Visiting Milos, The Island of Aphrodite

Guest Post By: Maria Papadopoulou

Emerging from the depths of the sea, a well-known symbol of beauty and charm, Milos, an island of Greek Cyclades, adorns the azure, Aegean waters.

In antiquity, Milos was very prosperous because of its mineral wealth. During the Neolithic Era, it was inhabited and quite soon it became prosperous due to a black volcanic rock that the inhabitants used for their various tools and weapons. Dorians moved to the island of Milos in 1000 BC.  Milo’s residents sided with the Greeks in the battles of Salamis and Platea. In 415 BC, the Athenians defeated the islanders and destroyed the city.

Paleochori, Milos island, Cyclades, GreeceIn the centuries that followed, Milos, like the rest of the islands in Cyclades, belonged at first in Macedonia, then to Egypt, however, thanks to the safe and free sea the island’s economy was boosted. An interest for the arts was triggered leading to their development.  The statues of Aphrodite and Poseidon were the perfect examples of that development.

During the Roman rule, Milos was adorned with even more monuments, the most famous of which was the marble theater.  After the end of the Roman rule, the Catacombs became the symbol of Christianity.

During the Venetian, Turkish and German rule, the residents tried their best to achieve freedom. After years of painful effort, they accomplished their goal, and Milos, like the rest of the Cyclades return back where they belonged, to the Greeks.

I have visited the island of Milos several times and each time I feel as if it is the first. Every time I discover something new that surprises and impresses me at the same time.

The Agia Triada Church, built in 1600 AD, is one of the most special churches in the island both because of its unique architecture and old age. At present, it is used as an Ecclesiastical Museum.

The Museum of Minerals, another famous museum in Milos, displays rocks, minerals as well as tools that were created on the island of Milos.

The  world-wide famous Catacombs, the symbol of Christianity, are the place where Christians used to meet for their various religious duties.

In the north part of the island, there is the beach Sarakiniko, my absolute favorite beach to go to in Milos, because of its unusual setting. The white rocks and the strange rock formations make this beach look as one of a kind.

A great travel destination, especially during summer months, Milos is an island you have to visit!

Guest Post By: Maria Papadopoulou


Visiting The Palace of Knossos on Crete, Greece

Guest Post By: Maria Papadopoulou


Guest Post By: Maria Papadopoulou

An April night several years ago, I took the overnight ferry from Athens to Crete in order to explore the Palace of Knossos, well-known as the heart of the ancient Minoan civilization. This is a trip I always wanted to take, and I was very happy I was finally able to do so.

 I stayed at Hotel Castro, a very nice hotel, very close to the town center, ideal to explore the archeological sites in Heraklion.

Knossos Palace at Crete Island in GreeceThe Palace of Knossos is only five kilometers southeast of Heraklion, the capital of Crete. I took a bus from the town center to get to the Palace, it took approximately 20 minutes. I chose to take a private tour that lasted about 2 hours (the cost was only $10) because as a detail-oriented person, I wanted to be informed as much as possible. A good alternative if you don’t want to take a private tour is the informative guide book that you can purchase in the entrance, which costs almost the same as the tour. The ticket costs only $3 and you can stay up to 3 hours to admire every little detail.

Also well-known as the Minoan Palace, Knossos is the largest Bronze Age archeological site on the island of Crete. Spanning six acres, it was built between 1700 and 1400 BC and boasts 1,300 rooms in an impressive labyrinthine layout. It was destroyed by fire in 1350 BC, and was never inhabited after that; however, the environs of the palace were beautifully transformed into a sacred grove of Goddess Rhea. In 1900, it was restored by Arthur Evans, with a technique called concrete.

The palace is remarkably well preserved, with several buildings still intact. Various urns dot the vast complex, giving a feel of what life was all about those centuries ago. The walls are covered in beautiful murals and the famous bull horns, well-known as the symbol of Knossos, are apparent everywhere. Most of the exquisite photos that are exhibited are replicas, as the originals are kept in a museum.

What impressed me the most was learning how the Palace was built, with 2 floors built underground and 3 floors built above ground, as well as the story about Athenians being forced to deliver seven youths and seven maidens to the Minotaur, as prey to his labyrinth, every 9 years. One year, Prince Theseus volunteered to be one of the seven youths, in an attempt to kill the Minotaur and end the senseless tragedy. He was successful and managed to escape from the labyrinth with the help of Ariadne, Minoa’s daughter. Unfortunately, he forgot to replace the ship’s black sails with the white ones that were the symbol of his success, and as a result, everyone thought he had failed. Seeing the black sails, King Aegean committed suicide by jumping into the sea that was later named after him.

If you are looking for a chance to be educated during your Greece vacation, the Palace of Knossos in Crete is the perfect place.

Guest Post By: Maria Papadopoulou


Visiting Folegandros, Greece

Guest Post By: Maria Papadopoulou

Situated between Milos and Sikinos, Folegandros, Greece is one of the most naturally beautiful islands of Cyclades in the Aegean Sea, with breathtaking scenery of mountain areas, rocky ground, green fields and deep blue, crystal clear waters, making it one of the most popular travel destinations in Greece for tourists worldwide.

I visited the Folegandros, Greece for the first time several years ago. I remember I fell in love with the island the moment I arrived at the port of Karavostasis.

Agali Beach in Foledandros Island Cyclades Greece

Folegandros Beaches

Probably the most well-preserved in Cyclades, the Folegandros beaches attract hundreds of visitors, especially during the summer months. I visited and loved them all, but I consider the following ones to be special:


Agali Beach

The Agali beach is named after the Greek word ‘’Angalia’ which means ‘’hug’’ and it took that name because of the huge rocks that seem to be ‘’hugging’’ the beach. This is the most crowded beach and ideal for swimmers.


Agios Georgios Beach

Ideally located to the northern part of the island, the sandy, crystal water beach of Agios Georgios is extremely popular. Only thing to be aware of is that this beach is subjected to strong winds, so it is wise to check the weather report before visiting.


Folegandros Historical Sights


Church of Koimisis tis Theotokou

Situated on the top of a cliff, on the ruins of a temple, there is Church of Koimisis tis Theotokou, dedicated to Panagia Theotokos (Virgin Mary). According to an old legend, the church was built by an islander who was kidnapped by pirates, and was miraculously saved once he found the icon of Panagia Theotokos in the Aegean Sea.


Venetian Castle

Built during the 13th century to protect the inhabitants from pirates, the Venetian Castle offers a spectacular, breathtaking view of the Aegean Sea, as well as the chance for visitors to see the church of Panagia Pentanassa. I visited in late afternoon, while the sun was going down, and I had the chance to enjoy an even better view because I climbed on the top of the church, so I have associated that experience with one of the most romantic moments in my life.


Ecology and Folk Museum

For lovers of nature like me, the Ecology and Folk Museum in the capital of Folegandros, Chora, is a must-see. The museum displays an impressive variety of farming tools, ideal for everyday use, housed in a farm house.


If you are looking for a peaceful and serene place to spend your summer vacation, the island of Folegandros is a perfect choice.


Things to do in Carmona, Spain

Guest Post By: Maria Papadopoulou

Situated in the Guadalquivir Valley of Spain and surrounded by fields of wheat and cotton, there is Carmona, a  magnificent place that I instantly fell in love with when I first visited it a few years ago. There are so many things to do over there, that you won’t be bored, not even for a minute.

Alcazar de la Puerta de Sevilla

One of the most famous historical buildings in Carmona, Alcazar de la Puerta de Sevilla, is a must see for every tourist. Although remodeled and refurbished, it helps tourists understand the origins of Carmona’s fortifications, as well as the town’s history. The view from the top is simply breathtaking, I spent several minutes looking at it, totally mesmerized.

Puerta de Cordoba, Carmona, SpainRoman Necropolis

For those who love digging in the past in an attempt to understand the present and are not afraid of what they may find, Roman Necropolis, the ancient cemetery, is a place they should not miss. At the entrance, there is Tumba del Elefante, a huge elephant figure that will make every heart beat fast for a few seconds. The cemetery is very well preserved and it allows visitors to learn a lot about burial tombs at different stages of restoration. The second time I visited that particular cemetery, which as of 1992 is considered an archaeological site, I was given a free tour by the Director and learnt many more details about the place. Free tours are scheduled every once in a while, so visitors should take advantage of that if they want to delve deeper into the Necropolis history.

Iglesia de Santa Maria de la Asuncion

Located at the plaza del Marques de las Torres, is the beautiful church of Santa Maria, built in 1424, in gothic style. The serenity and peace of the place have such a calming effect; tourists will certainly feel as if they are talking a walk in the fields of Heaven.

The principal altarpiece features the work of Nufro de Ortega and Juan Vasquez.  There is a cute little chapel dedicated to San Jose, as well as an altarpiece dedicated to Pedro de Campana. I loved the famous sculpture of Christ on the cross, called the Desamparados (the homeless), as well as the painting of the 12 Apostles. They are truly masterpieces that once you see, you will never be able to forget.

Carmona has so many interesting places to visit and learn about. If you want to broaden your horizons, this is where you should go.

Maria Papadopoulou  is a freelance writer at as well as a translator and a proofreader.


Things to do in Memphis, Tennessee

Guest Post By: Maria Papadopoulou

One of the most beautiful cities to visit in the United States is Memphis, in Tennessee.  Having friends there, I try to visit as often as I can both to see them and enjoy the city.  There are so many things to do!


My absolute favorite place to go to when in Memphis is Graceland. As a big Elvis Presley fan I enjoy tremendously the famous Graceland tour, as I have the chance to see first hand many of his old costumes and awards.

Downtown Memphis Tennessee at nightSun Studios

Another tour I enjoy tremendously when visiting Memphis is a tour at the Sun Studios, where famous music stars recorded their albums back in the 1950’s. Every rock n roll fan has to visit! He won’t be disappointed!

National Civil Rights Museum

Wanting to learn all about the civil rights movement history, I visited the National Civil Rights Museum several years ago.  There are so many things to see and learn though, so every time I visit Memphis I go back to the Museum to broaden my horizons some more.  Offering a huge variety of private collections, exhibitions, as well as educational programs, the National Civil Rights Museumis a great opportunity for tourists to spend their day in a constructive way.

The Orpheum Theatre

Managed by the Memphis Development Foundation, the Orpheum theatre, one of the most famous theatres in Memphis, presents 10-12 great Broadways shows every year. Tours are open to the public several times a year.  Visitors also have the opportunity to purchase merchandise from Orpheum Theatre by bidding on the various auctions that are held to help support the Theatre.

Mississippi River

When I want to go for a long walk, relax or have a picnic with my friends in Memphis, my first choice is the amazing Mississippi River, a must see for every visitor in Memphis.


The Art Museum of the University of Memphis

I love this Museum because it features a variety of temporary as well as permanent exhibits. Some of the most famous permanent exhibits which I absolutely adoreare the Works on Paper collection and the African collection. Everything is well organized so it is easy to understand everything, without getting confused.

With such a variety of different things to do, Memphis will not disappoint, even the most difficult tourist.  There is something for everyone, so definitely put Memphis on the top of your traveling list!

Maria Papadopoulou  is a freelance writer at as well as a translator and a proofreader.

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