July 2020 Digital Treasure Hunt X

Congratulations you have finished the treasure hunt! Click here to add the Greek souvenirs to your account!

Stories & Facts


Clue 1

The Monastic Republic of Mount Athos

This semi autonomous region of Greece brings together twenty monasteries and the different villages and houses that depend on them. They house around 2,000 Eastern Orthodox Greek, Bulgarian, Romanian, Russian, Serbian and other monks who lead a life of seclusion, introspection and prayer, in a landscape on the mountain, sometimes called "Christian Tibet". As part of an EU member state, Mount Athos is part of the European Union and, for the most part, subject to EU law.

Females not allowed - The access of "any female creature" is strictly forbidden, so as not to tempt the monks; however, it is understood that this edict only concerns domestic vertebrate creatures, with two exceptions: hens for eggs, used in cooking and in sacred paintings) and cats (to hunt rodents).


A Brief History of Greece

The ancient and modern name of the country is Hellas and its official name is the Hellenic Republic "Helliniki Dimokratia". In English however, the country is usually called Greece, which comes from the Latin Graecia (as used by the Romans) and literally means 'the land of the Greeks'.

Greece is considered the cradle of Western civilisation, being the birthplace of democracy, Western philosophy, Western literature, historiography, political science and major scientific and mathematical principles. From the eighth century B.C., the Greeks were organised into various independent city-states, known as poleis, which spanned the entire Mediterranean region and the Black Sea. Philip of Macedon united most of the Greek mainland in the fourth century BC, with his son Alexander the Great rapidly conquering much of the ancient world, from the eastern Mediterranean to India. Greece was annexed by Rome in the second century B.C., becoming an integral part of the Roman Empire and its successor, the Byzantine Empire, which adopted the Greek language and culture. After falling under Ottoman dominion in the mid-15th century, Greece emerged as a modern nation state in 1830 following a war of independence. The country's rich historical legacy is reflected in part by its 18 UNESCO World Heritage Sties.


Below, map of the Greek Empire conquered by Alexander the Great (if you are viewing on a mobile device turn your screen sideways).

wanderlust treasure and scavenger hunt club greece stories and facts picture 1



Clue 2

Mt Olympus

Mount Olympus at a height of 2,917 is the highest mountain in Greece.



The name means "lofty", "elevated", and is etymologically related to meteor and originally had 24 monasteries.

As early as the eleventh century, monks occupied the caverns of Meteora. However, monasteries were not built until the fourteenth century, when the monks sought somewhere to hide in the face of an increasing number of Turkish attacks on Greece. At this time, access to the top was via removable ladders or windlass. Nowadays, getting up there is a lot simpler due to steps being carved into the rock during the 1920s. Of the 24 monasteries, only six (four of men, two of women) are still functioning, with each housing fewer than ten individuals.


Linkin Park Meteora

The music band Linkin Parks album Meteora is named after this area of rock formations and monetarists.

Band member Mark Shinoda explains: "'Meteora' was a word that caught my attention because it sounded huge... In the same way Linkin Park doesn't mean the park, but the band, Meteora doesn't mean the rock formation, it means what this album sounds like." Band mate Chester Bennington continued his statement, "It's got this otherworldly vibe about it, it had this really great energy, and I wanted to have a record that lived up to that energy."


Below a monk accesses one of the monasteries via a cable car.

wanderlust treaure and scavenger hunt club greece stories and facts picture 2


Clue 3

Delphi - the centre of the world

Delphi is believed to be the navel or centre of the Earth. Greek god, Zeus released two birds; Eagles into the air. One went towards the East and the other towards the West, the two birds met at Delphi after they had gone around the world. The point at which they met is called Omphalos in Delphi.

Apollo is worshipped in Delphi because he killed a serpent called ‘drako’ and became the protector of the region. The site where Apollo killed Python is referred to as Krisa and is the rectangular ruins you saw at the bottom of the theatre.

The Delphi Theatre was constructed with limestone in the 4th century. It has over 35 rows that can accommodate an audience of about 5000. Many events are still hosted here to date.


Below - the Omphalos Stone at Delphi, the centre of the world.

wanderlust treasure and scavenger hunt club greece stories and facts picture 3



Clue 4

How did Athens get its name?

According to mythology Athena and Poseidon competed for the title of the guardian of the city. They each offered a gift to gain favour of its people and the gods, but Athena’s olive tree was deemed more valuable than the salt water spring given by Poseidon, so her name was given to the city-state.


Athens is home to the first known democracy.

Democracy was established in Athens around 500 B.C. It was based on a direct democracy system, in which eligible citizens directly voted on laws.


Are the Acropolis and the Parthenon the same thing?

The Acropolis is the high hill in Athens that the Parthenon, an old temple, sits on. Acropolis is the hill and the Parthenon is the ancient structure.


Parthenon - temple, church and mosque.

The Parthenon's been fought over during the centuries by different religions. It started out as a temple dedicated to the Greek goddess Athena. Then, it was taken over by Christians and converted into a church, then it was taken over by the Turks and transitioned to a mosque with a minaret erected over it. 

Below - a drawing of the Parthenon as a mosque with a minaret.

wanderlust treaure and scavenger hunt club greece stories and facts picture 4


Clue 5

In the ancient Olympics athletes (always male) competed in the nude.

The ancient Greeks had a tradition of doing things nude (and they exercised without any clothes on) - indeed, the word gymnasium came from the Greek word gymos, which means "naked."

Why naked? Well, to appreciate and celebrate the male physique, of course, and as a tribute to the gods. Participants regularly anointed themselves with olive oil to enhance their looks ... and to keep the skin smooth!

In the sixth century, there was an actually attempt to make athletes wear loincloths, but this proved to be unpopular and soon afterwards nudity regained its status as fashion in athletics.


Women and the games

Married women were banned at the Ancient Olympics on the penalty of death. The laws dictated that any adult married woman caught entering the Olympic grounds would be hurled to her death from a cliff!

But this didn't mean that the women were left out: they had their own games, which took place during Heraea, a festival worshipping the goddess Hera. The sport? Running - on a track that is 1/6th shorter than the length of a man's track on the account that a woman's stride is 1/6th shorter than that of a man's


Christianity Killed the Ancient Olympics

The Romans, who conquered Greece, viewed the Olympics as a pagan festival.

So, in AD 393, Roman Emperor Theodosius I banned the Ancient Olympics in part to institute Christianity as a state religion. The Olympics was no more ... until it was revived 1,500 years later in 1896.


Olympia and Sparta

The ancient Greek city state of Sparta is located on the southern end of the Peloponnese peninsula (now modern day Sparti). Olympia on the western coast was part of the Elis city state. Sparta grew to be one of the strongest city states to rival Athens and allied with Elis in the 7 century B.C.


Below - in the Ancient Olympics winners received olive wreaths not medals.

 wanderlust treasure and scavenger hunt club greece stories and facts picture 5


Clue 6

The shipwreck at Navagio Beach

There are many theories surrounding the shipwreck to be a former smugglers ship smuggling cigarettes, wine and even humans however this is the account recently taken from ships captain:

'MV Panayiotis (No. 4512 of Piraeus) sailed from the port of Argostoli, Cephalonia to the port of Durrës, Albania on September 6, 1980. When the shipment was ready and set sail for return, during the evening hours of October 2, 1980, the ship ended at the beach of St George near Volimes due to bad weather conditions and mechanical failure. I reported the accident to the authorities, but due to the fact that the beach was not accessible on foot by land, we were not able to protect the ship from thieves and other dangers. As a result, part of the shipment was stolen along with various vessel equipment (radar, VHF radio, etc). I went back to the authorities to report that my property was stolen and the General Prosecutor of the area in my presence organized a formal on-site investigation with the local police. The outcome was outstanding as during the first days of the operation, all stolen items, as well as the stolen part of the shipment, were found in local villages nearby, and 29 persons in total were persecuted and jailed during the following months after the trials were completed.’

After being cleared from all accusations by the court, he was later forced by the authorities to remove the vessel by his own means. When he visited the site to see how he could execute the manoeuvre, he was so astonished by the beauty of the rusting carcass that he decided to leave it as is.


Homers the Odyssey & Iliad

These 2 epic Greek poems are one of the few works to survive the fire of the library at Alexandria (Egypt) which was accidentally caused by Julius Caesar burning enemy ships in the port in 48 BC. Thus they are considered some of the oldest pieces of surviving western literature. 

The Iliad is set during the Trojan War, the ten-year siege of the city of Troy by a coalition of Greek states, it tells of the battles and events during the weeks of a quarrel between King Agemnon and the warrior Achilles. 

The Odyssey focuses on the Greek hero Odysseus and his return home after the fall of Troy. The journey took 10 years from modern Turkey around the Mediterranean and finally back to the Greek Ionian islands with many adventures and mythological encounters along the way. You have just visited the southern Ionian island - Zakynthos. 


Below -  a painting of Odysseus encounter with the Cyclops on the island of Sicily and his method to kill it.

The Cyclops then fell fast asleep in a drunken sleep. Odysseus and his men then took the timber and heated the sharpened end in the fire until it glowed red. Then, with all their strength, they pushed the red-hot point into the eye of Polyphemus. The Cyclops howled and woke up flailing, but he was now blind.

wanderlust treasure and scavenger hunt club greece stories and facts picture 6


Clue 7

Island of Mykonos in Greek mythology

The island is said to have been the location of the battles between Zeus + the Olympians (the leader of and the deities known as the 12 Olympians who reside on Mt. Olympus).

and the Giants (in Greek mythology were a race of great strength and aggression, though not necessarily of great size who were born from blood of the Titans - the deities who preceded the Olympians).

Hercules (Zeus son), in one of these great battles, lured the Giants from Mt. Olympus (they had managed to fight to the top of the mountain), killed them and threw them into the sea where they were petrified and turned into huge rocks forming the island of Mykonos.


Windmills of Mykonos

There are currently 16 windmills on Mykonos of which seven are positioned on the landmark hill in Chora. Most of them were built by the Venetians in the 16th century, but their construction continued into the early 20th century. They were primarily used to mill wheat.


Sarakiniko Beach, Milos

The moonscape surface of this 'beach' is a combination of various geological materials, including eroded volcanic rock, sandstone, and pumice stone and ash.

This gives it the white “lunar” landscape look that it's known for. 


Below - A family tree of Greek deities showing the Titans and the Olympians.

wanderlust treasure and scavenger hunt club greece stories and facts picture 7 


Clue 8

Santorini name and past rulers.

The history of Santorini was shaped by different periods. The island was under the rule of the Byzantines and the Venetians for almost 400 years before the Ottoman Turks overthrew them. At this time, the island was not a part of Greece.

The name ‘Santorini’ was coined from two words ‘Santa’ which means ‘Saint’ and Irenene which means ‘Irene.’ The name is believed to be that of a church located in the Valley of Therassia.


Why are the roofs blue in Santorini?
The blue roof or doors and windows was a law dated back a long time ago from the metaxa area ordering the islands to have once colour for better aesthetics since it everyone was putting different colours on their houses.
The buildings are painted white so as to reflect the sun and keep the insides cooler.


Below - a photo of a volcanic eruption on Santorini January 25, 1928.

wanderlust treasure and scavenger hunt club greece stories and facts picture 8