Thursday, November 20, 2014

Ancient Ruins Of Athens

Admittedly, I didn't know what there was to see and do when I planned my trip to Athens, I just knew that I wanted to go. Checking pictures of the city online, I could not really get a handle on the city sprawl with the old ruins sitting on the mountain in the middle of it all. It looked pretty unreal!

My first stop on my first day of exploring was to get up to the Acropolis, to see what it was all about. I got the Metro to the foot of the hill, and made my way up with all the other tourists of the day.

Walking through the chaos of the entrance, through the hoards of tour groups, I made it up the stairs, past the amazing Temple to Athena Nike, and through the arches and columns to the top of the hill. Taking in the size of the Parthenon - 17 columns down, and 8 across - the obvious craftsmanship and detail, before sweeping my eyes across the view of Athens city all around, below.

To the left on this hill was the Erechtheion, where the stunning Caryatids captured my attention for some time.

Walking to the back of the open section on the Acropolis hill, I could take in both impressive ruin structures, in addition to spotting each of the other ancient structures dotted around below, as far as the eye could see. It gave me a good idea of what to aim for next in my Athens sights exploring, and map out a bit of a path, in real visualisation.

Once I made it back down the hill, and past the Theatre of Dionysus halfway down, I followed my mapped out directions and found a much needed shade break with lunch, along a pretty tourist street between the Acropolis and Hadrian's Arch - an ancient arch sitting next to a very busy modern intersection of traffic. Old meets new!

Back to walking, and crossing the road at the arch, I got to the Temple of Olympian Zeus, with a number of columns still standing to give you an impression of the size of this structure in it's day. The massive park space showed off ruin pieces of the structure, and one columns was left laid when it had fallen, showing the sections making up the tall column - was pretty cool!

From here I wandered to the Panathenaic Stadium, before returning to go into the new Acropolis Museum, before climbing the Filapappou Hill for a spectacular sunset.

The next day, I continued with the ruin trail, getting to the other side of the hill and seeing more of the works from the Ancient Greeks. These columns along the wall are the strongest ruins left of Hadrian's Library. The ones below are those found at the Roman Agora and the beautiful Temple of the Winds.

These sights were fascinating, and impressive. Plus, walking around to see them allowed me to get a feel for the city around these ancient ruins. A perfect city visit for me!

jouljet notes:
Serious Tip: Each of these sites are walking distance from each other, which is how I got around to see them - in the heat. Several gelato stops were needed, of course, and there are plenty of places to stop and rest, and take in the views of the buildings of the Ancient Greeks, and indeed the modern Greeks too!
Time Spent: Across 2 days of walking, and stopping for meals, and to be home before it was too dark, I managed to get around to each of these. You could cram them all in in one day, if needed.
Cost: Ticket to the Acropolis was just 12Euro, and also allowed you entry to a host of other ruins around the area. So cheap!
Quirky Tip: The way to try and see the lighter side of all the crowds and tour groups shuffling through is people watching! Tourists in big groups are really something else.

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