While I’m planning my next trip to Mount Olympus during September, I want to share some memories and information from a couple of years ago, from a visit to Macedonia (a geographical and historical region of Greece). We were traveling across Balkans, through Serbia, FYR of Macedonia (this is not the same as Macedonia of Alexander the Great but this subject is too complicated and requires a separate post) and to the north of Greece a.k.a. Macedonia.
Mount Olympus is located in the Olympus Range on the border between Thessaly and Macedonia, between the regional units of Pieria and Larissa, about 80 km (50 mi) southwest from Thessaloniki. On the way there, there are couple of very interesting locations to visit. One of them is Pella. Pella was once a great city, cultural and political center and the capital of Macedonia. It was the birthplace and seats of Philip II and of Alexander the Great, his son.
Remains of this city can be visited as well as the Archaeological Museum of Pella. Most interesting remains of this capital are floor mosaics, well preserved and similar to those at Mediana. These mosaics are really good example of how rich and sophisticated this society was.
It relay is unforgettably experience to stand on the soil where premiere of Euripides Bacchae was first staged, about 408 BC, where the greatest conqueror of all time is born, on the soil of rulers Philip II and Alexander the Great that were wise enough to embrace Greek culture and values when they had the chance to ruin it.
Imagine, this is the time when wars were very simple – if a city was defeated by another city, all of it’s treasure is taken and all of its citizens were becoming slaves. During this tough time, Philip II chooses teacher for his son, Alexander. And because he is wise and powerful, he chooses the best teacher possible – Aristoteles. Oh, but Aristoteles knows how to bargain, and manages to get a really good deal for teaching the greatest conqueror of the history. Philip agrees to rebuild Aristotle’s hometown of Stageira, which Philip had razed, and to repopulate it by buying and freeing the ex-citizens who were slaves, or pardoning those who were in exile.
If you are going to the north of Greece, the city of Pella is place you don’t want to miss out.