6 wonders you need to see at least once in your life

Discover six of Mediterranean’s most impressive and eternally charming sites that you can visit while on a cruise with Celestyal.

SHARE THIS:


1.The Great Pyramid at Giza

This ancient marvel was constructed between 2584 and 2561 BC and is the oldest of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World and the last remaining of them. The Egyptian Pyramids were the tombstones for deceased pharaohs but also a sort of house for the departing king. The Ancient Egyptians believed that when a pharaoh died he became Osiris, the king of the dead and to carry out his duties as king of the dead his soul, had to be looked after. So, inside the Pyramids, they build several smaller rooms for the assistants to live in. The Great Pyramid used to be covered in polished white limestone which created the illusion of a shiny crystal when the sun shone on it. These ornaments were taken by the Arabs when they occupied the city of Cairo and were put in use for the construction of a mosque. The pyramids have stood the test of time and they remain a marvel of architecture and perseverance.

2.The Parthenon

The Parthenon stands proudly on the Athenian Acropolis as the undisputed symbol of democracy and the cradle of Western civilization. This fine and delicate monument was built in the mid-5th century BC and it was dedicated to the Greek goddess Athena, protector of the city of Athens. The architect of this endeavor, Phidias, also designed a great gold and ivory statue of Athena for the interior of the shrine. The entire work remains to this day a marvel of composition and clarity and now we know that it was further enhanced by color and bronze accessories. The structured remained intact until the 5th century AD when the temple was transformed into a Christian church and then into a mosque in 1458.

3.Paphos

In the late 4th century, the ancient city Nea Paphos was founded. Initially, the thriving city was enclosed by dominating walls. Even though the city surrendered to the Romans at around 58 BC, Nea Paphos remained a political, cultural as well as business hub within Cyprus. Paphos has been inhabited since the Neolithic period. It was a center of the cult of Aphrodite and of pre-Hellenic fertility deities. Aphrodite's legendary birthplace was on this island, where her temple was erected by the Myceneans in the 12th century BC. The remains of villas, palaces, theatres, fortresses, and tombs mean that the site is of exceptional architectural and historic value. These illustrate Paphos’ exceptional architectural and historic value and contribute extensively to our understanding of ancient architecture, ways of life, and thinking. The villas are richly adorned with mosaic floors that are among the most beautiful in the world. These mosaics constitute an illuminated album of ancient Greek mythology, with representations of Greek gods, goddesses and heroes, as well as activities of everyday life. The mosaics of Nea Paphos are among the most beautiful in the world. Today, the ancient city of Paphos is a mirror to the past, as its many historic landmarks provide insight about how past generations lived, worked and even entertained.

4.Hagia Sophia

The Hagia Sophia, whose name means “holy wisdom,” is a domed monument originally built as a cathedral in Istanbul in the sixth century AD and for almost 1,000 years was the largest Greek Orthodox Christian church in the world. Constantine was the first Christian emperor and the founder of the city of Constantinople, which he called “the New Rome.” It is one of the greatest surviving examples of Byzantine architecture, rich with mosaics and marble pillars and coverings. The architects of the church were Isidore of Miletus and Anthemius of Tralles, who were professors of geometry at the University of Constantinople. Their work was a technical triumph, even though the structure was severely damaged several times by earthquakes. It contains two floors centered on a giant nave that has a great dome ceiling, along with smaller domes, towering above. Its influence, both architecturally and liturgically, was widespread and enduring in the Eastern Orthodox, Roman Catholic, and Muslim worlds alike. Hagia Sophia’s dimensions are formidable for any structure not built of steel. Hagia Sophia was built in great haste, finishing it in less than six years. To put this in comparison it took nearly a century for medieval builders to construct the Notre Dame cathedral in Paris. The Hagia Sophia was used as a church for 916 years and as a mosque for 481 years. In 1934, by order of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk it was converted into a museum and since then, has been open to visitors.

5.Ephesus

Ephesus was an ancient port that was once considered the most important Greek city and the most important trading center in the Mediterranean region. Throughout history, Ephesus survived multiple attacks and changed hands many times between conquerors. According to legend, Ephesus was founded by the tribe of the Amazons, great female warriors. The historian Aristio, and others describe Ephesus as being recognized by all the inhabitants of the region as the most important trading center in Asia. It also remained a leading political and intellectual center, boasting the impressive Celsus Library and the second school of philosophy in the Aegean. The library remains an impressive monument but the same can’t be told about the famous Temple of Artemis, one of the “Seven Wonders of the World,” which drew pilgrims from all around the Mediterranean. The city was named a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2015.

6.Meteora

Meteora is a UNESCO World Heritage Site both for its geological importance and its cultural heritage. Its name means “suspended in the air”, and once you have explored the area you will understand how that came about. The rock formations in the region of Thessaly are unique to the whole world and took their present form through the passing of a million years. They create a landscape that looks like it has come out of a painting. Meteora is a land of many stories dating back to several centuries ago like the mythic battle between the Titans and the Olympians. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is a truly unique place in Greece where you can visit living monasteries, see gorgeous Byzantine-era artifacts, and experience marvelous hiking trails and panoramic vistas of the valley. These monasteries were home to Greek monks during the time when Greece was controlled by the Ottoman Turks, who suppressed the culture and religion. They preserved the Greek language and history in their out-of-the-way monasteries. The largest, and arguably the most impressive, is Grand Meteoron. There are 5 others that stretch between Grand Meteoron to St Stephans, the only nunnery.

A Celestyal cruise is all about the new experiences and destinations. Let us take you on a journey through time with our curated itineraries and excursions. 
Book your cruise now!