This fascinating site lies just outside the village of Mesopotamos along the banks of the Achertontas River at the top of a hill. Meaning “oracle of the dead” the ancient Greeks believed this was the entrance to Hades and would travel hundreds of miles in order to communicate with the dead. To do so, they had to pass a series of tests which involved seclusion for several days in dark rooms and adhering to a strict diet which consisted of beans, pork fat and shellfish. It was also common for visitors to offer animal sacrifices, from which they would often be ordered to drink the animal’s blood.
They also offered various libations including milk, wine and honey. After several days of near solitary confinement and semi-starvation, guests would begin to suffer from hallucinations and then were deemed ready to receive the oracle’s message. The priests (who had cunningly gathered information from each guest at their arrival) took the visitors into the final room where they would receive the answer to their query. Whatever they heard was strictly confidential and if revealed, the subject could be put to death for blasphemy. Today the remains of several buildings and an underground vault can still be explored. A unique way to experience the site is via the boat tour which leaves from Parga, sails down the coast of the Ionian and then navigates the river northward to the site. Fares are around 10 Euros and the trip can be booked at any of the tourist agencies in Parga.