Recently my work brought me to Athens, the capital of Greece. My company used to fly to Athens regularly, probably once or twice a week but due to light passenger loads, they stop it all together. They introduced it on a seasonable basis after that, from June to October. It’s best to travel to Greece during the summer months. I did some reading on Athens and some of the Greek islands such as Santorini. Too bad, due to timing and limited flight options, I decided to skip the Greek islands and concentrate solely on Athens.
I was staying at Intercontinental Hotel in Athens. Our first stop for sightseeing was Panathenaic Stadium. It took me and my wife a walking journey of about 20mins or so to reach. The stadium was also known as the Kallimármaro which means beautifully marbled. It was constructed in 566 BC and subsequently went through many renovations to what it is today. This was the stadium that hosted the first modern Olympics Games in 1896.
Our next stop was the Ancient Agora, which is located at the base of the Acropolis. To enter the Ancient Agora, you need to purchase a ticket. The ticket was 12 EUR each, with access to other 5 major archaeological sites – The Acropolis, The Olympieion, Hadrian’s Library, Roman Agora and Kerameikos.
I came across a group of tourist going on the segway tours. It is really expensive, price ranging from 59 EUR to 85 EUR depending on the packages. It is good for those who are lazy to walk. There are tons of tour packages, such as audio guided tours or even a kiddy train that brings you around.
Ancient Agora used to be center of life during the olden days. It was like an ancient city area. The only thing that well worth to see is the exceptionally well preserved Temple of Hephaistos. Most of area around Ancient Agora are in ruins. A lot of broken statues and pile of stones laying around that I can’t make out what it was. Disappointed!
A shot of my beautiful wife among the ruins of Agora. A hot lady on a hot day!
From the Ancient Agora site, you could see the Acropolis located on the hilltop.
After visiting the Ancient Agora, we made our way uphill to Acropolis. On the way up, we saw the amazing Odeon Of Herodes Atticus. It was built in 161 AD by Herodes Atticus in memory of his wife. It currently used as a venue for concerts and the Athens Festival.
After another 5 minutes of climbing, we reached the Propylaia. It is the gateway to the Acropolis. When I went pass it, I felt like I’m entering in to the ancient realm. I can only imagine how impressive it is for the ancient visitors to Acropolis.
A top down view of the Propylaia.
The main attraction of the Acropolis was the impressive Parthenon, which was built as a temple to house the statue of the greek goddess, Athena. It is currently undergoing a major restoration work. I’m glad they are preserving it for the future generations to experience the great history of Athens.
The back view of the Parthenon. Just look sheer size of the Parthenon as compare to the tiny human beings!
Opposite the Parthenon stood the amazing Erechtheion which was built as a replacement for the old temple. The old temple ruins can be seen at the foreground. If you look carefully, you will be able to find the famous Caryatids statues. It is a replica, the real Caryatids are currently on display at the Acropolis Museum.
Our final destination for the day was the Temple of Olympian Zeus. It was considered as one of the largest temple in the ancient world. It stood majestically on the south side of Acropolis.
I decided it is enough for the day. The sun was scorching hot and I’m literally exhausted and a shade darker as well. I had a discussion with my wife, and both of us agreed to cover more of it the next day. So stay tuned for Day 2…