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1. The Acropolis

After climbing the steps you are at the entrance, or the Propylaea, which was completed in 432 just before the outbreak of the Peloponnesian wars. The main architect was Mnesicles, a colleague of Phidias. To your left is the Pinacotheca and a Hellenistic pedestal and on the right the tiny words (Acts 17:22-34) are written in Greek on a bronze plaque at the foot of the hill. The climb up is for the sure-footed.

Temple to Nike

Athena or the Athena of Victory which commemorates the Athenians victory over the Persians. This small temple stands on a platform that overlooks the islands of Saronic Gulf and used to house a statue of Athena. It was dismantled by the Turks in 1686 so they could use the platform for a large cannon. It was rebuilt between 1836 and 1842 and again taken apart and rebuilt in 1936 when it was discovered that the platform was crumbing.

The Parthenon and other main buildings on the Acropolis were built by Pericles in the fifth century BC as a monument to the cultural and political achievements of the inhabitants of Athens. Acropolis means upper city and many of the city states of ancient Greece are built around an acropolis where the inhabitants can go as a place of refuge in times of invasion. It's for this reason that the most sacred buildings are usually on the acropolis. It's the safest most secure place in town. As little as 150 years ago there were still dwellings on the Acropolis of Athens. Those of you who have read Aristophanes will recall that in Lysistrata the women have Athens barricaded themselves in the fortress in protest, being tired of their men going to war against Sparta. Depriving them of sex, cooking and care it was a terrific strategy that might even work today.

Erecthion

It sits on the most sacred site of the Acropolis where Poseidon and Athena had their contest over who would be the Patron of the city. Poseidon thrust his trident into the rock and a spring burst forth, while Athena touched the ground with a spear and an olive tree grew. The tree was destroyed in later years by the invading Persians. But when the Persians were finally driven off, legend has it, that the tree miraculously grew again. Athena was declared the victor and the great city of Athens was named for her while Poseidon was given a small village in Syros after it was discovered he had merely ruptured a water main. (not really).The building itself contains the porch of the maidens or Caryatids which are now copies. Caryatids are Statues of young women clad in peplos. They supported the roof of the south porch of the Erechtheion, and probably were the work of Alkamenes, a student of the great sculptor Pheidias.

Areopagus

From this limestone rock, named after either Ares, the god of war, or the Arae, goddesses of vengeance, you have a good view of the Propylaea, the ancient Agora below, and the surrounding modern metropolis. This was once Athens's supreme judicial court, and legend says that Orestes was tried here for the murder of his mother, Clytemnestra. According to Pausanias, the accused stood at the Stone of Injury while the prosecutor pleaded his case at the Stone of Ruthlessness. From the outcrop, St. Paul delivered such a moving sermon on the "Unknown God" that he converted the senator Dionysius, who became the first bishop of Athens. Some of St. Paul's

Propylaea gateway of the Acropolis was designed by the architect Mnesikles and constructed in 437-432 B.C. It comprises a central building and two lateral wings. The colonnades along the west and east sides had a row of Doric columns while two rows of Ionic columns divided the central corridor into three parts. The walls of the north wing were decorated with painted panels or wall paintings and that is why it was called the "Pinakotheke". The ceiling of the Propylaea had coffers with painted decoration and a perforated sima around the roof.

Theater of Dionyssos

6th century BC Dionyssia festivals dramas like Sophocles's Oedipus Rex and Euripides's Medea were performed for the entire population of the city. Visible are foundations of a stage dating from about 330 BC, when it was built for 15,000 spectators as well as the assemblies formerly held on Pnyx. In the middle of the orchestra stood the altar to Dionyssos. Most of the upper rows of seats have been destroyed, but the lower levels, with labeled chairs for priests and dignitaries, remain. The fantastic throne in the center was reserved for the priest of Dionyssos: regal lions' paws adorn it, and the back is carved with reliefs of satyrs and griffins. On the hillside above the theater stand two columns, vestiges of the little temple erected in the 4th century BC by Thrasyllus the Choragus (the ancient counterpart of a modern impresario). Here, the four greatest ancient Greek poets, Aeschylus, Aristophanes, Euripides and Sophocles saw their plays being performed for the first time, in the fifth century B.C. The koilon (cavea) and the proskoinion (stage) were originally of wood. They were reconstructed of marble during the 4th century B.C. Today only parts of the stone koilon have survived. Experts estimate that the theatre could accommodate 17,000 spectators.

Athens beach

2. Palaka

Wealthy Athenian citizens financed the training and outfitting of choruses for competitive dramatical and musical performances. The producer (called the "choregos") assumed this expense as part of his civic and religious duty (an ancient "liturgy" called the "choregia"). The winning producer was awarded a bronze tripod. These tripods were displayed either in or near the sanctuary of Dionysos on the South Slope of the Acropolis or along the Street of the Tripods, an ancient road that led from the sanctuary of Dionysos around the east and northeast sides of the Acropolis. The tripods were set up on bases and other small structures inscribed with the names of the producer/choregos, the victorious Athenian tribe, the musician who accompanied the performance, the poet who "taught" the chorus, and the name of the Athenian magistrate at the time. The Lysikrates Monument was constructed on the western side of the Street of the Tripods in order to commemorate a choral victory in 335/334 B.C. (In the Middle Ages, the monument also acquired the nickname "Lantern of Demosthenes" from the erroneous belief that the 4h century orator composed his speeches there.).


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3. Tower of the Winds

The octagonal tower (3.20 m. long on each side) stands on a base of three steps and is built of white Pentelic marble. It has a conical roof, a cylindrical annex on the south side, and two Corinthian porches, one on the NE and one on the NW side. At the top of each of the eight sides there is a relief representation of a wind, symbolized by a male figure with the appropriate attributes and its name inscribed on the stone. There were sundials on the external walls and an elaborate waterclock in the interior. The tower was built in the first half of the 1st century B.C. by the astronomer Andronicos, from Kyrrhos in Macedonia.

Church House

Abandoned tower house with tiny windows, thick stone walls, and a tall chimney still bears traces of its past glory. mid-18th century used as a Turkish police post, bought after liberation by 19th-century historian George Finlay. He and his wife repaired the complex of buildings and lived here for half a century, while he wrote about Greek history, including what is considered the definitive work on the War of Independence. For many years, Church House served as a reference point among Athens's one-story buildings, a rare vestige of prerevolutionary Athens. Today the roof is in shambles, the Byzantine-style cornice has come loose, and cracks split the walls; officials are still discussing its preservation.

4. Kerameikos

The area around these gates was the most ancient and largest cemetery known in Attica, which was continuously used from the 9th century B.C. until the late Roman period. It was also the burial site of the citizens honoured by the city of Athens. Kerameikos, according to the traveller Pausanias, was named after Keramos, a hero of the deme oh Kerameis. But most probably the name is due to a settlement of potters on the banks of the Eridanos River. (Kerameikos, ceramic or having to do with ceramics or ceramists). The ancient demos of Kerameikos included an area much larger than the one excavated. It is believed that it stretched from the north-west limits of the Agora to the grove named after the hero Academos. Its tombs and stelae are what Kerameikos is mainly known for. Strolling around them you will have the chance to admire the marble bull inside the enclosure of the tomb Dionysios from Kollytos; also the replica of the well known stele of Dexileos, placed where the original used to be and the stele of Hegeso (late 5th century B.C.).

monastraki

5. Monastiraki

Flea Market

There is a small Byzantine church in the shadow of the cathedral that you should take a look at called Agios Eleftherios. Nearly every stone of this little church was taken from an ancient building or older church including the stone from Galilee where Jesus changed water into wine. The church used to be called Panagia Gorgoepikofos which means the Virgin Who Grants Requests Quickly and inside is the Icon which they say performs miracles. There are some cafes in the square and this is where Pondrossou street begins. This section of Pondrossou is the high end section of Monastiraki.

Agora

The Roman Agora was a single architectural complex consisting of a vast rectangular court surrounded by colonnades. Its arcades used to house various shops. To the north of the building was situated the library built by Hadrian. To the east you can seethe Tower of the Winds. Built in the 1 century BC, this octagonal structure served as a water clock, compass and weather vane.

6. National Garden

Temple of Olympian Zeus

Largest temple of antiquity, the Temple of Olympian Zeus. 132 AD under Emperor Hadrian, even though in the 6th Century BC the Peisistratids chose this site for a huge temple. Hadrian also erected a huge statue of Zeus. However, today only 15 of the 104 original marble columns remain. In 1852 one of the columns crashed dramatically down, and its remains have been left exactly where it fell. Although both statues are long gone, visitors can still view 15 of the 104 original Pentelic marble pillars, which rise more than 50 feet from the ground.

Location: National Garden, Vas.Olgas Street 1, Athens
Fee: 2 Euro

Hadrians Arch

On one side it reads, "This is Athens, the ancient city of Theseus". On the other it reads, "This is the city of Hadran and not of Theseus". Standing on the Acropolis side of the arch meant you were in Ancient Athens, and standing on the other side symbolised being in the Modern Roman city of Athens.

Temple of Olympian Zeus
Temple of Olympian Zeus
lyknos Hill

7. Lykavits Hill

Aristippou and Ploutarchou, Athens, Greece 210-722-7065. KOLONAKI.
Tallest hill is accessible by cable car or on foot. A small, beautiful church at the top provides sightseeing opportunities and great views. The "Hill of the Wolves," as the name translates, is the best place in Athens to see both sunset and moonrise.


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