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Mike's Odyssey to Greece - 2005

Part 6: Acropolis

As usually occurs on my trips to Europe, I plan on visiting some of the famous landmarks, only to discover that they are covered in scaffolding. As I was soon to discover, Athens is no exception.

To visit the Acropolis, tickets are about 12 euros. Your ticket will enable you to visit the Acropolis, the Acropolis museum, the Agora, the Roman Agora, and the Temple of Zeus. However, you must plan your trip wisely - you access the Theater of Dionysis from the side of the Acropolis, and if you leave, you won't be able to get back in. Visit everything on top of the Acropolis first, and then go visit the others.

The Parthenon - complete with scaffolding.

On the south side of the Acropolis is the Theatre of Herodes Atticus. This amphitheater is still used (such as for Yanni's performance from the Acropolis and the annual Greek drama festival). It also had a roof when originally constructed and could be flooded for mock naval battles.

The ruins of the Theatre of Herodes Atticus.

Also on the south side of the Acropolis is the Theatre of Dionysis. This amphitheater used to be much larger than the Theatre of Herodes Atticus. It has fallen into ruins, though.

Theater ruins
The Theatre of Dionysis as viewed from the Acropolis.

To the west of the Acropolis are the ruins of the ancient agora, the marketplace. One of these ruins is the Temple of Hephastus.

The ruins of the ancient (Greek) agora from the Acropolis.

A close-up of the Temple of Hephastus.

To the east is the Temple of Zeus, with its massively tall Corinthian columns, of which only 15 exist (and only 14 are still standing).

Temple of Zeus
The Temple of Zeus. Go early; it closes at 3 PM.

To the north of the Acropolis is the Roman agora, which we visited the night before. You can see the Tower of the Winds and the big columns.

Roman Agora
The Roman Agora as viewed from the Acropolis.

A visit inside the museum shows you many of the treasures unearthed at the Acropolis, many of which were buried during the capture of destruction of the Acropolis during its volatile history.

One of the statues called "kora" dedicated to the Goddess Athena. I was surprised by how she holds an orb in her hand reminiscent of images of both Queen Elizabeth I and the Virgin Mary in similar poses.

Ancient writing
A column holds an inscription carved in Ancient Greek (hey, I guess they really did write that way). Not sure if it says "Kilroy was here" or "For a good time call..."

Bas Relief
One of the reliefs that use to line the Parthenon.

A wall painting that is around 2,500 years old found at the Parthenon.

Broken parts
A collection of the various pieces of columns found on the Acropolis that are now all rounded up and sitting in a pile.

One of the most impressive buildings (and IMHO even more impressive than the Parthenon) is one called Erechtheion. This was the building that could be observed from below in my previous pictures. It not only has an intact roof, but is also the site of the Caryatids, columns of carved statues of women.

The Erechtheion.

The Caryatids.

The Acropolis was conquered several times throughout history, and after one of the defeats, the Arabs apparently made their mark on the Acropolis.  I found this stone with Arabic writing carved on it.

Arabic Writing
Arabic script carved into a stone on the Acropolis.

As we examined the Parthenon in detail, we noticed a few things.  First, we examined the remaining parts of the roof of the Parthenon and saw these pegs that had been carved into the stone.  We also saw some of the roof pieces lying on the ground near the Parthenon and saw some more pegs.  We still aren't sure if they are just ornamental or if they served some sort of construction purpose, such as being giant Legos perhaps...

Roof Detail
Close-up detail of the roof of the Parthenon.

The pegs carved into the rock.  I think it looks like a giant marble Lego piece.

After visiting the Acropolis, we took the roads around from the Theatre of Dionysis through the shopping district known as the Plaka to a taverna for more cool beer.

A taverna near the base of the Acropolis.

Continue on to Part 7: Athens (or "Weird scenes from another large European city")