We are thinking of you! It’s nearly a year this spring since we visited the lands & ancient sites associated with Alexander the Great in beautiful Macedonia, Northern Greece. At the time many archaeological sites were closed due to economic problems – now a year on we wonder how they may be faring in the current devastating crisis.
Only once Peter had finished writing the final part of the Alexander Trilogy did he feel ready to make this journey. We travelled to Thessaloniki & from there to Veria in order to visit the Royal Tombs at Vergina & the site of the ancient city & Palace of the Macedonian Kings at Aigai. The Royal Tombs are claimed to be the burial place of Philip II, father to Alexander. After spending so much time & energy on the Alexander Project it was so strange to be confronted with these realities. The enormity of the open Aliakmon plains stretching beyond the Palaces, the finality of the entrance to Philip’s tomb, the beauty of the golden wreaths shaped into myrtle leaves & acorns that had survived through the ages.
We also visited the ‘Nymphaeum of Ancient Mieza’ archaeological site of the school where Aristotle instructed young Alexander in ethics, politics, martial arts & literature – Homer, Sophocles, Euripides & Aeschyles. This tranquil setting where two of the world’s most influential personalities met was the most moving site of the trip, a sacred place of exceptional natural beauty.
Finally on to Pella birthplace of Alexander, an unremarkable small town but for this fact. No souvenirs or Alexander tea towels here. A faded sign welcomes you on the long road into town, a statue & a café bearing the man’s name. The gates to the ruins of the palace were firmly locked & all excavation stopped. But down the hill the Museum of Pella (a huge state of the art building that looks like it dropped from the sky) awaits the coach parties to wonder at the phenomenal array of antiquities within. The ticket was paid for in Euros. In Greece, cradle of demokratia, the people will find a way!
The two countries SplitMoon is interested in working with artistically, Greece & Iran, are both now ever present in the news. Mounting tensions with Iran & the gradual drip over here of articles & programmes focused on the country make for an uneasy feeling. To all our friends in Iran we say “Salom” & “Solh”!