We started out our trip in Athens, Greece where we mainly toured the archeological sites around the acropolis. We really enjoyed the day and a half we spent there and had read that more than that would be too much. I would have liked to spend at least another day there though. The yogurts and pastries were delicious. The archeological sites were interesting and captivating. And the graffiti and shopping was  abundant. We could have done without the large stray dogs following us around insistently, but all in all we really enjoyed Athens.

Fresko is a great little yogurt bar right at the base of the acropolis. The yogurt was so tasty, especially with the option of adding marmalades, fresh fruit, honeys, and nuts to it.

The Greek pastries were to die for. The one on the top is filled with a feta (made from goat cheese) and the one below is called mpougatsa which is a filled with a sweet vanilla cream-like pudding.

The Acropolis

The word acropolis means upper city. Most of the sacred buildings were build on the acropolis which was used as a place of refuge during invasions. The most notable structures on the acropolis are the Propylaea, Parthenon, temple to Nike Athena, and the Erechtheum. Most of the buildings were built in the 5th century BC and have been rebuilt and restructured several times. It is amazing though how well-preserved the acropolis is, especially considering how exposed it is to the elements.

The Parthenon
The Parthenon was a temple constructed by Pericles from 447 to 432 BC. From a temple it became a church, then a mosque, and then a storage facility for Turkish gunpowder. It was blown up in the 17th century when a cannon ball ignited the gunpowder being stored there. It is said that the Parthenon is the most perfect structure in all the history of the world and continues to be the most imitated building in the world.

The Erechtheum
The Erechtheum was built between 421 and 406 BC on the most sacred site of the acropolis where legend says Poseidon and Athena competed to be the patron of the city. The story goes that Poseidon thrust his trident into the rock and a spring burst forth while Athena touched the ground with a spear and an olive tree grew. Athena won and the city was named after her. The six draped female figures is a collection known as the “Porch of the Maidens”. They are all copies of the originals that are mostly located in a museum.

The Propylaea 432 BC

Temple of Athena Nike 410 BC

Theater of Dionysos
The Theater of Dionysus is one of the earliest preserved open-air theaters in Athens used for festivals held in honor of the god Dionysus. It is located on the south slope of the acropolis.

Temple of Olympian Zeus

The temple of Olympian Zeus was envisioned to be the greatest temple in the ancient world when construction began in the 6th century BC, but it was not until Roman Emperor Hadrian’s reign in the 2nd century AD that the temple was completed. At this time it was the largest temple in Greece, but was invaded and pillaged in the 3rd century. The columns and other building materials have since been used for other public and private structures in the area.

Ancient Agora of Athens

The Agora of Athens was a gathering place of the Athenians for commerce, public meetings, and assemblies. Public service buildings like the courts, the mint, theaters, and schools were located there. The most popular structure still standing in the agora is the Temple of Hephaistos.

Temple of Hephaistos
Construction started on the Temple of Hephaistos in 449 BC, but before its completion Pericles redirected the funds and labor to start work on the Parthenon.  The temple was not actually completed until three decades later. This temple is the best preserved ancient Greek temple standing today.

Left: The Odyssey 2nd Century AD
Right: Head of a Triton 150 AD

Head of Nike 2nd Century AD. Copied from Paionios’ work from the 5th Century BC

(Love the attitude)

Antonius Pius 138-161 AD

Philopappou Hill

A monument built in memory of Gaius Ioulius Antiochus Philopappou at the summit of Pholopappou Hill in 115 AD

Socrates’ prison