Part 4 of 4: Adventures in Greece
September/October 2018. We flew back to Athens from Santorini early in the afternoon. The weather was mild and Sunny. After checking into Electra Palace Hotel, we were off exploring the Acropolis and Parthenon. We probably should have looked at a map first to locate the entrance, instead we headed off. Even though we could see the Acropolis, and we knew the general direction, we did some backtracking. Finally we found the road running along the base of the Acropolis. We followed the road until we found the entrance. Entry fee was 20 euros each. If you plan on visiting other historic sites, there are combination tickets you can purchase which cost 30 euros per person and are good for 5 days and will save you some money.
The Acropolis and Parthenon are often used interchangeably. There is a difference though. The Acropolis, built around 450 BC, is the walled complex which sits on top of a rocky hill in the Center of Athens. Whereas the Parthenon, dedicated to the Goddess, Athena, is the largest and most striking temple within the Acropolis.
The Odeon of Herodes Atticus
The first large ruin you will explore at the Acropolis is the Odeon of Herodes Atticus. Built approximately 160 BC. This theatre, constructed of stone, is built into the southwest side of the hill and continues to be used. You will view the Odeon from a walkway above, overlooking the theatre. In addition, this walkway also provides you a nice view of the city of Athens.
Once you pass the Odeon, there are many steps to climb to reach the Propylaea. The Propylaea is the majestic entrance to the Acropolis. It is reminiscent of a building with columns on each side that you walk through to the Acropolis. Similar to a grand hall. On the other side of the Propylaea, you will see the Parthenon standing tall in all of its glory along with the other buildings atop the Acropolis. I cannot begin to describe the feeling of actually being at the Acropolis. I was in awe, knowing that I was standing where the great orators and philosophers from centuries ago stood.
The Temple of Athena Nike
South of the Propylaea, you will see The Temple of Athena Nike. Built in the 5th century BC, for the purpose of honoring the Goddess Athena. Who was given credit for bringing Athens victory over their enemies. The word Nike, means victory. This small but beautiful temple has undergone renovations which were complete in 2010.
At the top of the Acropolis, the Parthenon is the largest building. You can’t miss it! When we were there, it was undergoing extensive restoration, therefore, scaffolds were in many areas. In spite of active restoration, the Parthenon is captivating. With its vast size and massive columns, words cannot express how magnificent this building is. On the far end, which is the entrance, figures are sculpted along the top.
The Erechtheion and The Porch of Caryatids
Located north of the Parthenon is the Erechtheion. This was built for religious ceremonies circa 420BC. The southwest corner of the Erechtheion houses The Porch of Caryatids. The Caryatids are 6 impressive stone pillars, each carved like a woman.
As evening approached, we were hoping for a beautiful sunset, unfortunately, that wasn’t to be. Suddenly we heard shrill whistles. To our surprise, security staff were blowing whistles and also herding everyone through the Propylaea and out the exit. It was closing time. We loved exploring the Acropolis and Parthenon and hated to go. Understandably though, the Acropolis closes before sunset, to assures no one is there at night.
We walked along the road at the base of the Acropolis, this time enjoying the colors of the sunset. This was our last night in Greece, therefore, we didn’t want it to end. We wandered around the Plaka area. To my delight, once again, Steve led me to the Gelato shop! I enjoyed another yummy gelato! Lucky for us, Steve is directional, me, not so much. We left Athens in the morning, but took with us the memories of a wonderful Honeymoon in Greece. Antio! Eis to epanidein! (Goodbye! Until we meet!)
We stayed at The Electra Palace while in Athens. It was lovely and included a roof top pool and restaurant with an Acropolis view. Located in The Plaka Area of Athens it was in walking distance to the Acropolis.
Note: We brought the Rick Steves Pocket Athens guidebook with us and found a lot of useful information in it. We used it to help plan our trip prior to visiting. We also used it as a guide throughout our stay in Athens. I thought it was especially helpful when exploring the Acropolis and Parthenon.
For more on my trip to Athens and Greece you can follow these links.