This is an exceedingly delightful exploration of the walls of Limenas, ancient Thasos, capital of the eponymous island city-state just off Greece’s northern seaboard. The city had a long and prosperous history, and remains from nearly 1,000BC until Genoese times are on show. .
Start with a delve round the fantastic museum just above the ancient naval harbor, its entrance dominated by a 5m tall unfinished C6 kouros, one of the most thrilling we have seen of a thrilling, sometimes almost abstract, species. Then it is off, past a sanctuary of Poseidon, along a delightfully pine-shaded track just above the ancient commercial harbor (you can see its just-submerged mole circling out into the turquoise waters), to the start of the walls as they climb the craggy, three-peaked ridge that protects the eastern quarter-circle of the city.
After a little chapel on the ruins of a classical sanctuary overlooking the island’s east coast, the city walls, of dressed stone, a beautifully regular later (classical) layer above earlier monumental “cyclopean” blocks, the remnant of earlier walls destroyed by the invading Darius, climb steeply through mixed forest to the theatre, which commands a panorama over the city and harbours which is so beautiful you wonder how any audience would ever have concentrated.
You are now in lovely stands of pine and holm oak. You reach a platform just below the Acropolis, with a mouth-watering view south down the coast. The Acropolis has been many things, including sanctuary to Apollo, its extant form a Genose castle which has classical fragments built into its rubbly walls.
Further along the ridge is the high platform of the Temple of Athena, enjoying huge view across the fine and varied trees to the ancient harbours and the modern town with its busy ferries.
A steep, dappled olive grove gets you to a little Sanctuary of Pan. Then it is down some secret steps hewn into the rock, faintly reminiscent of Petra, to spectacular gate, lintel still in place, in the olive groves above the town.
The walls swings on round through the suburbs to the sea, but the best is done. Wonderful.