Where it all [or, at least most of it] began……Athens – Part Two

The second day brought more heat and more history.  We spent most of the day at Athens’ main archeological and historical site, the Acropolis, and then spent the night looking at it from nearby Mars and Philopappos Hills.  The Acropolis is located on a flat-topped rock that rises 150 m (490 ft) above the city of Athens.  The complex atop the hill contains the remains of several important ancient buildings, the most famous being the Parthenon.  The Parthenon was constructed in 447 BC and since 1983, the structure has been under heavy restoration.  Nowadays, we are incredibly luckily to even get to view the ancient temples on their original sites, as the Acropolis has been set fire to, bombed, looted, and defaced over thousands of years. 

There are several roads to the top of the Acropolis.  The first (and the “road less traveled”) avenue leads up through the beautiful neighborhood of Anafiotika.

On the way up to the Acropolis

Road to the Acropolis – Anafiotika area, Athens

We saw this little one on the way up

Old olive cans as planters – genius!

From this road, there are great views of some of the archeological sites below the Acropolis, one of them being the Temple of Hephaestus.

Temple of Hephaestus

Once you reach the top, there is a small area called Mars Hill that people climb to take photos of the Acropolis and it is also a popular spot to return for sunset.  We climbed it during the day, but decided to head to another (less populated) spot later that night.

View of Acropolis from Mars Hill

View of the Acropolis from Mars Hill

Skyline from Mars Hill

At night, we climbed Philopappos Hill and stumbled upon a graduation ceremony in an ancient amphitheater.  After watching for a bit, we moved on to another spot on the hill for a better view.

View from the amphitheater with the Acropolis in the background

View of the Acropolis and Athens from Philopappos Hill

Close up – under restoration

Acropolis by night

Parthenon by night

Our actual Acropolis visit was rather short lived, as it was about 88 degrees on top of a scalding rock with thousands of people.  Sounds like a recipe for lots-o-fun, huh?  At the base of the Acropolis, there are two amphitheaters.  The first one (the smaller of the two) is actually undergoing restoration work as we speak.  We saw several archeologists with their brushes, chisels, etc. working on uncovering and preserving the site.  The second, is much larger (and newer of the two).

Small amphitheater

Inscriptions in the small amphitheater’s seats

Large amphitheater

Panoramic of amphitheater, Philopappos Hill, and the sea from the Acropolis

Athens skyline from the top of the Acropolis

The entry “gates” to the Acropolis are named the Propylaea.  The structure has two wings, and the northern one served as an ancient picture gallery.

Entrance into the Acropolis – the Propylaea

The Parthenon is considered the culmination of ancient Greek architecture.  Dedicated to the goddess Athena, the building is a symbol of the city of Athens and is considered one of the greatest world masterpieces.

Parthenon under restoration

Back side of the Parthenon

Another temple atop the Acropolis, the Erechtheion, was built from 421-405BC.  When we first landed in the Acropolis, we looked at a bunch of postcards in the tourist shops.  However, we never buy any.  Generally, we just look at what sites are depicted on the cards and it’s a good starting point for site-seeing.  From the beginning, Bobby just wanted to see the “building with the lady statues”.  Well, turns out, the Erechtheion was the place.  The “ladies” are called caryatids and interestingly enough, the “real ladies” are in the Acropolis’ new museum at the base of the monument.  (Side note: the Acropolis Museum opened just 3 years ago and is pretty darn impressive.  If you haven’t gone, go!)  The caryatids that remain outdoors are cast replicas.  The caryatids are engineered in such a way that their slenderest part, the neck, is capable of supporting the weight of the porch roof while the rest of their bodies remain graceful and feminine.

Erechtheion

Erechtheion vaulted ceiling on lower porch

Detail of the Erechtheum

Caryatid Statues on the Erechtheion

Caryatids

Comments

  1. David Mortensen says:

    Rosemarie and I will be going to Greece in a couple of weeks, so it is great to see your pics and read about your experience. We will spend a couple of days in Athens then head to Delphi and Galaxidi. In Galaxidi will meet a friend and board his small sail boat for a week. We will sail in the gulf of Corinth, go through the Corinth canal and end up on the island of Paros. All the best.

    Dave

    • TheFlammias says:

      That sounds like an absolutely amazing trip! This was our first trip to Greece and we are hoping to return and see more of the islands. I hope you and Rosemarie and doing well. We miss you all and PLEASE let us know if you are coming our way anytime soon!

Trackbacks

  1. […] visited this next place in June!  (The real thing is here). Parthenon – Athens, […]