Tuesday, 8 September 2009

The Athens Acropolis

26 August 2009. We sail into Piraeus and head for the breakfast restaurant extremely early - our coach to Athens and the Acropolis sets off at 7:30am!!!

Mind you, it was worth it as we were only the second coach to arrive at the Acropolis.

The photo shows the Propylaea - gateway to the Acropolis. We had climbed up roughly 200 steps and several ramps to get here and we were feeling thankful it wasn't in the midday heat!

The Parthenon. Already the crowds were starting to gather and we ducked out of the lengthy explanations from the guide in order to grab photos whilst there was a chance of finding room to move about.

The Parthenon is a temple of the Greek goddess Athena whom the people of Athens considered their protector. It was built in the 5th century BC and is the most important surviving building of Classical Greece.

In the 6th century AD, the Parthenon was converted into a Christian church dedicated to the Virgin Mary. After the Ottoman Turk conquest, it was converted into a mosque in the early 1460s, and it had a minaret built in it. On 26 September 1687 an Ottoman Turk ammunition dump inside the building was ignited by Venetian bombardment. The resulting explosion severely damaged the Parthenon and its sculptures.

In 1806, the Earl of Elgin removed some of the sculptures, with Ottoman Turk permission. These sculptures, are the Elgin Marbles or the Parthenon Marbles and reside in the British Museum in London.

The Erechtheum, seen across the ruins of the fallen Temple to Athena. It has the famous "Porch of the Maidens", with six female figures supporting the porch roof.

Apparantly there was a snake that was kept in the foundations and fed honey cakes and if it refused to eat, it was taken as an omen of disaster.

The Theatre of Dionysus at the foot of the hill of the Acropolis was dedicated to the god of wine and fertility. Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides, and Aristophanes have all appeared here - but not for a number of years...

In the distance are the remains of the Temple of Olympian Zeus. It took 650 years to build.

By the time we had seen all these sights the Acropolis was heaving with people to the extent that we had to push our way through people, particularly at the Propylaea and steps down from the gateway.

All the photos from this cruise holiday are to be found in a set at my Flickr account

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