greece, guided tours, history, katakolon, museums, mythology, olympia, oscar wilde, shopping, sights
Today Katakolon, also known as Katakolo, is a little picturesque fishing village where many cruise ships anchor in order to give their guests the opportunity to visit Olympia. Imagine that all the shops on the main street only open whenever there is a cruise ship. On all other days the shops are closed here and it’s virtually a ghost town.
Until the end of the 19th century, this little harbor was very important for the export of the little black currants to the countries of Western Europe. Unfortunately, the currant trade collapsed and now the package houses which once stored the currants have been converted into souvenir shops.
It was also used as a gateway to Olympia for the early travellers. Oscar Wilde was here and even wrote a beautiful poem as he approached the shore. He came to visit Olympia and claims to have been present the very moment the statue of Hermes was unearthed. This was probably wishful thinking but it is a fact that he was expelled from University since he came back late, from his visit to Olympia, to sign up for the semester.
Museum of ancient Greek technology
Discover the ancient Greek world as soon as you greet Katakolon Port. Only 150 meters from the pier, you will find the Museum of Ancient Greek Technology. So, take a walk beyond the souvenir shops and take a walk back in time to uncover the mystery of “how it was all done.” Enjoy live demonstrations of the ancient Greek devices and inventions in this internationally acclaimed museum which functions under the auspices of the Municipality of Pyrgos. Many of the exhibits have been transported for exclusive exhibitions to museums from neighbouring Cyprus to distant Australia. All the exhibits have been constructed by just one man, Kostas Kotsanas, through 20 years of assiduous research and study of the ancient Greek and Latin literature, Arabic manuscripts, vase paintings and the relative archaeological finds.
This unique museum, situated next to the Katakolon railway station, includes approximately 250 functional reproductions of ancient Greek devices and inventions. The complexity will be simplified during the live demonstrations of the wondrous technological achievements of the ancient Greek civilization. The exhibits range from the catapults used by Alexander the Great, the first clock, Plato’s alarm clock and the first automatic vending machine to the first robot, the first “cinema” and the first computing device in history. These exhibits cover the period from 2000 BC to the end of the ancient Greek world. It is the most comprehensive and credible museum of its kind worldwide. Its aim is to prove that the technology of the ancient Greeks, towards the end of their world, was shockingly similar to the beginning of our modern technology.
Museum of Ancient Greek Technology
Museum of ancient Greek musical instruments
This fascinating museum, located next to the Katakolon church, houses 42 ancient Greek musical instruments. Admire the ancient Greek instruments as you listen to an ancient song of love on the hydraulis (ancient organ), observe the harp of Sappho who played as she recited her renowned poems, become enchanted by the myth of Hermes’ lyre, witness the grandeur of Appollo’s guitar, see the stringed instruments which accompanied symposiums and Dionysian rituals and study the monochord of Pythagoras.
THE LYRE of HERMES
HERMES WAS ONE OF THE MANY SONS OF ZEUS AND EVEN AS A BABY IT WAS CLEAR THAT HE WAS GOING TO BE CRAFTY BEYOND COMPARE AND A SLY GOD.
WHILE STILL A TODDLER, HE STROLLED OUTSIDE HIS CAVE SEEKING A PLAYTHING. AFTER FINDING A TORTOISE AND PLAYING WITH IT FOR A DAY (A DAY IN THE LIFE OF A GOD COULD BE EQUIVALENT TO A CENTURY FOR HUMANS), THE TORTOISE, UNFORTUNATELY, DIED. DISTRAUGHT BY HIS LOSS, HE DECIDED TO KEEP HIS COMPANION FOREVER BY TURNING HIM INTO A MUSICAL INSTRUMENT. HE THEN TOOK THE SHELL AND A FEW SHEEP INTENSTINES AND CREATED THE LYRE.
APOLLO’S KITHARA (GUITAR)
WHEN HERMES WAS OLDER (PROBABLY A DAY OR SO IN GOD YEARS), HE STOLE SOME OXEN FROM HIS HALF-BROTHER APOLLO AND HID THEM SO WELL THAT APOLLO NEEDED ALL HIS ORACULAR TALENTS AND TECHNIQUES TO FIND THEM. IN THE MEANTIME HE GOT HUNGRY, SLAUGHTERED ONE OF THE OXEN, AND ATE THE MEAT. SOON, APOLLO DISCOVERED HIS WHEREABOUTS AND, OBVIOUSLY ANGRY AS A RAGING BULL, CONFRONTED THE THIEF. HERMES, USING HIS CUNNING INSTINCT, PLAYED A TUNE FOR HIM ON HIS LYRE. DRAWN BY THE BEAUTY OF THE TUNE, APOLLO SOFTED. HERMES THEN OFFERED APOLLO HIS PRECIOUS LYRE AS A GIFT OF RECONCILIATION. APOLLO THEN DEVELOPED THIS MAGICAL INSTRUMENT FURTHER INTO THE MAJESTIC KITHARA (GUITAR) WE KNOW TODAY.
Experience the hidden gems that await you in Katakolon for a most enthralling and memorable visit.