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Greek myths are hugely popular, with modern stories, movies and cartoons depicting tales from this ancient civilisation – in fact some of today’s most famous sayings and phrases originate from these stories, underlining the impact they have had on society even to this day.
If you are a bit tired though of dressing up as Hercules and re-enacting his adventures in your bedroom, or watching Jason and the Argonauts for the tenth time, head to Greece. There are many places of interest still in existence which some of the most famous mythical figures from Greek folklore are said to have special attachments to.
Hercules is perhaps the most famous of all the heroes of Greek mythology. His story is well-known and sees the son of Zeus undertaking many seemingly impossible tasks, only to complete them effortlessly (something very similar happens on a daily basis at Beat the Brochure HQ). It is even said that he held the sky up while Atlas went to fetch some golden apples for him. All in all, he seemed to be quite an impressive man.
Where to visit: Take a trip to Dodona in north-western Greece. There is a small temple dedicated to him here where you can get to be at one with the big man himself.
Have you ever heard the phrase ‘Achilles heel?’ It originates from a Greek legend who, it is claimed, was the best warrior of the Greeks, seemingly unbeatable in battle. That was until the Gods pointed out that he had a dodgy ankle as a result of his mother holding him by his heel (is this even possible?) and dipping him in water as a child. Once this was known, his demise was inevitable.
Where to visit: Corfu. Here you will find Achillion Palace, which is located only 10 km from Corfu Town in Gastouri. It doesn’t really have much to do with Achilles apart from being named after him, but is still an interesting place none the less.
Odysseus was the wily old fox who devised the devilishly cunning Trojan horse trick during the Trojan War which ultimately lead to the destruction of Troy – yay! Not quite so yay though was his journey home. He got up to all sorts of shenanigans and barely made it home to Greece after many adventures over many years. Quite an odyssey I am sure you will agree…
Where to visit: Try and catch a trip to the small Greek island of Ithaca. This was Odysseus’ home and where he was trying to return to when his adventures took place.
Although his name is not as mythical sounding as the others, Jason’s story is up there with the best. Hollywood took the tale and made the epic movie Jason and the Argonauts, which saw our hero overcome many obstacles in order to capture the Golden Fleece. This film is now screened every public holiday, usually at around 1pm on Channel 5, in case you want to watch it.
Where to visit: Mount Olympus. The highest mountain range in Greece is where Jason is taken by Hermes to speak to the Gods. These days the mountain can be climbed, so make climbing it a must do when on Greece holidays in 2012. You may even meet Zeus up there.
This chap was the clever fellow who managed to behead the snake-haired Medousa. On his way back home with her head in a bag, he rescued Princess Andromeda who was chained to the rocks as a sacrifice to a sea-monster, who was in turn slain by Perseus. He then went on to turn the King to stone, as you do.
Where to visit: Mycenae. This is an archaeological site located about 90 km from Athens and is said to have been founded by Perseus himself.
Do you have a favourite mythical Greek legend whom we have missed out? Let us know by leaving a comment below.
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Ricky is a keen traveller and writer who shares a passion for both. Ricky has travelled extensively, visiting various countries in Europe and South East Asia along with Australia, New Zealand and the USA. Ricky is a resident blogger for travel specialists Beat the Brochure, and in his spare time enjoys playing football and following Chelsea FC. Google Visit his Google + page for more information.