the Acropolis in the morning

Climbing the Acropolis – Photo Essay

On our second day in Athens we went straight to the direction of the Acropolis! It got very interesting even before we got there, since I chose to go there via the Anafiotika village, which is a scenic tiny neighbourhood that is tucked under the shadow of the Acropolis. It was built by the Cycladic people in the 1800s, so the whole neighbourhood gives the visitors the feel of Greek islands in the middle of Athens, with the white-washed small buildings and flowers all around.

lane in Anafiotika

Anafiotika village is very pretty (though it’s hard to capture on photos since the lanes are tiny) and I highly recommend that route to go up the Acropolis. I followed Rick Steves’ walking audio tour to find that place (free and with map). You can go from Lysicrates Monument in Plaka, on Epimenidou way, to Stratonos street.

It takes a bit of faith to go up, since there are few signs to the Acropolis, and the lanes/stairs can be very narrow. Also if you try to ask around (like I did) people may not understand and tell you to go through the more usual way to go to the Acropolis (there are a couple of entrances). So just keep going up, have faith, and you’ll be fine!

Anafiotika village

my party is working their way up

At certain points you’ll be greeted by this incredible view of Athens: (please please click to enlarge!)

view from Anafiotika

Lycabettus hill

Lycabettus hill – the highest hill in Athens. It is higher than the Acropolis, but is always overshadowed in terms of popularity!

Tickets to the Acropolis costs €12 pp and it includes other historical sites (Ancient Agora, Theatre of Dionysos, Roman Agora, Krameikos, Temple of Olympian Zeus, Hadrian’s Library), but do remember that all sites in Athens close at 3pm! We actually missed all the other sites apart from the Acropolis (they’re scattered all over the neighbourhood) because I did not know they were closed at 3pm. I just assumed they’re close at 5pm like everything else in Europe, but nooo. So remember to go as early as possible! The sites are open 8am-3pm. For some sites you can still see things from the gate (like Temple of Olympian Zeus), but other sites are big so you have to go in to really see the good stuff.

We found out the next day that apparently it gets so hot in Greece that people take nap after 3pm (probably about the hottest time of the day) and wake up again later in the evening when it starts to cool down!

on the way to the top of the Acropolis

on the way to the top of the Acropolis

Temple of Athena Nike

Temple of Athena Nike – Nike means Victory in Greek

up up we go to the top of the Acropolis

up up we go to the top of the Acropolis

Propylaea - or gateway to the Acropolis

Propylaea – or gateway to the Acropolis

Parthenon, Acropolis

Finally, the Parthenon in sight!

mee with Parthenon

mee with Parthenon – gotta use this great picture again! :) Also I found out that I don’t have a straight-line photo of Parthenon by itself! Why?! I can’t remember why! I blame the heat!

I wrote about my weepy moment with Parthenon a couple of posts back if you’re so inclined to check out :)

at the top of the Acropolis

at the top of the Acropolis

There were tourists, but not bad at all compared to other popular sites in Europe like Colosseum or Tour Eiffel.

Erechtheion and Porch of the Maidens (Caryatids)

Erechtheion – another temple next to the Parthenon, famous for its Porch of the Maidens (Caryatids)

Have a look at this Erechtheion temple with the five maidens very carefully, because I will come back to it at some point in future post! :)

Erechtheion and Porch of the Maidens (Caryatids)

one, two, three, four, five maidens. Wait, where’s the sixth?

You see, there are supposed to be six maidens. Not five. Where’s the sixth maiden? – I can hear you ask.

Well, can you believe, I actually saw that sixth maiden far before I saw her sisters here at the top of the Acropolis. More than a year prior.

In London!

Just 15 minutes walk away from my office!

Wait, whaaaa?!

Yes it is in British Museum. In fact, most of the good Parthenon marbles are also in British Museum. Why, you might wonder. The story is rather long and complicated. But to make it real short, Britain was the world’s superpower in the 1800s and it managed to collect treasures from all around the world, famously from the ancient world Egypt and the classical world Greece – the museum is full of treasures! But these treasures weren’t always treasured. At the time of acquisition, Greece was like the Wild West. People from all over just came in and took control of things – from the Muslim Turks to the French. Classical Greek remains weren’t treasured. At the time they were old (about 2000 years old), out of date, and uninteresting.

These days Greece want their stuff back. Britain said no, we have kept these things for such a long time. You didn’t take care of them back then, we do, and now you want them back?! No way! Greece however is still hopeful. They put the replicas of the Parthenon marbles – purposely in a different color than the original as a reminder that they’re replicas. Shows the British that Greece has provided a place for them, for the time they come back home one day.

To be fair though, if British Museum starts giving back all the treasures they have to the respective countries, they might end up an empty museum at the end! And seeing how Parthenon marbles are placed majestically in British Museum, it’s hard to imagine they’d leave the building anytime soon.

Not taking any sides, I find the stories to be very fascinating, and I’ll come back to this topic again in a future post!

For now I’ll leave you with that as food for thought and next we would go to mountainous Greek countryside to visit the UNESCO World Heritage Site: Delphi – site of the Oracle.

the Acropolis in the morning

the Acropolis in the morning