This blog is about my travels. At home in New Zealand, in other parts of Oceania, North, Central and South America and in Europe.
High on a a rocky outcrop, right in the heart of what was ancient Athens, stands the Acropolis. You can get there by walking up the winding cobbled path, fringed by olive trees, to the top of the hill. The views across the rest of Athens and the sea are amazing. The weather was perfect and extremely hot (38C) when I was there. Near the entrance is a reconstructed outdoor theatre, they hold shows there, and I am sure it must be quite something to attend a performance in such a spectacular setting!
As I wandered up the path towards the entrance of the Acropolis, I got a better view of the outdoor theatre, as well as the sweeping views of the city. The main entrance is really something, the ancient columns are still standing, and you can walk underneath them. The structure is being reconstructed, so you can see newer bits of marble and scaffolding in place.
The reconstruction work is being carefully done using ultra modern techniques, for instance special lasers to clean the marble blocks.
Once through the main entrance to the Acropolis, there are several main buildings. The most famous of these is the Parthenon, a temple dedicated to Athena, goddess of wisdom. She is the goddess that Athens is named after, and one of the most important deities from ancient Greece. The Parthenon building is nearly 2,500 years old, construction on the building began in 438BC.
The artworks in the temple are amazing marble sculptures depicting a mythical battle between centaurs and humans. The Parthenon was originally constructed to thank the gods for victory in battle over the invading Persians.
The buildings of the Acropolis have been through a lot over their over two thousand year history. In 1687, many of the buildings on the Acropolis were seriously damaged after being hit by a cannonball during a siege. In 1801, Englishman Thomas Bruce decided to chisel the friezes of the Parthenon off and take them back to England. They were sold to the British museum, where they remain. This is still very controversial and Greece wants them to come back to Greece! Although the Parthenon friezes have been removed, a lot of the original detail remains, and it is slowly being restored to something closer to it's original state.
One of the other most famous buildings on the Acropolis, is the temple of Athena. On one side there are several attendants to Athena, which support the roof on one side of the temple. An olive tree is planted nearby, one has traditionally been kept there, because it was believed that Athena brought olives to humankind.
Just down from the Acropolis, is another rocky outcrop, the Aeropagus. This place turns up in ancient Greek mythology, the gods were said to have tried one another for murder. It is also where the ancient Greeks tried ordinary people for crimes. The punishment was being pushed over the side! Yikes!
I am a traveller from New Zealand. My blog is to inform friends and family about my adventures. I hope you enjoy it!