The Sacred Way

This kind of ceremonial avenue, lined not just with trees but with fine sculptures, is generally found leading into any important sanctuary from the nearest town or point of disembarkation: it was a way of preparing the visitor mentally and spiritually for arrival at the altar and temple. The fine stone-paved surface, gently curved for drainage, and bordered by two raised pavements, dates from the Roman era—a period during which the areas to either side were developed with shops and houses, whose foundations can be seen, especially on the south side. Further east, later Byzantine and mediaeval buildings, have encroached right over the side-walks and narrowed the avenue substantially. The marble blocks bearing inscriptions continue all the way down; but soon the regular lettering of the Classical inscriptions begins to give way to a later, serifed script of Byzantine inscriptions, carved into the surface of earlier ancient stone pieces. The uncovered stretch of the Sacred Way ends abruptly at the limit of the archaeological site; but its course continues for a further six kilometers following the line of the ancient shore line, north and east toward the city and port of Ancient Samos —today’s Pythagoreio. Archaeological investigation is uncovering an archaic gateway here, which led in through the eastern boundary-wall of the sanctuary.

Samos Island is part of the Northern Aegean Island Group, Greece.

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