Athens, the capital of Greece, is a bewitching city. A city with innumerable beauties, inviting every visitor to discover them and live experiences, that will give them the best travelling memories. We recommend you to go up the Sacred Rock of Acropolis and walk at the wonderful street of Dionysiou Aeropagitou, for which I told you about on my previous post, and take pictures. At the end of the street you have to choose where will you go to. First and foremost you have to walk up and make a tour at the Acropolis of Athens. Come with us in this walk in order to guide you to the Acropolis of Athens, to get to know and admire the centuries-old monuments with the global reputation, Parthenon, Erechtheion with the wonderful Caryatids and all what’s left after 2,500 years of history.
Sacred Rock of Acropolis
In almost the middle of the beautiful Dionysiou Aeropagitou Steet with the 19th-century-houses, the stairs between the olive trees led us to Herodeon. We were ready for the long way up to the history of Ancient Athens. One of the most beautiful and monumental buildings of its era appeared. The Odeon of Herodes Atticus. We were impressed!
The Odeon of Herodes Atticus was built at 160 A.D. from rich Herodes Atticus in memory of his wife. Herodeon, as it is called today, had a capacity of 6,000 viewers and those days, just like today, music performances were organised there. The Odeon was one of the most charming and imposing buildings of its era. The roof was made of cedar wood, a very expensive material for that age and the floor and seats were made of marble, while its scene was three-storey with a height of 28 meters.
Immediately we dived into taking pictures! How many pictures? I won’t tell you because it might sound exaggerating. Of course, the outdoor space helped us managing to capture at least the exterior, while we photographed the interior only between the railings placed on the gaps. You can walk in the interior of Herodeon only if you are lucky and book a ticket to enjoy a performance. In the meanwhile, before starting with our walking up to the Acropolis we got power after sitting under the shade of the olive trees around.
Skip the line tickets for the Acropolis of Athens
Holding the ticket in our hand we passed through the gate and our tour in Acropolis began.
For skip the line tickets you book here. From 1st of November till 31st of March (1/11-31/03) each year, a reduced rate only for single-use tickets is valid for all state owned archaeological sites and museums.
Temple of Athena Nike (Winged Victory)
Walking up the stairs to Propylea, we saw on the right the Temple of Athena Nike looming, while on the left there was a pedestal made of marble. It’s the Monument of Agrippa.
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The Temple of Athena Nike, is plain, monumental, a small jewel and for thousand years it is the first to welcome the visitors of the Sacred Rock of Acropolis.
The temple was built between 427 and 423 B.C.and was dedicated to the Goddess Athena Nike. The temple is also known as Temple of Winged Victory, originating from the goddess that was wanted without wings in order not to be able to fly away from the Athenians, being always their protector. In the interior of the Temple there was only the statue of the goddess, while the worship of her was taking place at the temple’s exterior. The temple, as we see it now, has undergone through three reconstructions, with the last one at 2001.
At last, after the family managed to reunite, since each one of us was looking for their special angle to make a photo, we started going up the stairs carefully, because they were slippery. If only they could speak! For thousands of years they have been welcoming people. Young, old, Greeks, foreigners, ancient and modern! Those Propylea we were watching was the central gate to Parthenon and, per my opinion, worthy of what is coming next. It is like entering a temple, with columns at its façade. What impressed us more was the marble rooftop with its ornate patterns.
The most important building of Acropolis was and still is the Parthenon, looming on the Sacred Rock for 2,500 years, having survived through climate changes, wars, explosion, seizures. Harmony, elegance and grandeur at their finest!
By looking at Parthenon, the first thing that possessed us, was the pride in being Greeks and carrying this longtime history of a 2,500-year-old culture of our ancestors, who constructed those buildings. Of course, all these happened because for the glory and the sublimity of the city of Athens and its ruler, Pericles. He was the inspirer of this grandiose plan and his aim was to give prominence to the political sublimity of the city. But without the support of the Athenian community and their allies, he might have not achieved all of these. For that reason, Acropolis and all the achievements during his ruling, weren’t just an illustration of his ambitious plans, but also of the community’s class, that appreciated the value of his programme. Arts, culture, philosophy prospered by great men that lived during that era. Never before had lived so many and so important people, at the same age, in the same city. And this was the city of Athens and the years of Pericles’ ruling, 5th century B.C., went down in history, as the Golden Age of Pericles.
Historical information of Parthenon
The construction of that brilliant building began at 447 B.C. and finished at 438 B.C., during Pericles’ age. It’s a Doric order temple with 8 columns on its two narrow sides and 17 on the long ones. It was designed by Ictinos and his assistand, Callicrates. The famous sculptor Phidias was responsible for the sculpture decoration. It is one of the biggest temples of antiquity (area: 2145 m2) and the very first made of marble.
The temple was dedicated to Goddess Athena, protector of the city and kept its form until 5th century A.D.In its interior the Chryselephantine Statue of Athena was looming, a work of Phidias, with a height of 11 meters, holding Nike, the victory of the mankind, in one hand and her shield in the other. That work wasn’t saved. The gold of the statue weighed approximately 1050 kilos and it was removable, namely the gold foil could be taken off and be used in case of a financial crisis in the city.
At first it became a temple, while during the years of the Ottoman Rule in was turned into a mosque. At 1867, Parthenon, which was used as a powder keg by the Ottomans, exploded by a bomb from the Venetians, during the siege of Acropolis by Morosini, and its biggest part collapsed. At the first years of 19th century it was plundered by Lord Elgin, resulting in the biggest part of its sculpture decoration being taken.
Our Parthenon has been acknowledged by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site since 11/09/1987. Today, Parthenon has been described as “one of the greatest creations of the human spirit” and has gained worldwide reputation.
Dear readers, who follow us in this tour, do you know how to capture the beauty and elegance of Parthenon? Of course by making photos of all its sides, as we did, and keeping them as invaluable life mementos, in order to remind you that at some point in your life you were in Athens and at Parthenon, this global cultural monument of this world.
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Afterwards, we turned our gaze at the left side of Parthenon and the Caryatids and Erechtheion mesmerised us. Erechtheion was built between 421-406 B.C. and it was a temple made of marble from Penteli. It was divided in two parts. One part was dedicated to Athena Polias and the other was dedicated to Poseidon – Erechtheus. On the interior there was a statue of Athena made of olive wood. At the same place, on the backside of the temple, there was the tomb of the King of Athens, Cecrops I.
On that Π-shaped tomb of the King of Athens Cecrops I, instead of columns there were six beautiful statues supporting with their head the tomb’s roof. Those six admirable statues, those charming damsels with their airy tunics and the pretty faces, are the famous Caryatids that…infatuated even Elgin and stole on of them. They enchanted us as well and we couldn’t wait to visit the Acropolis Museum and admire in person the original statues, since the ones at Erechteion are replicas.
The myth about the name of Athens
Thousands of years ago, in this place, Goddess Athena and God Poseidon duelled about the name of the city, that both wanted to be theirs. During the reign of Cecrops I, happened the incident of Athena and Poseidon regarding the protection of the city. The winner would be the one that would offer the best gift to Athens. Poseidon hit with his trident the rock and salt water sprang from it, forming a lake, while Athena planted an olive tree at the rock. With this gift, Goddess Athena won the protection of the city and Athenians never forgot it, by naming their city Athens from their protector goddess.
Athens’ view from Acropolis
From Acropolis there is a majestic panoramic view of Athens and due to that our photos were innumerable by all sides. In the background there is Lycabettus, the Panathenaic Stadium, the Temple of the Olympian Zeus, Filopappou Hill, Dionysos Theater, the Temple of Hephaestus and the whole city in front of us.
A thing we have highlighted, that impressed us, on the Sacred Rock of Acropolis, were the beautiful neighbourhoods with those houses of the old times, attached to the Rock of Acropolis, basically in the heart of Athens. So, we decided at the end of our day to stroll around those narrow iconic alleys, Anafiotika.(link)
We walked down and left Acropolis, enchanted and satisfied by our nice walk, crying out all together: Yes, it was a unique experience! Yes, we all should visit Parthenon at least once in our life! Yes, it is an outstanding place and holds a candle to all the sites of Europe. Yes! Yes! Yes!
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