Passing the door to Hell and the Underworld in Greece

We were clued in by my good friend Justin that there was, for lack of a better word, a door to hell, that we absolutely had to see before we continued on our journey.

Yes, a door to hell. That hell. It’s called the Nekromanteion, and legend has it that all the caves and chasms were all different entrances to the underworld. There were underground lakes and rivers that, if followed, were believed to be the path that the souls of the dead took to get to Hades.

Hades Underworld

The ruins themselves were at the end of a city called Mesopotamos. Ignore the signs that say “parking this way” as, if we’re being honest, it’s Greece. People park anywhere and it’s ok ☺

Hades Underworld

The ruins were quite well preserved, with examples of pottery on display from the 3rd century BC. That’s over 2300 years for those who are counting. The church was built on top of a site that was believed to be the entrance to the underworld. During excavations, they found this area that had no apparent entrance or exit, but upon excavation they found signs of life, including pottery and even some skeletal remains.

Hades Underworld Hades Underworld Hades Underworld

The crypt, for lack of a better word, is now accessable only by an incredibly narrow staircase. It’s ridiculously steep, so be careful if you’re prone to falling or hate tight spaces. Ben barely fit, and I went down sideways!

A description of the ruins...

A description of the ruins…

Ben coming out of the ruins of Nekramanteion

Ben coming out of the ruins of Nekramanteion

The gate to hell

The gate to hell

As is customary for us, we stopped by a local post office and mailed off a postcard to Grandma. After all, it was thanks to her that Ben got his wanderlust. Suffice it to say that no one spoke English other than us, and I’m sure we were THE FIRST American tourists ever to set foot in that post office. The post office also doubled as a café/bar, and on the inside all the towns mail was placed in boxes. Because with such a small population, it’s easier I’m sure for the residents to just come to the post office to get their mail!

Post office and Cafe All-In-One

Post office and Cafe All-In-One

We had a fun chat (and by fun I mean two words at a time, a lot of smiling and laughing) with the man there. We got “Postcard” “stamp” and “Argentina.” There were lots of hand gestures in lieu of language and good fun. This, my friends, is the true travel experience.

From this, we got back in our car, headed back to the highway, and before you know it, we were almost in Ancient Olympia!

Author: Jon Nickel-D'Andrea

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