Viotia, Greece

Viotia or Boetia is a Prefecture located in central Greece. Viotia’scapital is Livadeia and Thebes is its next largest city. Viotia lies just north of Attica. The landscape in Viotia includes the Parnitha ranges in the southwest and a mining district in the southeast. There are mountainous areas in the south and the west. Mount Parnassus, Viotia’s ski resort is located in the western region. The climate in Viotia is typically mild during winter and hot during the summer. In the mountainous or higher areas, temperatures turn quite a bit colder during the winter, and cooler in summer.

Viotia’s capital, Livadeia, is built between two hills on the sides of a gorge. The springs of Erkina run through the gorge, and on top of the hill, Profitis Ilias, you will find a wonderfully preserved medieval castle from the 14th century. Livadeia is credited with being the site of the famous Oracle of Zeus Trofonios. Easter in Livadeia is celebrated with festivals in the Livadeian tradition. The entire township comes out for an open air barbecue and spitted lamb and kebabs are served, along with red wine made locally. Folk dancing and music carries the celebration well into the night.

Arhova is a mountainous town that has seen little change from modern development. It sits at an altitude of 940 meters, and the homes are built up the slopes of Mt. Parnassos. It sits above the valley where a river flows to Livadeia and the Cephissus River below.

Local inhabitants create beautiful handmade rugs and bags, and the local cuisine and tavernas are very popular. St. George’s day is celebrated in Arhova each year on april 23rd. The celebration endures for three days and includes men dressed in local costume racing, followed by a feast on roast lamb. Just 10km east is Distomo, where you can view rare and important archaeological finds. The monastery of Ossios Loukas holds mosaics and frescoes from the 11th century, thought to be some of the finest in Greece.

In Chaironia you will find many archaeological interests. Among them is the birthplace of Plutarch, near the battlefield where Philip of Macedonia defeated allied forces from other Greek states in 338 BC. The site of the battlefield was discovered in 1818, along the with Lion of Chaironia The Lion of Chaironia, an almost 20 foot tall symbol of bravery and courage, lies at Chaironia’s entrance. The ruins of the acropolis and theatre are near this spot.

The Byzantine Church of Dormition of the Virgin from the 9th century is found in Orhomenos, as well as the Mycenaean tomb, the Treasury of Minyes. The trout prepared in Orhomenos is well known throughout Greece as one of its most delicious locally prepared dishes.

In the city of Thebes, you will find many other archaeological interests. Thebes is said to have been the birthplace of Hercules. Oedipus is another hero of Thebes, and is known as one of mythology’s most tragic heroes. Also be sure to visit the remains of the Cadmea, the central fortress of ancient Thebes.

Just 18 kilometers from Thebes is Plataiai and Lefktra. Thebes also lies very close to Vathi, where the ruins of ancient Avlida is found. Avlida is the spot where Agamemnon sacrificed his daughter Iphigenia to the goddess Artemis.

While you are in the area, be certain to visit the beautiful beaches of Distomo, Andikira, Vathi, and Sarandi Beach, where you fill find lovely sand or pebbles. All the beaches in this area are beautifully clean, and offer wonderful clear sea water.