"In the shadow of the Olympian Gods"
Dion-Castle Platamonas-Palaios Panteleimon
The next ancient Macedonian city that deserves to be included in a one-day trip is Dion, 15 km after Katerini. The first mention about the city found in Thukidides in 424 B.C and then became a place of worship of the gods of the Macedonians. In Dion Philip celebrated the fall of Olynthus and Alexander made sacrifices before the war against the Persians . The ancient city was surrounded by a wall. It is also worth to see the baths, the temple of Demeter.
The city had a vertical growing system of roads, which was paved the imperial years. In the southern part of the city were the public baths, "Megales Thermes", which are dated back to 200 A.D. Next is the Conservatory and in the eastern sector is the impressive House of Dionysus. Downtown is the episcopal basilica of the 4th c. AD. and outside the walls is the cemetery basilica of the 5th century. In Dion there are many temples , the most important are the goddess Demeter (the oldest Macedonian sanctuary) and Isis, the Hellenistic theater (built by Philip V) and part of the stage where the athletic competitions Olympia were held. The only theater that survived is the one of the Hellenistic period. But there was a theater in classical times.
Castle of Platamonas
The castle is built on the site of the ancient Heraklion (Heraclea). In "The Periplus" of Pseudo-Scylaka (4th c. B.C.), is referred as the "first city of Macedonia, Heraklion". Recent excavations have brought to light Euboean pottery, protocorinthian origin and age from Eastern Greece, which show the presence of Greeks perhaps from the 8th century. B.C. [4} The name Platamonas first mentioned in 1198 in a golden bull of the Byzantine Emperor Alexios Komnenos A.
Old Panteleimon (village)
Perched on the slopes of Mount Olympus, offers incredible view of the Thermaikos and the shores of Pieria. The central square with trees, the old church of St. Panteleimon and the old school is where most people are gathered to enjoy the view and have lunch in the many traditional taverns. Beautiful souvenir shops, and shops with folk art, gifts and jewelry are scattered in the streets while many abandoned houses are being restored and converted into residences and hostels.
8:00 Departure from Thessaloniki
9:00 Arrival at Dion
11:00 Departure from Dion
11:20 Arrival at the castle of Platamonas
12:20 Departure from the castle of Platamonas
12:30 Stop at the village of old Panteleimon
13:30 Departure for Thessaloniki
15:00 Arrival at Thessaloniki
Duration: 7 hours Price: 170 € mini van 200 €