Our second day in Athens involved exploring the Acropolis, which is a hill overlooking modern Athens filled with preserved ruins of ancient Greek buildings; the good stuff you would associate with Athens…
We took an Uber (very useful in Athens – we took them everywhere), which drove us a very dubious route through the city; I swear some of the places it took us were not roads! Nevertheless, we were dropped partway up the hill very close to the Acropolis entrance, from which we climbed the rest of the way on foot.
Odeon of Herodes Atticus
After buying our tickets, the first structure we saw was the Odeon of Herodes Atticus; a striking theatre set into a slope of the Acropolis. It’s apparently still used for performances today, but you can’t casually walk all over it.
Such an amazing view from up here, set with the backdrop of the city. The wonderfully sunny day helped too 🙂
We also explored down the bottom, where the main entrance(s) would have been…
The Propylaea is the main entrance, or gateway, to the Acropolis; you need to get through this to see all of the other structures. It was pretty busy, as you can see!
That little rectangular building to the right is the Temple of Athena Nike, dedicated to the goddess Athena. ‘Nike’ means ‘victory’ in Greek; so this temple is dedicated to Athena as a goddess of victory (she is also a goddess of wisdom and craft). It’s seen as quite a prominent structure on the Acropolis, even though it’s so tiny.
That pedestal structure to the left is the Monument of Agrippa; dedicated to Marcus Agrippa, who was apparently son-in-law of the Emperor Augustus (research!).
Making our way through the Propylaea…
…and arriving on the the other side.
The Parthenon was the first structure we saw after coming through the Propylaea; it is another, much larger, temple for the goddess Athena. It’s probably the most recognised ruin within the Acropolis and is absolutely huge; much bigger than I thought it’d be.
A lot of construction was going on, with cranes all over the frontage. As we had found out from going to the Acropolis Museum the day before, the illustrative relief panels which were all around the exterior (at the top, I think) have been removed and preserved within the museum.
The far side of the Parthenon, sans cranes…
It would have been so unbelievably impressive in its heyday; hopefully here you can get an idea of the scale of the thing…
…or, the Enchiridion (Adventure Time reference!), as I pet named it, as I have no idea how to pronounce ‘Erechtheon’. It is another temple, dedicated to both Athena and Poseidon (god of the sea).
Much smaller than the Parthenon, but impressive in its own right.
One side of the temple has a distinctive porch with columns in the shapes of ladies, called ‘caryatids’, which also have been preserved in the Acropolis Museum (plus one in the British Museum in London) and replaced with replicas.
Acropolis slopes & Theatre of Dionysus
On our way out, we had a wander on the slopes of the Acropolis. We had this magnificent view where you can see the Temple of Olympian Zeus and part of the Panathenaic Stadium…
There is another theatre not far from the one we had seen earlier, called the Theatre of Dionysus. We liked the idea of Dionysus, who is the god of wine, festivity and fertility – basically the god of partying 😉
Whilst walking down the slope to the theatre ruin, this little fella just randomly walked out of some bushes after much rustling; completely took me by surprise! After this, we kept seeing tortoises everywhere!
Unlike the Odeon of Herodes Atticus, you can walk and sit on the ruins of the Theatre of Dionysus. Apparently this theatre could seat up to 17,000 people, so was in fact much larger than the Odeon of Herodes Atticus, which could seat a mere 5,000 – you really can’t tell from what’s left!