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THASOS



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Thasos - Thasos town - Limenas the circuit of the walls & the theatre - The Gates of Hercules, and of Zeus and Hera

The Gates of Hercules, and of Zeus and Hera
(The path following the line of the walls at this point is not always passable if the vegetation has not been cut away. At such times the next gate is best reached by means of a detour, via the sanctuary of Hercules, and then back out to the walls at the Gate of Zeus and Hera, from which the intervening Gate of Hercules is more easily accessible.)
At this point the walls are preserved to a considerable height, and their in-filled, double-curtain method of construction can be easily appreciated in their current state of ruin. They are running level along the floor of the plain and are therefore frequently enforced with projecting, square bastions so as to increase the cover provided to either side during an attack. Such bastions were few and far between on the stretches over the steep acropolis hill, but are frequent on the level here. The Gate of Hercules appears to have had a double dedication both to Hercules and to Dionysos—both deities of the greatest importance to the city. Reliefs figuring them were carved on either side of the gate entrance: that on the east side (now in the Istanbul Archaeological Museum) showed a kneeling Hercules of pronounced muscularity drawing a bow—an image that was to appear on Thasian coinage of the 4th century bc; that on the west (now lost) showed Dionysos and a procession of Maenads.
   Although not the best preserved example, the next en trance—the Gate of Zeus and Hera—shows the plan of its beautifully proportioned and constructed gate-tower particularly well. In the original construction of the walls the gate was a simple aperture, similar to the Gate of Hermes near the port. It was adorned with two beautiful early 5th century reliefs, of which one, the *relief of Hera enthroned, attended by Iris (her principal lady-in waiting), remains in situ. Fragments of the pendant image of an enthroned Zeus are in the museum. Only Zeus and Hera were commonly seen seated in images: here the queen of Olympus holds a long sceptre in her left hand, and—also symbolic of her royalty—rests her feet on a foot-stool. In a campaign of reinforcements to the walls undertaken at the end of the 4th century bc, the external tower was added to protect and embellish the gate: its meticulously cut and bolted blocks clearly show its plan. The expense of this addition appears to have been met by a prominent Thasian citizen, by the name of Pythippos who was archon in 290 bc, and theoros in 288 bc. Part of the inscription which bears a fragment of his name can be seen on the left as you descend the steps into the area. His addition to the gate had the customary elegance of Macedonian Hellenistic architecture of the time: pilasters to either side of the entrance and an architrave with triglyphs, bearing the inscription below, surmounted above by a broad Ionic colonnaded entablature below a pediment: the whole designed with almost Palladian perfection of proportion.
   From here, the walls continued north to the waterfront and then turned east to the port. The city was thus entirely surrounded with a girdle providing not just physical security to the inhabitants, but also an all-important spiritual security as well, imparted by the different divinities who protected every coming-in and going-out.


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


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access

Thasos Island, Greece.

Access to the island is by car-ferry from two harbours close to Kavala—(Nea) Péramos to the west, and Keramoti to the east—and from the port of Kavala itself.
   The service from Keramoti is now the most practical and reliable, and is the only one that serves Thasos town/Liménas itself with departures approximately every 90ms (crossing time, 40mins);
   The other connections are all to Prinos Skala which lies 16km to the west of the main town of Liménas. In the summer there are generally 6 car-ferry services (90mins), daily from Kavala to Prinos Skala. All these services are reduced in the winter. The service from Nea Péramos to Prinos Skala runs only April–end Sept and takes c. 75mins: its schedule is currently being renegotiated (2010).
All the above are operated by Thassos Ferries: T. 25930 24001/2, www.thassos-ferries.gr, from whom information on costs and schedules can be obtained. Kavala ("Megas Alexandros") Airport is served by three daily flights from Athens (Olympic Air and Aegean Air lines), and is close (c.10km) to Keramoti for the crossing to Thasos .
Taxi transfer from the airport to Keramoti costs in the region of €10.

Thasos Travel Guide

eating

Thasos Island, Greece.

In Limenas, the Taverna Mouses by the modern harbour has well-prepared local dishes and welcoming hospitality. The plateia of Kazavíti is one of the most picturesque places on the island to dine, though it has recently become popular with tour groups: the family-run Taverna Vassilis on the square takes appropriate care with both food and setting.
At Theologos, both Kleoniki and Stelios serve a variety of good dishes prepared with locally-raised meats. Nowhere especially recommends itself in Liménas but the Taverna Platanaki be side the "old harbour" provides a pleasant setting and a good selection of fish dishes.

 

Thasos Travel Guide

further reading

Thasos Island, Greece.

Yves Grandjean & François Salviat, Guide de Thasos (Paris/Athens 2000)—an exemplary account of the ancient city which will long remain unsuperseded.
Thasos Travel Guide

lodging

Thasos Island, Greece.

In spite of its size, Thasos still has no truly ‘simpatico’ places to stay and little that seems satisfactorily to combine comfort with tastefulness. In the main town of Liménas, the best and most genuine hospitality is offered by the Acropolis Hotel (T. 25930 22488, fax 58118, www.acropolis-hotel.com). At Panaghia is the pleasant Thassos Inn, in a traditional style building (T. 25930 61612, fax 61027); below, at Chrysi Ammoudiá, is the Hotel Dionysos (T. 25930 61822, fax 61823, email: dionyso1@ otenet.gr), an unpretentious and comfortable hotel just above the beaches of Potamiá Bay. All of the above are moderately characterful and of good value, in the medium price range.Thasos Travel Guide

practical info

Thasos Island, Greece.

640 04 Thasos: area 383 sq. km; perimeter 116km; population 13,447; max. altitude 1,206m. Port Authority: 25930 22106 Travel and Information: www.gothassos.comThasos Travel Guide

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