A Visit to Athens
Our first day in Athens, and of course, a visit to Acropolis. In order to get there as soon as possible, to avoid the crowds, we decided to go by subway. The station of Metaxurgio was quite near our hotel and we embarked the train there. After 15-20 minutes, we reached our destination and emerged from underground on the southern side of Acropolis hill, opposite the New Acropolis Museum, one of modern monuments of Athens. Though the main entrance is at the western side, there are certan advantages of using this southern one. Except there is less people in the queue, you have an oportunity to visit Theatre of Dionysos on your way up the hill. I visited Acropolis few times before, but entering at the main entrance, I never found the time to descend the slope and visit it. After waiting in the queue for half an hour or so, we bought the tickets and entered the complex. We bought a complet of tickets for Acropolis, Ancient Agora, Roman Agora, Acropolis museum, Hadrians Libray, Olympeion and Kerameikos Cementery. Besides beeing cheaper, it inspires you, creates a kind of obligation, to visit all the monuments, which you will not do otherwise. I, for example, visited Athens few times before, but never found the time to visit Roman Agora, Hadrians Library and Kerameikos. This time I did and it was worth it. It certanly was. We started our visit to Acropolis by visiting the Theatre of Dionysos. It is the biggest and the oldest theatre of the few that are situated on the slopes of the hill. It is well preserved, though it dates back to Classical times. Auditorium is complete, with cahirs for dignitaries. Skene is still paved and there is a low wall in the back, decorated with reliefs. Between reliefs, there are statues of Titans holding the top of the wall on their backs. We carried on westwards, towards the main entrance, passing Asclepion on our way and stopping to catch a glance of Odeon of Herodes Atticus. This magnificent building is well preserved and restored. Beeing converted, together with the Stoa of Eumenes, in medevel times, in an outer wall of Acropolis citadel, it is used for musical spectacles nowdays. On our way up the slope, we had a nice view of Filoppapas hill and the monument on top of it.
After a pleasant climb, we reached a winding staircase leading to Propylea, ceremonial entrance to Acropolis. The staircase is a remnant from medeval times, when Acropolis was a fortress. In antiquity, the complex was entered by a ramp. After medeval, one comes to the original staircase, with steep, high, stone stairs. A provisional wooden staircase is layed over it, for tourists to enter, as well as a wooden cooseway, to go through the colonnade of Propylea. The view of Ancient Agora from the steps is magnificent. The look from the steps where the visitors stand, up at the Propylea is exceptional. The huge steps and the colonnade, Ionic from this side, really look imposing and there are side buildings, too. After passing by the Ionic clonnades, the visitor goes through the main door and finds himself in the stoa, this time Doric, where he catches a first glimps of Parthenon. This was my fourth vissit to Acropolis but I was still excited, not only because I had an opportunity to show it to my wife, who visited it for the first time, but simply, because I was there again, beeing able to see magnificent buildings one more time. If enormous spending for it's construction weakened Athenian League and Athens itself and laed to it's defeat in the war against Sparta, it was not in wain. It still, in the state of preservation in which it is nowdays, atracts crowds of people from all over the world and celebrates the name of Athens through centuries. The Parthenon was in scaffolding, at least it's front side. Some parts of the pediment were missing and some lintels, trigliphs and metopehs, too. There was even a crane errected in front of the temple. I've seen a broadcast about Parthenon restoration on History Channal and I think It was really necessary. They are restorimg damaged pieces, replacing the ones damaged beyond reapair and even adding the elements that were lost through centuries. New pieces are made of the marble from the same quarry as original ones, from antiquity. During my earlier visits I have seen the temple without scaffolding and, of course, it creates a better impression but monuments have to go through restorations, from time, to time. This is a very old building, after all. We passed along the southern side of Partenon. There was a wonderfull view of Filoppapas hill, Pireaus and the sea, further on. There was no scaffolding on the southern side, but it is incomplete. Some coloumns were knocked down during 16th century explosion. The back side of the monument was free of scaffolding, as well and we took soma snapshots. I didn't have to worry about taking photos. My wife took them. Most of the photos on this web site are her work.
There was exeptional view of futuristic building of Acropolis museum down bellow. Further on east, the one catches a glimpse of Olympeion under the sun and Hadrians staduim, further on. Then, we turned west, towards Erechteion, my favorit. It is small, but elegant. On eastern side, there is a beautifull Ionic portico. On the southern wall, there is a small paortoco added as an extension. This portico has womens statues, instead of coloumns, the famous Caryatides. Erechteion is famous because of them. However, the statues one can see on Acropolis are replicas, original ones are kept in Acropolis Museum. On the northern side of the temple, there is another Ionic portico, but this one is lower than the other two, because the ground, on which the building was erected, has a slope. Visitors to Erechteion have a wonderfull view over the city of Athens and the surrounding hills in the distance. Erechteon, on the other hand, can be seen from Ermou street and Monastiraki square. We carried on allong northern side of Parthenon, which was only partly scaffolded, back towards Propylea. There is a lot of empty space on the hill, between the famous temples. It was once occupied by buildings, the material of which still stands scattered arround. In medeval times, these biuldings were destroyed and the otheres errected on their places. When liberation came, Greeks destroyed them, in order to give Acropolis the look, it had in ancient times. There was even a medeval tower, beside Propylea, which was demolished by Schliman in 1870-es. On the left, beside ceremonial entrance, there is a little temple of Athena Nike, but it was surrounded by scaffolding and closed for visitors. We carried on through Propylea, leavihg Acropolis, descending down the steps, with view over Areopagus hill and Ancient Agora.
On the next page, read about our visit to Ancient Agora
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|Date and Time:||2016-11-25 02:32:04|
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