Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Visit to the Acropolis

We arrived in Athens last night quite late.  We should really have caught a taxi from the airport, but chose instead to wing it on the train system.  After some time, we wrongly got off at Omonia and started to wander the streets looking for our hotel.  We very soon found police who told us the area was too dangerous to walk about, and showed us where to go (back to the train).  We found out today it was the most dangerous suburb in Athens for drug deals and crime.

This morning, we had a guided tour in English of the Acropolis.  It was terrific to be here among so much history.  The 5th century BC was a very important time in Greek history.  It was a time for constructing not only physical buildings but institutions.  It was a time when the world's first democracy came into being.  Our guide spoke of history, philosophy, Aristotle, Socrates, the Peloponnesian Wars, and  wars with the Persians.  She told us that Greece had been ruled over by the Romans and much later the Ottomans (about 900 years of domination by others).

We had a good look at the Parthenon and the Temple of Athena.  When other tourists stepped on areas that were out of bounds, the guide pounced on them, demanding they get out of there.  Well, good for her.  Much restoration work is underway, and it seems that these 2,500 year old monuments need great and on-going care.  

The guide complained that the British Museum in London STILL has the Elgin Marbles.  She referred to them as the 'Elgin stolen Marbles' because Elgin, she said, had permission to take only replicas back to Britain.  Instead, he removed the originals from the Parthenon.  Britain has had the Marbles now for about 200 years.
The Parthenon atop the Acropolis
Parthenon to the left, Temple of Athena to the right
Temple of Athena
Athens is so vast.  Temple of St George on Agoraios Kolonis Hill in background (from the Acropolis)
Piles of decorative features that once were attached to the tops of Parthenon columns.
The ends represent sea waves
Some original roof tiles of the Parthenon
The Parthenon in scaffolding
The Herodion, an ancient theatre still in use today.

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