The heart of a world Aristotle called home

The Sunday Telegraph - Travel - - Greece -

In the time­less set­ting of Halkidiki, Jonathan Lorie finds an un­bro­ken link to the ori­gins of our cul­ture

Aristotle stares across the pine-clad peaks of his home­land to­wards the Aegean Sea. Around him on the grass are 10ft-tall sci­en­tific ex­per­i­ments into the na­ture of the phys­i­cal uni­verse – how tor­na­does whirl through air, how sound car­ries in space, how the rays of the sun can mea­sure time. Be­hind him soar moun­tains that hide the gold mines of Alexan­der the Great, his most fa­mous pupil. I step for­ward and whis­per into one of his par­a­bolic discs – a stone shaped like some an­cient satel­lite dish – and hear its echoes bounc­ing in the dis­tance, cir­cling like the rip­ples of his­tory.

Wel­come to the Aristotle Park, in Aristotle district, north-east Greece. In this lit­tle-vis­ited area of hill vil­lages and chest­nut forests, one of the world’s greatest thinkers was born 2,400 years ago. And here, in the ru­ined coastal vil­lage of Stageira, ar­chae­ol­o­gists claimed last week to have dis­cov­ered his long-lost tomb among the bro­ken stones of the Greek, Byzan­tine and Ot­toman em­pires. So I’ve come here to ex­plore the re­gion that he called home.

“Aristotle was not just for Greeks,” says my guide, Dim­itris Saris, as we walk around the park with its life-size statue of the great man. “He be­longed to the whole world. He wrote and

The moun­tain vil­lage of Arnea, above

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