A day was the perfect length of time for us in Athens.
We saw what we wanted to see and then headed to the islands! There were some more museums I would love to see, but I think that will be the case everywhere I go. There will always be more museums.
We got up early and walked over to Ancient Agora. An Agora is the center of town or more literally the “gathering place”. So Ancient Agora in Athens Greece is where the center of life was in Classical Athens. It is dated back to the 6th century BC. Peisistratus was the “developer” or organizer of the agora and built-in drainage systems and fountains, plus a temple to the Olympian gods. There are also temples from the 4th and 5th century BC dedicated to Hephaestus, Zeus, and Apollo.
At a glance, you could miss so much here. You have to pay attention as much of the area has been reduced to rubble, but in some areas you can see the base of walls still in place. It was an amazing feeling to walk through what used to be the center of town to such an ancient civilization. The city has gone through so much upheaval and changes over its thousands of years that it has become quite hard to figure out just what pieces fit together to make a whole.
In 480 BC the Athenians were chased out of their city by the Second Persian Invasion of Greece. The Persians left 2 years later and the Athenians came back and rebuilt. But in the rebuilding of the wall, the Athenians used actual pieces of the previous buildings (see the photo below). Many invasions later the area was abandoned in the 6th century.
Due to all of the destruction and rebuilding it has made it very hard for the archeologists working on the project to put the puzzle back together. So when you walk through there are just fields of “parts” laid out in rows waiting to be matched. You can see some of this in the video.
The Temple of Hephaestus (patron god of metalworking and craftsmanship) was one of my favorite sites we got to see. It was in the best condition even compared to some of the later Roman architecture we saw later. At the top of the Agoraios Kolonos Hill, it has remained standing with almost all of the pillars in place and parts of the roof still intact. It is crazy to see how much the marble has worn down over the ages but also to see a building this massive still standing without any structural issues. Some of the later buildings and structures we saw had to be reinforced from the inside. Even much of the frieze sculptures remain in good condition.
The Stoa of Attalos (stoa meaning a covered walkway or portico) has been reconstructed and turned into a wonderful little museum: The Museum of Ancient Agora. It was an amazing museum with loads of artifacts. It is absolutely amazing that there are so many pieces that have been recovered intact or in a condition that archeologists have been able to reconstruct. No pictures in the museum, though. Sorry. You will have to go visit!
This was the first half of our day, I will post the second half soon : )
See part 2: http://www.wanderlustanddogs.com/?p=199
See all the trip photos (from my Nikon – you saw the phone photos on Facebook): http://paigeramsey.smugmug.com/Travel/2014-Greece/
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