This once-in-a-lifetime sailing classroom offers onboard instruction and three university credits from the U.S.-accredited Hellenic American University that can transfer to most American or Canadian institutions of higher learning.
The Cycladic Civilization is an innovative study sbroad program designed by one of Greece’s most innovative cultural tourism companies, Mentor in Greece, created to introduce participants to the beauty and complexity of the first culture to develop in the central Aegean Sea in Greece, the Cycladic Civilization.
The sea voyage lasts approximately two weeks and includes visits to eight islands of the Cyclades, home to the famous schematic flat figurines made from pure white marble that have become synonymous with elegance and abstraction.
During this course, students will explore key concepts of prehistoric art, archaeology, architecture, society and mythology. There are modules dedicated to travel in the ancient world, maritime archaeology and the evolution of sculpture in the Greek world.
This unique program takes place exclusively on a sailing boat with numerous ports of call throughout the various ports and islands, allowing participants to discover the Cycladic culture from a unique perspective.
Sailing through the Cycladic Civilization
The Circle of Light… The name “Cyclades” comes from the Greek word for “circle” (kyklos) and refers to the location of these islands around Delos, the birthplace of Apollo, the god of light and music. The earliest permanent settlement appeared more than 7,000 years ago and within a couple of millennia the islanders had created an enchanting and mysterious culture that is now known as the Cycladic Civilization.
Your floating classroom
Boats everywhere… People had to adapt to a harsh environment. The Cyclades are small, farmland is scarce and water is even scarcer. But there is mineral wealth here; white marble of unparalleled quality and black obsidian, a brittle volcanic glass that fractures with sharp edges. Before there were fortified settlements, the islanders became traders and crossed the sea, carrying this black stone with them.
The beauty of marble… The island of Tinos is famous for the miraculous icon of the Virgin. But Tinos is also endowed with high quality green marble and its people have developed the art of sculpture to the highest degree, creating true masterpieces. Some of them are presented at the Museum of Marble Crafts in Pirgos.
Every day is a different lesson, and experience…
Island hopping… A sailing boat comes most handy when it is time to visit Paros and Antiparos. These two islands were once joined together, but the rise of sea levels inundated the land, leaving only the highest peaks protruding above the Aegean Sea. The earliest seafarers found much to their liking and settled here.
Saliagos, a tiny islet between Paros and Antiparos, was once a promontory connected to the latter, and it was here that the first permanent settlement of the Cyclades appeared in 5000 BCE. The fat lady of Saliagos is one of the liveliest prehistoric statuettes discovered so far.
Plenty of “After Class” Options…
Despotiko is another uninhabited island west of Antiparos. The large bay offered safe anchorage and thus attracted mariners throughout the prehistoric and classical periods. The sanctuary in the northwest part of the island indicates the presence of an extensive maritime trading network that included mainland Greece, the eastern Mediterranean and northern Africa.
Paros is famous for its marble quarries. The local white marble was of such exceptional quality that ancient artists selected it to create some of the most memorable classical masterpieces; the Aphrodite of Milos, the Hermes of Praxiteles, and the Winged Victory of Samothrace are made of Parian marble.
City Living… Naxos is the largest and most fertile of the Cyclades. The most readily identifiable landmark is Portara, a massive doorway that was once part of a temple that may have been dedicated to Apollo. On the other side of the island is the famous acropolis of Panormos, a settlement consisting of strong fortifications that protected twenty rooms.
Sailing to a Party Island… Ios is the island of youth and entertainment. But it is also a treasure trove of history and archaeology. The Minoans, the Mycenaeans, the Phoenicians and the Ionians frequented its shores and harbors. The settlement on Skarkos hill impresses visitors with its urban planning and the terraces that follow the natural terracing of the hill.
Study Abroad on a volcano… Santorini needs no introduction. To enter the caldera (still an active volcano) aboard a sailing ship is an experience never to be forgotten. This island is home to Akrotiri, aptly described as the Greek Pompeii. The settlement was buried during the massive eruption of the volcano that also shaped the island of Santorini as we know it today.
The Home of Obsidian… Milos is home to almost all the obsidian that circulated in Greece and the Aegean in the prehistoric era. Much like the participants of the Cycladic Civilization program, those in search of obsidian arrived by boat and beached their craft in a suitable cove. Eventually, though, a permanent settlement with imposing “cyclopean” walls appeared at Phylakopi and thrived for 1,200 years.
Perseus and Medusa… Ancient mariners avoided crossing the open sea. Our sailing boat will replicate their practice and visit Serifos on the way back to Athens. This is an island designed to receive weary travelers. When Acrisius, the king of Argos, put his daughter Danae and her son Perseus in a chest and threw them into the sea, Serifos welcomed the box and its occupants. Perseus killed Medusa and brought her head back to Serifos, where he turned the local king into stone as a punishment for his attempt to marry his mother by force.
The Erato, your floating classroom
The fine print
The study travel excursion will take place June 3-14, 2019.
The sailing yacht that will be used for this trip is comprised of five triple rooms (each with one double and one single bed), as well as two double rooms, each with their own individual bathrooms. Accommodations will be booked on a first come, first served basis, as some participants will have to share a double bed.
The itinerary includes two full meals daily, including American style breakfast every morning, and Greek-themed lunch. Additionally, there will be afternoon snacks throughout the day. Dinner will be left at the discretion of the participants, as they will be able to go out on the port of call each night and choose for themselves.
The itinerary includes visits to: Athens/ Pick-up at Lavrion Port, Syros, Tinos, Paros, Naxos, Antiparos, Ios, Santorini, Milos, Serifos and return to Athens.
Price per person is €6,750 and includes accommodation for nine nights onboard the yacht and two nights accommodation in Athens, all meals mentioned above (breakfast, lunch and snacks daily), all instruction and three university credits. There is an option to take the excursion without university credit attached. Please email us here for details.
Tour leaders: Mentor in Greece