​The StarGate of Mount Olympus

Speaking in strict geographical terms, the Plateau of Muses is the highest plateau of Greece. Carved by the glaciers tens of thousands years ago, the Plateau of Muses is a windy place bounded by several summits. Its western margin is dominated by the presence of the Throne of Zeus, also known as Stefani; an arch-shaped rock 200 meters high at its central part, where myth and imagination placed Zeus on its base. The north boundary is confined by the twin summits of Toumba and Profitis Ilias separated by a characteristic col. Profitis Ilias, where the highest chapel of the Balkans is located, was believed to be the Temple of God Apollo. To the east, the relief is less pronounced with several rounded hills, remnants of the glacial erosion. One of these rounded hills is characteristic in that a series of cairns have been built during the past decades, the reason remains at large unknown its name is Kalaia or The StarGate. Whatever the reason might have been, the eastern edge of the Plateau of Muses offers a unique view to the Aegean Sea, and to a series of mountain ranges east of Mount Olympus.

The StarGate (in front) with the big cairns that were built, for observation, relaxation and according to modern myths for the arrival of Unidentified Flying Objects (Photo Mike Styllas)

During the moonless and cloudless summer nights the StarGate, justifies its name as it offers spectacular views to the night sky. One can watch planets, stars, and our closest galaxies like Andromeda and Milky Way, without the help of a telescope and away from the lights of the refuges.

Mount Olympus stargazing from the StarGate…opening the view to the Plateau of Muses and the night sky (Photo Konstantinos Vasilakakos).

The location of StarGate is very special in that except from the panorama of the Plateau of Muses, provides a multidimensional perception of time. One, as watches the lights of the refuges and the headlamps of the people moving around the Plateau of Muses mostly thinks about the next few hours or even days that most people stay around. The buildings of the refuges themselves provide a longer exposure of time as they stand there for 50 years. Even longer is the presence of Zeus and the other Gods that Ancient Greeks placed them around the Plateau of Muses a few thousands of years back. Mount Olympus itself is standing tall for a few million years but the stars above the mountain go even more back in time, millions to billions of years. The more one sits in the StarGate the more back in time goes, the more the mind travels to other worlds and cosmic wondering...

As images are better than words, with the help of our fellow friend and passionate night photographer Konstantinos “StarBoy” Vasilakakos, words are visualized in his time-lapse videos.   

For more information about Konstantinos nocturnal adventures you can visit his Facebook page https://web.facebook.com/KonstantinosVasilakakosPhotography/ and his YouTube channel https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCSRd4fLu0q3juK-KrVVrd4Q
Best Wishes for a Star Light summer!