THASOS



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Thasos - Thasos town - Limenas the circuit of the walls & the theatre - The temple of Athena and the sanctuary of Pan

The temple of Athena and the sanctuary of Pan
The path continues across a saddle, passing some rock cut cisterns, to another eminence a short distance to the southwest: as it rises to the top towards the sanctuary of Athena Poliouchos (‘Protectress of the city’), it passes through the propylaia of the sanctuary at its northeast corner. This would have been a square, monumental staircase block; but little beyond the plan of it is visible today. The extensive, artificial terracing of the sanctuary (50m x 20m) is clearly visible as well as the temple’s stylobate composed of large, masterfully-cut, polygonal blocks fixed to each other with bronze, ‘double-T’ clamps. All this construction dates from around the year 500 bc: the masonry possesses the dimpled finishing, typical of late Archaic work. The temple was not surrounded by a colonnade: its sides were plain, but it had porches at either end—similar in appearance to the temple of Athena at Lindos. The altar (now no more than a heap of amorphous blocks beneath a pine tree) appears to have been erected in front of the temple’s west front—not, as was normal, to the east. Just inside the north wall, can be seen the remains of the stone platform of an earlier and small er Archaic temple to Athena. Near the northeast corner is a small channel cut for drainage. On leaving from the southeast corner, a well-preserved section of the temple’s lower rampart is visible below: the lower edge of a dis lodged block near the corner, above and to the left, bears an ancient, erotic graffito of the 4th century bc, reading ‘ΣΚΥΜΝΟΣ ΚΑΛΟΣ’—‘Beautiful young puppy’ (literally a ‘lion-cub’). The view from here is also beautiful.
   Facing you after 50m along the path is the *niche or ‘cave’ of Pan, cut into an eyebrow-shaped declivity in the rock. The small relief is now weathered, but a reclining Pan can still be identified, playing his syrinx to a couple of goats who listen, in the apex of a shallow, carved pediment: above two more goats, standing on rear legs, face each other over a kantharos, or wine-cup. Further above again is another cut space possibly for a votive sculpture. The relief is from the early 4th century bc, the period in which the cult of Pan was spreading more widely in the Greek world. It is hard not to see the whole ensemble—the pediment, the slightly pompous carved acroterion with goats and kantharos—as almost a parody of a temple; but a parody in a positive sense, because this god, who could sow panic and unforeseeable fear in an enemy, thrived on irreverence and unorthodoxy. After his primary role as protector of flocks and shepherds, he was also particularly associated with the work of those soldiers who patrolled the lonely and remote places where he dwelled. Hence his abode on the hillside here.
   Just to the south of the summit above, there are clear signs of surface marble-quarrying; while between here and the sanctuary of Athena there are over 200m of tunnels (now not visitable) which constituted the galleries of the city’s ancient gold mine, cut into the rock below the summit and descending to a depth of 150m below the surface, with two connected entrances.


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


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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