Sunday, September 18, 2011

The Acropolis

Took the subway to the Akropoli stop (I know!) which does not actually go to the Acropolis of course, but dumps you in the general vicinity, on the south side.  First to the new Acropolis Museum, a modern glass and concrete building.  Like most public buildings and stores in Athens, the place was air-conditioned but the doors and some of the windows were open to the 34C outside air.  I think the Greek attendants get cold in the air-conditioning and open the doors to warm up.

Anyway, sweated our way through 9,000 years of history again and an informative film.  Sat in the cafeteria and waited 15 minutes in a vain attempt to get a coffee, then impatiently went on our way.

Getting to the top of the Acropolis to see the Parthenon, involves shuffling up a kilometre of uneven, rocky ground and walkways with 20,000 other visitors and their raucous guides who delight in stopping in narrow, inconvenient places to extol the virtues of some rock that a philosopher sat on 2,600 years ago, forcing the rest of us to sidle labouriously past.  Somewhat disgruntled (in 7,000 years, they couldn't have paved this thing?), our gruntle was completely restored when we finally scrabbled into the open at the summit.

There was the Parthenon!  Surrounded by the cranes of the restorers, but there nonetheless.  Continuously raped, burned and looted over the centuries by the Turks, Venetians, Romans, Catholics (who wantonly destroyed many statues in an effort to “purify” the site) and of course by the British whose Lord Elgin stole the decorative reliefs of the temple’s gables (on display in the British Museum where they are known as the Elgin Marbles to distance the Museum from the theft) and who still refuse to return them, the building remains magnificent.  (Feel free to rewrite that sentence any way you want.)  Adjacent were the famous Kariatids and all around, a panoramic view of modern Athens.

By now the open ground at the top was swarming with tourists like an overturned anthill and the sun was at its highest so we decided to leave and seek out the famous Canellopoulos Museum.  Fighting our way down through the next 20,000 tourist contingent, we headed confidently off downhill for 20 minutes without encountering any signs whatsoever.  Eventually a friendly policeman told us we’d come the wrong way.  A stop at the nearest sandwich bar for a bite and a cold drink restored us somewhat and we returned up hill to take the next left where a large sign agreed that this was the path.  Skirting the north side of the Acropolis and the south side of the Agora, we eventually came to our goal.

A private collection turned museum, this jewel of a place contains digestible tidbits of stunningly well preserved artefacts from 7,000 BC to 1800 AD.  All beautifully laid out in an air-conditioned (again, open doors and windows, but you can catch the occasional cool draft if you’re alert) building.  No photos allowed, of course.

Exiting into the heat again, we continued on our way to the Metro station, having completely circumnavigated the Acropolis (plus the 40 minute detour) and were done for the day.  Home Jeeves!

It was only when I downloaded the pictures at the hotel that I discovered that a change of setting half-way through the day by Thumbs DesRosiers, had not been unchanged and resulted in half the photos being over- exposed.  Oh well, I'm sure you've seen better pictures of the Acropolis anyway.

Even the subways have displays of classical sculptures

The New Acropolis Museum

Ruins found when excavating for the museum

Acropolis from Museum cafe terrace

Herod Atticus' Theater on the slope of the Acropolis

Entrance to the Acropolis 

The Parthenon, closed for repairs

The Caryatids

Few pieces on the frieze overlooked by thieving Lord Elgin

Parthenon from the entrance temple


  1. Awesome! You finally made it to the Acropolis...!

    Scratch that item off the bucket list - good for you!

    It's about 14 degrees cooler here, and sunny for now..... Hedge-trimming season!

    Well, I had better go, or I'll miss the 3:30 couch to dreamville.... ;-)

    Cheers and Love,


  2. Wow. Amazing how well-preserved these so-called "ruins" look after thousands of years.

    Why, that subway station looks like it's only a couple of years old!