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Garden of the Gods
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Imagine a world where everything in nature, from the landscapes and oceans to the weather and the animals, reflected the wilful activities of a pantheon of powerful gods. Where every plant, every animal, every geological feature had a story that linked is directly to the supernatural. Once upon a time, for a brief shining moment, such a place existed. This was Ancient Greece, a world of fascinating wildlife -
the Garden of the Gods.

Writer: Michael Schlamberger, Herbert Ostwald,
             Manfred Corinne
Director: Michael Schlamberger
Camera: Rolando Menardi, Michael Schlamberger,
                 Paul Johnson
Edit: Andrew Naylor
Location Sound: Christian Ghafour
Sound Edit: Raimund Sivetz
Dubbing Mixer: Raimund Sivetz
Music: Kurt Adametz

A Co-production of ScienceVision, ORF, BBC, WDR,
Off the Fence and MEDIA

Legend has it, that Poseidon, God of the sea, split mountains with his trident and tossed them into the sea. But the geological drama began over 10 million years ago when two tectonic plates collided. The African plate drifted towards Europe compressing the ancient sea bed of the Thetys and folding up new mountain ranges. The European plate was pushed underneath and from the sunken mountain ranges only the peaks remain visible: the Aegean islands.

From then on earthquakes and volcanic eruptions continued to shape Greece. Today Greece is characterized mainly by mountains and sea. Bays and rocky inlets penetrate deep into the mainland and together with 10.000 islands they form a rugged coastline of more than 15.000 Kilometres -- as long as of the whole continent of Africa. And this geological process is still continuing. The landmass of Greece is hit by earth tremors 20 times a day as it drifts closer to Africa at a rate of 4 centimetres a year.

The Aegean epitomises Greece: a huge area of warm sea liberally scattered with hundreds of islands of all shapes and sizes. It is a crossroad for fauna from three different seas: the Mediterranean, the Black Sea and the Red Sea with the Indian Ocean. The Aegean is also home of the legendary seafarers of the ancients. This is the realm of Poseidon, Lord of the Sea: unpredictable und brutal. Amongst the oldest seafarers in the Mediterranean are the sea turtles. The loggerhead turtles spend most of their life at sea, often roaming over long distances. Despite their maritime lifestyle, they retain their link with the land during the breeding season. For thousands of years they have emerged on summer nights from their watery kingdom to lay their eggs on the beaches in Greece.

Greece is a place of astonishing diversity with seven of the most varied and extreme habitats of any country in Europe, ranging from the marine world to freshwater wetlands, alpine meadows to underground grottos. This is a country of contrasts, of thousands of islands scattered across the deep blue waters of the Mediterranean, and a mainland where snow-capped mountains tower over green valleys. Such rich habitat support a stunning variety of wildlife: wolves and owls in the forests, dolphins and turtles in the sea, scorpions and vipers in the dry scrubland, even blind rodents underground.

Fotos: Copyright by ScienceVision