They say that once the moons were twelve, one for each month. But the gods decided to donate the people one more, which is connected to dozens of myths and traditions. According to the beliefs of people on the Greek islands during the full moon throughout the most summer month of all, fairies and elves fill the forest and spread love to everything they touche. Then, shortly before dawn they disappear again.
Maybe that's why the August moon is so praised in songs and poems. Magic, bringing dreams and love, it fills with light the most beautiful night of the year. Moon in August is not just an astronomical event buta also holiday for thousands of romantics. Fifteen years ago the Greek Ministry of Culture and Tourism fulfilled the secret dream of many Greeks to walk around the archaeological sites under the moonlight. Gradually, the event attracted the interest of hundreds of foreign tourists, many of whom come to Athens particularly to enjoy the August moon on the hill of the Acropolis or some of the other archaeological sites in the country.
But not this year. Although the country is in the most critical financial situation it’s been in decades and is struggling to attract as many foreign visitors as it can the management of the prehistoric and classical sites decided that the Acropolis will not open in the long-awaited summer night. The reason, according to the guards of the ancient ruins is that last year's August Moon has passed with lot of problems.
One of them is the number of visitors, which in 2010 exceeded 15 thousand people, and the estimates for this year were for an increase of 35 percent. As a result of the throng of people wanting to go up the "sacred hill" there have been jolts, an exchange of sharp remarks, delays and cases of violations by people decided to take advantage of the bustle.
Another argument of the guards of the Acropolis is the darkness hinders the movement of visitors on the slippery and uneven surface of the marble hill and there is a risk of injury especially on the metal ladder to the monument of Agripas, which is steep and very dark.
According to guard the large number of visitors hinders smooth guarding the site, and the most serious problems are in the western part of the Parthenon and in the southern part of Propylaea where there are scaffoldings erected by the archaeologists who renovate the buildings.
So, unlike last year when the archaeological sites open to the public in Greece were 81, and the year before – 90, this year the romantic fans of the magical August full moon will be able to enjoy it from a total of 75 sites. On 40 of them will be held musical concerts and on five – theater performances. A music-dance performances and the showing of film on archaeological theme are highlights of this year's festivities.
Here is where and how you can enjoy the magic of the moon in the Attica region: In the courtyard of the building Ilion at the background of 16-18 Century music, at Deksameni Square in the metropolitan district of Kolonaki, where the orchestra of the national Radio and Television will play, in the archaeological site Amfiaraio in Oropos, in the Archaeology hotel in Marathon and the Archaeological Museum of Megara, as well as next to the Temple of Zeus from Olympus, which is located opposite to the hill of the Acropolis.
In Central Greece the sites are: the Archeological Museum in Girona, the Roman agora at Delphi, the Acropolis in Proerna, the Byzantine Museum in Ipati, the archaeological complex of Furka in Skyros, Karababa fortress, the archaeological complex in Nea Plevrona and Stratos and Navpaktos castle.
On the Peloponnesus you can watch the full moon from: the castle on the island of Kythira, Ancient Corinth, Ancient Nemeth, ancient Sikiona, the archaeological museum in Patras, the temple of Apollo Epicurus, the old museum in Ancient Olympia, the castle Palamidi in Nauplion, the theater of Herod Attica, the Acropolis in Pylos, Mystras and the Archaeological Museum in Sparta.
In the region of Epirus and the Ionian Islands the sites are the following: the Ich Cale fortress of Ioannina, ancient Dodona, the castle in Arta, the temple of necromancy next to the Aherondas river, Ragiu tower and Elea next to Paramitiya.
In Thessaly: the Archaeological Museums in Volos and Almyros, the archaeological complex next to Azoros, Skiti Castle, the archaeological complex in Nea Anchialos, the courtyard of the Byzantine church in Volos, the Byzantine fortress Fanari, the curved bridge next to Portaiko, the Byzantine fortress in Trikala and the cave Muta in Theopetra.
In the region of Macedonia: Eptapyrgio (the fortified walls) over Thessaloniki, the cave next to Petralona, the Halkidiki peninsula, the courtyard of the museum of the royal tombs Aigai, archaeological sites in Pella, Edessa and Kali vrisi, the courtyard of Archaeological Museum of Thassos, the ancient agora of Thasos, the archaeological complex of Dion in Katerini, the Byzantine Museum in Veria and the courtyard of the Archaeological Museum in Eani.
In the region of Thrace: the Archaeological complexes in Avdira and Zoni and the sanctuary of the great gods of Samothrace island.
In the islands of the Aegean Sea: the fortress of Mytilene in Lesbos, the archaeological complex Thermi in Lesvos, the archaeological complex in Psara, the archaeological complex in Messi on Lesbos, the castle on the island of Chios, the archaeological complex in Emporio, Poliochni on the island of Limnos, the archaeological complex Iries on the island Naxos, the archaeological complex Kiones on the island of Tinos, the archaeological complex on the island of Dilos in the evening after the full moon and the archaeological complex of Ireo on the island of Samos.