Episode 4: The North

Filmed on location in: Northern Greece

Episode 4 explores one of Greece’s lesser-known, but most fascinating regions – the North. Bounded by the rugged fastness of the Pindus Mountains and the blue expanse of the Aegean, this is a land of mystery. A place where cities rise phoenix-like from the ashes of fire and where the ghosts of the dead haunt the landscape. It’s a place where the old and the new live side by side. Where Saint Paul had to flee from persecution and where the philosopher Aristotle taught his most famous pupil, Alexander the Great.

The episode begins on Mount Olympus, said to be the home of the gods. It also reveals the breath-taking and otherworldly landscape of Meteora. The name means “suspended in the air”, a reference to Meteora’s extraordinary sandstone pinnacles and the medieval monasteries that crown some of them. It’s been used as a filming location more than once, and so has the island of Skopelos just off Greece’s east coast. This is where the box office phenomenon “Mamma Mia” was filmed in 2008.

Deep in the Pindus Mountains, the episode follows a car along the Perdikaki to Patiopoulo road, one of the most dangerous in the world. It also explores Thessaloniki, Greece’s second largest city, and how it was devastated by a fire over a century ago. With a population of over one million the city has a vibrant beauty, chaos, history and culture which dates back over 2,300 years.

The remote region of Zagori is a storybook land of magic and mystery. Exploring Drakolimni Lakes, the story of two dragons, something extraordinary is revealed. Fascinatingly, a sort of dragon does inhabit these lakes. Local people even refer to them as “little dragons”.

Situated just a few miles off Greece’s north-western coast, the island of Corfu has a population of just 100,000 – but it can attract ten times that number of visitors annually. A sense of individuality and independence has always set Corfu apart but it does have a close association with a foreign Royal family – that of Britain, the most famous in the world. Prince Philip, the spouse of Queen Elizabeth II, was born here in 1921.

The episode ends at Tatarna Bridge, where aerial dancer Katerina Soldatou gives an amazing performance. Suspended from the underside of the bridge, she epitomizes the things that most define this region – beauty, grace and culture.

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