Great Tours: Greece and Turkey, from Athens to Istanbul

Course No. 3231
Professor John R. Hale, Ph.D.
University of Louisville
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Course No. 3231
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What Will You Learn?

  • Get comprehensive coverage of major tourist sites such as the Acropolis with the aid of on-location footage.
  • Enjoy animated, 3-D computer renderings that allow you to visualize ancient sites as they appeared during their prime.
  • Walk through ancient cities, temples, fortresses, stadiums, theaters, churches, and more.
  • Better understand the significance of ancient sites from around the world using present-day and historical maps.
  • Get comprehensive details and context on ancient sites from thousands of photographs and illustrations.
  • Better prepare for an upcoming trip to Greece or Turkey, or simply relax and armchair travel.

Course Overview

The shimmering turquoise waters and lost worlds of the Aegean await you. Grab your travel hat and join us for a unique cultural journey to the dramatic landscapes of Greece and Turkey—to dazzling ancient cities, majestic empires, and magical treasures of history.

This is a land of gods and heroes. Here great myths came to life and epic battles were fought, and the wondrous remains of ancient civilizations still call to you from across the centuries.

In these rich lands you discover such legendary sites as these:

  • The Acropolis of Athens, beloved symbol of Greece and the ancient world
  • Mycenae, the mighty mountain kingdom where the Trojan War was planned
  • The Oracle of Apollo at Delphi, fabled site of pilgrimage and prophecy
  • Ephesus, among the greatest classical cities of the ancient world
  • Pergamon and Sardis, royal citadels and home of architectural and engineering marvels
  • Hagia Sophia of Istanbul, one of humanity's most glorious monuments to faith

To know these places is to know your own beginnings. Anyone who wants a full-bodied comprehension of Western culture must know these extraordinary sites and grasp their history.

In The Great Tours: Greece and Turkey, from Athens to Istanbul, award-winning Professor John R. Hale of the University of Louisville is your guide to the fabulous civilizations of the Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, and Ottomans, and to the natural wonders and idyllic landscapes that surround them. These 24 richly enjoyable lectures are a journey unlike any other, giving you the chance to experience these important sites and cultures through the eyes of an expert archaeologist and scholar, whose knowledge and depth of insight go far beyond any ordinary travel narrative.

Through Professor Hale's vibrant commentary and extensive field footage, you discover monumental ancient cities, classical ruins, temples, shrines, fortresses, stadiums, theaters, churches, and palaces. In each site, you explore the critical history and culture that defined them and the ways in which they influenced our modern world. In their compelling historical and visual detail, the lectures offer both a rich resource for travelers preparing to visit these distant lands and a multilevel cultural journey that can be enjoyed just as well from the comfort of home.

Classical Glories, Great Empires

In a wide-ranging exploration, you'll visit the pivotal historical sites of this epic region and the civilizations that built them, including these landmarks of human culture:

  • Olympia, home of the ancient Olympic games: At the site's massive stadium and training areas, explore the rituals of the games, the dramatic mind-set of the competitors, and the significance of athletic competition as worship.
  • The Healing Sanctuary of Kos: In this grand complex of terraces, staircases, and ruins, study ancient healing in the work of the pioneer physician Hippocrates, including the clinical principles that gave birth to Western medicine.
  • The Minoan Palace at Knossos: At one of the world's premiere archaeological sites, investigate its labyrinthine rooms, grand courtyards, and culture of royal display and the death-defying bull dance.
  • Sunken Cities of Cappadocia: As you travel through some of the most astounding and mysterious discoveries of the ancient world, track the vast and complex underground cities where a nameless people sought refuge.
  • The Citadel of Troy: In sorting history from legend, penetrate the archaeological layers of the site of the Trojan War, finding striking connections to Homer, the real King Priam, and Alexander the Great.
  • Topkapi, Palace Complex of the Ottoman Sultans: In this jeweled seat of the Ottoman Empire, explore its sumptuous court life and culture and its glittering interiors of royal halls, kitchens, and harem.

A Vivid Encounter with Ancient Life

Professor Hale has walked these superlative sites in depth, in the course of decades of archaeological work and study in the region. As a core element of his teaching, he invites you to touch these vanished worlds and ways of life.

On the Acropolis, you travel the site, following the path of the ancient annual procession honoring Athena. At Delphi, your visit reconstructs a pilgrimage to the oracle in classical times, taking you through the rituals of offerings and religious observances on the way to consult the Pythia (priestess), who answers each pilgrim's question. At Hagia Sophia, you envision the experience of a 6th-century visitor, amid the pomp and embroidered finery of the Byzantine royals.

Scenic Islands, Otherworldly Landscapes

Parallel with your historical journey, you learn about the extraordinary natural wonders of the Aegean, an unforgettable feature of travel in these lands.

On the Greek islands, you discover Crete's dramatic Samaria Gorge and the breathtaking volcanic archipelago of Milos and Santorini, as well as scenic riches, including the transcendent vista of the Cycladic islands from Mount Kynthos.

In the course's second half, you explore Turkey's richly beautiful Turquoise Coast—its crusader castles, submerged cities, and unique wildlife. In the central highlands, you linger in the mysterious topography of Cappadocia, with its geologic "fairy chimneys" and ancient cave dwellings.

A Rich and Diverse Educational Journey

Throughout Professor Hale's multitextured narrative, you enjoy

  • detailed location footage in each lecture;
  • illuminating maps in both the lectures and course guidebook; and
  • vivid 3-D re-creations of ancient monuments and sites.

Professor Hale enriches these lectures with engrossing stories of ancient life, his own extraordinary experiences, and his insightful reflections on how these civilizations unfolded. Among learning about many history makers, you meet Herodotus, Galen, Paul the Apostle, and the emperor Justinian of Byzantium. You contemplate the original Hippocratic oath and the moving words of the Sufi poet Rumi on human seeking and the journey of life. And you track Professor Hale's fascinating work with colleagues at Delphi, vindicating Plutarch's claim that the trance state of the oracle's priestess was linked to intoxicating vapors present at the site.

Professor Hale reveals not only the cultural and archaeological history, but also the local lore, legends, foods, pleasure spots, and out-of-the-way gems that make this part of the world such a seductive draw. You learn about the wines of Monemvasia and Santorini; places to enjoy ancient spas and baths; a sublime Aegean town where you can savor Greek life to the full; and where to drink Turkish tea in Ottoman splendor.

With Professor Hale as your guide, you will touch the ancient world, retracing the steps of great ancient oracles, athletes, playwrights, and warriors and reliving their experiences:

  • Lie on the same benches at Amphiareon where oracles read dreams.
  • Crouch at the starting line for an Olympic race.
  • Stand on the stage at Epidauros, whisper, and be heard in the highest row.
  • March along the walls of Troy like the heroes of Homer's epics.

The glory of past civilizations still lives in these magical sites and monuments, and in the same beautiful Aegean Sea and landscapes that the ancients traveled. In The Great Tours: Greece and Turkey, from Athens to Istanbul, these extraordinary lands are yours to discover and rediscover. Come with us as we touch lost worlds—as we find humanity's majestic past and the great cultures that gave us the world we know.

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24 lectures
 |  Average 31 minutes each
  • 1
    Touring the Cradle of Western Civilization
    In setting sail for the ancient world, contemplate the dynamic civilizations that emerged in the Aegean and the scope of the human drama that was played out there. Preview some of the towering figures and remarkable sites you'll encounter, and hear Professor Hale's recommendations for traveling this world as the ancients did. x
  • 2
    Athens—Around the Acropolis and Parthenon
    Enter the Acropolis, symbol of Athens, following the path of the ancient annual procession honoring Athena. Investigate the history and meanings of the site's iconic buildings, including the grand Propylaea (gatehouse) and the Erechtheum (Temple of Athena). Learn about the superlative architectural features of the Parthenon and its surprising original uses. x
  • 3
    In the Footsteps of Socrates—Historic Athens
    Among treasures surrounding the Acropolis, discover the Theater of Dionysos, where you ponder the rituals of early dramatic festivals, and the grand Odeon of Herodes Atticus, a venue of music and recitations. Enjoy dramatic viewing places, including the Pnyx, an ancient hilltop assembly point, and finally the vibrant agora market, where Socrates walked. x
  • 4
    Around Attica—Temples and Mysteries
    This lecture takes you to sacred monuments of Greece's beautiful Attica region. At the picturesque Amphiareion, shrine of a prophet deity, learn about ancient oracle and healing practices. Visit imposing shrines to Artemis and Poseidon, finishing at Eleusis, sanctuary to the goddess Demeter and the site of mystical religious rituals. x
  • 5
    Seeking the Good Life—Corinth to Epidauros
    Your journey continues to the Peloponnese, Greece's southern half. From the impressive Corinth Canal, travel to Greece's most important sanctuary to Poseidon, where ancient athletes competed to honor the god. Visit Corinth's massive acropolis and agora (civic center) and the great healing center of Epidauros, highlighting the best-preserved theater of the ancient world. x
  • 6
    Mycenae—Where Kings Planned the Trojan War
    Next, visit the great citadel of Mycenae, made famous in Homer's Iliad. Entering through the imposing Lion Gate, learn about the rulers of Mycenae and ancient life in the citadel as you explore key monuments: the extraordinary "shaft" graves of an early dynasty, the Megaron palace, and the tomb of King Atreus. x
  • 7
    Around Nafplio—Greek History at a Glance
    In Greece's Argolid region, walk the mighty fortress of Tiryns, and learn about Mycenaean and classical-age warrior culture. Visit the Heraion, picturesque sanctuary to the goddess Hera, the imposing Roman villa of Herodes Atticus, and the port of Nafplio, with its remnants of Venetian, Byzantine, and Ottoman culture. x
  • 8
    Ancient Olympia—Gods, Games, and Temples
    Investigate the practices and culture of the original Olympic games at sites including the palaestra, where important athletes trained; the stadium; and the unusual Temple of Hera. Sense the heat and drama of the contests, as you contemplate the mind-set of the competitors and the significance of athletic competition as worship. x
  • 9
    Quest for Wisdom at Apollo's Oracle—Delphi
    At this legendary site, reconstruct the sequence and rituals of a visit to the oracle in ancient times. Enter the lower sanctuary, making offerings en route to the temple, with its dual warnings to the pilgrim, where the Pythia (priestess) speaks for the god in answer to each seeker's question. x
  • 10
    Byzantine Outposts—Monemvasia and Mistra
    The port town of Monemvasia, once a coveted trading center, offers a rich slice of Byzantine history. Discover its mazelike streets, Byzantine buildings, and its mystical, cliffside Hagia Sophia church. Then explore Mistra's majestic Frankish castle and Byzantine palace, and contemplate the soul of Byzantium in religious architecture here and at Meteora and Mount Athos. x
  • 11
    Cruising the Islands—Mykonos and Delos
    This lecture introduces Greece's glorious Aegean Islands in an overview of their scenic and cultural riches. Taste the pleasures of the popular Mykonos before crossing to Delos, birthplace of Apollo and a later trading mecca. Enjoy remnants of important sacred sites and spectacular island views from Mount Kynthos. x
  • 12
    Aegean Ring of Fire—Milos and Santorini
    On the lesser-known Milos, learn about the striking volcanic and geological features of the island before visiting its richly endowed archaeological museum, ancient classical theater, and extraordinary early Christian catacombs. Contemplate the breathtaking scenery of Santorini, as well as the intriguing remains of its principal historical site, the buried Minoan town of Akrotiri. x
  • 13
    Exploring Crete—Realm of Ancient Minoans
    On this greatest of Aegean islands, you encounter the very origins of European civilization. Here, take three memorable excursions: first, to the elaborate Minoan palace of Malia, then to Gortyn, Roman capital of Crete—which boasts Europe's first written law code—and finally, to Crete's Venetian capital and the massive Samaria Gorge. x
  • 14
    Lure of the Labyrinth—Palace at Knossos
    The great palace at Knossos offers dramatic glimpses of the Minoan civilization. Investigate the palace's structure of labyrinthine rooms and its grand courtyards, site of the death-defying bull dance. Ponder the flamboyant ceremonies, court rituals, and sumptuous luxury of the Minoan rulers, recorded in masterful frescoes and tablets memorializing the palace accounts. x
  • 15
    The Dodecanese—Kos, Patmos, and Rhodes
    On the beautiful island of Kos, reflect on the life and contribution of the physician Hippocrates at the ancient medical sanctuary honoring him. Discover Patmos, where Saint John famously wrote the book of Revelation, and finally Rhodes, renowned for the legendary Colossus and the majestic fortifications of the Knights of Saint John. x
  • 16
    Welcome to Turkey—The Turquoise Coast
    Turkey's Turquoise Coast reveals a fabulous array of destinations, highlighting treasures of history, nature, and the pleasures of travel. Begin at Bodrum, site of the vibrant civilization of Helicarnassus. Learn about Lykian culture and representative government; visit submerged cities, cliff tombs, wildlife habitats, and the fire-spouting mountain at Olympos. x
  • 17
    Central Turkey—Ankara, Konya, Cappadocia
    In Ankara, learn about ancient capitals of the great Anatolian civilizations, including the complex culture of Çatalhöyük. Continue to Konya, home of the Sufi poet Rumi and of the mystic whirling dervishes. Linger in the magical geologic landscapes of Cappadocia, with its "fairy chimneys," ancient cave dwellings, and astounding underground cities. x
  • 18
    Up the Meander River—Priene to Pamukkale
    Travel to three extraordinary ancient cities: In Priene, explore one of the ancient world's most spectacular classical ruins, with its remarkable council hall, sacred sites, and superb theater. Then study the sumptuous sarcophagi, bathhouses, and amazingly preserved stadium at Aphrodisias. Finish at Pamukkale, site of imposing mausoleums, healing waters, and cliffside "hanging pools." x
  • 19
    A Wonder of the World—Ephesus
    The metropolis of Ephesus stands as one of the greatest cities of the classical world. Here, focus on highly unusual features that distinguish the site: the magnificent "terrace houses" of the wealthy, the Library of Celsus with its stunning facade, the enormous theater, and the Cemetery of the Gladiators. x
  • 20
    Royal Cities of Asia—Pergamon and Sardis
    At the citadel of Sardis, learn about the luxurious culture of the Lydian people, credited with inventing monetary currency. Investigate the site's standout monuments, including the extensive gymnasium and monumental synagogue. At Pergamon, bequeathed by its last ruler to Rome, contemplate its great healing sanctuary, astonishing hydraulic system, and legendary library. x
  • 21
    Troy—Beyond Homer and the Trojan Horse
    The archaeological site of ancient Troy reveals numerous distinct historical phases. Explore the majestic remains of the different epochs of the citadel, from its beginnings in 2900 B.C. to the Hellenistic and Roman periods. Trace interconnections between the site's monuments and the lives of the historical King Priam and Alexander the Great. x
  • 22
    Istanbul—Capital of the Byzantine Emperors
    In this first lecture on the wonders of Istanbul, study the history of the Byzantine Empire and the establishment of Byzantium as a new Rome. Encounter imposing elements of this culture in the cathedral-like Basilica Cistern, the Theodosian Walls, and the impassioned rituals of the Hippodrome, nerve center of Byzantine life. x
  • 23
    The Pearl of Constantinople—Hagia Sophia
    Imagine the sights and sounds of a visit to this magical edifice in Byzantine times, and learn the history of the emperor Justinian's plans for a church that would surpass all others. Contemplate the stunning columns, stonework, mosaics, and the architecture of the massive dome in this "place where God dwells." x
  • 24
    Ottoman Istanbul—Mosques, Palaces, Bazaars
    Finally, ponder the origins and planning of the Topkapi Palace, jeweled seat of the Ottoman sultans. Penetrate the layers of the palace, from the grand courts to the royal kitchens and harem. Conclude with visits to the Blue Mosque, hammams (baths), Grand Bazaar, and vistas of the mystic city from the Bosphorus. x

Lecture Titles

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What's Included

What Does Each Format Include?

Video DVD
Instant Video Includes:
  • Download 24 video lectures to your computer or mobile app
  • Downloadable PDF of the course guidebook
  • FREE video streaming of the course from our website and mobile apps
Video DVD
DVD Includes:
  • 24 lectures on 4 DVDs
  • 168-page printed course guidebook
  • Downloadable PDF of the course guidebook
  • FREE video streaming of the course from our website and mobile apps

What Does The Course Guidebook Include?

Video DVD
Course Guidebook Details:
  • 168-page course synopsis
  • Photos & illustrations
  • Maps
  • Embassy contact information

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Your professor

John R. Hale

About Your Professor

John R. Hale, Ph.D.
University of Louisville
Dr. John R. Hale is the Director of Liberal Studies at the University of Louisville in Kentucky. He earned his B.A. at Yale University and his Ph.D. at the University of Cambridge in England. Professor Hale teaches introductory courses on archaeology, as well as more specialized courses on the Bronze Age, the ancient Greeks, the Roman world, Celtic cultures, the Vikings, and nautical and underwater archaeology. An...
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Great Tours: Greece and Turkey, from Athens to Istanbul is rated 4.8 out of 5 by 145.
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Our best course yet This was our 7th Great Courses purchase and the best yet. Our expectations were not high because we didn't see how a mixture of travel guide and history would work for us. One or the other. And the periods covered jump around quite a bit from location to location, and most locations entail multiple occupation periods. But Dr. Hale makes it all easy to follow and absolutely delightful and insightful. Great use of maps and 3D graphics as well. Now, do Italy, Sicily and Sardinia please!
Date published: 2019-02-18
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Very appropriate I bought this in preparation for a Mediterranean cruise next year - very happy with comprehensive coverage
Date published: 2018-11-30
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Hale is great as usual Hale is the best overall presenter in all of Great Courses. His enthusiasm appears heartfelt.
Date published: 2018-11-26
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Both a great tour guide and historical review Professor Hale does his usual outstanding presentation of the topic. As an Archaeologist and historial, he provides unique and thoughtful insights into the great Greek culture. He concetrates on the historical sites in The Greek world. Super background for anyone touring the historical Greece. As an Archaeologist who has actively conducted digs and studies, including under water, he provides super insights. He is thorough presenting various view points of the explorations that have been conducted.
Date published: 2018-11-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from If you go to Greece, watch this I went to Greece and watched these videos first and while we had guides and docents at every key place, this brought it to life,
Date published: 2018-06-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A very good tour-guide I used this course to plan our tour to Greece. When in Greece we played the course every evening to re-familiarise us with what we are about to see. It was a very good companion! Worth every penny! Take the tips that Dr. Hale gives seriously. —They lead to great discoveries. I am not as enamoured with Frappe. —It tastes like an icecap, just not as good! The only real critique that I have is that Dr. Hale says nothing about the monasteries at Kalambraka, (worth visiting!!!) yet a photo of these monasteries is in the catalogue every time when this course is promoted! The tomb of Philip II, the father of Alexander the Great in Vergina is absolutely worth visiting, and it too is not mentioned. Overall a very good course. I intend to go back, taking a cruise to the islands, with this course to direct me.
Date published: 2018-05-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The best of the Great Courses series so far I’ve been to Greece and Turkey several times, and had been slogging through one more review of ancient history in preparation for my next trip, when I came across this beautiful course. This is exactly what I needed, a modern guide to what remains of the ancient world that in theory, I know quite a bit about. And deliverd by a knowledgeable, interested and humorous guide who anyone would want to have a chat with, and then follow along with to hear what he might say next.
Date published: 2018-04-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent presentation of wonderful sites As a traveler through much of the area toured, I was surprised to learn there was so much I had missed when "on the ground." I now have a good guide to know what to look for when I return to these areas. The lecturer was a colorful guide to the sites, and the CG maps and reconstructions really made the places come to life.
Date published: 2018-03-09
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great Tours: Greece and Turkey, from Athens Professor Hales made this course and subject very interesting. His knowledge and enthusiasm for this subject sold me so that I bought another of his courses. It was informative, with detailed explanations about different aspects of archaeology thart enhanced the value of the course.
Date published: 2017-11-26
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Worth watching! I enjoy traveling and seeing and learning new things. This is what happened to me with this course. I haven't finished it yet but am enjoying it. It's worth the money and the time.
Date published: 2017-11-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Engrossing Travel Guide Professor Hale has provided a lecture series which I found entertaining, informative and always wanting to get on to the next episode. I intentionally said "episode" rather than "lecture" for Professor Hale's delivery, interspersed with great visuals, and his personal recommendations for what a traveler should take pictures of and see make this course stand out from most college level courses. Splendid course which I highly recommend.
Date published: 2017-11-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Good for Travel but Better for History TGC listed this course in the category of travel, but I consider it more as a history course since Professor Hale, an archaeologist, spends the bulk of each lecture with historical tidbits about the ancient Greeks and Romans, the Byzantines, the Ottomans, and others. I found the course to be very interesting, especially seeing photos and/or videos of many of the areas I have heard of in other courses or in my reading.
Date published: 2017-08-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Worth Watching Again and Again As I might have anticipated from its name and catalogue description, this wonderful course delivered comprehensive advice and practical travel tips for people planning to visit Greece and Turkey; but it commendably went far beyond that, as well. In his twenty-four very entertaining lectures, Doctor John R. Hale also taught me a lot about architecture, art appreciation, techniques of archaeology, the history of Western Civilization, and Mediterranean folkways of both the past and present. This professor, who obviously loved his subject matter, was always eloquent and enthusiastic. His descriptions in Lecture 17 about the underground “city” at Cappadocia were lyrical to the point of actually seeming poetic. The visual materials accompanying these lectures were particularly fine. They included plentiful drawings, paintings, maps, diagrams, computer graphics, still photographs, and moving picture “clips.” Also, floating on-screen captions for dates, tricky terminology, and proper names were well-chosen and well-timed, helping to make the professor’s instruction very clear. I thought the guide book, too, was excellent, among the best provided with any of the several dozen Great Courses I have purchased. The only quibble I had with Dr. Hale’s presentation of his material was his assertion in Lecture 15 that there were no venereal diseases troubling the ancient Mediterranean world. That contention does not jibe with views I have read by several modern historians nor with descriptions of STDs by some of the physicians and poets from the Classical Era. Ancient Egyptian papyri and passages in the Judeo-Christian scriptures also appear to describe gonorrhoea or something like it; and while many sources do suggest that syphilis may have been unknown in the “old world” until after the Columbian Exchange, there seems to be considerable scholarly opinion that ancient Mediterranean dwellers did associate genital herpes and some “plagues” with sexual activity, even if they did not have a clear understanding of “germ theory.” In my opinion, after stating his views, Dr. Hale might have at least added that there was considerable debate on that subject. I feel sure that almost anyone could value and enjoy this course, not only prospective tourists.
Date published: 2017-07-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Heroic Relief From USA Today I purchased this work because I was thinking of visiting Greece and it helped with that planning, but unexpectedly, I began to feel refreshed from the daily drumbeat of bad news and this became not only a window into the past, but a source of general refreshment.
Date published: 2017-06-26
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Enjoyable Tour The instructor showed great enthusiasm for the subject and his love of archeology showed through in each lecture. His presentation was excellent but I found the background music annoying other than the portion playing Mozart and Beethoven in Topkapi Palace, where it was appropriate and I enjoyed it. His maps showing the layouts of ancient places that were visited could have been improved if they had place names and our path through the sights noted on the maps. This would also have been useful for a personal visit. I do wish the course had also visited the great monasteries at Meteora, which in addition to their historical significance are beautiful natural wonders and show the ability of man to build fabulous places high up on the cliffs. Many of the sights visited had sufficient ruins still standing or reconstructed that made the visit very interesting and allowed visualizing what the place looked like in ancient times which included the Acropolis, portions of Athens, Delphi, Greek Isles, Crete, Ephesus, and Istanbul. However there were many locations where the ruins were just piles of stones, which I did not find very interesting, although the instructor did an excellent job of describing their historical significance. This observation is probably just a reflection of my personal preference to see beauty of the natural environment and geologic wonders versus historical sites which lack this beauty. Overall, it was a great course that wove the history of the Minoans, Greeks, Romans, and Ottomans into a very enjoyable tour with an excellent enthusiastic tour guide.
Date published: 2017-03-18
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Outstanding Presenter! This was the first of Prof. Hale's courses that I bought - I now have three. Having had the opportunity to travel to both Greece and Turkey (and live in Cyprus), I found this course to be particularly rewarding. I shall surely watch it again before we travel back to the Greek Isles in 2017. I would highly recommend ANY course delivered by John Hale. Having watched other professors that seem to be reading from a teleprompter, Hale talks naturally to the audience - if he uses a teleprompter, it is completely transparent. His enthusiasm for the subjects is contagious and inspiring. He's certainly provoked me into thinking about a second career in archeology. I would certainly like to opportunity to listen to one of his lectures live, if ever he gave one at a convenient location.
Date published: 2017-03-12
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Enjoyable introduction For one who doesn't know much about these two countries, I got what I hoped for, which was a chance to see what is worthwhile about a visit to these two countries. It was a little heavy on the archaeology for me, but understandable given the instructor's background. I might have liked a little more video of the places to see, but enjoyed the ones that were included, and the insights into ancient and modern cultures. Well done.
Date published: 2017-02-21
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Great Story Teller! Professor Hale is, indeed, a great story teller. He made me long to hike the Turquoise Trail and visit the cliff homes. However, I'm 86; I traveled it in my mind's eye. The antiquities are unbelievable!
Date published: 2017-01-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The Great Tours: Greece and Turkey I have not traveled to either Greece nor Turkey and this course gives me that outlook into their ancient history.
Date published: 2016-12-27
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great Tours, Greece and Turkey Excellent! I love the references to literature, geology, history, drama, architecture and current conditions as part of the presentation on important sites in Greece and Turkey. Truly an impressive course.
Date published: 2016-12-11
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Greece to Istanbul I watched and listened to this course several times, even when I was in a few of these countries. I went to Athens, Ephesus and Istanbul, Santorini, Crete, Olympus, Capri and several more islands and it was great having the course to know what was at these locations! I have become addicted to seeing the ruins and really cannot get enough of them!
Date published: 2016-11-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent Mixture of Lecture and Multimedia Each lecture is the perfect mixture of classroom presentation and videos and/or animations illustrating the site(s) visited.
Date published: 2016-09-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Outstanding Dr.Hale is an excellent storyteller. He infuses his lectures with stories that bring the ancient ruins alive. We are watching this course prior to our trip to these countries. The course will make our trip richer and more focused. His use of photos, maps and videos expands the course content. Dr. Hale's enthusiasm makes the presentation even more exciting. I completely enjoyed this lecture series.
Date published: 2016-08-09
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent everywhere I loved this course. I have degrees in Classics and Near Eastern Languages & Literature and have been to almost all of the places visited. This is a very accurate introduction and really good at showing you where to visit, then explaining what you are looking at. One very minor quibble- I consider the incredible carpet museum in Ashgabat the best in the world, better than in Istanbul. But overall, this is as good a guide as you could ask for and one that stands up to repeated viewings. Many thanks for including Tiryns, BTW, it gets overlooked a lot but is an amazing site.
Date published: 2016-07-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Compelling So compelling that I want to visit Greece and I haven't even completed all the lectures. Professor Hale provides marvelously detailed descriptions, excellent historical footnotes, and helpful tips that combined with the videos, photos, and CGI effects, I find myself watching lectures a second time just to make sure I've captured everything. He makes it a fascinating trip through the culture of a great civilization.
Date published: 2016-06-11
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Wonderfully Detailed Tour of Ancient Sites I really enjoyed this course. I have always dreamed about visiting some of these sites, but hesitate because there are so many, and many of these sites are in regions no longer safe. It was great to see the videos of the ancient ruins and to have Projessor Hale's lively and informative commentary. I am sure I will watch the videos a number of times in days to come.
Date published: 2016-06-11
Rated 1 out of 5 by from So Stultifying It Put Us to Sleep Repeatedly attempted to watch this course in the evenings to prepare for a trip, but typically the professor literally put us to sleep! We tried to stick with it, but finally gave up. Unfortunately, we think that for the generalist, this is not the right course. Perhaps certain academic specialists may feel otherwise. So we'll be donating the course -- both the DVD and the guidebook -- to our local public library. Ah well!
Date published: 2016-05-30
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Highly interesting and engaging This course did an excellent job of providing a visual experience almost as though visiting the sites, along with descriptions that provided a great deal of interesting historical information, liberally seasoned with human interest stories. I will revisit this course in the future when I have the opportunity to personally travel in this area - I cannot think of a better preparation for actual travel there, or for experiencing a rich video-visit when actual travel is not possible.
Date published: 2016-04-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Pleasant Ride Professor Hale does an exquisite job of showing off the most interesting archaeological sites in the Aegean region. His presentation style is top notch. The videos and graphics are top notch as well. Prof. Hale clearly knows his stuff and not just "book learning" he's been all over the region and offers insights which travel types would never know. This makes you feel like an insider! There is nothing too technical here. I immediately wanted to visit Crete after viewing the series! Recommended.
Date published: 2016-04-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A wonderful intro to ancient Greece and Turkey I purchased this course in 2016 after having traveled previously to a number of sites it covers (Athens, Istanbul, Ephesus, Troy and Crete, for example), I found Prof. Hale's presentations to be excellent descriptions of the places I had already visited. In fact, while it is always nice to see a place "fresh", I believe I would have gotten considerably more out of each of the visits if I had had the benefit of Dr. Hale's descriptions prior to going. As to the other places, his stories and views only make one desirous of having another try ...
Date published: 2016-02-10
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