A Visit to Athens
With Propylea behind our back, we descended the Acropolis hill by the steep steps, looking down at Ancient Agora. The view was magnificent. One could see The streets of Athens beyond Ancient Agora and island of Salamis far behind. We descended through narrow lanes and in one of them there was a souvenir shop which was selling ice water as well. In fact it was a piece of ice in the bottle, surrounded with some water. We bought one and carried on. Though, at the first glance, it seemed undrinkable, it was very usefull, not to say of utmost importance, when it melted, during our walk arround Agora. There were discussions of type, weather to visit Athens in summer, on various travellers forums, because of the heat, but I think we found the answer to that question. Anyway, I saw cold drinks beeing sold ata the entrance of the Roman Agora and there was cooled running water at Kerameikos cemetery. Athens is mainly summer destination, so I suggest to any would be visitor, to go during summer. After tireing walk under the sun, one can always escape to the beach. And the sky is perfectly blue. We entered Ancient Agora by the side entrance and found ourselfs in front of the church of Agii Apostoli. It is a Byzantine church built in later period. One of few Byzantine monuments in Athens. Ancient agora is mainly built during Classical period. The church has nice architecture, but one can admire it only from outside. Next, we came across Stoa of Attalos. It was built by Attalos II. ruler of Pergamon, as a gift to the city of Athens for the education he received there. In the 1950s it was fully reconstructed and it resembles the look it had in antiquity. It is a complete building now, alltogether wit the roof, so one can imagine how Ancient Agora looked like in the past. It houses The Ancient Agora Museum. The rconstruction was funded by Rockefeler family.
Stoa of Attalos II
It is a two story building with stairways leading to the upper floor on each end of the stoa. Both storys have two isled porticos in front and tventy one rooms in the back. The porticos are adorned with doric and ionic colonnades. We entered the right stairway and climbed to the second story. There was an original single surviving ionic coloumn there. In the portico of the first floor, there are mainly marble statues on display. There are busts of historian Herodotus and Roman emperor Antoninus Pius among others. The view of Agora, Odeon of Agrippa and the temple of Hephaestus on the opposite hill was marvellous. We dsecended to the ground floor. There were stone benches in the portico. It was veary pleasant to sit on them and take a rest from the tireing walk under the sun. In the backrooms of the ground floor, the main collection of the museum is situated. There are vases, vessels and figurines from Mycenean period. Among them one can see famous psi and teta figurines of women. Funerary vases from Geometric period could be seen, as well. There are tercota veases with black figures, a collection of coins, lamps, figurines and toys from Classical period. There is some pottery from Byzantine period and in the end, very nice statue of Pan, holding a goat by the horns. All these artifacts are found during the excavations of Ancient Agora and they reflect, the way people lived in this area, through centuries. On our way to the temple of Hephaestus we came across the Odeon of Agrippa. Marcus Vispanius Agrippa, a friend and son-in-law of Roman emperor Augustus, victor at the battle of Actium, was the governor of Eastern Roman provincies. As Greece was one of them, at that time, he built a magnificent odeon, large concert hall seating thoursand spectators, as a gift to the people of Athens.
What is left of it today are massive pillars, carved in the form of 'giants' and 'tritons', which once adorned its monumental entrance. At the foot of the little hill where temple of Hephaestus stands, there is a headless statue of Roman Emperor Hadrian, who loved Athens and adorned it with numerous exceptional buildings. And there it was, the temple of Hephaestus, or Theseion, how it is also called. It owes it's name to the fact that Hephaestus was protector of metal working and remains of numerous metal-working shops were found in the area. The other name, Theseion, was attributed under the assumption that the temple housed the remains of Athenian hero Theseus. It is the best preserved Classical temple in Greece and it owes that to the fact that it was, during middle ages, converted into the church of Sent Georg. But, the ages left its mark on the beautifull building. In my oppinion, it needs a restoration, as thorough as it is performed over Parthenon. The temple is built in doric order. It is surrounded with greenery, so it is very pleasant to walk arround, watching the building from different sides. The views, from the front of the temple, down, over Ancient Agora and up, towards Acropolis are equally beautifull. We left Theseion, walking among the ruins of ancient buildings on our way to the exit of the complex. There is a mertro line running beside the temple of Hephaestus and very near the Stoa of Attalus II. It is a surface line, dug in in a kind of a ditch, which was a part of the first metro line in Athens, leading to Pireaus. We crossed it by a little bridge, while leaving the complex of Ancient Agora. A part of the town of Athens, near the temple of Hephaestus, or Theseion, it called by it's name, Thissio(Theseion Athens). There are a lot of restaurants, full of tourists, which were serving lunch, at the time we passed by. In contrast, in the evening, the cafes and restaurants are mostly populated by locals.
On the next page, read about our visit to Hadrians Library
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|Date and Time:||2016-11-27 07:32:30|
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