The first time I passed by Kassopi, in Preveza mountains, in Epirus, I saw goats. And a flock of sheep too… Truly unusual visitors for an important archaeological site, don’t you think?
That time (I mean many years ago) the place was abandoned, unattended and, of course, whoever could enter the site: tourists, travelers, archaeologists, sheep, goats and shepherds…
The ancient city of Kassopi is located near the famous Zalongo cliff, at Epirus region and those who built the city must have been very charming people, they adored beauty. Because the place which they had chosen to built their city has a truly … divine view!
I was wandering in Kassopi, that warm summer morning and dawdle – through the ruins of the ancient city – at the Ionian Sea and the Gulf of Amvrakikos, all of them shining in a dazzling panorama.
Visitors; Hardly! Neither goats! The two guardians of the site just stayed by the shade of a large oak tree and they were drinking café frappe (the popular beverage of the Greek civil servants…).
My travel book wrote that the city was founded in 360 BC. Oh yeah.., before I continue I have to explain the title of this post. Aphrodite (or Venus), ancient goddess of Love had been the beloved goddess of the inhabitants of Kassopi. Yes, of course. And as their favorite goddess she was worshiped very much. Here existed a resplendent temple (which has been excavated) devoted to Venus. The temple certainly predates the city. The Kassopieans used to built a temple of Aphrodite at every city they created. Venus’s temples should be the most prominent of all the other temples.
I was thinking of those people: they should have been very tender and flirty. I do not know more about their tastes but their huge love on Venus, yes, it definitely meant something. They also used the figure of the Goddess at their coins since 342 BC.
I walked along the main market street trying to figure out how it the surrounding buildings once looked like. I saw the north and west gallery, the parliament, the honorary monuments, the altars, the guest house, various shops including a blacksmith’s, the monument, the temple of Aphrodite . Oh yes… It is difficult to reconstruct images through such relics.
Those ruins are what is left of the town when it was abandoned by its inhabitants in 31 BC . They were forced by August Caesar to evacuate Kassopi and colonize the newly built Nicopolis, some kilometers to the south.
I arrived at the theater. AAhh… what a view … my Venus! And what beautiful performances took place here huh? Bearings and ranges are almost ruined of course, but the size is still impressive: 6,000 seated spectators could enjoy this theater! And if a play was taking place while the sun was setting I thought viewers should be forgetting the stage action and starring at the exciting sunset. What a pity that none will see ancient drama here anymore…
Thinking all those things I took off my hat to enjoy the breeze of the mountain, while a single and nice looking lady visitor was approaching the ruins of the ancient city. She looked around, read her map, took photographs…
“You know that here Venus was worshiped?” I said trying to start a conversation.
She looked at me rather indifferently, and left silent without saying a word!
It was expected…
Anyway Venus do not stay here anymore …
Where am I?
The ancient town of Kassopi is located near the village of Kamarina, in Epirus. The quickest way to get there is by car along the main road from Arta to Igoumenitsa.
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