Some of you may know Athens as the birthplace of civilisation, democracy, and the great temples of Ancient Greece. Much of this is concentrated on the Acropolis, in central Athens, a site that can be seen from miles around. There are plenty of other Ancient Greek sites in and around Athens, too, so you really are spoilt for choice!
The Acropolis and the Parthenon, at the top of the hill, is always worth doing. The temple is world-famous, so many tourists will be walking around the site and admiring the breathtaking views and ancient history the site has to offer. The site is over 2000 years old, and was really important for the Greeks living in Athens at that time. However, the Acropolis is much more than just the Parthenon – many people think they are the same thing, but the Acropolis is the hill, at the top of which sits the Parthenon temple.
The Theatre of Dionysius is on one side of the hill, an ancient theatre where many plays were held. Further up the slope is the Odeon of Herodes Atticus, another theatre which is slightly newer than Dionysius, but more impressive as parts of the stage and backdrop still exist. Scattered around this famous hill are stone blocks, columns and statues, remnants of the centre of the ancient city. Continuing up the hill, you will eventually come to the Propylea, the entrance to the summit of the hill and the site of the Parthenon. This is an awe-inspiring sight, with spectacular views of Athens and the sea, perfect on a Greek sunny day. To the side of the Propylea will be the small but perfectly formed temple of Athena Nike, a temple dedicated to the goddess Athena, who was goddess of wisdom, war, and mathematics, amongst many other things!
In front of you, however, will be Athena’s main temple – the Parthenon. This is the temple you’ve been waiting for, the one you see on all postcards in Athens, Greece’s most famous sight. The Parthenon is a huge building, constructed almost 500 years BC. The Parthenon is incredible, and really does speak for itself. It’s surrounded by the rubble of the surrounding buildings, but the Parthenon still stands – though, it is in a slightly ruined state. In Athens, the Acropolis is the very centre of the city – all roads lead to the Acropolis, and the Parthenon is at the heart of it.
Also on the summit is the Erechtheion, a small temple dedicated to Athena, but also to Poseidon, the god of the Ocean. This features the famous “Porch of the Caryatids”, which is a roof supported by statues of women, also visible on postcards in Greece.
Continuing your journey down the hill, you’ll go to the Ancient Agora, which was the marketplace for the Ancient Greeks. Much of this is rubble, but there’s one thing that really stands out – the Temple of Hephasteus. Though this is smaller and very slightly newer than the Parthenon, it’s built in largely the same style, and is in a better state of repair. This might be because it was used as a church until the 1830’s, so the continual use of it may mean it was maintained more often. As it’s in a better condition, it shows you what the Parthenon may have looked like, and it’s a really wonderful temple surrounded by trees and flowers.
After this, your journey is mostly over on the Acropolis – but don’t worry, there is still plenty more to see in and around the rest of Athens.