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Information About Viotia Archaeological Sites
The theater – odeum is located at the eastern foothills of mount Yfantio and north of the arched tomb of Minyas and was brought to light by the Professor of the University of Athens and curator of antiquities T. Spyropoulos in 1972. The theater was chiseled on the rock, built at the end of the 4th century BC. The auditorium is unified with 12 rows of seats made out of limestone, while the aisles were made out of marlstone. The diameter of the orchestra is approximately 16 m.
The carved inscriptions of the monastery of Skripous, that cite the music festivals that took place in the theater in order to honor the Charites (the 3 Graces), definitely came from this theater. From the pedestals of monuments found in the theater we conclude that the names of the festivals were : Charitisia and Dionysia (Agrionia).
The inscriptions found in the excavations south from the church of Virgin Mary honoring the winners of the festivals, including names, profession and home town we find that guitarists, flautists, preachers, trumpets, poets, comedians, rhapsodists, tragedians and artists of all sorts, from all over Greece even Asia Minor and Italy took part in the festivals.
The theater is now used for cultural events, still fulfilling the purpose for which it was built 2500 years ago.
At the northern foothills of mount Yfantio, north from the arched tomb of Minyas, west from the Madonna of Skripous and beneath the chirch of Saint Anargyros we meet Akidalia fountain of Aphrodite also known as fountain of Charites, situated in place of rich natural beauty garnished with legends and myths. This is where the inhabitants of ancient Orchomenos came to get water, using the stairs that were chiseled in the rock as the lake of Kopaida reached this point. According to Greek mythology this was the birth place of the daughters of Zeus and Eurynome, the Charites (the three Graces) which accompanied Aphrodite. Aglaea or Aglaia ("splendor, brilliant, shining one"), Euphrosyne ("joyful life") and Thalia ("to bloom") bathed in the cool waters of the Akidalia spring. According to the Iliad of Homer, the three Graces bathed, perfumed and dressed Aphrodite with the "ambrosian veil" that they themselves weaved.
The three Graces were worshiped throughout ancient Greece and the entire ancient world, but in Orchomenos they were mostly honored and worshiped with passion from the ancient years of Minyas until after the time of Pausanias in the 2nd century AC, as this was where it first began and was where the first honoring temple rose. It was built by the king of Orchomenos, Eteocles, son of Kifissos or Andreos, using stones that had fallen from the sky. In the temple there were statues of the Greces made of stone according to Pausanias. It is thought to have been located at the church of the Virgin Mary and dating back to the 9th or 8th century BC.
The spring of Akidalia is located next to the springs of the river Melana, yet another location of Orchomenos with rich natural beauty that was and is used for nearby excursions.
At the eastern foothills of mount Yfantis, at the western edge of todays Orchomenos one of the most impressive and excellent monuments of Minyas is located. According to calculation it was built during the 2nd millennia BC. The monument was brought to light by the excavations of Heinrich Schliemann during 1881-1885, after the failed attempt of Elgin in 1803. Following Schliemann the Archaeological School of France started excavations in 1893 and german archaeologists, with H. Bulle and A. Furtwaengler in charge, continued the excavations in 1903 and 1905.
These excavations brought to light Neolithic settlements with circular and square house foundations, tombs from 3000 years BC, palaces, sanctum of Asclepius from Mycenaean era and more, which indicate that the area was inhabited throughout the Neolithic era (7000 years BC.). The manufacturers of the tomb seem to be Trophonius and Agamedes, sons of Erginus, King of Orchomenos.
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