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Saturday, November 15, 2014

Athens, Day 2

As it turned out, we were really glad to have a second day in Athens.  I had spent a lot of time studying Athens, and knew we would have to forego a lot, but had decided to sign up for a ship excursion for the transportation aspect, and to get a guided tour of the Acropolis.  So when we had Saturday, the day before as well, we went and did and saw everything we wanted to get to that was not on the excursion. That made for a much more satisfied me on Sunday.

We boarded the tour bus at the ship and drove through Piraeus, around the harbor, and took the scenic route, with views of the Aegean Sea, to Athens. 


 That white city in the background is modern Athens. 
 The new Olympic stadium.

 An Acropolis cat to greet us.
 Here we go, up and up and up.
 Over the edge, the Odeon of Herod Atticus, still in use today for very special concerts.  
The Acropolis has been the heart of Athens since the beginning of recorded time, 6800 B.C. The goddess Athena, patron goddess of the city, was worshiped here from about 800 B.C. The buildings in ruins here now were constructed between 450 -400 B.C., all to the glory of Athena. 

The Temple of Athena Nike and the Beule gate. ↓

 The Erechtheion, with rare lady figure columns, a temple to Athena.  


The Parthenon, considered the finest temple in the ancient world. 
 Our guide gave us a thorough description of how the columns were constructed with fractions of an inch variances in order to  give the columns the appearance of being straight when they in fact not. It's hard to fathom it's construction.







 The Greek flag flies over the city as a symbol of the hard won modern day independence for Greece. 
 We could look down to where we were the day before
 and the cafe where we stopped to refresh.
 And over the edge to the Theater of Dionysus.



 And one of many stone yards, as preservation and reconstruction continues.
Above the agora on the other side, Mars Hill is noted as a place where the Apostle Paul preached. ↓
 Coming back down through the ceremonial gate. 
 Back on the bus, we stopped at the Olympic stadium rebuilt when the modern games were begun in 1896.  It is actually the ancient Panathenaic Stadium built in the 4th century B.C. 
 We passed the Parliament Building at Syntagma Square that was the former palace of kings.
Here the tomb of the Unknown soldier is guarded. 
 We were on our way to the National Archaeological Museum.

 This museum traces the evolution of Greek and later, Roman art, from 7000 B.C. to 500 A. D. 

I was taken by the similarity of this bird decoration on Greek pottery to the Zia bird design on Southwest American Indian pottery.  This was dated 1600 B.C.
 Gold funerary items were found hidden in graves dating from 16-15 centuries, B.C.


 The spiral design was also prevalent in Southwest Indian pottery and rock carvings.  These are life symbols.  I guess life has us all going around in circles. 
 We learned to importance of the bull in mythology later on in our travels. 


This cup was a remarkable find.  It was mentioned in the writings of Homer, in the Iliad, and its existence gives proof to the authenticity of the story of the battle of Troy and the Trojan Horse. ↓
 Our guide was expert in explaining the progression of figurative sculpture, from the featureless Mynoans,


to the stiff Myceneans 
 To the Classical Age of Greece.
 The bronze Statue of a Youth, rescued from under the sea.

 and the Statue of a Horse and Jockey.
 Greek and Roman realism.


 And Mythology - Aphrodite, Pan and Eros, about 100 B.C.

 Finally there was lunch at a hotel, very delicious Greek food, and time for a little shopping in the Plaka.
And then our brains were full and it was time to go back to the ship. We felt we had seen Athens.

8 comments:

  1. Great tour of Athens...the ruins are all fascinating, and I loved seeing the Greek soldiers in dress. We enjoyed our short visit to Athens a number of years ago.

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  2. Thank you for the detailed visit to these places. I studied the pictures for quite awhile to grasp their beauty and history. Wow! You really covered it, I expect. I am "full" and I just read about it, I wasn't even there. :-)

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  3. You certainly saw a great deal of Athens. I enjoyed seeing the Acropolis again, but through your eyes this time.

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  4. Thanks for sharing your photos. I'll bet your brains were full, and your tummies too.

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  5. You really did do your homework on this one. Great photos and description.

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  6. Lovely! I would love to tour Athens, but David's arthritis says No.

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  7. Ruins thousands of years old is hard to imagine. We are so quick to implode what is in the way these days. Such and amazing, historic place. Thanks for the detailed account.

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  8. I know that I will never visit Athens, so I really enjoyed seeing your pictures.

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