We arrived in Athens late in the afternoon. So there really wasn't a great deal of time to go sight seeing. We settled into our room and then headed out for a wander and to find some place for dinner.
The next day we rose earlyish and headed off to do meet up with the organisers of our tour. We planned to do a tour of the sites around Athens city itself.
Our first stop was the Panathenaic Stadium
The first stadium to built on this site was in 330AD, it was rebuilt, totally in Marble, in 144AD after a time it was abandoned then in 1860 it was excavated and rebuilt and in 1869 it hosted the opening and closing ceremonies of the first modern olympics.
After this jumped back onto the bus and after a short period we were informed by our guide that we would not be able to do the city tour as a large part of the inner city was closed due to the presence of the French president.
The picture above shows the laos on the road at the Athenians tried to move about there partially closed city. After spending about 50 mins on the bus , stuck in traffic as our driver made multiple attempts to find a way to the acropolis. Eventually we got through. And headed up the hill towards this great monument.
Odeon of Herodes Atticus
is a stone theatre structure located on the southwest slope of the acropolis. This building was completed in 161AD and was renovated in the 1950's. The Odeon is the main venue for the Athens Festival which runs from May through to October and has had such famous performers as Luciano Pavarotti, Nana Mouskouri, Frank Sinatra and Maria Callas.
Temple of Athena Parthenos
The construction of the temple of Athena Parthenos was commenced in 447BC they believe it took just 9 years to complete however it was another 6 years before all the carvings were completed. This temple was dedicated to the goddess Athena whom is the patron of Athens. Over the years the temple was used for various other religions at one time it was dedicated to the Virgin Mary and was Christian and after the ottoman invasion it became a mosque. Unfortunately at one point it was used as a warehouse for ammunitions and after several days of bombardment by Venetian attackers a shell got through the roof and resulted in exploding the ammunitions and severely destroying the building.
The main structure of this temple consists of four compartments.
The Porch of the Caryatid
The porch of the caryatid is on the south side of the Erechtheum, it consisted of six carved caraytids( women from Caryai (Sparta) ) as supporting columns.
In the image above is two things of interest , the first is the North porch of the Erechtheum which is made up of six ionic columns. The second thing of interest is the olive tree in the foreground. Legend has it that Zeus offered a contest between Athena and Poseidon for the possession of Athens. Poseidon raised up his three-pronged trident, smashed it upon the hard rock of the Acropolis and out a salt spring sprang. Athena on the other hand produced an olive tree, its rich fruits bountifully dangling from the branches. Whilst this is not THE original tree it is in the same place and is considered to have come from the roots of the original tree.
After leaving the Acropolis we headed down to the
The museum was built to house every artifact found on the rock and on the surrounding slopes. It contains the original caryatids ( moved here to preserve them) and hundreds of vases, statues and other wonderful bits and pieces that have been gathered from the site. Including the remaining marble sculptures not removed previously.
Beneath the Acropolis museum are the ruins of an ancient Athenian neighbourhood. You are able to see the remains of streets and houses, bathhouses and workshops, the museum was specifically constructed on the archaeology with tough glass flooring as you wander through looking at the artefacts. These ruins date to the late antiquity and early Byzantine periods (7th – 9th century AD).
As the sun went down we headed to the rooftop bar of the sister hotel to ours. We sat sipping drinks and looking at this view . . .
I think a memory that will never leave us.
(Goodbye, be happy)