5 Legends of the Ancient Aegean Sea

The Aegean Sea and its surrounding islands have long provided the spectacular setting for some of history’s most celebrated stories. Trace the footsteps of great heroes, explorers and storytellers who shaped not only Aegean civilization, but also the world. 
From the ancient city of Troy to the sunny island of Mykonos, these legendary locations are accessible for the contemporary explorer as part of an Emerald Cruises Yacht Cruise. Venture to destinations and witness ancient monuments that really must be seen to be believed.
For those interested in following these ancient trade routes and uncovering the history of the Aegean Sea for themselves, here are five legendary places you can discover today.

The Journey is the Thing.

1) Troy (Çanakkale, Turkey)
In north-western Turkey, the vibrant city of Canakkale sits on the Dardanelles Strait, a 60-mile narrow stretch of water which connects the Sea of Marmara and the Aegean Sea. Sharing its shore with both Europe and Asia, it is a popular yacht stop for those seeking to uncover more about the ancient history of the Aegean civilizations which are believed to have existed there since 3000 BC.  
Just outside this beautiful harbour town, the ruins of one of the Aegean’s most famous landmarks awaits. For thousands of years Troy was shrouded in mystery. Did it ever truly exist, or was it simply a figment of literary history? A central battleground during the Trojan War, it wasn’t until the 19th century that the ‘lost city’ was uncovered by archaeologists. Now, its fascinating remains entice those island hopping their way across the Aegean Sea. 

2) Meteora & Pelion (Volos, Greece)
In Greece’s Thessaly region, the beautiful port city of Volos is nestled perfectly on the Pelion Peninsula as it stretches into the Aegean. Overlooking the city is Mt. Pelion, its soft slopes adorned with a covering of lush green olive groves and chestnut orchards. Widely regarded as one of the most beautiful Greek mountains, it too is accompanied by centuries of myth and legend, namely as the home of the mythical half-man, half-horse Centaur.

Venture further in land and you’ll witness the magnificence of the Meteora monasteries as they rise from the Thessalian wilderness. Centuries ago, this ethereal setting was the dwelling for one of the most important Greek Orthodox communities and has since been regarded by UNESCO as a unique phenomenon of cultural heritage.
3) The Colossus of Rhodes (Rhodes, Greece)


As legend has it, Rhodes’ Mandraki Harbour was once the location for a towering bronze statue of Helios, the Greek sun god. Erected by the Rhodians in 280 BC to celebrate the city's successful defence against a large invading army, the statue is now regarded as one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. While the site of this magnificent statue is a legendary place you can still visit, the Colossus itself is lost. All we have now are stories, historical records and the beautiful harbour where it once stood, which continues to intrigue intrepid explorers, familiar with the tale.

4) The Gigantomachy (Mykonos, Greece)

In the heart of the Cyclades, surrounded by the stunning Aegean Sea, the iconic whitewashed buildings of Mykonos are a nod to typical Cycladic architecture. Now a beautiful coastal destination, this once celestial battleground is named after the grandson of the Olympian God Apollo. Almost literally built on Greek mythology, the island is believed to have been formed by the bodies of giants, slain by Hercules. Although long since petrified, legend has it that the Gigantomachy (or giants) still exist and every earthquake or volcanic eruption is one of them moving in their tomb below. 

5) The Aegean Sea

Beautifully positioned between mainland Greece and Turkey, the Aegean itself is legendary. Greek mythology and etymology dual for recognition as to where its name comes from, with legend stating it was named after the king of Athens, Aigeas, who threw himself off a cliff into the water, after wrongly thinking his son, Theseus, had been killed by a minotaur. An alternative explanation states it comes from the Greek ‘aiges’ meaning ‘high waves’ and ‘aigaios’ meaning ‘great sea’.

A once vital route for commercial trade, the real importance it has served the seafaring empires of the region should also not be understated. Ancient Greece is highly renowned for its undeniable importance in shaping western civilization, which would not have been possible without this fascinating body of water. 

These historic destinations feature on the following itineraries: Aegean Gems, Aegean Reflections, Greek Islands & Turkish Coastline, Discover the Eastern Mediterranean