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Classical Studies Program
30 Days, 60 Days, 90 Days
Our study in Greece takes us to the important historical sites, ancient monuments and world class museums. Learn about the societies and cultures of Ancient Greece, the Cradle of Western Civilization and birthplace of democracy and philosophy. Greece is a land of contrasts and harmony not to be missed!
Daily Classes, Lectures and Field Trips
Welcome to Athens, Greece! You will be met at the airport on arrival and transferred to your hotel. The remainder of the day is free to get settled in. After dinner we will have an orientation meeting.
Included Day Tours
Suggested Field Trips
1. Peloponnese & Mycenaean Civilization (7-Day Field Trip)
Day 1: Athens- Corinth- Diolkos-Isthmia
From Athens we drive to the site of Ancient Corinth with a brief stop at the Corinthian Canal. Visit the market place of Roman Corinth; see the Bema (judgment seat) where the Roman proconsul Gallio dismissed a case against Paul in the first century, the Temple of Apollo and the archaeological museum of Corinth. Quick stop at the theater to see an inscription to Erastos and continue on to see the remains of the Diolkos. Our last stop is Isthmia, one of the four great panhellenic sanctuaries, active from the Archaic period through the end of antiquity, with a rich period of medieval use as well.
Day 2: Nemea-Mycenae-Argive Heraion
See the well-preserved stadium and the temple of Zeus at Nemea. Learn about the starting device which was developed for the stadium at the Nemea Museum. On to Mycenae, to see the remains of the prehistoric citadel fortified with Cyclopean walls, the Lionesses’ Gate, the Mycenaean palace and the Tomb of Atreus. Lastly the Argive Heraion with its spectacular views over the plain of Argos.
Day 3: Epidaurus -Epidaurus Museum & Palamidi Fortress
Visit the religious healing centre of Asclepius, the Greek god of healing and the best preserved Greek Theater in Epidaurus. In the Museum we see ancient tools for surgery, statues and columns. Continue to Nafplion up to the Venetian fortress, Palamidi for an excellent view of the Argolis.
Day 4: Mystra-Sparta
We make our way to Sparta through the fertile valley of the Eurotas River with a stop en route at Mystra, a mediaeval town in ruins which has been likened to a Byzantine Pompeii. After lunch we walk to the small Acropolis of Sparta.
Day 5: Epaminondas “Messene”- Pylos
Enjoy a scenic drive across the Peloponnese to the west enroute to Epaminondas’ Messene. Here we see the magnificent walls and towers of its fortifications stretching out over the crest of Mount Ithome and visit the small museum. We continue on to the picturesque bay of Pylos, scene of Sparta’s military humiliation in 425 BC.
Day 6: Nestors’ Palace-Bassae-Olympia
Our first visit is to the Mycenaean Palace of Nestor and then to the Museum at Chora to see the earliest Linear B tablets unearthed on mainland Greece. In the afternoon we visit the impressive well-preserved Temple of Apollo at Bassae. Continue to Olympia for overnight.
Day 7: Olympia-Athens
Morning visit of ancient Olympia, home of the Olympic Games with its gymnasium, palaestra, temples, treasures and Stadium. After a visit to the remarkable museum with famous sculptures, statues and impressive collection of Greek armour, we make our way back to Athens.
2.Cultural Treasures of Crete & Minoan Civilization (9-Day Field Trip)
Day 1: Athens-Heraklion
Transfer to the port of Piraeus for an overnight ferry to Heraklion, Crete OR transfer to Athens Airport for a domestic flight to Heraklion.
Day 2: Heraklion-Knossos-Heraklion Archaeological Museum
In the morning, arrive at Heraklion, Crete. We travel back in time to 2,000 BC and learn about the Minoan civilization.
We visit the ruins of the Palace of Knossos, the monumental symbol of Minoan civilization and culture and also home of the legendary King Minos. Next stop is the Heraklion Archaeological Museum which houses artefacts from all periods of Cretan prehistory & history. The singularly important Minoan collection contains unique examples of Minoan art. We also enjoy a walk through the town viewing, Lion’s Square with the Morosini Fountain and the Church of St. Titus.
Day 3: Malia Minoan Palace - Lassithi Platea - Dictean Cave -Agios Nikolaos
Morning visit to the Minoan Palace and the archaeological site of Malia, the Palace is the third largest of the Minoan palaces and considered the most provincial. Continue through the fertile Lassithi Plateau which stretches 11 km (6,8 mi) and 6 km (3,7 mi) and lies at an average altitude of 840 m (2,760 ft). The plateau is famous for its white-sailed windmills, a local invention that have been used for two centuries to irrigate the land. Continue to Psychro village and visit the Diktaion Cave, which according to Greek mythology, is the birthplace of Zeus.
Day 4: Agios Nikolaos- Kritsa- Gournia - Ierapetra
Enjoy a morning walk through the picturesque traditional fishing town of Agios Nikolaos, viewing the main attractions, the harbour and small lagoon. Continue to Kritsa, one of the oldest and most picturesque villages in Crete. During the Middle Ages, it was thought to be the largest village in Crete. Our last visit is to the archaeological site of Gournia, also called "Pompeii of Minoan Crete" because of the good state of preservation. It occupies a low hill, close to the sea, at the Isthmus of Ierapetra.
Day 5: Gortys -Phaistos & Matala - Agia Galini
Visit Gortys, the well-preserved pre-Minoan settlement that is known from Homer’s stories to be one of the most flourishing cities of Minoan Crete. Continue on to visit Phaistos, to see the ruins of the second biggest Minoan palace of Crete and home to the Phaistos disk from the 19th century BC which has still not been deciphered. We continue on to Agia Triada, first settled towards the end of Neolithic period. See the two early Minoan tholos tombs together with their funerary rooms, Royal villa and many Linear A tablets were found here.
Day 6: Agia Galini-Spili-Moni Preveli-Rethymno
Morning drive to Spili, a town which lies at a height of 430 m (1,430 ft) above sea level, at the foothills of Mount Vorizi, which belongs to the Kedros chain. The landmark of the town is the square at Kefalovrissi with the 25 fountains each one in the shape of a lion's head. The square is named after Thanassis Skordalos (1920-1998), a popular lyra player and composer born in Spili. Continue to Moni Preveli, built in the 17th century by Abbot Prevelis, dedicated to St. John the Evangelist. Continue to Rethymno for overnight.
Day 7: Rethymno-Chania
Morning visit to the medieval city of Rethymno and its archaeological museum. Continue to the picturesque old town of Chania and stroll through the maze-like alleys with the beautiful Venetian mansions and the fountains. Discover the well-preserved historical monuments!
Day 8: Chania-Omalos-Samaria Gorge-Sfakia o/n Chania
Drive through the orange growing region of western Crete then up the northern hills of the White Mountains to the high plateau of Omalos and the entrance of the famous gorge of Samaria. The Samaria Gorge is one of the longest ravines in Europe (with a total length of 18 km / 11,18 mi) and offers one of the most spectacular hiking routes in Europe. The walk from Xyloskalo in the plateau of Omalos to the shores of Libyan sea at Agia Roumeli, takes 6 to 8 hours. Our walk ends at Agia Rouméli, a small fishing village, approximately two kilometers from the ending of Samaria Gorge. It is accessible only by boat from Paleohora and from Hora Sfakion. Here we wait for the boat to take us to Sfakia, which remains the most wild and unspoiled landscape in all of Crete.
Day 9: Chania-Athens
Transfer to the port of Chania for your ferry back to Piraeus or transfer to Chania Airport for your domestic return to Athens. Upon arrival, transfer to the hotel.
3.The Ancient Greeks in Southern Italy “Magna Grecia” & Sicily (9-Day Field Trip)
Some of the best ruins of the ancient Greek world are in Southern Italy. Syracuse, Agrigento, Selinunte, Segesta and Gela are among the better known Sicilian sites, while those on the mainland include Paestum, Metaponte, Croton, Locri, Rhegion. Magna Grecia is the collective name given to these scattered colonies of ancient Greece, the earliest of which were founded in the Naples area in the 11th century BC. Many great figures of the age – including Pythagoras, Archimedes and Aeschylus lived in these far-flung settlements and it was here that the ancient winemaker’s art flourished.
Day 1: Athens-Patras- Overnight Sailing
Drive to Patras and board the overnight ferry for Bari, Italy. Sail in the evening. Overnight crossing on the Ionian Sea.
Day 2: Bari-Naples
Morning arrival at Bari and depart to Naples. Before check in at the hotel, enjoy a panoramic city tour of Naples.
Day 3: Napoli-Pompeii-Paestum-Consenza
Visit ancient Pompeii, once a thriving and sophisticated Roman city that was buried under meters of ash and pumice after the catastrophic eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in 79 AD. Continue to Paestum, originally Poseidonia, built by Greek colonists from Sybaris, an earlier Greek city in southern Italy in around 600 BC. It grew and prospered and now as among the most extensive remains of “Magna Grecia”. The ruins of Paestum are notable for their three ancient Greek temples in a very good state of preservation. Continue to Consenza. The ancient town is the seat of the Cosentian Academy, the second academy of philosophical and literary studies to be founded in the Kindgom of Naples (1511) and one of the oldest in Europe. Enjoy a panoramic visit of the city.
Day 4: Cosenza-Reggio Di Calabria-Messina-Taormina area
Depart to Reggio di Calabria. The ancient Greek town which stood here, Rhegion, was an important part of Magna Grecia. The town had obvious strategic importance over the centuries due to its proximity to Sicily and the shipping route through the Strait of Messina. We visit the National Museum of Magna Grecia, see the famous 6th and 5th century BC Greek bronze, larger than life statues, of warriors dredged from the sea of Riace Marina in 1972. We embark on a ferry to Messina, Sicily crossing the Straits of Messina. We see the Fountain of Orione, the fountain of Neptune and the Duomo in Messina. Continue to Taormina.
Day 5: Taormina-Mt. Etna-Syracuse
Morning visit to Taormina’s magnificently situated Greco-Roman Theatre with Mount Etna in the distance. Next we visit Mt. Etna Sylvester craters (meteorological conditions permitting). At approximately 3,350 m / 10,990 ft; it is Europe’s highest active volcano. The height of its summit changes with each eruption and over the centuries a few lava flows have reached the coast. To the ancient Greeks, Mount Etna was the realm of Vulcan, god of fire, and the home of the one-eyed monster known as the Cyclops. Depart for Syracuse, one of the most important cities of the ancient Greek world. Visit the vast archaeological site on the edge of the modern city, a rare treasure of temples, amphitheatres and an ancient castle. It is also the birthplace of the prominent mathematician and engineer Archimedes.
Day 6: Syracuse-Agrigento-Palermo
First visit is to Agrigento; founded as a Greek colony in the 6th century BC, Agrigento became one of the leading cities of Magna Grecia. Its supremacy and pride are demonstrated by the remains of the magnificent Doric temples that dominate the ancient town, much of which still lies intact under today's fields and orchards. Selected excavated areas throw light on the later Hellenistic and Roman town and the burial practices of its early Christian inhabitants. Continue to Palermo, noted for its history, culture, architecture and gastronomy.
Day 7: Palermo-Monreale-Cefalu-Reggio Di Calabria
After a morning visit of the city of Palermo and visit to Palermo’s Cathedral we continue to Monreale. Visit the Cathedral, considered to be one of the finest Norman constructions in the world. The exterior of the cathedral is rather unassuming, but step inside to be mesmerized by towering arches, glorious golden mosaics and famous artworks. Continue to Cefalu, a scenic coastal town famous for its Norman cathedral and ruins of a hilltop fortress, once a site of the megalithic temple of Diana or Artemis. Continue to cross the Straits of Messina and arrive at Reggio di Calabria.
Day 8: Reggio Di Calabria-Metaponto-Bari-Patras
Visit Metaponto, founded in the 7th century BC and once the centre of a wealthy city-state with a philosophical tradition expounded by Pythagoras, who settled here after his expulsion from Croton. Visit the Tavole Palatine (6th century BC), the ruins of a theatre and the Doric Temple of Apollo Lycius in the archaeological zone in Metaponto. Transfer to the port of Bari to embark on the scheduled ferry-boat and sail to Patras in the evening.
Day 9: Patras-Athens
Arrival at Patras port and drive back to Athens.
4.Hellenistic, Roman, Byzantine & Ottoman Turkey (9-Day Field Trip)
Day 1: Istanbul Arrival
Welcome to Istanbul, originally Byzantium and then Constantinople, a most fascinating city which actually crosses two continents Europe and Asia. View the highlights of this cosmopolitan city such as the Byzantine Walls by bus and then enjoy a cruise on the Bosphorus viewing the many traditional wooden houses “yali. Return to the port and cross the road to visit the Egyptian Spice market. The air is filled with the fragrance of the exotic East, with about 85 shops selling various items including spices, Turkish delights, sweets, jewellery and souvenirs. Continue to the hotel for check in.
Day 2: Istanbul
Discover the Byzantine and Ottoman treasures of Istanbul. Visit Aghia Sofia, the “Church of the sacred wisdom”, converted to a mosque from a Christian basilica after the fall of Constantinople in 1453. We see the Hippodrome and the Obelisk brought from Egypt, the Blue Mosque with its 6 minarets and the Topkapi Palace, imperial residence of the Ottoman sultans with its fabulous treasure chambers. In the afternoon enjoy free time at the Grand covered Bazaar, one of the largest and oldest covered markets in the world, with 61 streets and over 4,000 shops!
Day 3: Istanbul-Troy -Canakkale
Travel through the European lands of Turkey to Gallipoli and cross the Dardanelles Strait by ferry-boat. Visit ancient Troy, mentioned in the Iliad by Homer, one of the famous cities and important towns of the Hellenistic period. See the legendary walls and the replica of the wooden horse. Continue to Canakkale for overnight.
Day 4: Troy-Pergamum-Izmir
Travel to Pergamum and climb up to the top of the impressive royal citadel, site of the Pergamum Altar (now in Berlin), the magnificent Temple of Trajan and an impressive Hellenistic theatre cut into a steep hillside. Descending from the heights of the citadel, we stop to inspect the gigantic remains of the fabled “Red Hall”, a temple for the gods of Egypt. After lunch, visit the Asklepieion, the most famous medical centre of its day, where once Galen practised the medical art. Continue to Izmir for overnight.
Day 5: Izmir-Sardis-Hierapolis - Pamukkale
Morning drive to visit Sardis. See the lofty walls of a partially reconstructed Roman palaestra (wrestling school), a huge 3rd century Synagogue and the massive columns of the Temple of Artemis among the ruins of the onetime capital of the kingdom of the Lydians. Continue to Hierapolis the “sacred city”, site of an ancient thermal resort built by Pergamene kings and embellished by Romans. Overnight.
Day 6: -Pamukkale -Hierapolis –Aphrodisias - Kusadasi
Pamukkale, means "cotton castle" in Turkish, and is a natural site containing hot springs and travertines, terraces of carbonate minerals left by the flowing water. Enjoy a morning visit to the Greco-Roman and Byzantine city of Hierapolis, built on top of the white “castle” (hot springs). On to Aphrodisias, the site of the well preserved magnificent Temple of Aphrodite, ruins of a large theater and stadium.
Day 7: Ephesus
Scenic drive to Selçuk to visit Ephesus, once capital of the Roman province of Asia and now Turkey’s most extensively excavated and restored ancient city. Here we visit the Odeon, temples, and baths along Curetes Street, enter the Library of Celsus and the Theatre. We turn our steps down the Arcadian Way, where once streetlights and covered sidewalks led to the middle harbour. After a brief stop at the Artemission, site of the temple of Artemis/Diana, considered one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, we visit the Selçuk Museum, with its well-known sculpture of many-breasted Artemis. Our tour ends with a visit to the partially restored ruins of the massive 4th century Church of St. John, the apostle’s legendary burial place.
Day 8: Priene-Miletus-Didyma
In the morning we travel to Priene an ancient Hellenistic city located just to the north of Miletus in western Turkey. It was an ancient Greek holy city and the home of an important temple of Athena. Priene's picturesque ruins include several columns of the Temple of Athena, much of the city wall, a well-preserved theater and a council chamber. Then on to Miletus, one of the most important cities in the ancient Greek world, but eventually declined due to the silting up of its harbours. There are many well-preserved ruins to be seen at the site, including Temple of Apollo, a Byzantine church, and an important inscription relating to Jews. Our last visit is to Didyma with its famous oracle and vast and magnificently impressive temple of Apollo (the 3rd largest edifice of the Hellenistic period).
Day 9: Izmir-Istanbul-Athens
Fly from Izmir to Istanbul and connect with your flight to Athens (or fly directly if flight available
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