• Experiences
  • Culture

Νecromanteio of Acheron: The Ancient Gates of Hades

The historical site of Necromanteion of Acheron is located 22km south of Parga and it was an ancient Greek temple that was devoted to Hades, the god of the dead and king of the underworld, and his later captive and future queen of the underworld, Persephone, where devotees practiced magic involving communication with the dead.

The site is located on top of a small hill on the outskirts of the village Mesopotamos at the meeting point of the Acheron, Pyriphlegethon, and Cocytus rivers, which were believed to flow through and water the kingdom of Hades.

For this reason, it was considered to be the door to the underworld and Homer’s Odyssey refers to it as the World of Souls. The meaning of names of the rivers has been interpreted to be “joyless”, “burning coals” and “lament”, respectively.
The word Necromanteion means “Oracle of the Dead”, and the faithful came here to talk with their dead ancestors.

Νoteworthy is the structure of the building, which strongly reminds the idea of the Underworld. The pilgrims were subjected to three stages of physical and spiritual tests during their long-lasting stay in the dark rooms of the oracle. Through isolation, magical rituals, prayers, and invocations, and being obliged to follow a special diet of beans and various hallucinogenic substances, they were appropriately prepared to meet the souls of the dead

The majority of the finds belong to the period of the flourishing of the sanctuary, in the 3rd and 2nd centuries BC, though the existence of the sanctuary as early as the 8th century BC is confirmed by the writings of Herodotus, the eleventh rhapsody of the Odyssey as well as the terracotta statuettes of Persephone found in the remains.

According to recent studies by the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, in the underground room, where there is profound silence, the acoustic values approach the audibility of very well-soundproofed spaces. At the same time, the reverberation time of the space is extremely low.

The researchers, after many years of research, concluded that the space was deliberately constructed to create intense psycho-acoustic effects for the visitor.

Nowadays you can visit the Necromanteio throughout the year and experience this unearthly experience