Visiting The Acropolis of Athens, Greece (Parthenon and more Travel Blog 2021)
Updated: Jun 4, 2021
We are a travel couple and we are traveling the world! We are currently in Greece. In this travel blog we are going to explore the Acropolis. The name means high city which makes sense because this ancient city, wrapped in fortified walls, sits atop a hill here in Athens. We will of course see the Parthenon and look over the city from the top but there is so much more to the Acropolis than that. We have done some research on the landmarks of the city and will try to explain and describe all of the landmarks inside the best we can.
Arrival and Cost
We stayed near the Plaka during our time in Athens, and we walked over to the Acropolis (about a 17 minute walk). The Acropolis has 2 entry points, we entered on the
west side. We got there about 7:30am, the ticket booth opened 7:55am and immediately bought our tickets for 20 euros each. They have a combo ticket for 30 euros, but we chose to get the 20 euro ticket because we were going to be there for National Museum Day (May 18th) and we knew all the other historical sites would be free on that day. We spent a total of 4 hours on this historical site exploring not just the top of the Acropolis but the slopes as well!
Temple of Athena Nike
Ok, so we are no Greek Scholars but as we tour around the Acropolis we will try to explain the landmarks the best I can. You will hear alot about Athena today. She was associated with Nike, the goddess of Victory and sometimes is even called Athena Nike. The winged goddess Nike was in the outstretched hand of the Athena Parthenos statue in the Parthenon. Nike and her sisters were some of the first ones to show up to help Zeus when he went to battle with the Titans. This pleased Zeus so much that he invited Nike and her sisters to live among him in Olympus. Several of the slabs and parts of the broad horizontal band of sculpted decoration at the top frontage, called a frieze, can be seen in the Acropolis Museum; other parts of the frieze are in the British Museum.
Pedestal of Agrippa
There used to be a bronze chariot on top but today there is just the pedestal that remains. This complete monument was dedicated by the Athenians to Marcus Agrippa; son-in-law of the Roman Emperor Octavian Augustus. Originally it was built in honor of one of the Pergamene, or Ancient City, Kings after a chariot race victory in the Panathenic games. The pedestal remaining is almost 9 meters tall.
This is the west and formal entrance way of the Acropolis. There is a procession path that leads to the entrance way. A formal entrance, to make sure only the right people got in, was so important due to the rituals performed, the presence of the Parthenon temple and even the treasury was here in the Acropolis.
This is an incredible example of architecture - all built without computers or power tools. This structure withstood fire, wars, and explosions; but as you see still has a lot left standing today. It was the largest temple on the Greek mainland. The Parthenon is still standing after almost 2500 years. With what is left, imagine what it would have looked like back then.
Between the Parthenon and the Erechtheion is the remains of the Old Temple of Athena. This was built around 525–500 BC, and dedicated to Athena Polias; Polias referring to her as the protector of the city.
Built around the time period of 420–406 BC. The temple was built on uneven ground and has Ionic columns which are more slender than the Doric columns. It has a porch which has stone carvings of 6 draped females or caryatid figures. But the ones here today are exact replicas. 5 of the original caryatids are in the Acropolis Museum and the Sixth one is at the British Museum in London. Athenian legend had it that at night the remaining five Caryatids could be heard wailing for their lost sister. It would be great to have the originals here but I would imagine they are safer in the Acropolis Museum.
There are two main patron saints of Athens and both are celebrated here. They are Poseidon and Athena but the name of this structure comes from Erechtheus; one of the first kings of Athens and the founder of this city. That name became attached to the end of the god Poseidon to show that Poseidon or Poseidon Erechtheus was a king to Athens. But like I said he wasn't the only patron saint of the city. There was also Athena or Athena Polias meaning Athena; protector of the city. They eventually entered a contest to determine who would be the sole patron saint of the city. As a gift to the citizens of Athens, Poseidon struck a rock on the Acropolis with his trident, creating a salt spring. Athena gifted them an olive tree and the secret of growing it, and was eventually chosen as the patron saint. There is an olive tree still there.
Odeon of Herodes Atticus
This Roman theatre was completed in 161 AD. It was built by the wealthy public benefactor Herodes Atticus as a memorial to his wife, Regilla. It originally had a cedar roof and a three-storey facade of arches. It’s one of the world’s oldest and finest open-air theatres. It sat 4,500 people.
Theatre of Dionysus
Dionysus is the god of grape-harvest and winemaking. It is regarded as the first sample of Greek theatres and the birthplace of the Greek drama. The festivals to Dionysus were the driving force behind the development of Greek theater. A large statue of the god was placed in the front row so that he could watch the plays and the sacrifices to his name. At one point it could sit 17,000 people.
You can see more of the sights and landmarks of the Acropolis of Athens and its Slopes in our travel vlog "Acropolis of Athens Greece Tour (Parthenon and more Travel Vlog 2021)" on YouTube. Out now!
Thanks for reading our blog on the Acropolis of Athens!
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