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To Katakalo, the ancient technique museum

Home -> Europe -> Greece -> Travelogue Greece -> 25 June 2018

Monday 25 June, to Katakalo, the ancient technique museum

Monday morning, we have an appointment at the Pyrgos police station to pick up our declaration of theft. Particularly enough, no one present speaks English as on last saturday, but I manage with the little Greek I know until they ask me whether I want to pay now or later. Huh, what do you mean? Now it appears that a kind of stamp has to be stuck on the declaration to make it official and that costs us € 0.40. Sure, we pay now but then we have to wait 10 minutes again on a bench in the hallway. And again we are not treated very friendly, but it seems that the police wants to radiate authority here and does so by behaving in an authoritarian way. Not a good way, we think. Anyway, in the end we leave the police station with an official declaration, and an experience richer.
Harbor quay in Katakolo Cruise ship in KatakoloThen we drive on to Katakolo where we first look for a terrace along the harbor for a cup of coffee. There is now indeed a large cruise ship in the harbor and the village is much more lively than last Saturday. Guides try to get customers and the waiters do their best to get tourists onto their terraces.
Then we walk back to the store with olive wood objects and it is now open. Last night I finally got an answer to my email after I discovered that something was wrong with the contact form on the website and I managed to get another address from the code. We have an appointment with the friendly owner at 11 o'clock and I explain what I (maybe) intend to do. He promises to mail a price list with wholesale prices and we are going to find objects which I think I call sell in Holland.
There is one problem, though: he can only deliver small items. There are about 20 million olive trees on the Peloponnese, but only a few dozen are cut down per year, so there is far too little wood for large pieces. For that I have to be on Crete, it seems. Beautiful, another trip we have to plan.
The museum of technology, Katakolo The automatic maidThen we visit the museum about Ancient Greek technology where life-sized and scale models can be seen of all kinds of ingenious Greek inventions, showing that they were technically already quite far advanced. It is a pity that the Romans did not go on with that knowledge after the decline of Greek civilization and that the dark Middle Ages came in, otherwise we would have been much more technologically advanced by now.
But we are surprised by what they already could build, like a real robotic maid who could give wine when you put a cup on her hand. She could even dilute it with water if desired. Or how a mathematician like Pythagoras carried out his own theoretical findings in practice: he has designed a cup of justice that runs empty when you overfill him to teach greedy people a lesson.
The technique used in temple construction Model of a Greek triremeIt also shows how hydraulics was used to build the temples and triremes. There is even an automated puppet theater and we also see by what magic tricks temple doors were opened or how suddenly smoke rose from an altar when someone gave an offering. In total there are about 300 models, most of them based on inventions by Archimedes. I find it very interesting and could stay there for a whole day. The great inventor Leonardo da Vinci seems to have used a lot of this knowledge in his sketches of, for example, the helicopter and machine gun of which we can already see forerunners here.
The 'Anaphoric' clockThis clock (called the anaphoric or indicative clock) shows, thanks to hydraulic principles, the hour and the day of the year but there are still 25 other clocks, even an ingenious alarm clock designed and used by Aristotle. The most complicated device is the analog computer of Antikythera (the original is in Athens) with which one could make all sorts of complicated calculations about astronomical events, but also about the dates of the Olympic games. Why did not I take a picture of that? According to experts, craftsmanship like this was only re-established in the beginning of the 19th century.
I can keep on telling stories about these inventions and the museum, but this is a travel story, not a treatise on the technical skills of the ancient Greeks, however impressive they are. But it is a pity that nothing has been done with them for almost 2000 years. You can find an (incomplete) list of inventions on the English wikipedia. When you are interested in such things and happen to be in the neighbourhood, then don't miss this small museum.
View from our apartment, Zacharo View from our apartment, ZacharoAfter this fascinating visit, we go back to Zacharo via Pyrgos, where we replace all the stolen parts of Elisabeths' electronic cigarette. Then we go to the beach for a while until the sky starts to get involved. We can sit on the balcony for a while until a thunderstorm erupts and the rain and the cold (it is only 20 degrees) chases us inside. In the meantime we have agreed with Theodore that we will return here 2 or 3 days after our visit to Kefalonia.


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