The Acropolis & Beyond

It's Saturday, July 17th. After filling up on breakfast at the Mariott, I took their courtesy bus to the Plaka, an Athens neighborhood of narrow streets and full of small shops. No shopping today though. Today, I'm heading for the Acropolis, the so-called holy rock of Athens.

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Pictured below is Monastiraki Square. That's the Monastiraki Metro station straight ahead, and, surprise, McDonald's on the right. At the end of the day I'll be back here for a Big Mac, fries and a milkshake. At left, above the lampost is the wall of the Acropolis.

Just up the street from the square are the ruins of Hadrian's Library. Who even knew there were books in 450 BC?

Below, another look at what's left of Hadrian's Library, this time looking south towards the Acropolis.

It's about 11:30 AM, and I've now paid my admission (12 Euros allows entrance to the Acropolis and a handful of other sites & museums, several of which are....closed for renovations). I'm looking south; Lycabettus Hill is on the right, and behind the mountain at center, would be the Olympic Park and the IBC, where I work.

Okay ruins-lovers, here it is, the Propylaea. The what? It's a monument marking the entrance to the Acropolis, the holy rock of ancient Athens. Built in 437-432 BC, the Propylaea is undergoing restoration, and has been for many years.

This is the west face of the Parthenon, which you see after passing through the Propylaea.
This is one of the smaller sides of the rectangular Parthenon, which is also undergoing restoration.

The Parthenon was built from 447-432 BC, 15 years in the making, as a temple to the goddess Athena. It's made entirely of marble.
All around are pieces which have been removed from the buildings on the Acropolis.
The restoration work doesn't try to piece everything back together, but rather accurately duplicate what existed originally.

Looking down from the Acropolis, this is a view south showing the Odeon of Herod Atticus, or
the Herodeio for short. Built in the 2nd century BC, the stage is still used today, having hosted performances by
Maria Callas, Luciano Pavarotti, Elton John and Placido Domingo.

Working my way around, this is part of the south face of the Parthenon, one of the long sides which is missing large sections of marble.

The picture below, taken from the roof of my hotel, shows the entire west & south faces of the Parthenon. You can get an idea what's missing.

Turning again towards the sights (and sites) below, the columns are what's left of the Temple of Olympian Zeus, which we'll visit later this day, and beyond it Parnathinaiko Stadium. More about those later.

Here's the other short face of the Parthenon, the east side. The smaller building at right is the Erechtheion.

These are some of those pieces of buildings. They were once fine marble, but 2500 years of exposure to the elements has taken a toll.

When is a column not a column? When it's one of these shapely female statues, which once supported part of the Erechtheion.
These are displayed in the Acropolis museum.

Think I'm kidding about the statues? Look closely at the picture below.
This is the Erechtheion. It was built as a temple, dedicated to the Athena, Poseiden, Erechtheus and other Greek Gods.

And just to prove I was here...I think it's time to put on the sunscreen--something like SPF long-sleeve shirt!

Looking down and to the northwest, are the ruins of ancient Agora, said to be the political, financial and religious center of ancient Athens.

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