Socrates - Comenius. Project countries: Greece Hungary Poland. Greece. Here gods still stride the heights of Olympus and Parnassus, and Homer's heroes still sail wine-dark seas to island adventures. In Athens, preparations are well underway for the return of the Olympics this summer. Greece.
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Here gods still stride the heights of Olympus and Parnassus, and Homer's heroes still sail wine-dark seas to island adventures. In Athens, preparations are well underway for the return of the Olympics this summer.
Athens is the wellspring of Western civilization, with such ancient glories as the Parthenon and the Theater of Dionysus, where works of Euripides were first performed. The ancient Odeon of Herod Atticus is the showplace each summer of the Athens Festival. Piraeus, the port of Athens, is the embarkation point for the Greek islands and other Mediterranean destinations.
Outside of Athens, Greece is replete with archeological wonder. The ruins of Mycenae, 600 years old when the Parthenon was built, reveal the Atreus Treasury, defense walls and monumental Lion Gate from the palace of Agamemnon, Troy's epic foe. Sparta once was the mightiest of the city-states and in Corinth the ruins of the Agora and the Temple of Apollo are still visible.
Ideal for visiting all year round are the stunning islands of Crete, Rhodes and Santorini. Crete was home to Europe's 3000 B.C. Minoan civilization, whose traces are displayed at the Palace of Knossos. Rhodes, the largest of the Dodecanese isles, resounds with tales of Crusader derring-do and Santorini is a dramatic experience with stunning volcanic-ash vistas.
Hungary is situated in Central Europe's Carpathian Basin. The language is spoken by no other people and the folk songs do not resemble those of any other land. Despite the repeated trials and tribulations of history, the Hungarian people have lived here for more than 1,100 years.
The treasures of their culture have drawn travelers from distant lands throughout the centuries. The wonderful panorama of the capital, Budapest (also known as the "Pearl of the Danube") prompted UNESCO to place it on the World Heritage list.
Hungary has the second-largest reserve of surface thermal water in the world with hundreds of warm springs spouting forth curative waters that have assisted many thousands in regaining health. Or, if you prefer, Lake Balaton, Central Europe's largest freshwater lake, will provide a veritable paradise for families with small children, as well as lovers of yachting and resort life.
To the North, the Tokaj region provides the world-famous Tokaji Aszú, titled "Wine of Kings, King of Wines." Made from grapes of high sugar content which are ripened till late Fall on the sunny southern slopes, the wine was widely used as a medicine during the Middle Ages.
The Republic of Poland is located at the center of Europe and covers an area comparable to that of New Mexico. Although it is characterized primarily by lowland plains, its landscape includes mountain ranges, freshwater lake districts, primeval forests and more than 325 miles of seacoast. Warsaw, the capital, abounds in memorable attractions: the Old Town, the Barbican defense walls, the Royal Castle, the baroque glories of Wilanów and the Ghetto Memorial.
Kraków was long Poland's capital. Its history, said to have begun at the end of the 10th century, reached a zenith under Casimir the Great in the 14th century. The historic Wieliczka Salt Mines is the only site in the World where mining has continued since the Middle Ages.
Just south of Krakow is Zakopane, a year-round resort center, surrounded by the snow-capped Tatras. Gdansk is where a series of shipyard strikes in 1980 gave birth to the Solidarity movement. The Mazurian Lake District is a favorite vacation area. This complex of 1,000 lakes of Ice Age origin is interconnected by canals, perfect for sailing, kayaking and fishing. The area also abounds in nature preserves.