Piraeus (Port of Athens), Greece
Piraeus is Greece's third largest city in population and its biggest port, serving the city of Athens. First settled in the time of Themistocles, when the Long Walls were built (478 BC), the city was laid out to the plans of the architect Hippodamus. When Athens became a naval power, Piraeus gained considerably in importance. The ancient harbors of Piraeus were Zea and Munichia.
Zea, now Pasalimani, is one of the largest yacht marinas in the Mediterranean. Munichia is now a pretty harbor filled with yachts and fishing-boats and rung about with tavernas.
The commercial harbor of Piraeus is one of the most important in the Mediterranean. The city is in an industrial zone of particular importance for the Greek economy, but nevertheless its center has broad streets, spacious squares, tree-lined avenues, and parks.
One of the most beautiful towns in the area of Argolis as well as the most romantic cities of Greece, Nafplion was the first capital of the newly born Greek state between 1823 and 1824.
The town's history traces back to the pre-historic era when soldiers from here participated in the Argonautic expedition and the Trojan War. The town declined during Roman times and then flourished again during Byzantine times.
Ancient walls, medieval castles, monuments and statues, Ottoman fountains and neoclassical buildings remain somewhat intact today.
Monemvasia is located on a small peninsula off the east coast of the Peloponnese in the Greek prefecture of Laconia. The peninsula is linked to the mainland by a short causeway 650 feet in length. Its area consists mostly of a large plateau some 325 feet above sea level, up to 950 feet wide, the site of a powerful medieval fortress. The town walls and many Byzantine churches remain from the medieval period.
The town's name derives from two Greek words, mone and emvasia, meaning "single entrance". Its Italian form, Malvasia, gave its name to Malmsey wine. Monemvasia's nickname is the Gibraltar of the East or The Rock.
Pylos is a large bay and a town on the west coast of the Peloponnese, in the district of Messenia in southern Greece. It is the capital of Pylia Province. The town of Pylos has 2,561 inhabitants, the municipality of Pylos 5,402 in 2001.
Old Pylos and New Pylos are distinct settlements and castles, several miles apart. Old Pylos is located on the northwest of the bay, while New Pylos is located in the southeast.
The history of this 2,700 year old city in southern Italy is enough on its own to attract visitors. In ancient times, it was one of the top powers of the Mediterranean world. In modern times, it is listed by UNESCO as a world heritage site.
The city was struck by two ruinous earthquakes in 1542 and 1693, and a plague in 1729. Points of interest include the arcitectural sites that still abound despite these earthquakes.
Gozo, Malta is a small island of the Maltese archipelago in the Mediterranean Sea. The island is part of the Southern European country of Malta; after the island of Malta itself, it is the second-largest island in the archipelago. Compared to its southeastern neighbor, Gozo is more rural and known for its scenic hills, which are featured on its coat of arms.
Valetta, Malta (return)
Valletta, Jean de la Valette, French Grand Master of the Order of the Knights of St. John of Jerusalem, built the capital after the epic siege of 1565. It dominates, in one wide sweep, the Island's historic Grand Harbour - one of the finest natural ports in Europe. Within its limited boundaries, the city reflects some of Malta's rich heritage of archaeology, history, architecture, art and culture.
The more important collections covering Maltese archaeology are housed in the Auberge de Provence, Valletta, one of the Inns of the Knights of St John. Collections of prehistoric pottery, sculpture, statuettes, stone implements and personal ornaments recovered from the Maltese megalithic temples and other pre-historic sites are exhibited. Typical examples of tomb furniture of the Punic and Roman periods are also displayed. After two years of refurbishment, the Museum now boasts new
The National Museum of Fine Arts, located in an 18th century palace, houses paintings, sculptures, furniture and other exhibits connected with the Order of St John. Works by Domenico di Michelino, Carpaccio, Perugino, Tintoretto, Reni, Valentin, Mathias Stomer, Preti, Tiepolo, Favray and Vernet are permanently displayed.
St. John's Co-Cathedral and Museum, formerly the Conventual Church of the Order, is historically and artistically one of the most important monuments on the island. It was built between 1573 and 1577 to the design of Gerolamo Cassar (1520-1586), chief engineer of the Order. The "Beheading of St John", Caravaggio's masterpiece, hangs in the Oratory. The museum houses a unique collection of Flemish tapestries, silver objects and church vestments.
Malta has beaches for everyone, from windsurfers to sun loungers. Choose from golden sand, red sand, rocks, blue lagoons and even inland seas. There are family beaches, rocky inlets ideal for snorkellers, and beach sunsets for twilight swimmers. On larger beaches, you’ll find cafes, fruit stalls or snack bars open during the season. With Malta’s climate, beach life lasts well into October. Enjoy water sports and activities like windsurfing, jet and water skiing, and para-kiting. You can hire equipment from beach cafes or shops nearby.