I am so behind in posting about our travels but I wanted to share a few photographs from our brief time in Athens (with a bonus layover in Amsterdam)! This was all the way back in February and I wanted to do one post of the entire trip but as soon as I took a look at our photos I knew that I needed more editing time. So this will be part I (part II will feature the gorgeous lands of Tuscany).
Despite it being one of the coldest months in Athens, our few days in February actually turned out quite lovely weather-wise. It ended up being in the low 70’s and with all the walking we did that temperature was perfect. But given that almost everything on the islands was shut down we skipped Santorini and Crete to stay in and around Athens – with the compromise that we would definitely someday soon make a trip to those gorgeous islands.
Our hotel was right next to Acropolis hill so we woke up a wonderful view. The above is actually taken from the top of Mount Lycabettus which offered a remarkable view of the city. Of course the very first thing we did in Athens was eat some delicious pita and tzatziki (delicious) and then the next morning we walked up to the Acropolis. I am sure most of you know this but the Acropolis refers to the actual settlement on the hill, not any of the buildings and includes multiple ruins, most notably the Parthenon.
Stairs leading up to the Propylaea – the gateway/entrance.
Above is the Temple of Athena Nike – built around 426-421 BC to honor Athena Nike, the goddess of victory.
Erechtheion- 421-206 BC and dedicated to Athena and Poseidon. On the side there you can see six Ionic columns, and on the south, the famous “Porch of the Maidens”, with six draped female figures (caryatids). Those are actually replicas and 5 of the original caryatids and now in the Acropolis Museum at the base of the site. However, one remaining caryatid is at the British Museum in London, yet to be returned from when Lord Elgin stole it in the 1800s. Which, don’t get me started on that. Everything that they took should be returned to the Acropolis Museum so that anyone who travels all the way to Athens can see the columns and friezes.
This is almost the closest you can get to the Parthenon. It only took around 15 years to build it as they estimate it was constructed between 447 and 432 B.C.
A view of the theater Odeon of Herodes Atticus from the hill.
Inside the New Acropolis Museum.
Temple of Olympian Zeus – dedicated of course to Zeus. At one point it was larger than the Parthenon and completed in 130 AD but was badly ruined in various battles and was never repaired. Today, only 15 columns of an original 104 remain standing!
Panathinaiko Stadium at night. First completed all the way back in 329 BC in marble and renovated by Herodes Atticus it can hold up to 60,000 people. It also housed the first modern Olympic Games back in 1896!
Next to the Zappion created to be the first Olympic building and it hosted fencing in 1896. Today it is used for official events. Above me is the Arch of Hadrian leading to the center of ancient Greece.
Heroon of Mousaios. We were almost the only ones on the Hill and just hang out on this rock with the most magnificent view of the entire Acropolis stretched out before us.
Tower of the Winds – around 50 BC this was created in order to keep time! It gets its name from the eight winds carved on the eight sides of the tower.
A few photos from the Ancient Greek Agora – at one point this area was full of shops and hosted cultural events, religious festivals, competitions and other social events until it became primarily a market full of shops.
In the distance is the Temple of Hephaestus to honor the god of metalworkers. It is one of the best preserved temples and build shortly before the Parthenon but it is not as architecturally elegant.
At the top of Mount Lycabettus.
This is the Theater of Dionysus, the birthplace of Greek tragedy and the first theater in the world! It was first located in the Ancient Agora and later moved to be right at the bottom of the Acropolis.
I honestly cannot say enough nice things about Athens. I highly, highly recommend it to anyone. If you are a Greek history, mythology or architectural buff you will particularity adore it. Even if you aren’t, there is something for everyone plus amazing food. It is also highly walkable and easy to see all the major sites in just a few days. If any of you have been I would love to hear your favorite sites or activities!