The Full Acropolis Experience. 9/26/21

Today our ticket reads “The Full Acropolis Experience” and that is exactly what it was. We climbed up the hill, saw and heard about the ancient structures, visited the Acropolis Museum, and toured the city to see how the ancient and modern coexist in Athens. It was a lovely day for doing all this, not too hot and although the sites were fairly crowded we felt we got a good look at everything.

As we begin our ascent up to the Acropolis one of the first ancient structures we see is the Odeon of Herodes Atticus, a stone Roman theater structure, completed in 161 AD.  The venue holds about 5000 people. It is still used for musical events.

Odeon of Herodes Atticus

I guess I thought the Acropolis was just about the Parthenon but there are many devotional buildings up here dedicated to different gods and goddesses.

To enter the site you go through a enormous gateway called the Propylaea that was constructed during the Pericles era from 437-432 BC. The gateway controlled who could get into the Acropolis site and gave the visitors a place to prepare for their devotion.

Side view of the Propylaea
View of the Propylaea from inside the Acropolis

Near the Propylaea is the petite temple dedicated to Athena Nike.

Temple of Athena Nike
This photo from 1893 shows where the small temple is situated

The main event on the Acropolis is the Parthenon dedicated to the Goddess Athena.

“Construction started in 447 BC when the Athenian Empire was at the peak of its power. It was completed in 438 BC, although decoration of the building continued until 432 BC. It is the most important surviving building of Classical Greece, generally considered the zenith of the Doric order. Its decorative sculptures are considered some of the high points of Greek art. The Parthenon is regarded as an enduring symbol of Ancient Greece, democracy and Western civilization, and one of the world’s greatest cultural monuments. To the Athenians who built it, the Parthenon, and other Periclean monuments of the Acropolis, were seen fundamentally as a celebration of Hellenic victory over the Persian invaders and as a thanksgiving to the gods for that victory.” Wikipedia

View of the back of the Parthenon with scaffolding
Side of Parthenon (we belong to group 7)
Front of Parthenon. Most of the decorative elements are in either the Acropolis Museum or the British museum. The Greeks want their stuff back.
Mary in front of the Parthenon

Another important temple at the Acropolis is the Erectheum dedicated to both Athena and Poseidon. Its structure includes the Porch of the Maidens, Ionic columns in the shape of women.

The temple dedicated to Athena and Poseidon
Porch of the Maidens

We walk along the side and return to the main gate where we will start the climb back down.

On the way back John snaps a picture of the Theater of Dionysus which could hold 17,000 people. It is much older than the Odeon which was built during the Roman period.

Our next stop is at the Museum of the Acropolis. Here we have to show proof of vaccination and ID to get in as well as having ourselves and our stuff scanned. The museum holds the artistic treasures of the Acropolis.

I loved looking at the vases with their depictions of battles and everyday life.

A woman and her attendant
A chariot driver
A man meeting his fully veiled wife for the first time
These small jars were only about 6 inches tall but were full of decoration

Then we entered a sculpture section where we were mostly not allowed to take pictures.

Dionysius holding a mask on the shoulders of his elderly tutor
Original Maidens from the Temple of Athena and Poseidon
Mock up of what the frieze above the Parthenon would have looked like
A view of the Acropolis from the third floor of the museum. The third floor is canted to be at the correct angle to the actual Pantheon and shows the friezes and decorations in the proper orientation

After this we rode around the city for a while with our guide pointing out various stuff. We and our group were pretty tired out by this point. We were looking forward to a late lunch.

Sea bass, green beans, butternut squash, roasted tomatand some chicken curry were available for lunch today

After lunch we had a little lie down. John went to sleep but I am trying to power through the jet lag. We go up stairs to the Explorer Lounge for some drinks and to listen to the guitarist until it is time for dinner. We have refined the Negroni Sbagliato recipe and our drink comes out better but not perfect yet. I think the orange slice needs to be muddled. We will try that tomorrow.

Dinner is at Manfredi’s, the Italian restaurant. We order the branzino  carpaccio again and this time it is available. Yay! John has a problem with his swordfish being under cooked and sends it back and decides on the fish special of the day, grilled Mediterrean sea bass with farro risotto. I am having that as well. It is very good.

Branzino carpaccio
Grilled Mediterrean sea bass with farro risotto

We have our usual dessert of bread, honey, and parmesan cheese. The waitstaff thinks it is strange but know not to hassle us about it and not to try to take away our bread and parmesan cheese! Amarone grappa (golden grappa) makes a good pairing with our dessert.