Δευτέρα, 16 Μαΐου 2011
Follow in Hercules' Footsteps and Visit Aedipsos on Evia
Aedipsos on the Greek island of Evia has attracted few tourists from other countries. It is renowned for the healing powers of its hot springs.
Aedipsos or Edipsos,in the north of the Greek island of Evia is renowned for the healing powers of its hot springs. Many Greeks are recommended to go there by their doctors, and in summer the spa town is full of people who want to take the waters. Because it is so popular there are many hotels guest houses and rooms for tourists to stay. As well as accommodation, there are plenty of places to eat and drink in the little town. The patisserie close to the bus station is not to be missed if you have a sweet tooth.
Evia is the second largest Greek island (the biggest being Crete) and it is believed that it was once part of the mainland. It was probably severed from it by an earthquake, as there is a fault line close to it.
The Legend of Hercules
It is said that Aedipsos was where Hercules rested in between his labours. He would go to one of the caves where the hot waters flow and gather his strength in preparation for his next Herculean task. He might even have found the cove where the hot water flows into the sea, and bathed there.
The Romans Loved Aedipsos Too
In Roman times many illustrious figures visited the spa to enjoy the waters and the entertainment in the theatre. Marcus Aurelius was a visitor as was the Roman general Scylla, who left his mark on the town. There are many marble plaques commemorating him and the luxury hotel, the Thermae Scylla is called after him, as were the springs which the hotel is built over. (The name means Scylla’s hot baths or springs.) Even the Roman Emperor Hadrian visited to enjoy the delights of Aedipsos. There is also a statue of the renowned Roman beauty, Julia Domna.
Other Things to Do in Aedipsos
There are several beaches to relax on; one with a stream of hot waster flowing into it is close to the Thermae Scylla Hotel. The rocks have become an orange-yellow colour, stained by the sulpherous water. Others can be found if you walk to the other side of the town along the promenade. On the way, take a moment to look at the tall older buildings which are built over hot springs and have their own baths in their basements.
In summer there is an annual cultural festival with plays, concerts and dances performed by national and international groups. There is always some form of entertainment and this is announced from a little van which advertises performances daily.
Ancient Sites near Aedipsos
Evia is steeped in legends and myths. Limni the ancient site of Elimnion was where the marriage of Zeus and Hera took place according to mythology. Istea is where Hera’s sacred bulls grazed, and there are the remains of a Temple of Artemis on the cape close to Aedipsos. Artemis, the goddess of hunting took pleasure in hunting in the area, it is said.
How to Get to Aedipsos
From Athens you can get a bus to Aedipsos from the Liosion St. bus station. If you are driving then you take the National Road from Athens to Lamia, and follow directions to Arkitsa (approximately 150 kilometres from Athens), from where you take a ferry to Aedipsos. This takes forty minutes. From the ferry you will see the steam rising from the hot springs, looking like smoke plumes from a fire. The locals say it’s the rubbish burning. Don’t believe them! You might also be lucky enough to see dolphins.
The other route if you are driving is to take the same National Road, but to follow directions for Halkidi. This will take you over an iron bridge which connects Evia to the mainland. However the roads on the island to Aedipsos can be treacherous if you don’ know them.
If you visit Aedipsos, you will not only be following in Hercules and Roman footsteps; other famous visitors from the more recent past were Edward and Mrs. Simpson, Winston Churchill, Greta Garbo, Maria Callas, Onasis, and many others. It’s a small jewel in the Greek islands and not yet spoiled by mass tourism.
•Evia information from the web site euboea.de
•The Greek National Tourist Organization’s website ellada.com
•Other web sites:-travelinfo.gr/evia and edipsos.net