Travel: Acropolis of Athens

Cherishing the shut-eye, we rose late in the morning. Despite the  beautiful weather and the sun shining bright in the sky, and knowing that quite a bit of uphill hiking would be involved, we decided to hop a metro to the base of the Acropolis, grabbing some coffee and croissants on the way. At the foot of the hill, we were fortunate to get into the region for free as it was a celebration day for the country.

Some aimless meandering around the hill occurred while we searched for the appropriate path toward the top. On the way, we bypassed the Tower of the Winds.

2013-06-05 04.06.14It is an octagonal marble clock tower that resides in the Roman Agora whose primary function was to function as a “timepiece” or horologion.  The structure is 12-metres tall, has a diameter of 8-metres, and was topped in antiquity by a weathervane-like Triton indicating the wind direction. There is a frieze that depicts eight wind deities corresponding to the eight cardinal directionsBoreas (N), Kaikias (NE), Eurus (SE), Apeliotes (E), Notus (S), Livas (SW), Zephyrus (W), and Skiron (NW) – and below it, eight sundials.

 

Continuing up the Agora, we observed the ruins of the Temple Of Zeus from a distance, and a view of vibrant Athens.

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Not too long later, we ascended the steps of the Propylaea, a symbolic gateway that serves as the entrance to the Acropolis. (The Brandenburg Gate was inspired by this). Immediately beyond this window, one comes across the awe-inspiring Parthenon.

 

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Constructed from 447 to 438 BC, the temple was dedicated to the goddess Athena at the height of the Athenian Empire‘s power. It is recognized as the most important surviving building of  Classical Greece, and considered the culmination of the development of the Doric order. The decorative sculptures are the epitome of Ancient Grecian Culture, and this structure is an enduring symbol the continues to inspire future generations. It represents Ancient Greece, the prosperity of the  Athenian democracy, and the evolution of Western Civilization.

One of my favorite mythological stories, is of about how Athena beat Poseidon to become the patron of this great city.

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The citizens offered a competition to the greek gods in which each deity had to present a gift to the city, with the people serving as the judges. Poseidon struck the ground with his trident, and from it a salt water spring arose, providing a means of trade and water. However, due to it’s saltiness, it was not potable.

In turn, Athena presented them with the first domesticated olive tree. With this, Athena won the competition, for the olive tree provided wood to build and carve from, oil to light fires and cook, and olives as food.

Do you enjoy mythology? What is your favorite story? Why does it strike a chord in you?

 

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