turkish visitors.
Travellers arriving at tho convent are hospitably entertained as long as they choose to remain. Formerly no remuneration was demanded, but the monks expected travellers to put a donation into tho poor-box beneath the picture of the Panaghia, and something was usually given to the servants. The monks also sold a history of the convent, of which copies wero taken by persons who wished to acknowledge their hospitality; but since the increase of travelling a handsome remuneration is expected. A dollar or two should be given to the attendants immediately attached to tho traveller. The gates are shut at sunset, so that persons arriving after that time have to sleep in an outhouse.
No armed person is ever admitted within the convent; therefore travellers carrying fire-arms must deliver them up at the gate. The arms are restored to them on their departure. There is a small book-closet in the convent, without books of great value or curiosity.
King Otho and Queen Amelia visited this monastery on more than one occasion. Women are not excluded here, as on Mount Athos. (For a description of Greek Convents seo General InTroduction, m.)
Tho Valley of the Styx is 4 hrs. from Megaspelion, and may be made the object of a day's excursion from tho convent (Itte. 3(j).
From Megaspelion to Corinth is 50 m., and occupies 2 days. In order to regain the shores of the gulf the traveller has the choice of two routes, besides the one he followed in going to tho convent. One of these routes is by a Metokhi of Megaspelion, passing near the cavo of Hercules Buraicus, which this would bo a good opportunity of visiting. The shorter route is by following the course of the river of Kalabryta, through a beautiful ravine, to the sea; the rocks on each side are generally perpendicular, and wherever there is a projection, they are fringed with trees and verdure. The road then turns to tho rt. along the coast, close to tho foot of a chain of hills.
The Kltan of Acrata, 5 hrs.' ride from Megaspelion, is situated on the bank of the rapid river Crathit. This is the sito of the ancient Mate. From Acrata to Kamari is 5i hrs. The route was formerly across a long bridge over the Crathis, but it is now necessary to ford the river, the bridge having been partly carried away. After proceeding for 1$ hr., the traveller crosses another stream. On the shore at this spot are some doubtful remains of antiquity. Half an hour farther are a rivulet and some ruins; to the rt. is the woody hill on which stood JEqira; to the 1. is the port, or Navale JEqirx, choked with eand.
The route continues along the shore of the Gulf of Corinth, under the same chain of hills, which are frequently clothed with wood, and passing several mountain torrents, the traveller at length arrives at Kamari, a village on tho coast, probably so called from the arches of an old aqueduct. A little farther on the road to Corinth is a khan. On tho high peak above Kamari is a ch., with some remains, and there are also some traces of antiquity near the Khan of Kamari, in a plain between the hills and the coast. These are supposed to be the remains of the ancient PeUene.
Basilikd, 3 to 4 hrs., is a rapidly improving village, situated on the angle of a littlo rocky ascent, along which ran the walls of Sikyon. This city was built in a triangular form on a high flat, overlooking the plain, about 1 hr. from the sea, near a great tumulus on tho shore. Tho citadel was on the highest angle of Sikyon. On the road thither is a Roman brick ruin, near which is a large but imperfect theatre, of which one range of seats, one vomitorium, and the form of the cavea, are all that can be made out. The remains of the Stadium are in good preservation. It was of considerable extent, partly cut out of the rock, and partly artificial.
Sikyon was a largo city, and one of the moat ancient kingdoms of Europe.
The situation was magnificent and secure, without being inconveniently lofty. Tho view from the theatre is beautiful. The foundation walls of the Acropolis, those of the temple of Bacchus, the remains of some other temples, extensive foundations of Hellenic edifices, the pavement of the road, and the lines of the streets, may all be traced upon the level of this tabular hill. It is melancholy to read on this now desolate spot the catalogue which Fausanias has left of the many temples, statues, and pictures, which once adorned it. From Basiliku to Corinth is 3 hrs. The rood descending into the plain crosses the Asopus, and continues through groves of olives and vineyards.
Corinth.—For a description of Corinth, with the Aero-Corinth, the Isthmus, &c., see Kt<>. 1.
NAUPLIA TO PATRAS, BT MANTINEA, PHONIA, AND VOSTITZA.
Nauplia (by Tiryns and Mykente)
This route, occupying about a week, will show the traveller some of the finest scenery, and two of the most remarkable objects (the Styx and tho Convent of Megaspelion) in the whole Peloponnesus.