Who hasn’t wanted to visit the Acropolis? I remember as a kid, my 3rd grade teacher, Mrs. Gardner, a somewhat crusty old lady, who taught me an appreciation for California Native American history. I remember dragging my mom to this store which sold reproductions of arrow heads and other Native American historical artifacts. In short, I could tell you every little detail about Spanish who settled early California, Father Junipero Serra and the Missions he helped create along the California coastline. Yeah, I really loved California early history; but what really rocked my world was Greek Mythology and I owe that curiousity entirely to Mrs. Gardner. I read everything about mythology I could get my hands on, especially Edith Hamilton, who wrote several outstanding books about the subject.
So, my first stop was the sacred rock of the Acropolis, which was for many centuries a place of worship fo Athena, the city’s parton goddess. In the 5th century BC, due to the ambitiuos artistic program of Pericles, the site was adorned with the monumental Proplylaia, the Erechteion, and the Parthenon, eternal symbol of Greek and European civilization. Initially, I went the wrong way, trying to enter via the south entrance, but was told by security guards to go the other way. I did get some beautiful photos of Lycabettus Hill though. Eventually, I made my way to the correct entrance and followed the crowd which made their way to the top of the Acropolis.
When I arrived at the south slope of the Acropolis, I came upon the Theater of Dionysus Eleuthereus. I found it to be a very peaceful and serene place to relax and reflect on how fortunate I was to view these ancient sites. This restored monument dominates the South Slope of the Acropolis. The original wooden theeater was used for the cult dance in honor of Dionysus, which gradually led to the birth of ancient drama. Famous tragedies and comedies such as Antigone, Medea, the Birds, and Peace.
The Roman Agora I actually saw before visiting the Acropolis. It was built in the 1st century BC with gifts from Julius Caesar and Augustus to house Athens’ commercial activities. The Agora is bordered by the imposing Gate of Athena Archegetis, while the clock Kyrrestas with relief figures fof the eight winds and the Fethiye Mosque stand at its corner.
My next day in Greece was spent at the Ancient Agora.The Agora was the center of Athenian democracy, where the city’s most important political functions were exercised, and where both Pericles and Socrates once walked. Two of my favorite Socrates quotes (the latter being life changing for me) are – “Wisdom is knowing that you know nothing” and “A life without self-examination is a life not much worth living.” Awesome! The ruins of the ancient Agora, the exceptionally well-preserved temple of Hephaistas, and the restored Stoa of Attalos were visited in the shadow of the Acropolis at a site characterized by particularly natural beauty.