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ATHENS, GREECE

A life long dream to visit the Acropolis in Athens

sunny 25 °C

We arrived in Lavrion, the port of Athens, early on Friday 10 October for a three night stay.
Athens is the capital and largest city of Greece. Athens dominates the Attica region and is one of the world's oldest cities, with its recorded history spanning around 3,400 years. Classical Athens, as a landlocked location was a powerful city-state that emerged in conjunction with the seagoing development of the port of Piraeus. A centre for the arts, learning and philosophy, home of Plato's Academy and Aristotle's Lyceum, it is widely referred to as the cradle of Western civilization and the birthplace of democracy, largely due to the impact of its cultural and political achievements during the 5th and 4th centuries BC on the rest of the then known European continent.

Our first tour was to visit the Acropolis.

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The long walk up to the Acropolis
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View over Athens from the Acropolis
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The Parthenon built 407 BC to 432 BC. Beautiful proportion and Doric columns being restored by archaeologists.
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The famous Caryatids - the 6 maidens - of the Erechtheion built around 420 BC. This temple has beautiful Ionic columns.
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The Parthenon - 46 Doric columns - 8 on each end and 17 along the sides
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The Odeum of Heredotus Atticus built in 161 AD - venue for concerts, Maria Callas in 1957
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Display showing the Parthenon
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Northern end of the Parthenon
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Colleen on the Acropolis
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Roman Temple of the Olympian Zeus completed in 2 AD in Athens viewed from the Acropolis
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Temple of Erectheion
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Temple of Erectheion showing showing portico on the left
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Monument of Agrippa
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Panathinaiko Stadium built for the first Olympics of the modern era in 1896 holding 80 000.
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Panorama of the Panathinako Stadium
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Zapeion - the Exhibition Hall
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Royal Palace built 1834 is now the House of Parliament
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Home of Henirich Schliemann, the man who discovered the ancient city of Troy, is now the Numismatic Museum. note the swastickas in the iron work.
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Recreation of the Parthenon in Athens
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Emperor Hadrian's Arch 2 AD
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View of the illuminated Parthenon from the roof bar at our hotel
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Close up of the illuminated Parthenon from our hotel roof bar
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Greek dancing
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Greek dancing
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Greek dancing
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Our friends, Anne and Alan from New Zealand at the Greek night
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The belly dancer with a sword
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The belly dancer

On Sunday morning, we caught a bus down to Stigmana Square to see the changing of the guard. The Evzones, or Evzoni, is the name of several historical elite light infantry and mountain units of the Greek Army. Today, it refers to the members of the Presidential Guard, an elite ceremonial unit that guards the Greek Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, the Presidential Mansion and the gate of Evzones camp in Athens.

Though the Presidential Guard is a predominantly ceremonial unit, all Evzones are volunteers drawn from the Hellenic Army's Infantry, Artillery and Armoured Corps. Prospective Evzones are usually identified at the Army Recruit Training Centres during Basic Training; there is a minimum height requirement of 1.86 m (6' 1.2") to join.

The unit is famous around the world for its unique traditional uniform, which has evolved from the clothes worn by the klephts who fought the Ottoman occupation of Greece. The most visible item of this uniform is the fustanella, a kilt-like garment. Their proven valour and peculiar dress turned them into a popular image for the Greek soldier, especially among foreigners. We were told that each uniform costs 8 000 Euros.

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The Hotel Bretagne built in 1842 as a house for a wealthy Greek business is now one of the most luxurious hotels in southern Europe.

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The Church of Panagia Kapnikarea is a Greek Orthodox church and one of the oldest churches in Athens. It is estimated that the church was built some time in the 11th century, perhaps around 1050. As it was common with the early Christian churches, this was built over an ancient Greek pagan temple dedicated to the worship of a goddess, possibly Athena or Demeter.

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Hadrian's Library was created by Roman Emperor Hadrian in AD 132 on the north side of the Acropolis of Athens.

The building followed a typical Roman Forum architectural style, having only one entrance with a propylon of Corinthian order, a high surrounding wall with protruding niches at its long sides, an inner courtyard surrounded by columns and a decorative oblong pool in the middle. The library was on the eastern side where rolls of papyrus "books" were kept. Adjoining halls were used as reading rooms, and the corners served as lecture halls.

We came across the library as we walked down the Plaka walking streets. The shops here are like souks or bazaars with many restaurants.

We leave in the morning for our ten day stay in Malta.

Posted by Kangatraveller 07:10 Archived in Greece

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