U.S. Ambassador in Athens Geoffrey Pyatt has paid a visit to the archaeological site in Dodoni in Epirus, accompanied by his wife and Ioannina Deputy Mayor Pantelis Kolokas.
The ambassador was given a tour of the site, initially under pouring rain but later in sunshine which allowed the party to see the ancient theatre and other monuments at close quarters.
After the archaeological site, he visited the village of Manteio and spoke with Dodoni’s mayor about actions on a local level to improve health and education services, as well as work underway to restore the archaeological site and press for its inclusion in the UNESCO world heritage monuments list.
The sanctuary of Dodoni was a major spiritual place in ancient Greece. It was the oldest of the Greek oracles and ancient people traveled great distances in order to consult the priests who foretold the future.
Outside the temple of Zeus the priests gathered under the sacred oak tree and listened to the sound of the leaves as they shivered in the breeze and glimpsed at the future.
People from the entire known world would make the pilgrimage in ancient times in order to consult the future-telling oak tree and to attend cultural festivals that took place regularly at Dodoni.
The Oracle is located at the foot of the majestic twin peaks of mount Tomaros (1972m and 1816m tall), and while the entire site is sprinkled with ancient ruins, the visually imposing theatre dominates the landscape.
Limestone seats appear weather-beaten and nested in a respectful semicircle between two enormous retaining walls.
The theatre was host to theatrical plays in ancient Greece, and it was most certainly modified by the Romans at a later date to accommodate their gladiatorial games that required a semi-circular orchestra.