A few assorted photos of Athens, Greece

This will be the last post of Athens photos. Phew! I bet you are relieved!

The Panathenaic Stadium (also known as the Kallimármaro, meaning the "beautifully marbled"), is a multi-purpose stadium in Athens. The Stadium hosted the first modern Olympic Games in 1896. Reconstructed from the remains of an ancient Greek stadium, the Panathenaic is the only stadium in the world built entirely of marble (from Mount Penteli) and is one of the oldest in the world.
The Panathenaic Stadium (also known as the Kallimármaro, meaning the “beautifully marbled”), is a multi-purpose stadium in Athens. It hosted the first modern Olympic Games in 1896. Reconstructed from the remains of an ancient Greek stadium, the Panathenaic is the only stadium in the world built entirely of marble (from Mount Penteli) and is one of the oldest in the world.
This was the pedestrian walkway, along one side of the foot of the Acropolis hill. I'm sure in the summer there are lots of street performers.
This was taken on the pedestrian walkway, along one side of the foot of the Acropolis hill. I’m sure in the summer there are lots of street performers.
Orange and lemon trees were in fruit and they are everywhere. Even some olives were still on the trees along the Acropolis hill.
Orange and lemon trees were in fruit and they are everywhere. Even some olives were still on the trees along the Acropolis hill.
This photo doesn't do the church justice. It's actually quite lovely. Just at the entrance of Plaka, are the remains of the Church of St. Nicodemus, a Russian Orthodox church since it was purchased by the Tsar of Russia in 1852. This church is the largest remaining medieval building in Athens and was founded by Stefan Likodemou in 1030 AD. It has been damaged both by earthquake andshellfire several times and rebuilt. There was no way to enter the structure, but Inside are on display Russian embroideries and well known female religious chanters practice here often.
This photo doesn’t do the church justice. It’s actually quite lovely. Just at the entrance of Plaka are the remains of the Church of St. Nicodemus. It’s been a Russian Orthodox church since it was purchased by the Tsar of Russia in 1852. This church is the largest remaining medieval building in Athens and was founded by Stefan Likodemou in 1030 AD. It has been damaged by earthquakes and shellfire several times and rebuilt.
There was no way to enter the structure but inside are are Russian embroideries and well known female religious chanters practice here often.
Under the St. Nikodemos square are remains of Roman baths (circa 2nd Cent. AD). Perhaps these bodies are at least clean?
Under the St. Nikodemos Square are remains of Roman baths (circa 2nd Cent. AD). Perhaps these bodies are quite clean?
St. Nikodemos or Aghia Triada, detached belfry was a late 19 century addition and the gift of Tsar Alexander II.
St. Nikodemos, is also known as Aghia Triada. Its detached belfry was a late 19 century addition and the gift of Tsar Alexander II.
This Anglican church is just a block from St. Nikodemos. Saint Pauls in Athens was one of the earliest foreign churches in Greece, it serves English speaking residents. Consecrated on Palm Sunday in 1843, it is located close to the Acropolis. It's also about fifteen minutes' walking distance from the Areopagus, the place where St. Paul spoke with the Athenians of his day. There are many memorials at the church, but one of the most interesting is a human heart. Frank Abney Hastings has his heart immured in the church and is commemorated with a plaque. His ship the Karteria was the 1st steam ship to take part in a naval battle and helped defeat the Turks in 1827 at the Battle of Itea.
This Anglican church is just a block from St. Nikodemos. Saint Paul’s in Athens was one of the earliest foreign churches in Greece, it serves English speaking residents. Consecrated on Palm Sunday in 1843, it is located close to the Acropolis. It’s also about fifteen minutes’ walking distance from the Areopagus, the place where St. Paul spoke with the Athenians of his day.
There are many memorials at the church, but one of the most interesting is a human heart. The heart of Frank Abney Hastings was immured in the church and is commemorated with a plaque. His ship, the Karteria, was the 1st steam ship to take part in a naval battle and helped defeat the Turks in 1827 at the Battle of Itea.
The Botanical Garden, or The National Garden, was formerly the Royal Gardens. This public park of 15.5 hectares (38 acres) is in in the center of Athens. It is located directly behind the Greek Parliament building, once The Old Palace. The grounds continue to the Zappeion and across from the Panathenaiko Olympic Stadium of the 1896 Games. Notice the orange trees in the background.
The Botanical Garden, or The National Garden, was formerly the Royal Gardens. This public park of 15.5 hectares (38 acres) is in in the heart of Athens. It is located directly behind the Greek Parliament building, which was once the Palace. The grounds continue to the Zappeion and across from the Panathenaiko Olympic Stadium, home of the 1896 Games. Notice the orange trees in the background.
The Zappeion, located in the National Gardens, was the first building to be erected specifically for the revival of the Olympic Games in the modern world. Unfortunately, its benefactor, Evangelis Zappas, did not live long enough to see it built. The Zappeion was used during the 1896 Summer Olympics as the main fencing hall. A decade later, at the 1906 Intercalated Games, it was used as the Olympic Village. Today, it is used for meetings and ceremonies, both official and private.
The Zappeion, located in the National Gardens, was the first building to be erected specifically for the revival of the Olympic Games in the modern world. Unfortunately, its benefactor, Evangelis Zappas, did not live to see it built. The Zappeion was used during the 1896 Summer Olympics as the main fencing hall. A decade later, at the 1906 Intercalated Games, it was the site of the Olympic Village.
Today, it is used for meetings and ceremonies, both official and private.
National Gardens
National Gardens
National Gardens
National Gardens
National Gardens
National Gardens
National Gardens
National Gardens
Did I mention oranges? Everywhere!
Did I mention oranges? Everywhere!

Visiting the navel of the world: Delphi

The Athenian Treasury. Doesn't it resemble a modern day bank? The Stoa of the Athenians on the Right.
The Athenian Treasury. Doesn’t it resemble a modern day bank? The Stoa of the Athenians on the Right.

Delphi is an archaeological site I’ve read about since high school Latin class. It’s located near the same-named modern town in Greece on Mount Parnassus. For centuries, it was the spiritual and religious center of the ancient Greek world. In myths dating to the classical period of Ancient Greece (510-323 BC), the site of Delphi was believed to be determined by Zeus when he sought to find the center of his “Grandmother Earth,” the center of the world. Basically, he was in search of Gaia’s belly-button. He found it here, in Delphi.

There are traces of human activity that date to the 14th B.C.E. However, it is the Oracle of Apollo that has fueled the imagination of countless generations, including me. The cult of Apollo became established at Delphi around the 10th century B.C.E. According to myth, Apollo first killed the Python, the snake that guarded the oracle of Gaia (mother earth). The giant snake (or dragon) stood guard while the “Sibyl” gave out her prophecies, which came as she inhaled the trance inducing vapors from an open chasm. Apollo made the mountainside his home for 9 months of the year, wintering in Hibernia (Ireland).

While visiting Athens, I took a day trip to Delphi.

Though it was a long drive from Athens, the bus left early. We arrived to a day where the valleys were filled with morning fog.
Though it was a long drive from Athens, the bus left early. We arrived to a day where the valleys were filled with morning fog.
This complex was built into the side of a mountain, so there are terraces with steps between the levels. As a pilgrim entered, he would first wash himself before ascending this first flight and continuing along the sacred way. "The petitioners, too, undertook a series of rituals, including purification in the Castalia Spring. They then took part in a solemn procession up the Sacred Way to the temple. There they drew drew lots to determine the order in which they presented their questions. Highly esteemed individuals or cities (because of their rich donations in the past) were able to jump the queue. Each of them had to pay a fee to the temple and sacrifice an animal, in most cases a goat (in honor of the site’s discoverer)."
This complex was built into the side of a mountain, so there are terraces with steps between the levels. As a pilgrim entered, he would first wash himself before ascending this first flight and continuing along the sacred way.
“The petitioners, too, undertook a series of rituals, including purification in the Castalia Spring. They then took part in a solemn procession up the Sacred Way to the temple. There they drew drew lots to determine the order in which they presented their questions. Highly esteemed individuals or cities (because of their rich donations in the past) were able to jump the queue. Each of them had to pay a fee to the temple and sacrifice an animal, in most cases a goat (in honor of the site’s discoverer).” ~ Adventures in Archaeology.
This was a stoa, a covered, columned walkway and an early version of the strip mall. Here, pilgrims could buy trinkets to take home or to dedicate to the oracle. Oddly, Delphi was only open on the 7th day of each month for 9 months of the year. Apollo "shared" the site with his younger brother, Dionysos, the god of wine. Every year at the onset of winter, Apollo abandoned Delphi to spend three months in the land of the Hyperboreans far to the north (Ireland). It was a country of eternal youth and beauty, where old age and disease were completely unknown. In the meantime, the sanctuary was given over to the followers of the god of wine and revelry.
This was a stoa, a covered, columned walkway and an early version of the strip mall. Here, pilgrims could buy trinkets to take home or to dedicate to the oracle.
Oddly, Delphi was only open on the 7th day of each month for 9 months of the year. Apollo “shared” the site with his younger brother, Dionysos, the god of wine. Every year at the onset of winter, Apollo abandoned Delphi to spend three months in the land of the Hyperboreans far to the north (Ireland. According to the Romans it was a country of eternal youth and beauty, where old age and disease were completely unknown.). In winter, the sanctuary was given over to the followers of the god of wine and revelry.
Here, our guide explains the origins of the site. The sanctuary of Apollo was by far the most famous oracle in the world for centuries. She was consulted by kings and commoners alike. According to the ancient accounts, Apollo's temple was situated over a crack in the earth from which intoxicating fumes (from the rotting corpse of Python, some say) issued forth. This caused the priestess who breathed them to go into a sort of trance from which she would communicate prophetic utterances. The male priests would then interpret these for the pilgrim.
Our guide explains the origins of the site. The sanctuary of Apollo was by far the most famous oracle in the world for centuries. She was consulted by kings and commoners alike, often consulted by the kings as generals of competing armies simultaneously. According to ancient accounts, Apollo’s temple was situated over a crack in the earth from which intoxicating fumes (supposedly from the rotting corpse of Python) issued. The priestess breathed  the fumes in order to go into a trance and communicate prophetic utterances. The male priests would then interpret these for the pilgrim.
These are serious mountains, very steep and rocky. The views are amazing, if your knees are good enough for the climb.
These are serious mountains, very steep and rocky. The views are amazing, if your knees are good enough for the climb.

 

According to Delphi & The Oracle of Apollo: "Nowhere in the ancient literature is there a clear description of the selection process. Modern scholars have speculated that there may have been a sort of guild of women who looked after the sacred flame. Presumably they were of unblemished character and no longer had an active sex life—the gods (especially Apollo) were touchy about competition. The position commanded great respect—far more than was granted ordinary women. They were provided with a salary and housed at state expense. They were exempt from taxation, could own property and attend public events. At the height of its fame the sanctuary employed as many as three Pythiai, working in shifts, so great were the number of petitioners." "There would undoubtedly have been a period of fasting in the days leading up to the main event. Then the Oracle would bathe in the Castalia Spring and undergo a ritual purification involving barley smoke. Before entering the temple she drank from the sacred Adyton of the Temple of Apollowaters of the Kassotis spring." http://www.odysseyadventures.ca/articles/delphi/articleDelphi01.html
According to Delphi & The Oracle of Apollo: “Nowhere in the ancient literature is there a clear description of the selection process [for the priestess]. Modern scholars have speculated that there may have been a sort of guild of women who looked after the sacred flame. Presumably they were of unblemished character and no longer had an active sex life—the gods (especially Apollo) were touchy about competition. The position commanded great respect—far more than was granted ordinary women. They were provided with a salary and housed at state expense. They were exempt from taxation, could own property and attend public events. At the height of its fame the sanctuary employed as many as three Pythiai, working in shifts, so great were the number of petitioners.”
“There would undoubtedly have been a period of fasting in the days leading up to the main event. Then the Oracle would bathe in the Castalia Spring and undergo a ritual purification involving barley smoke. Before entering the temple she drank from the sacred Adyton of the Temple of Apollo waters of the Kassotis spring.”

And here is the belly-button! This is an omphalos a religious stone. In Greek, the word omphalos means "navel." According to Greek lore, Zeus sent two eagles across the world to meet at its center. They met here at Delphi, the "navel" of the world. Omphalos stones marking the center were "discovered" in several places about the Mediterranean Sea. While, the most famous is at Delphi, even this location has more than one.
And here is the belly-button! This is an omphalos a religious stone. In Greek, the word omphalos means “navel.” According to Greek lore, Zeus sent two eagles across the world to meet at its center. They met here at Delphi, the “navel” of the world. Omphalos stones marking the center were “discovered” in several places about the Mediterranean Sea. While, the most famous is at Delphi, even this location has more than one.
From Delphi & The Oracle of Apollo: "Many modern scholars take the view that the actual utterances were mainly unintelligible gibberish and that it was the priests who interpreted her responses and cast them into verse. Since the site received visitors from all over the world, it was argued, they were in a position to gather intelligence and make informed decisions. However, the ancient writers are unanimous in insisting that it was the oracle herself who made the pronouncements. Many of the questions asked of the Pythia have survived inscribed on lead tablets but none of the answers were recorded by the priests. The most famous answer that we know was recorded again by Herodotus when Croesus, the fabulously wealthy king of Lydia, asked the Pythia whether he should cross the Halys River and attack the Persian king, Cyrus the Great. The Pythia's typically enigmatic reply was if Croesus should cross the Halys River, a great empire would fall. Heartened by this answer he did attack Persia but it was he, Croesus, who was defeated. The one boon that Croesus requested of Cyrus upon his capture was to have his manacles sent to Delphi as a rebuke to the oracle that had failed him after he had bestowed so many luxurious gifts on the sanctuary. Unabashed, the Pythia retorted that Croesus had failed to follow up on the first response and ask which empire she meant." http://www.odysseyadventures.ca/articles/delphi/articleDelphi01.html
From Delphi & The Oracle of Apollo: “Many modern scholars take the view that the actual utterances were mainly unintelligible gibberish and that it was the priests who interpreted her responses and cast them into verse. Since the site received visitors from all over the world, it was argued, they were in a position to gather intelligence and make informed decisions. However, the ancient writers are unanimous in insisting that it was the oracle herself who made the pronouncements. Many of the questions asked of the Pythia have survived inscribed on lead tablets but none of the answers were recorded by the priests.
The most famous answer that we know was recorded again by Herodotus when Croesus, the fabulously wealthy king of Lydia, asked the Pythia whether he should cross the Halys River and attack the Persian king, Cyrus the Great. The Pythia’s typically enigmatic reply was if Croesus should cross the Halys River, a great empire would fall. Heartened by this answer he did attack Persia but it was he, Croesus, who was defeated. The one boon that Croesus requested of Cyrus upon his capture was to have his manacles sent to Delphi as a rebuke to the oracle that had failed him after he had bestowed so many luxurious gifts on the sanctuary. Unabashed, the Pythia retorted that Croesus had failed to follow up on the first response and ask which empire she meant.”

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Difficult to see, but on this stone are carved the names of freed slaves.
Difficult to see, but on this stone are carved the names of freed slaves.
There was no signage on this, so possibly the tour guide and I were the only ones from the group who recognized this bronze reproduction. This is the original location of the Serpent Column, now located in Istanbul. The Serpentine Column is also called the Delphi Tripod or Plataean Tripod. It was moved from Delphi to the spina (center) of the Hippodrome of Constantinople (the horse racing track). The former hippodrome is now a park, located along the length of The Blue Mosque (the site of the former Palace). All the treasures displayed there from antiquity still stand. The Serpent Column is part of an ancient Greek sacrificial tripod, and was relocated to (then) Constantinople by Constantine I the Great in 324. The column was built to commemorate the Greeks who fought and defeated the Persian Empire at the Battle of Plataea (479 BC). The serpent heads of the 8-metre (26 ft) high column may have remained intact until the end of the 17th century, well after the Ottoman conquest. Only one head remains and it is on display at the Istanbul Archaeology Museum.
There was no signage on this, so possibly the tour guide and I were the only ones from the group who recognized this bronze reproduction. This is the original location of the Serpent Column, now located in Istanbul.
The Serpentine Column is also called the Delphi Tripod or Plataean Tripod. It was moved from Delphi to the spina (center) of the Hippodrome of Constantinople (the horse racing track). The former hippodrome is now a park, located along the length of The Blue Mosque (the site of the former Palace). All the treasures displayed in the park from antiquity still stand. The Serpent Column is part of an ancient Greek sacrificial tripod, and was relocated to (then) Constantinople by Constantine I the Great in 324. The column was built to commemorate the Greeks who fought and defeated the Persian Empire at the Battle of Plataea (479 BC). The serpent heads of the 8-metre (26 ft) high column may have remained intact until the end of the 17th century, well after the Ottoman conquest in 1452, when the city became Istanbul. Only one of the three heads remains. It is on display at the Istanbul Archaeology Museum.
This is the ramp entrance to the sanctuary of Apollo and the place of the priest (male) and the oracle (female). Pilgrims were not allowed into Apollo's Temple and they still aren't.
This is the ramp entrance to the sanctuary of Apollo and the place of the priest (male) and the oracle (female). Pilgrims were not allowed into Apollo’s Temple and they still aren’t.
The sanctuary of Apollo. It was here that Apollo spoke, through the oracle. The sibyl or priestess of the oracle at Delphi was known as the Pythia. According to Wikipedia: "She sat on a tripod seat over an opening in the earth (the "chasm"). When Apollo slew Python, its body fell into this fissure, according to legend, and fumes arose from its decomposing body. Intoxicated by the vapors, the sibyl would fall into a trance, allowing Apollo to possess her spirit. In this state she prophesied. It has been speculated that a gas high in ethylene, known to produce violent trances, came out of this opening, though this theory remains debatable." https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Delphi
The sanctuary of Apollo. It was here that Apollo spoke, through the oracle. The sibyl or priestess of the oracle at Delphi was known as the Pythia. According to Wikipedia: “She sat on a tripod seat over an opening in the earth (the “chasm”). When Apollo slew Python, its body fell into this fissure, according to legend, and fumes arose from its decomposing body. Intoxicated by the vapors, the sibyl would fall into a trance, allowing Apollo to possess her spirit. In this state she prophesied. It has been speculated that a gas high in ethylene, known to produce violent trances, came out of this opening, though this theory remains debatable.”

The ruins below of the Temple of Delphi date a Doric building from the 4th century BC. It was erected on the remains of an earlier temple, dated to the 6th century BC which itself was erected on the site of a 7th-century BC construction.
The ruins below of the Temple of Delphi are a Doric building, dating from the 4th century BC. It was erected on the remains of an earlier temple, dated to the 6th century BC which itself was erected on the site of a 7th-century BC construction.
This photo begins to show the size of the site, extending over several terraces on the side of Mt Parnassus.
This photo begins to show the size of the site, extending over several terraces on the side of Mt Parnassus. The visitor footpath approximates The Sacred Way.
Dramatic and lyric contests were held in the sanctuary theater, which is above Apollo's sanctuary and dates from the 4th century B.C.E. On a farther slope is the stadium, home to athletic events and musical contests.
Dramatic and lyric contests were held in the sanctuary theater, which is located above Apollo’s sanctuary and dates from the 4th century B.C.E. On a farther slope is the stadium, home to athletic events and musical contests.
And a quick (and out of focus) photo of me, just to prove I was here.
And a quick (and out of focus) photo of me, just to prove I was here. Yes, I’ve grown out the gray.
Even if your knees aren't up to seeing the actual archaeological site, you can visit the museum. The Delphi Museum houses what has survived of the architecture, statues and dedications from the Pan-Hellenic sanctuary.
Even if your knees aren’t up to seeing the actual archaeological site, you can visit the museum. The Delphi Museum houses what has survived of the architecture, statues and dedications from the Pan-Hellenic sanctuary.
The Delphi Archaeological Museum is at the foot of the main archaeological complex. The Sphinx of Naxos is a colossal statue of a mythical creature with the head of a woman, the body of a lion and impressive feathers of a bird. It is larger than this photo makes it look. Set up on a stele around 560 BC as an offering to the temple of Apollo by Naxos, one of the richest Cycladic islands at the time. The overall height of the statue, the column and its base topped 12.5 meters (over 35 feet).
The Delphi Archaeological Museum is at the foot of the main archaeological complex.
The Sphinx of Naxos is a colossal statue with the head of a woman, the body of a lion and wings of a bird. It is larger than this photo makes it look. Set up around 560 BC as an offering to the temple of Apollo by Naxos, one of the richest Cycladic islands (islands of the Aegean Sea) at the time. The overall height of the statue, the column and base topped 12.5 meters (over 35 feet).
A caryatid from the Siphnian Treasury
A caryatid from the Siphnian Treasury
Archaic male statues known also as Cleobis and Biton, which were produced between 610 and 580 BC. According to Wikipedia: " In the legend, Kleobis and Biton were Argives, the sons of Cydippe, a priestess of Hera. Kleobis and Biton were travelling from Argos to Heraion with their much beloved mother, Cydippe, to attend the celebration of the Argive Hera. The oxen which were to pull her cart were overdue and her sons, Kleobis and Biton, pulled the cart the entire way (45 stadia, or 8.3 km/5.1 miles). Cydippe was impressed with their devotion to her and her goddess so that when she arrived at the temple she prayed to Hera, asking her to give her children the best gift a god could give to a mortal. Hera attended the prayer. Then, after they had their sacrifices and dinner and the feast was over, the two young men lay for a rest, tired from their heroic act, inside the temple of Hera where they peacefully died. So, with divine assistance, the brothers through their death gained immortality and eternal recognition for the respect and love they had shown toward their mother. To honor the two men, their fellow citizens sent the two dedicated statues to Delphi." https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kleobis_and_Biton
Archaic male statues known also as Cleobis and Biton, which were produced between 610 and 580 BC. According to Wikipedia: ” In the legend, Kleobis and Biton were Argives, the sons of Cydippe, a priestess of Hera. Kleobis and Biton were travelling from Argos to Heraion with their much beloved mother, Cydippe, to attend the celebration of the Argive Hera. The oxen which were to pull her cart were overdue and her sons, Kleobis and Biton, pulled the cart the entire way (45 stadia, or 8.3 km/5.1 miles). Cydippe was impressed with their devotion to her and her goddess so that when she arrived at the temple she prayed to Hera, asking her to give her children the best gift a god could give to a mortal. Hera attended the prayer. Then, after they had their sacrifices and dinner and the feast was over, the two young men lay for a rest, tired from their heroic act, inside the temple of Hera where they peacefully died. So, with divine assistance, the brothers through their death gained immortality and eternal recognition for the respect and love they had shown toward their mother. To honor the two men, their fellow citizens sent the two dedicated statues to Delphi.” Whoa. Be careful what you wish for!

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Bronze Statue of a Winner of the Chariot Race at the Pythian Games, held here. The bronze is one of the best-known statues surviving from Ancient Greece, and is considered one of the finest examples of ancient bronze work. The life-size chariot driver was found in 1896. Little remains of the chariot and the horse, but a few pieces are reconstructed in a case nearby. The Pythian games were instituted by Apollo as a penance for the slaying of Python. They were only second in importance to those at Olympia. Originally held every eight years, it had become a quadrennial event by 582 BC. Because Apollo was the god of music and the arts, the games here had a very different flavor. They included music, poetry and literature as well as feats of physical strength.
Bronze Statue of a Winner of the Chariot Race at the Pythian Games. The bronze is one of the best-known statues surviving from Ancient Greece, and is considered one of the finest examples of ancient bronze work. The life-size chariot driver was found in 1896. Little remains of the chariot and the horse, but a few pieces are reconstructed in a case nearby.
The Pythian games were instituted by Apollo as a penance for the slaying of Python. They were only second in importance to those at Olympia. Originally held every eight years, it had become a quadrennial event by 582 BC.
Because Apollo was the god of music and the arts, the games here had a very different flavor. They included music as well as feats of physical strength.
The statue of Antinous, protégé of the emperor Hadrian. it is believed to be one of the best depictions of the young man still remaining. Statues of him were erected all over the Roman Empire after his untimely death from drowning in the Nile. The emperor, Hadrian, had him declared a god, which did not go over well.
The statue of Antinous, protégé of the emperor Hadrian. it is believed to be one of the best depictions of the young man still remaining. Statues of him were erected all over the Roman Empire after his untimely death from drowning in the Nile. The emperor, Hadrian, had him declared a god, which did not go over well.

Hadrian’s Gate and the Temple of Zeus, Athens

Hadrian's Gate (or the Arch of Adrian) is just off the sidewalk of a major street in Athens, so it's easy to see up close. This monumental gateway resembles a Roman triumphal arch. It once spanned an ancient road from the center of Athens, to the complex of structures that includes the Temple of Olympian Zeus. It was erected around 131 A.D. and made of Pentelic marble, from Mt. Pentelikon, 18km away. Pentelic marble was used for the Parthenon and many other notable structures in Athens. It is 18m tall. Through the arch, you can see the sacred hill of the Acropolis.
Hadrian’s Gate (or the Arch of Hadrian) is just off the sidewalk of a major street in Athens, so it’s easy to see up close. This monumental gateway resembles a Roman triumphal arch. It once spanned an ancient road from the center of Athens, to the complex of the Temple of Olympian Zeus.
It was erected around 131 A.D. and made of Pentelic marble, from Mt. Pentelikon, located 18km away. Pentelic marble was used for the Parthenon and many other notable structures in Athens. The gate is 18m tall. Through the arch, you can see the sacred hill of the Acropolis.
This colossal ruined temple in the center of Athens was dedicated to Zeus, king of the Olympian gods. Construction began in the 6th century BC during the rule of the Athenian tyrants. It was not completed until the reign of the Roman Emperor Hadrian in the 2nd century AD, some 600 years later.During the Roman period it was renowned as the largest temple in Greece and housed one of the largest cult statues in the ancient world. Nothing remains of the statue.
This colossal ruined temple in the center of Athens was dedicated to Zeus, king of the Olympian gods. Construction began in the 6th century BC during the rule of the Athenian tyrants. The plan was to build the largest temple in the world on the site of an existing site honoring Zeus. The building was not completed until the reign of the Roman Emperor Hadrian in the 2nd century AD, some 600 years later. During the Roman period, the Temple of Zeus was renowned as the biggest in Greece and also had one of the largest cult statues in the ancient world. Nothing remains of the statue.
It's hard to get an idea of how large this structure is without standing beside it. The Corinthian columns stand 17m (55.5 feet) high and 2m (6.5 ft) in diameter. The temple fell into disuse after being pillaged in a barbarian invasion in the 3rd century AD. It was probably never repaired. In the centuries after the fall of the Roman Empire, it was extensively quarried for building materials for projects elsewhere in the city. Despite this, a substantial part of the temple remains today. It is an inexpensive and popular tourist attraction.
It’s hard to get an idea of how large this structure is without standing beside it. The Corinthian columns stand 17m (55.5 feet) high and 2m (6.5 ft) in diameter. Massive!
The temple fell into disuse after being pillaged in a barbarian invasion in the 3rd century AD. It was probably never repaired. In the centuries after the fall of the Roman Empire, the temple was extensively quarried for building materials for projects elsewhere in the city. Despite this, a substantial part of the temple remains today. It is an inexpensive and popular tourist attraction. You can drive right by it and it borders the Botanical Gardens.
And the worshipers of Zeus are not dead! On 21 January 2007, a group of Hellenic neopagans held a ceremony honoring Zeus on the grounds of the temple. The event was organized by Ellinais, an organization which won a court battle to obtain recognition for Ancient Greek religious practices in the fall of 2006.
The worshipers of Zeus are not dead! On 21 January 2007, a group of Hellenic neo-pagans held a ceremony honoring Zeus on the grounds of the temple. The event was organized by Ellinais, an organization which won a court battle to obtain recognition for Ancient Greek religious practices in the fall of 2006.
There were clearly other buildings and burial sites surrounding the temple. Some have been excavated.
There were clearly other buildings and burial sites surrounding the temple. Some have been excavated.
There is little signage to explain what we are looking at here, but you can see that there were several buildings. This site is enclosed by fencing, but almost all of it can be seen through the fence without paying the 2Euro to enter. While I did pay to enter, I wouldn't do it a second time.
There is little signage to explain what we are looking at here, but you can see that there were several buildings. This site is enclosed by fencing, but almost all of it can be seen through the fence without paying the 2Euro to enter. While I did pay to enter, I wouldn’t do it a second time.

Greek Parliament & Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

The Greek Parliament Building is located in front of Syntagma Square. It was once the 19th century Old Royal Palace, but has housed the Greek Parliament since 1934. It is surrounded by the extensive National Gardens, which are open to the public, whereas the Parliament building is not.
The Greek Parliament Building is located in front of Syntagma Square. It was once the 19th century Old Royal Palace, but has housed the Greek Parliament since 1934. It is surrounded by the extensive National Gardens, which are open to the public, whereas the Parliament building is not.
The main square of Athens is Syntagma or "constitution" Square, a lively place surrounded by important offices, hotels and shopping. The Square is named after the Constitution that the first King of Greece Otto was obliged to grant, after a popular and military uprising on September 3, 1843. It's still a popular place to gather.
The main square of Athens is Syntagma or “constitution” Square, a lively place surrounded by important offices, hotels and shopping. The Square is named after the Constitution that the first King of Greece Otto was forced to give after a military uprising in, 1843. It’s still a popular place to gather.
There are street performers, musicians and artists on the square. Syntagma Square is also a hub for many forms of public transportation.
There are street performers, musicians and artists on the square. Syntagma Square is also a hub for many forms of public transportation.
The tomb of the unknown soldier is located in front of the Parliament building. These guards are called Evzones and wear the uniform of the historical elite light infantry and mountain units of the Greek Army. The unit is famous around the world for its unique traditional uniform, which has evolved from the clothes worn by the klephts[1] who fought the Ottoman occupation of Greece. The most visible item of this uniform is the fustanella, a kilt-like garment. Allegedly, it has 400 pleats in it, one for each year of the Ottoman occupation.
The tomb of the unknown soldier is located in front of the Parliament building. These guards are called Evzones and wear the traditional uniform of the elite light infantry and mountain units of the Greek Army. The unit is famous around the world for its unique traditional uniform, which has evolved from the clothes worn by the klephts who fought the Ottoman occupation of Greece. The most visible item of this uniform is the fustanella, a kilt-like garment. Allegedly, it has 400 pleats in it, one for each year of the Ottoman occupation.
Every hour, the changing of the guard ceremony, performed by the Presidential Guard, is conducted in front of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier on the area between the Syntagma Square and Parliament building. On certain days, a ceremonial changing of the guard occurs with an army band and the majority of the 120 Evzones present at 11 am. According to Wikipedia: Two quotations by Thucydides, from Pericles' Funeral Oration, are inscribed on the retaining wall: Μία κλίνη κενὴ φέρεται ἐστρωμένη τῶν ἀφανῶν ("... and one bed is carried empty, made for the unknown ones"), and Ἀνδρῶν ἐπιφανῶν πᾶσα γῆ τάφος ("The whole earth is the burial ground of famous men"). The inscriptions flank a central sculpture in low relief, depicting a dying hoplite. The monument is guarded round the clock by the Evzones of the Presidential Guard.
Every hour, the changing of the guard ceremony is conducted in front of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. On certain days, a ceremonial changing of the guard occurs with an army band and the majority of the 120 Evzones present at 11 am.
According to Wikipedia:
Two quotations by Thucydides, from Pericles’ Funeral Oration, are inscribed on the retaining wall: Μία κλίνη κενὴ φέρεται ἐστρωμένη τῶν ἀφανῶν (“… and one bed is carried empty, made for the unknown ones”), and Ἀνδρῶν ἐπιφανῶν πᾶσα γῆ τάφος (“The whole earth is the burial ground of famous men”). The inscriptions flank a central sculpture in low relief, depicting a dying hoplite.
The monument is guarded round the clock by the Evzones of the Presidential Guard.

A day cruise of Greek Islands

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While in Athens, I signed on for a day cruise of three Greek islands: Poros, Hydra and Aegina. The day started badly. The bus was almost an hour late picking me up. I was given no explanation, though I’d gotten up ridiculously early just to sit and wait for them. Then as soon as we stepped outside the hotel, a police officer began yelling at me! Since I don’t speak Greek, I have no idea what he was saying. The tour guide did little to protect me, and the officer finally realized I didn’t understand him and apparently I wasn’t the person he thought I was anyway. When I asked the guide, she just said, “mistake.”

When we got to the boat, there was a problem with my reservation. I had all my paperwork, but was the last to board the ship. I walked up the gangplank, quickly as they almost removed it before I’d crossed. Angry eyes were on me as we left the port late, as though it were my fault!  The day got better, but it was an hour before I could mentally leave the morning behind.

I was able to get some good photos, though.

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DSC_0398DSC_0401According to the trip brochure:

Poros: The smallest of the three islands, separated from the Peloponnese by a narrow strait and offering a most enchanting view of Poros Town.

Hydra: The islands’ (sic) amphitheater shape once served as a safe shelter for Saronic Pirates. As soon as you disembark, it’s all there: the small narrow stone-paved streets waiting to be explored on foot or by the island’s traditional “vehicle” the saddled donkey. Captivating walks along the old seaside promenade, crystal clear waters and radiant traditional fine-craft shops.

Aegina: Aegina is the largest of the three islands. Apart from its harbor there are numerous interesting sites to discover on the island….[including] the Temple of Aphaia which is the best preserved temple in Greece.DSC_0404 DSC_0414 DSC_0415 DSC_0419 DSC_0420 DSC_0436 DSC_0442 DSC_0443 DSC_0445 DSC_0448 DSC_0451 DSC_0456 DSC_0462