Athens, Greece: sights and attractions.
Athens includes a huge number of artifacts from every historical era – although some Greek relics now rest in the British Museum where they were taken by the British Ambassador, Lord Elgin.
The Acropolis of Athens
Every polis in Ancient Greece had its own Acropolis, but none of them can surpass the Acropolis of Athens in scale, layout and concentration of so many monuments of past epochs. Without it the capital of Greece is simply unthinkable, it is rightly considered its calling card, a real mecca for tourists from around the world.
Parthenon in Athens
Parthenon has always been considered one of the most significant and monumental buildings of the Acropolis in Athens. The temple was built in honor of the goddess Athena, the patroness of the Greek capital. Everything in the Parthenon has been thought out to the smallest detail, each detail has its own unique size, shape and purpose.
Athens’ oldest district is called Plaka and it preserves its original form, peculiarities of Greek culture and its unique flavor.
The Dionysus Theatre is where the tragedies of Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides and the comedies of Aristophanes and Menander were first performed. This ancient open-air theater is the oldest in the world and dates back to the 5th century BC. The Dionysus Theater was designed for half the population of Athens and could hold up to 17,000 spectators!
Temple of Hephaestus
One of the favorite places for tourists visiting Athens is the Temple of Hephaestus. Here you can almost fully plunge into the era of ancient Greece, because the temple of Hephaestus is considered one of the best preserved structures of that distant time.
Temple of Zeus the Olympic
Construction of the most impressive structure of the ancient world – the famous temple of Zeus the Olympic began long before our era. The lord had truly ambitious plans: the new giant structure was sure to eclipse all the existing wonders of the world at that time,
In the Agora, once Athens’ central marketplace, stands the temple of Hephaestus, the god of fire, which is by far the best preserved temple in Athens today.
The Arch was built in 131 AD on the road leading from the center of Athens to the eastern part of the city where the Temple of Zeus the Olympic was located, and it was dedicated to the Roman Emperor Hadrian. Who built the arch and on whose money it is not known.
Archaeological Museum of Ceramics
Kerameikou Archaeological Museum, as well as the neighborhood in which it is located, are not called that way by chance. Masters of pottery have lived here since ancient times, and all this is because the soil here is rich in fine clay.
Athens Museum of Numismatics
One of the most interesting and popular museums in the Greek capital is the Athens Numismatics Museum, which has a unique collection of ancient coins, medals, precious stones found during archaeological excavations.
Tower of the Winds
Walking around ancient Athens, visit an amazing monument of architecture – the Tower of the Winds. This landmark also serves a practical function, as it is a working weather station. The Athenian Tower of the Winds has other names. Residents of Athens often call the Tower of the Winds “Klepsidra”.
Hadrian’s Library in Athens
The unique architectural complex, now known as Hadrian’s Library, in reality hardly lives up to such a humble appellation. The majestic monument was nicknamed a library only in the mid-19th century, despite the building’s striking resemblance to the temples of the Roman forum.
Byzantine Museum in Athens
The Byzantine Christian Museum is considered one of the most famous museums of the Greek capital. It is called the orthodox treasury of Greece. Here you can see more than 25 thousand interesting exhibits of Byzantine and Christian art.
Athens Military Museum
Greece, like any other great civilization, has a very rich and long military history. Brave heroes and bloody battles have been known to us through history books since high school. But in order to add clarity and to see with our own eyes the weapons that were held in the hands of courageous warriors.
Children’s Museum in Athens
In a house with a cheerful yellow facade and green window frames, of course, there must be something joyful, carefree and interesting. And so it is, in one of the buildings in the heart of Athens is the Children’s Museum.
Evangelis dreamed of reviving the Olympic Games in Greece, did a lot for this, participated in the project both ideologically and financially. The plan was for the building to be located next to the Panathinaikos Stadium and be dedicated entirely to the Olympic Games.
The Church of Panagia Kapnicarea (Church of Our Lady of Kapnicarea), or simply Kapnicarea, is one of the oldest Orthodox churches in Athens. It is also one of the most colorful, especially when compared to the modern buildings that surround it.
The beautiful mansion, built by the famous German architect Ernst Ziller, houses one of the most interesting and largest museums in the Greek capital. It is a museum of Cycladic art, where a huge collection of various artifacts, which belong to ancient civilizations.
If you drive from the center of Athens along the former Holy Road to Eleusin, at the 11th km on the left you’ll see the dilapidated walls made of stone. Behind them hides the monastic complex of Daphne, a monument of Byzantine architecture.
Perhaps nowhere else in the world one can feel the spirit of history as much as in Athens. The capital of Greece is simply amazed with the number of ancient and significant monuments, it preserves not only the majestic ruins of Ancient Greece, but there is also the atmosphere of constant celebration and blissful “doing nothing”, which makes this city unique and unlike any other in the world.
Unique is also the history of its founding. It’s said that centuries before Christ, all the Olympic gods fought over the right to found the place, but the final struggle was between the bellicose and brave Athena and the mighty Poseidon. To resolve the dispute, the wise Zeus decreed that the right to build the city would go to the highest bidder, and half-man half-snake Kekrop was appointed to judge them. Poseidon spewed a spring from the bowels of the earth, but the water turned out to be salty, but Athena gave the city a branch of olive trees.
To visit the Sanctuary of Poseidon at Cape Sunion is worthwhile not only because of the beautiful scenery, but also in order to find the autograph of Lord Byron himself on the walls of the temple.
Kekrop decided that the salt sea is everywhere, and, unlikely, can benefit the city, but such a valuable tree, which will help the people to work and prosper truly unique. So Athena was recognized as the patron of the city, and her gift was long kept in one of the main temples of the Acropolis, the Erechtheion, it was built on the exact spot where the gods competed. Kekropos became the first king of this city-state. And probably because he rejected the gift of Poseidon, the city still has a shortage of drinking water.
Attractions of Athens
No other city has such an amazing and rich history as Athens. The city was named after Athens, the goddess of war and wisdom.
King Kekrop – half snake, half man – founded the beautiful city of Attica (the original name of Athens) in Greece. All the gods of antiquity had watched the building of the place and wanted to name it after themselves.
They could not find a solution, so Kekrop decided to have a competition. Most of the gods have refused the suggestion, but Athena and Poseidon accepted the king’s terms: each one has to give a gift to Kekrop. Whoever gave the best gift would become the ruler of the city.
Poseidon gave the king and the city a spring that was essential for such a hot country, but the water in it turned out to be salty. Athena sprouted an olive tree, whose wood, leaves and fruit people could use extensively in their lives. Kekrop recognized Athena as the victor, the city received its new name, Athens, and its inhabitants the blessed olive tree.
In the city of the goddess Athens attractions a great many, in a short tourist trip to see everything – it is impossible, but if you ever get to the capital of Greece, the most legendary evidence of the centuries to see must. About them we will talk.
The Acropolis is the symbol of Athens, the main attraction of the city. Acropolis in the Greek language means “upper town. It is located on a hill, which is 156 meters high.
On the Acropolis there are the remains of the majestic temples: Erechtheion, Hecatompidon, Nika Apteros. But the most famous temple of the Acropolis is the Parthenon, built in honor of the goddess Athena for her protection of the city during the Persian wars. And the huge bronze statue of Athena Promachos in a golden helmet by Fidius, once standing there, still excites people’s imagination.
The cost of admission is 12 euros. With a single ticket you can visit the Acropolis for 4 days. With a single ticket you can also see the Temple of Zeus, the theater of Dionysus, the Ancient Agora and the Library of Hadrian.
New Acropolis Museum
Almost every tour of Athens includes a visit to the New Acropolis Museum.
It is located just 300 meters from the Acropolis, but not on the hill and near the Akropolis Metro Station. The entrance is from 15 Dionysiou Areopagitou Street. The museum opened its doors to visitors in 2009.
The building is an ultra-modern structure of five floors with glass floors and a floor area of 226 thousand square meters and was built on the site of archaeological excavations. Through the glass floor on the first floor you can see the remains of ancient streets.
The museum has many ancient sculptures (including a statue of the goddess Athena and Kryotis the Boy), various exhibits, the total number of which is about 4 thousand units.
It is good to get here after visiting the Parthenon – it is cool, there is a souvenir store and a cafe on the third floor with a beautiful view of the Acropolis. On the fourth floor you can watch a short movie about the Acropolis and the Parthenon. Children during the tour of the museum are free bags with toys (you can buy them later), as well as a map with stickers of the exhibits to make it more interesting to walk around the museum.
The museum doors are open Tuesday through Sunday from 8am to 8pm. The cost of admission is 5 euros.
The Akropolis metro station (red metro line) will take you to the main attraction in Athens, and the wide pedestrian street Dionysiou Areopagitou in the city center will take you straight to the entrance to the Acropolis.
Temple of Zeus the Olympic
The Temple of Olympus, or Olympeion, is the largest temple in all of Greece and took about VII centuries to complete (6th to 2nd century BC).
It is located only half a kilometer from the Acropolis. The official entrance is opposite the National Park of Athens by the main square Syntagma, where the Greek Parliament is located (metro station “Syntagma”).
The Temple of Zeus is a great monument of Greek history, but it is a pity that it is completely destroyed. Only the 14 remaining (from 104) huge columns about 17 meters high remind about its former magnificence.
The area where the ruins of the temple are located is open. On a sunny day bring a hat and a bottle of water, there is a drinking spring.
The Theater of Dionysus is an ancient theater building located on the slope of the Acropolis on the southeast side. It is one of the oldest theaters in the world, since it was built in the 5th century B.C.
Theater was originally wooden, performances on it were organized only 2 times a year and it contained exactly half of Athens population – 17 thousand spectators.
In 325 BC reconstruction took place: the stage and 67 rows of spectators’ seats were made of marble. The names and positions of the owners can still be seen on them, they were the seats of especially important guests. Performances were held in the open air with natural light, and thanks to the excellent acoustics, the actors’ words could be clearly heard in the very last rows.
The Dionis Theatre is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Today, the theater is undergoing restoration work, which the Greek government plans to complete by 2015. It can be visited for 2 euros or with a single pass for 12 euros.
Agora is the market center of ancient Athens, located at the foot of the Acropolis.
The nearest subway station is Theseion. You can also reach it from Monastiraki Square, bypassing its trading rows. Not far from it is the Roman Agora, which is much smaller and much better preserved. The area of the Greek Agora is about 5 hectares.
From the Greek “agora” translates as “to assemble, to convene”. Therefore, the Athenians called the Agora the main meeting place in the city and considered it the “heart” of ancient Athens.
It was here that secular and business conversations were held and political, religious and social problems were discussed.
In the Athenian agora there is the ancient temple of Hephaestus, Attalus standing (covered colonnade), there are ancient Greek vases, statues and busts. In ancient times, the complex of King Attalus of Pergamon served as the equivalent of a modern shopping mall with dozens of stores. The remains of the building were restored in the 50s by American archaeologists and today there is a museum of the Ancient Agora.
A visit to the Ancient Agora and the museum costs 4 euros. You can also visit it with a general ticket. There are toilets and drinking water on site.
Mount Likavit (Likabet, Likavittos)
The mountain is located in the center of Athens and is a favorite place of lovers, romantics and tourists, it is the highest place in the city.
At 300 meters above sea level, the sunrises and sunsets are particularly beautiful and the panorama of the city is amazing!
On the mountain stands the Byzantine church of St. George, built in the 11th century. Likavit is a favorite place for lovers, romantics and tourists. It often hosts concerts of rock and pop groups, has a restaurant and an open-air theater, where you can see the productions of modern and ancient Greek authors. On the mountain you can also see the Byzantine church of St. George, built in the XI century.
Those who do not want to walk, climb the cable car, which runs from 8.45 to 0.45, the cost – 6 euros.
National Garden (Park) of Athens
You can hide from the tiring sun of hot Athens in the National Garden.
It is a real oasis in the center of the city. It’s easy to find, next to Syntagma Square, behind the Parliament building and stretches far to the south, covering an area of 15.5 hectares. The park has four entrances, the central one is from Amalias Street, named after the queen who founded the garden.
Bright greenery, ponds with fish and ducks, ancient ruins, statues of Greek poets and birdsong – all this you’ll get great pleasure from.
There’s the Garden of Parliament (formerly the Royal Palace), the Garden of Zappion, and the Garden of Diogenes, where crowds of tourists hide from the sweltering Athenian heat in the shade of sprawling trees.
There are no stores or stalls in the garden (there are a few at the entrance), but there is a cafe and a small zoo, a botanical museum, and a playground for children, with slides and benches for adults. There is a free toilet.
A perfect place to just relax. Admission is free.
National Archaeological Museum
Athens National Archaeological Museum is the largest in Greece.
It constantly presents more than 20,000 exhibits collected in thematic collections.
Rare finds from past ages, statues and sculptures, sarcophagi and mummies, vases and vessels, clay and pottery, gold and silver jewelry will acquaint you with the history of many thousands of years. Among its exhibits is the famous Agamemnon mask.
The Archaeological Museum can be visited from 10.00 to 17.00 on Mondays, from 8.00 to 15.00 on Tuesdays to Sundays. The cost of regular ticket is 6 euros, reduced price – 3 euros. In the garden of the museum, in the middle of orange trees, there is a cozy cafe.
It is located in the center of the city, a 10 minute walk from Syntagma Metro Station, at Patission Street 44. There is a bus number 224 to the museum.
One of the favorite tourist attractions in Athens. This is where the change of the presidential guard of honor takes place at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
It looks very solemn and unusual: the polished movements of the eusons (an elite unit of the Greek army), the sumptuous clothing (red beret, hand-embroidered vest, skirt with 400 folds and white tights), and the incomparable, 3-pound tzaruhi (boots with pompoms).
On Syntagma Square is the palace of the Greek Parliament, an amazing fountain and ancient statues.
Five streets with their own history and big names lead to the square. From the east side of the square goes Amalias Avenue, from the west – Philellion Street (where the Russian Orthodox Church Sotira Likodimos is located). On the north side is the street of King George the First, and on the south – the street named after another Greek king – Otton. The subway station is Syntagma. From the square goes transport to all city destinations, as well as to the international airport of Athens.
Panathinaikos (Panathenaic Stadium)
It is a unique stadium in Athens, in the Kallimarmaro district, just east of the Athens National Park, built entirely of white marble (the only one in the world!).
It was erected as early as 329 B.C. Of course, Panathinaikos was not preserved in its original form and underwent several reconstructions. But the works took into account all the peculiarities, and the restored stadium is as close to its original form as possible.
It was here that the first Olympic Games in modern history were organized in 1896.
In our time hundreds of famous bands gave concerts in the arena of the stadium, programs introducing children to sports, and adults can make a morning jog (if you sign up in advance). There is a small café and souvenir store at the entrance.
You can walk here in 15 minutes from Avenue Sofias or take streetcars 2, 4, 11 for 6-8 minutes. Metro station “Acropolis”. Entrance is 3 euros, everyone is given an “audio guide”, with a possibility of describing the history of the stadium in 11 languages.
Tower of the Winds
This is the romantic name of the oldest meteorological monument in Athens.
You can see it while visiting the Acropolis, in the area of the Roman Agora (entrance is 2 euros if you do not use a single ticket).
The Tower of the Winds is 12 meters high and 8 meters in diameter. It was built around the first century BC.
Of course, over time, the appearance of the tower has changed slightly: there is no longer a weathervane in the form of Triton, but the top of the tower has retained decorative compositions depicting the eight winds.
Inside there used to be a water clock (klepsidra), running on water from Mount Acropolis.
You can get to the tower from the Monastiraki Metro Station in the old Plaka district (north and east slope of the Acropolis) or by bus 25,26,27,200,227,500.
Odeon of Herod Atticus
The Odeon, a venue for music and singing competitions, was built in 165 AD on the southern slope of the Acropolis.
It has the classical form of an antique theater with a seating capacity of 5,000.
The Odeon has survived to our time almost in its original form (only the colorful marble facing and some statues are missing).
It is possible to enter the theater during a performance or concert after paying in advance for the ticket, 30 euros for a seat with cushions and 20 euros for a standing position.
The Odeon of Herod Atticus is visited by millions of spectators during the annual Athens Festival (held from June to September). It is located on the southern slope of the Acropolis Hill, from the entrance on the side of the temple of Dionysus.
Athens is the true cradle of humanity. Visiting the Acropolis, the Temple of Zeus and other ancient sites, you can touch the history of the birth of civilization. Under the whiff of a warm wind, near the ancient columns of ancient half-destroyed temples and the clear Athenian sky time stands still, and in an unhurried conversation with the man enters eternity.
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