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Island of Samos
 
     
Without doubt the most impressive of the surviving technical works carried out on ancient Samos during the tyrrany of Polykrates is the famous Eupalinion Orygma, a 1,036 m.-long tunnel which was part of the city's water supply system, conveying water from the Agiades Spring which then produced 400 m3 a day. This remarkable project was constructed by the engineer Eupalinos from Megara. Eupalinos marked out the underground route on the crest of the mountain and then proceeded to excavate its interior. In order to save time, he set his workers to dig from both sides of the mountain. After extremely precise calculations and several bends in the tunnel, the two openings were united in the middle, with only a minimal deviation from the course. The tunnel is 1,8 x 1,8 m and channelled water to the city for almost 1000 years. The Eupalion aqueduct was discovered in the 19th century and reopened in 1882, but only for study by archaeologists. It does not bring water to Pythagorion even though the Agiades source continues to refresh the inhabitants of and visitors to this charming town.

 

 
     
   
     
  Samos not only has an illustrious past, it also has significant monuments from these times. The most important archaeological site on the island is the Heraion, the sanctuary of the goddess Hera. Human habitation here can be traced back to the Neolithic Age and a goddess of fertility was worshipped here in the Bronze Age. When the Ionians settled on Samos they introduced the cult of Hera and decided to establish her sanctuary on the site where a prehistoric shrine had existed earlier. It was on Samos that the myths about the Hera were created, according to which the goddess was born on the banks of the river Imvresos, where she also her first erotic encounter with Zeus, her future husband. The first temple of Hera was built in the Heraion in the early 8th century BC and was called Hekatompedos, because it was 100 feet long (Gr. hekaton = 100, podia = feet), that is about 30 metres. The temple was extended in subsequent years and in 570 BC the architect Rhoikos built a new, larger temple of porow stone next to it. On this same spot Polykrates began to built the largest temple temple in ancient Greece, which was 112.2 m long and 44.16 m wide, and had 115 columns. He didi not live to finish it however, because he was murdered by the Persians. Later, other temples were built in the Heraion, not only by the Greeks but also by the Romans, who continued the cult of Hera. Indeed the Roman emperor Tiberius had granted the sanctuary the right of asylum, as a result of which a whole settlement developed around it, where all manner of outlaws - mainly tax-evaders - sought refuge.
The indented coastline of Samos has many bays and sandy beaches, promising pleasures for those who love the sea. Those who prefer amenities and easy access will find all they could wish for at the large beaches around Kokkari, the enormous stretches of sand at Mykali, Potokaki, Kambos and Velanidia, as well as the smaller but superb beaches at Psili Amos (two beaches of the that name, one on the southwest shore and the other on the southeast), Klima, Limnionas, Tsamadou, Tsambou, Balos, Kerveli and Gapazio. Those who are not deterred by the difficulties of unmetalled roads, the shores at Laka, Kyriakou, Mourtia, Tsopela - reached after a very beautiful journey along dirt tracks, the exotic beaches of Mikro and Megalo Seitani, the countless coves below Spatharei and Koumeika, Kalogera and Peri beach, will not disappoint them. In the west part of the island, below the granite crags of Kerketea, they should look for Plaka, Katsouni, Aghios Isidoros and the two fabulous beaches hidden below the sacred loneliness of the Monastery of Agh. Ioannou Eleimonos.
 
     
  The ancient city of Samos occupied the same siteas the lovely modern town of Pythagorio (which used to be called Tigani). The harbour of Pythagorio is in exactly the same place as the harbour of ancient Samos and the moles we see today were constructed in between 1842 and 1862, by the German engineer Karl Humann, upon the remains of the ancient ones. The most impressive section of the ancient harbour, which Herodotus described as "earth in the sea" was a breakwater 360 metres long with foundations 60 fathoms deep. The ancient city was girt by strong walls which reached down to the quay. A short distance to the southwest of ancient Samos was a monumental complex, the Thermae (public baths) and the enormous Gymnasium of the city, the largest such building in antiquity, covering an area of 35,000 m2 to the southwest of the city. Beside the harbour were the building of the Laura, where Polykrates - a great womanizer - had gathered the most beautiful girls in Samos, whom the ancient authors refer to tenderly as the "Samian flowers".
The name Samos is prehellenic and means "high, tall". As we shall see, the island's terrain justifies it completely. The west part of Samos is dominated by the wild steep slopes of Mount Kerketeas (anc. Kereketeus), the highest peak of whiich is Vigla (1434 m asl), while at about the centre of the island is Mount Ambelos with its dense pine forests and vineyards, the highest summits of which are Karvouni (1153 m asl) and Ai Lia (1127 m asl). The island's mountains and hills are covered with verdant woods of pine, chestnut, oak and cypress, amidst which run countless brooks and rushing streams of cool water. Little wonder that the ancient authors used many epithets for Samos, because of its paradisal natural environment: Anthemous (flowering), Dorysa (wooded), Kyparissaia (cypress-green), Melanthemous (Swarthy), Dryousa (tree-filled), Melamphyllos (black-leafed), Phyllis (leafy) and Hydrele (well-watered). The landscape is variegated by dense olive groves and rich vales of citrus trees, which thrive in its fertile soil, as well as orderly vineyards on the north side, where grow the muscat grapes which, from antiquity to this day, give the famous sweet golden Samian wine. It is not fortuitous that because of its blessed earth, the ancients said of Samos that "the island bears even bird's milk...".
 
   
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