In the shadow of Mt. Olympus is Dion, the site of … well, of a great many ruins, now. Once, the site of temples, steam baths, an amphitheater, shops, houses, a thriving and important community, where the religious sanctuary was the center of everything. Later, because it had a constant supply of spring water, fed by the slopes of Olympus, both Philip of Macedonia and his son Alexander (later, Alexander the Great) housed and trained troops here. One can see places where they tore down buildings, then used the columns as recycled building material for walls and roads. The stone roads have ruts worn in them from chariots and carts; the place feels every bit of its history.
On my visit here, I probably took 200 photos–the site is large and diverse enough that it really looks as if I had visited three or four separate places. The shots here are from the Sanctuary of Isis, once a place of worship, now a place of frogs, fish, and turtles.
Once there was a temple here
With marble columns gleaming white
Once the gods themselves looked down
Upon these altars with delight.
Olympus climbs into the clouds
And mortals look up from below—
The hidden summit must have gods,
We do not just believe—we know.
But gods, it seems, are mortal too
And gods must die, as must we all
And temples, without gods, decay;
Abandoned columns soon will fall.
The people leave; the waters rise;
What was a marble floor, now grass;
The sunken statuary gaze,
And dumbly watch millennia pass.
Once the gods were worshipped here
Today the rulers here, the frogs
Control the fate of damsel-flies;
Athena’s columns for their logs.
The gods, it seems, cannot stop time
And Zeus himself must lose his crown
The land gives way to fish and frogs…
And turtles all the way down.