Saturday, May 14, 2011

The Acropolis: Greece Pics I

Blogger finally got over its massive meltdown, and I finally got my blog back! Here's Friday's post, just a day late:

Are you ready for a plethora of Greece pictures? This should give me something to blog about for the next few days, at least!

Phil and I spent the first day of our trip exploring Athens' Acropolis, which is on a mountain plateau towering over the city.
Above you can see the people swarming the entrance (called the Propylaea). Its ceiling used to be painted dark blue and covered with stars--how beautiful must that have been? The small temple on the right of the picture is the Temple of Athena Nike (erected in a hope for victory (nike) against the Spartans).

Of course, once you've climbed through the marble staircase of the Propylaea, the star of the show is the Parthenon:

The Acropolis is also home to the Erechtheion, which has these lady pillars, the Caryatids. I've seen them in so many pictures, but how cool to actually SEE them (actually, these are replicas, but I saw the real ladies in the Acropolis Museum!).

You see all the ladders, cranes, and scaffolding? At first I thought we were unlucky, but later learned the Acropolis is under an almost permanent conservation effort. And she needs the help--the caryatids lost more facial definition in the past fifty years (before they escaped to the museum) from acid rain, than they had since they were first built in 400 BC.

Speaking of things we learned... Greece really loves its animals. Lots of stray dogs and cats, but they seemed fairly well cared for, with kibble and water set out for them, and no one minding if they made themselves comfortable.

The Propylaea stairs:

A kitty "helping" with stone transport:

For me, one of the most amazing things about Athens was just how much was there, so well preserved, scattered throughout the city. On the edge of the Acropolis is this (slightly newer) theatre, the Odeon of Herodes Atticus, which is still used for performances today:

Below is Mars Hill, which the Apostle Paul (according to the Bible's Book of Acts) climbed up on to rail against the Athenians for their temple to an unknown god:

See? Athens has EVERYTHING. Too cool. I'll post some more next week.


  1. Lovely, Anne! I don't remember that many people, but then again I would climb up in the depth of the afternoon and sit on the north steps to catch the breezes. Athens in the summer is very hot, and smart tourists hit the museums (and air conditioning) during the heat of the day. It does break my heart to see all the scaffolding. I was there pre-scaffolding. It was breathtaking to go through the propylaea and see the buildings as they used to be--although in ruin, but original. (Well, original except for the one caryatid that Elgin took.) I understand the need for permanent conservation. Still...

    Thanks for this tour, Anne! Looking forward to more pics. :)

  2. Andrea: Ah yes, we were there mid-morning, so probably prime tourist time. The stairs were a mess, but once you got up there was plenty of space to spread out and see everything at your leisure. I listened to an interesting podcast just before I left, interviewing a scholar on historic preservation, and he was struck with the same dilemma you are between conservation and allowing people to really enjoy the artifacts. I have to say, one of the things I've most enjoyed about some of the ruins in England has been being able to climb all over them. =)

    I imagine the Acropolis would be a beautiful place to just sit and imagine and dream. Lucky you!

  3. Thanks for the pics and the commentary! :) I would LOVE to go to Greece one day. One of the places I definitely want to visit.

    Look forward to seeing more pics!

  4. Karen: Oh good, glad you enjoyed the commentary! I was thinking maybe I should just post the pictures, but I had so much I wanted to say about each one! =) Can't wait to share more!

  5. The Parthenon is cool, but that amphitheatre is AMAZING. Love.

  6. GF: And how amazing that it's still in use??! Love the view... those Greeks had a sense of drama, huh? Course, when it was first built, they probably didn't see modern Athens below. =)

  7. Thank you so much for sharing, Anne! Greece looks breathtaking. Now, I want to go! :)

  8. Gina: Thanks! It WAS breathtaking, you SHOULD go! =)


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