Up by 6am and on the roof top for the included breakfast at 7am. Very nice. Two people working to keep everything refilled and help anyone who asked.
Not just a few rolls but a wide selection of meats, cheese, breads, scrambled eggs, sausage, yogurt, fruit with juicer to make fresh juice, … AND Coffee. Wow did we need the Coffee that is made to your preference. Real plates, flatware, cloth napkins... We were impressed.
The view of the Acropolis was impressive. Watching the sun rise and strike the Parthenon was amazing.
After breakfast, we were off to the Acropolis for our long walk to the top. Wow, impressive even with all the damage from so many years and people remodeling to different types of churches or just blowing it up. More on that in the history lesson.
The walk up is pretty strenuous. It is a pretty tall hill. The stones for the walkway up are blocks of marble. Almost everything here is marble. Even the edges of roads, that we would have as concrete are made of marble.
Everything here screams ancient. As we pass through the ticket area, we come to a huge theater. Odeon of Herodes Atticus was built before 150 BC and is still used today for performances. Originally, it had a roof but that was destroyed by a fire by in 267 AD. It was restored in the 1950's and seats 5000 people. Everyone from Frank Sinatra to Pavarotti to Elton John has performed here but more importantly for over 400 years it was used for performances by the Greeks and Romans.
We could easily see our hotel from the Acropolis.
We pass Mars Hill where Paul preached the Gospel.
Walking up to the Acropolis where we find lots of steps and then through the portico.
Warning: History Ahead... Lots and lots of history.
First, we pass through a fortified gate, constructed in the Roman period in 280 AD. Above and below is what it looked like originally looked like prior to the Monument of Agrippa being built and Athena's Statue was still in place.
Look to the bottom right of the above picture to see the Roman gate then.
Below is what the Roman gates look like today.
Next the Monument of Agrippa a 30 foot tall pedestal where there was a bronze of horses and a chariot then that was replaced by a bronze of Mark Antony and Cleopatra. Each time the city was taken, it was replaced. When Agrippa defeated Mark Antony and Cleopatra's forces in 31 BC that statue was removed and likely melted down. Now, it is an empty pedestal.
Next is the original entrance to the Acropolis is Amazing! On the right side is the temple to Athena Nike and on the Left the Pinakotheke an area where worshippers could prepare or cleanse themselves before entering the sacred areas. It was completed around 400 BC.
When you see bright white that is a repair or replacement for missing pieces that risk structural stability. The rest is original and over 2400 years old. WOW! Just think for a minute. These structures were hundreds of years old when Paul came to preach the Gospel on Mars hill just down from the Roman gate.
The structures on the Acropolis have been robbed of material which was used for building material in the surrounding city. Yep, most of the original entrance is now part of buildings below the Acropolis.
The entrance is impressive. Imagine this was your passage to the Acropolis.
The south side of the entrance is a temple to Athena Nike. A very small temple by comparison with most others here.
Just past that was a pedestal with a 30 foot tall bronze sculpture of Athena that was so big it could be seen from the sea. It was placed before 450BC. The base of the pedestal was 15 x 15 feet but its height is unknown but it was likely at least 15 tall making a cube but could have been taller. All that remains is the base, everything else was removed long ago.
Only two of the original buildings beyond the entrance gates still exist. The Parthenon and Erechtheion with the Porch of the Caryatids. All the other temples were destroyed and most of the material was carted off. Over time there have many more. The Shrine of Athena and Hygeia. The old temple of Athena which stood behind her statue, the Sanctuary of Artemis, and the temple of Rome and Augustus.
Our first close up view of the Parthenon was stunning.
We decided to turn north to view the Erechtheion named after the demi-god Erechtheus. This building was completed in 406 BC. The west side was the entrance to the Shrine of Erechtheus and the East is a shrine to Athena.
On the west side there is also a 100 year old olive tree which was planted to represent the "Sacred Olive Tree of Athena". A youngster compared to the building itself.
Porch of the Maidens. The south porch was supposed to be over a crypt of Kekrop's.
These maidens are exact replicas. The originals are in the museum to protect them from damage. We will see them later.
Originally these were very detailed and painted.
The east end a shrine to Athena now only a shell of a building.
To the east of the Parthenon is the Greek flag. From that vantage point we could see many of the places we want to tour while we are in Athens. The museum, Zeus Temple remains, the original Olympic stadium... From here we could see that the city was built surrounding ancient sites scattered all around. Almost every building in the city is built ON an ancient site. Maybe someday those will be uncovered for future generations.
We will visit many of these before we leave Athens.
The walk around the Parthenon was great. Lots to see. We took in all we could. The Parthenon is under reconstruction and has been for many years. It is likely it will be for many more. The plan is to restore the west end and leave the rest as is with some protective work to avoid any further damage.
The Parthenon was competed in 432 BC. So this building has been standing here for over 2,400 years. It was a treasury and the temple to Athena.
The building it a rectangle and has a 23,000-square foot base. Steps surrounded the entire building. Around the outside were Doric columns each standing on a platform create a border. There were 46 outer columns and 19 inner columns which originally supported a wood roof. The interior was painted sky blue.
Because of its size straight columns would have looked bent by perspective so instead they were sightly tapered. The result was that from the ground it looked perfectly symmetrical. The columns at the corners are larger than the other columns. The result is that the Parthenon contains no straight lines and no right angles but looks to be perfectly square from the ground.
Originally inside the center stood a 40 foot tall statue to Athena and the carvings on the exterior were painted. In Nashville, there is a replica of the Parthenon with as close as they can imagine statue.
There were many wars fought for Athens. The Romans took Greece. The Greeks took it back. The Christian Byzantines took the city and 1,000 years after it was built the Parthenon was converted to a Catholic church dedicated to the Virgin Mary. They damaged or destroyed almost every carving or sculpture.
In the mid 1400's, the Muslim Ottoman Empire seized Athens and it was converted to a mosque.
In 1687, the Turks sieged the city and the Ottomans converted the Acropolis to store ammo. When it was hit by a cannon ball, the explosion damaged the Parthenon.
Over the next two hundred years much of the marble was removed and used as building material in the surrounding city. In 1803, many of the surviving sculptures were looted by Lord Elgin and taken to London and remain there to this day.
We were able to see some of the work on the reconstruction, restoration, and stabilizing while we were touring.
Much of the ground on the Acropolis is rubble. The remains of damage done over the years. Some is ornately carved and some simple wall material. All are documented and many have the original location identified for future placement. This will be the world's largest jigsaw puzzle ever assembled.
As we came down, we took a wrong turn and missed the slopes and instead went out the exit. This means we did not see some of the small temples below the Acropolis.
We walked back into town and had a very nice lunch. Traditional meals Moussaka, …
After getting back to the room, Betty decided to rest she was very tired.
Shawna and I walk around the outside of the Acropolis trying to get to the Ancient Agora. In the process we took a wrong turn but even then we saw so much.
We missed our opportunity to go the the Ancient Agora an area to the north of the Acropolis with lots of Roman era buildings. The entrance is closed to entry at 4:30pm. We will try again tomorrow.
We did pass the Gate of Athena and area had already closed. It is wild to my thinking that homes are right up against ancient ruins.
As we walked passed several cafes Shawna was approached by a woman trying to sell flowers. She is actually trying to CON people out of their money. The tactic is to hand a flower to someone saying it is free then ask for money. If you don't give them what they want they yell at you until you do. So Shawna just put her hands down and refused to take the flower. The other tactic is by people with "hand made" (actually made in China)
bracelets which they try to put on you then demand money. Of course, we are very careful of pickpockets which are usually present with these people.
We walked passed several interesting sites on the way back to the hotel.
The Sanctuary of Zeus. The Sanctuary of Pan. Fountain of Phyx.
This is an interesting place. Homes, Restaurants, and stores intermixed with ancient sites that are as old as the time when the Apostles were here preaching the Gospel. Imagine you walk out of a cafe for lunch and right next to that is a old temple that is over 2,000 years old. Amazing but normal to the people living here.
We get back to the hotel, check on Mom, and stop by the bar for some wine and a Coke to drink on the Patio. The labels were interesting.
We loved our view while recovering from the day.
We are a couple who have started on a new adventure...