Wendy Bass

Carmel High School

Carmel Clay Schools

520 East Main Street (Map It!)

Carmel, IN 46032

(317) 846-7721 ext. 7244

Carmel Clay Schools

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Follow this link to see pictures of my trip... http://msgstriptoeurope.shutterfly.com/pictures#n_5

A Full Day...

Big day! Our tour guide picked us up early to visit the Tunnel of Epalinos and Pythagoras’s cave.   I could write a dissertation on the driving skills we’ve experienced so far… pretty much they can be summed up with two words: scary and reckless. We had the honor of riding in a non-air conditioned jeep on barely paved roads zigzagging through mountain road… wow, what a treat! Did you catch that sarcasm? We loved the sights but were so happy to make it back to the hotel and the pool at the end of the day. One very cool part of our drive though was a short stop at roadside café. We stopped there to fill our water bottle from a mountain spring. The restaurant owner said the water from the spring is what he serves in his restaurant. The flow from the spring at to be at least 30 gallons an hour and they told us that it was double that in the winter! The heat and rough Jeep ride was totally worth it though to get to see and walk in the places we did today…

Tunnel of Eupalinos

This tunnel is something special for sure! In the 6th century BC, the population of Samos was growing rapidly in the harbor that is in Pythagorian Village. Unfortunately the best source of fresh water was a spring on the other side of the island with a mountain in between. It would have been possible to build a series of connecting channels around the mountain however those would be prone to blockages and would be much longer than if they could go through the mountain. Remember, this was 600 years before Christ! Epalinos devised a plan to dig a tunnel through the mountain. Compasses and topographical maps had yet to even be invented. The final complete system was approximately 4000 feet long. Another thing that makes this tunnel unique compared to other tunnels at the time is that this one was dug from each direction and they met in the middle. No one is certain how exactly they managed the feat of meeting in the same place both vertically and horizontally. It is speculated that they used markers along the top of the mountain to ensure the line horizontally matched up and the horizon was used to ensure the vertical distances matched. To build the tunnel, they used slaves (no surprise there) from Paros. As the story is told, they took 12,000 slaves from Paros and told them if they could live to the end they could go home. After 10 years, 250 people survived and went back home. Archeologists do know that they first dug a tunnel utilizing some of the first known air shafts. Once the tunnel was dug, they were able to go back through and dig the actual water channel down below. Ceramic pipes were used in the water channel. The builders had to make sure that the water didn’t move too fast and cause chalk to accumulate in the lines. The vertical difference between the spring side and the harbor side of the tunnel is 2 feet.   They determined that a fall of 0.46% would solve the problem provided a flow that was neither too fast nor too slow. Lastly the tunnel was meant to be a secret so that it could be used for defense of the island. The island Proximity to Turkey (Asia Minor) made it prone to attacks. The tunnel allowed soldiers to enter one side of the mountain and come out the other undetected.

Pythagoras' Cave

Very little is known about Pythagoras except that he was born on Samos and hid there for several months during his lifetime. When he was in hiding, he and his followers lived in a cave high in the mountains. The cave can still be reached and there is even a small church dedicated to Mary just outside the cave entrance. The road up to the cave is treacherous at best. It is not a location that you just happened to find. Once you reach the bottom of the drivable part, there is still a significant hike to go. The path is paved in flat stones so the footwork is not difficult. The vertical assent is a serious challenge though. I consider myself to be in pretty good physical shape and I was sweating and breathing hard the whole way up to the “40 steps” that are part of the original cave. The steps have been painted white now and can just barely be seen from the road. One can easily see how this cave would have been a fantastic hiding place but at the same time must wonder how he and his followers ever found it. The inside of the cave has distinct rooms and even a natural cistern to collect water. Despite intense heat of the day, the inside of the cave was perfectly comfortable. It is speculated that he was there in the summer months because the cave is very dry (except the cistern). In the winter months the cave would have been very wet and not a very hospitable living place. I just couldn’t get over the fact that I was walking and standing in the same place that Pythagoras did over 2500 years ago!