The Oracle of the Dead People
The ancient Oracle of the Dead People (Nekromanteion) of Acheron is located in Mesopotamos village, 3 km away from Ammoudia. It was the first known oracle of antiquity dedicated to the god of the Lower World, Hades, and was discovered in the 1960s. It was built near the point where the Rivers Pyriflgethon (Burnt by the Fire), Acheron and Kokytos were joining, symbolizing the sadness, sighs, and sorrows of death. It is known also as the oracle of Ephira from the Mycenaean homonymous colony which is found within walking distance. According to Homer, from this point Odysseus descended to the Lower World in order to meet Tiresias and take an oracle for his return to Ithaca.
The ancients believed that the dead could predict the future. Those who wanted to communicate with the souls and make predictions about the future would go to the Acheron Oracle. In order to reach the dark room and take the oracle, they stayed in the underground halls of the oracle. Visitors met priests at the entrance, who accompanied them to the reception rooms. They asked them some questions to learn the purpose of their visit. Then, priests invited visitors to stay in public rooms where they would prepare themselves for their communication with the spirits. Visitors followed a particular diet and chewed drug plants to blow their minds. Then, with the priest’s escort, they sacrificed animals and went to the sanctuary to communicate with the souls. The offerings woke the souls up, so they could chat with them.
Finds of the Oracle
The earliest finds of the Oracle date back to the Mycenaean era (14th-13th century BC), however the main part of the sanctuary dates back to the Early Hellenistic period (late 4th-early 3rd century BC). The oracle was destroyed by the Romans in the 1st century BC. In the 18th century AC, the monastery of Agios Ioannis Prodromos was built in the area. It is still preserved with the respective cemetery.
The Labyrinth of the Oracle
It’s worth a visit to the archaeological site. The ”labyrinth”, a labyrinthine corridor, gives the visitor the impression of wandering through the dark streets of Hades. The labyrinth had three arched iron gates, “the gates of Hades”, with large iron studs, many of which were found in the excavations. From these gates, the middle and the third gate leading to the central hall are well preserved. Below the main room is an equally large underground room carved into the rock, possibly in the place of the original cave of prehistoric worship. The Underground Sacred Crypt is very imposing and has marvelous acoustics and architecture.
The place is of great interest for lovers of history. It gives you a mystical experience that is worth doing.