Athens is a sprawling metropolis, no doubt about it. I am not drawn to her vastness, shops and abundant café culture. It is her history which invites me in.
I have visited the Acropolis twice before and it never fails to mesmerise me. The history exudes from each part of this ancient rock which houses structures such as the famous Parthenon, Erechtheion, Temple of Athena Nike and the Propylaea. Twice I have visited in spring, this third time I visited in summer. The difference is the amount of tourists. The increase in people means some of the magic of absorbing the history becomes lost. It’s still there, it’s just a bit drowned out from the babble of voices and sheer number of people at the site.
In spring it was quieter and cooler. You could walk around each part of the Parthenon and not have your path blocked by numerous groups. I had close to an hour up there and it was still not enough. I could spend hours just enjoying the feeling of the history, imagining ancient times and noting the differences in the structure as restoration works continue. This year, the restoration works had been ramped up when compared to the work I saw previously in 2012 and 2014.
I compared it to my 2012 photos and there is certainly more work occurring across the front (facing the Propylaea). You almost wonder whether all this restoration is destroying the original building but I guess they need to do this to ensure the Parthenon is able to be enjoyed for generations to come. Ralph Waldo Emerson said it best, “Earth proudly wears the Parthenon as the best gem upon her zone”.
After absorbing the history and beauty of the site of the Acropolis, I visited the new Acropolis museum
. The first thing one notices, besides the modern architecture of the building itself is that around the entrance, there are numerous panels of clear glass. Why? Because the new museum is built on a large archaeological site where excavations are continuing. Thus, the visitor can view the works being undertaken and the ancient relics found there. So, feeling almost as if there is no floor beneath you, you can study the artefacts unearthed and watch continuing excavations.
The museum is filled with natural light and has been set up in a way that in essence mimics the way that these artefacts would be found on Acropolis hill. Accordingly, on the first floor visitors can see the artefacts found on the slopes of Acropolis hill. There is an upwards ascent to see these and visitors can also see the sculptures and other artefacts from the Erechtheion, Temple of Athena Nike and the Propylaea.
It was a fascinating day spent exploring Athens and her history.
article by Tia Mitsis
www.facebook.com/tiamitsis & greektravelodyssey.wordpress.com
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