EXPERIENCING ATHENS -The Acropolis and Beyond

by artfuldiner on February 9, 2022

in Artful Diner Review, Breaking News, Opinion, Special Events

GB Athens - Acropolis by Day from Roof Garden RestaurantPrior to embarking on our November 2021 cruise to the Greek Islands, my traveling companion and I arrived in Athens several days early to enjoy the sights and sounds of this marvelous city… And we decided pretty early on that the easiest and most satisfying way to get thoroughly acquainted with foreign ports of call was via a private tour. Yes, I know it’s more expensive, but it is definitely worth it – and that certainly proved to be the case with this trip.

By private, I mean that the tour is just for the two of us. Our first excursion, for example, was a Private Panorama City Tour with a Mercedes E Class taxi & driver and a professional English-speaking guide. We were picked up at our hotel at 10:30 a.m., and the tour lasted approximately three hours. As we drove through the various Athens’ neighborhoods, our guide, a charming and extremely knowledgeable young woman, pointed out points of interest, bits of history, etc.

Acropolis - ParthenonThe highlight of our tour was, of course, the Acropolis, which literally means, “High City.” The view from afar is spectacular… but, actually walking among those proud stones that bear witness to the noble civilization that flourished and then died there, is simply awe-inspiring. Situated on the highest point of the Acropolis, the Parthenon, the former temple dedicated to the goddess Athena, though battered by the elements, is still a majestic symbol of artistic perfection. As I sat on a bench chatting with our guide, she pointed out an incredible optical illusion… Since straight lines appear to be curved, Parthenon architects slightly curved the temple’s 50 columns so that they would appear perfectly straight.

Acropolis MuseumWithout doubt, the most complex building on the Acropolis is the Érechthéion. Complex in the sense that it houses shrines to several different deities, including Athena, Zeus, and Poseidon. It is named for the mythic King Erechtheus, who judged the contest between Athena and Poseidon as to who would be the patron deity of Athens (Poseidon struck his trident into a rock and created a spring; but Athena bested him by miraculously producing an olive tree, a symbol of peace and prosperity). The building also incorporates two porches: one at the northwest corner that is supported by tall ionic columns; and one at the southwest corner that is supported by the famous Caryatids, columnlike statues of maidens delicately draped in pleated gowns. The ones in place on the Acropolis are copies. Five of the originals reside in the Acropolis Museum (pictured).

Acropolis Museum 3Open to the public on June 20, 2009, the Acropolis Museum contains more than 4,250 objects over three levels. A walk through the galleries mimics an ascent up the Acropolis Hill. On the ground floor, the Acropolis Slopes gallery contains votives, offerings, and other finds from sanctuaries at the base of the Acropolis, where cults to Athena and other gods and goddesses were worshipped. The marble floor slopes to the next level, where works are arranged in the order in which ancients walking through the Acropolis would have viewed them.

Acropolis Museum - Parthenon GalleryThe spacing of the columns of the Parthenon Hall is the same as that of the ancient temple; and the use of glass on all four exterior walls allows the natural light to illumine the Parthenon marbles as they do on the ancient temple. Wrapping around the walls is a 530-foot section of one of the world’s greatest ancient treasures: the Parthenon Frieze, a tableau of a procession in honor of Athena.

Acropolis Museum 4As the building is built over an extensive archaeological site, parts of the floor are made of glass, which allows visitors to see the excavations below. The museum also contains an amphitheater, virtual theater, and hall for temporary exhibitions.

Consistently rated as one of the best museums in the world, the Acropolis Museum is a truly evocative experience.

 Bon Appétit!

Be Safe & Stay Well


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