Sunday, January 13, 2013

Acropolis and Athens, Greece

 Acropolis of Athens
The Acropolis (the word acropolis in Greek literally means "city on the extremity") is located on a 7.4 acre flat-topped rock above the city of Athens. Whereas there are several acropolis locations throughout Europe, the one at Athens is called The Acropolis.
 The entryway is a series of steps to the top. Ascending, the prominent sight is the Temple of Athena Nike, built between 427 and 424 B.C. Nike means victory in Greek, and the citizens worshiped Athena in hopes of winning against the Spartans.
The people of ancient Athens would take shelter in The Acropolis during attacks as the sheer walls helped to protect the site. 
Immediately on the left of the Temple of Athena Nike was the  Propylaea, or gateway. The stairs led into the gate-house at the entrance of tThe Acropolis. A bit of trivia, the Brandenburg Gate of Berlin and the Propylaea in Munich are specially copied from the central portion of the Propylaea.
Just before entering Acropolis through the Propylaea, I (and a lot of other people) glanced to the right and took this picture of the Temple of Hephaestus. The temple was dedicated to the God of the forge and was set among foundries and metalworking shops of ancient Athens. It is the best preserved of all of the Doric Temples in Greece and still has it's roof intact. 
 The Erechtheum was begun about 420 B.C. and was dedicated to several of the Gods.
The entrance, facing east, is lined with six Ionic columns and was dedicated to Athena Polias. The western part served the cult of the archaic king Poseidon and housed the altars of Hephaestus (remember him from the Temple of Hephaestus?).
The southwest porch is supported by the female figures or Caraytids. These figures are second in photographic popularity after the Parthenon.
Temple of Zeus as seen from the Acropolis, dedicated to Zeus, king of the Olympian gods. The temple is almost in the center of Athens and still a big tourist attraction. Far upper left of the picture is the 2004 Olympic stadium which will be featured later in our story.
Also down the slope: Theater of Dionysus,
The Theater of Dionysus is today a major open-air theater and one of the earliest preserved in Athens. It was used for festivals in honor of the god Dionysus.  
   On a near-by hill:  The Philopappos Monument.
The monument is dedicated to Julius Philopappos, a prince from the Kingdom of Commagene. It is located on Mouseion Hill just southwest of the Acropolis.
The Parthenon is regarded as an enduring symbol of Ancient Greece and of ancient democracy and one of the world's greatest cultural monuments.
The Parthenon is a temple also dedicated to the goddess Athena, whom the people of Athens considered their patron.
Christine admired the structure from every angle so long that I left to make sure the bus did not leave without her. Christine is interested all European culture but has a special affinity to the Parthenon, dedicated to Athena. Christine, a former member of the Women's Army Corps, wore the insignia of Athena. Athena was selected to symbolize the WAC's as she was the goddess of handicrafts, wise in industries of peace and arts of war, also the goddess of storms and battle, who led through victory to peace and prosperity. Accordingly, the head of Pallas Athene, together with the traditional US, was selected for lapel insignia, cut out for officers and on disc for enlisted women.
 Young Lt. Christine. Note the head of Pallas Athene on Christine's lapel. Thus, she had a special interest in the Parthenon.
While off the subject, I thought I would throw in the obligatory "I was there" tourist photo.
Most have noticed the lack of roof, damage to the monument, and cranes for reconstruction.  In 1687 during the struggle between the Venetians and Ottoman Turks, the Parthenon was used as a gunpowder magazine! A Venetian mortar, fired from the Hill of Philosopapus (remember nearby hill with the shrine?), blew the magazine up and the building was partly destroyed. 
 Another good story concerns the east pediment (left). The pediment narrated the birth of Athena from the head of her father Zeus. A headache prompted Zeus to summon Hephaestus (the god of fire and the forge whose temple we saw earlier). Zeus ordered Hephaestus to strike him with his forging hammer and when he did, Zeus's head split open and out popped the goddess Athena in full armor. The sculptural arrangement depicts the moment of Athena's birth. Remember this the next time you play trivia.
After one last look, it was time to head back to the tour bus for the rest of the tour.
2004 Olympic Stadium
This was also the site for the Athens 1896 games.
 Remember the shot of the Olympic Stadium from Acropolis? This is a reverse photo showing the Parthenon. 
The Syntagma meaning Constitution in Greek is the square in front of the Parliament (formerly the King's Palace). It is considered the main square of Athens. The two soldiers in the far front are guarding the tomb of the unknown soldier. On the far right, the military were preparing for a ceremony.
Athens Academy
The Academy of Athens (1926) is the highest research establishment in the country and is operated by the Ministry of Education.
Tireless and in good humor after one of her "16 favorite" tours. 
 Back to our temporary home.
Guess what day we toured the Acropolis?
We leave Greece and sail toward Messina, Italy.


  1. This one is really an awesome & outstanding site. I went through it many times and like its theme. Its quite simple and fascinating. The stuff in the Blog is very genuine and could be seen on very rare places. Keep it on buddy....

    1. Thanks, Lavanya. I hope you return soon. Roy.

  2. Wow! That Hawti young LT. is something else!!!!!
    You are on my fav tour ever! Enjoy. .... Or, are you already home and posting after the fact? Anyhow, such a wonderful trip. These places live in my memory and you have just blown off the cobwebs. Thank you for your special spin on an old fav.