Where We Be
Athens, Greece
Robin stands in front of the Parthenon -- definitely on our all-time "must-see" list!
One of the few intact ceilings left on the Acropolis
Irresistible patch of poppies on the hillside leading up to the Acropolis
Looking down from the Acropolis, you can see directly below two amphitheaters, the Odeon of Herodes Atticus and this, the Theater of Dionysus
Now we're down from the Acropolis and looking across the Greek Agora at the Temple of Hephaestus, considered the best-preserved Greek temple
The Temple of Hephaestus is the best-preserved Greek temple but it gets a lot less attention than the Parthenon because of its location off the Acropolis
This is the Greek Agora -- once the heart of ancient Athens, now in ruins. It used to serve as the center of public life.
A last view of the Parthenon, high up on the Acropolis, as seen from the ruins of Hadrian's Library
Our final stop was the Roman Agora, a short distance east of the Greek Agora. Built in the 1st century BC, it became the city's main market at that time.
By the 1st century BC, the Greek Agora was already something of a museum (or archaeological park) so the Roman Agora became Athens' commercial heart
The only building of note still standing in the Roman Agora is the octagonal "Tower of the Winds" -- an ancient clocktower
Closeup of a carving on the Tower of the Winds showing one of the eight wind deities
Here you can see the Acropolis ("High Place") from a distance. It's hard to tell from this picture, but modern Athens sprawls all around its base.
Any tour of the Acropolis pretty much has to start at the Parthenon, the most iconic Greek building in the world
You have to squint a bit to ignore all the construction equipment and the crowds, but it's still a powerful experience being here in person
Very happy to be here!
Closeup of statues near the "roof" of the Parthenon
Looking down from the Acropolis, you can see the Temple of Olympian Zeus
Zoom-in of the Temple of Olympian Zeus -- only 13 of the 104 columns survive but it was once the largest temple in Greece
Beautiful red poppies amidst the ruins of the Acropolis
This view from the top of the Acropolis shows the sprawl of modern Athens, punctuated by occasional hilly outcroppings (I believe this is Lycabettus Hill)
We particularly liked the small temple of Athena Nike, built near the edge of the Acropolis in 480 BC to celebrate the Athenian victory over Persia
The other noteworthy building on the Acropolis is the Erectheion, erected to celebrate Athena’s victory over Poseidon. The two had a contest to see who the
city would be named after (obviously Poseidon lost). The olive tree planted beside the Erectheion reminds visitors of her victory, as does the city’s name.
The “maiden pillars” (caryatids) on the Erectheion
The Propylaea is the colossal entry gate to the Acropolis
We took a lunch break in the Plaka, the historic neighborhood near the base of the Acropolis
The restored Stoa of Attalos in Athens
looks thoroughly modern, doesn't it?
This little "Church of the Holy Apostles" was built around 1000 AD, so it is modern by comparison to the other historic buildings in Athens!
Robin stands in front of Hadrian's Library, built in 132 AD on the north side of the Acropolis, near the Roman Agora
Ho-hum, all we did today was see the birthplace
of Western civilization. This is the birthplace of
Western government (democracy), philosophy,
medicine, drama, architecture, and literature.
When you stand on the Acropolis ("High Place"),
you're standing at the epicenter of one of the
greatest cultural earthquakes of all times, the
tremors of which can still be felt today. How
many government buildings are still modeled
after the Greek columns of the Parthenon? How
many books and movies stem from epic poems
like
The Odyssey (think Ulysses and O Brother,
Where Art Thou?
). So, yes, it's a powerful thing
to climb the stairs to the top of the Acropolis
and know that Aristotle, Plato, Socrates, and
others stood here before you marveling at
these exact same buildings (albeit in less
ruined form). First among them, of course, is
the Parthenon, dedicated to Athens' namesake
goddess Athena, built around 450 BC. Here you
just want to sit and soak up the ambiance for
awhile...which is exactly what we did.