Motorway Athens-Thessaloniki A1, Tempi toll station.
|Classification:||Gorge Karst Spring Cave Church|
|Guided tours:||self guided|
|As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
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|169 BC||battle during the Third Macedonian War.|
|148 BC||battle during the revolution of Andriskos.|
|18-APR-1941||Battle of Tempe Gorge during World War II.|
|2017||freeway tunnels inaugurated.|
The κοιλάδα των Τεμπών (Vale of Tempe) is the valley of the Pinos river, which connects the Plain of Larisa across the Tempe Pass with the Mediteranean Sea. It is also known as Gorge of Tempe and Gorge of Tempi. A section of about 5 km is quite narrow, 25 m at the narrowest spot, with limestone walls of up to 500 m. The valley was of great strategic importance, as it is the main connection between Athens and Thessaloniki. Even today the Freeway A1 runs along the gorge, as it is so narrow a tunnel was built. To see the valley exit the freeway before the gorge and follow the old road. There are several parking lots with outlooks.
The Vale of Tempe was cut through the rocks by the trident of Poseidon. Apollo chose to cleanse himself here for the murder of Python when he took over the Oracle at Delphoi. It was the place of the love of the god Apollo for the Nymph Daphne, the daughter of Pineios. It was home for Aristaeus, son of Apollo and Cyrene. It was here that Aristaeus chased Eurydice, the wife of Orpheus, who was bitten in her flight by a serpent and died. On the right bank of the Pineios sat a temple to Apollo, near which the laurels used to crown the victorious in the Pythian Games were gathered. The gorge was called the Holy Narrows.
The nearby pass and the valley were the place of battles throughout history. During the Third Macedonian War in 169 BC the Romans broke through Perseus of Macedon's defences. During the revolution of Andriskos in 148 BC the valley was again the site of a conflict. During the barbarian raids which mark the end of the Roman era in Greece several battles were fought here. More battles during Byzantine and Ottoman times. During World War II the Battle of Tempe Gorge took place here.
In the middle of the gorge is an iron hanging footbridge. It is the only way to get to the monastery of Agia Paraskevi on the other side, which was built into the rock of Mount Olympus. Next to the church of the cave monastery is a small cave where the holy water of Agia Paraskevi flows. The cave is so small that only one person at a time can go in. The limestone around the valley is karstified and there are numerous karst springs. The most famous are Daphne’s Spring and Aphrodite’s Spring.