THERMOPYLAE & THE HISTORIC BATTLE

ABOUT

Thermopylae in Greece is a place where a very narrow coastal passage existed in antiquity. Themopylae means Hot Gates in Greek and in Greek mythology it is the cavernous entrances to Hades, the god of the dead and the king of the underworld. The land all around is dominated by the coastal floodplain of the Spercheios River and is surrounded by sloping forested limestone mountains. The narrowest point on the plain, where the Battle of Thermopylae was probably fought, would have been less than 100 metres (330 ft) wide. It’s exactly the place where the vastly outnumbered Greeks held off the Persians for seven days. During two full days of battle, the small force led by Leonidas blocked the only road by which the massive Persian army could pass. After the second day, a local resident named Ephialtes betrayed the Greeks by revealing a small path that led behind the Greek lines. Leonidas, aware that his force was being outflanked, dismissed the bulk of the Greek army and remained to guard their retreat with 300 Spartans and 700 Thespians, fighting to the death. To commemorate the legendary battle, a modern-day monument to King Leonidas I of Sparta stands today at the location.

Did you know?

Ephialtes trail, the very same path through which Ephialtes betrayed the Greeks and led the Persians behind Leonidas and his men to ambush them, still exists and is accessible to trek on.

Guided tours are offering unique trekking experiences on the Ephialtes trail where one can contemplate the beauties of the landscape that has it almost all: sea, mountain, creeks, olive trees, cypresses and pine trees, history, stunning views.

Experiences