12 things that should not fail to see in Athens

Athens takes us, in a time machine, to classical Antiquity. The City is one of the Oldest in the world, and its territory has been inhabited for more than 3000 years. City of the Gods, the cradle of democracy, open-air museum. At every step, we have stumbled upon a historical artefact, in an archaeological site, in a relic of thousands of years.

Athens is a city that leaves no one indifferent. Either you like it or you hate it. Or we feel fascinated by its ruins, stone by stone, scattered all over the city, or are just that, a pile of stacked stones.

For years we read in the books of the school the history of that which was one of the most important cities of the Classical era, centre Artistic, philosophical and political AntiqueWhat Gave rise to names such as Socrates, Aristotle and Plato, Cradle of Western civilization. 

For those interested in the history of Civilizations Athens is the destination. Come and see some of the 12 places not to be missed, on a visit to Athens.

1.Acropolis

The “Sacred Rock” was thus named for being the highest zone in the city, which is why it has been used for years for religious and spiritual purposes. Here we find some of the most relevant works of Western architecture and of the most impressive monuments of Humanity. With a wealth enviable heritage, the Acropolis is full of Great masterpieces, built in the V century B.C., in Athens Golden Age. Most of these temples and constructions were created to honour the goddess Athens, patron of the city.

The Parthenon is definitely the most impressive (and famous) Construction of the complex. It was built in just six years and was initially used as a church and subsequently, during the Ottoman Empire, as a powder warehouse. Contrary to what it now mirrors, it was a temple full of colours, grand sculptures and friezes that counted the glorious history of a people.

After the Parthenon, the most imposing construction of the Acropolis is the Dioniso Theatre. This is where the classical theatre of Greece took place, it was famous for its comedies and dramas. It Has 15.000 sitting places.

Everywhere there are points of interest as the Temple of the Goddess Nike (Goddess of Victory) and the Temple of Erechtheion, which marks the place where Nike and Poseidon were debated by the patron of the city. Its columns are singular, constituted By imposing statues of female figures, as Caryatids. The original statues can be observed in the Acropolis Museum and each one took about 9 months to be restored, Through a sophisticated laser process. They Originally had arms and were coloured.

What you should know before you visit the Acropolis

Buy the ticket online or arrive too early at the tickets (there are 2).

To get to know the various archaeological sites of the city, buy the combined ticket that costs €30 and entitles you to enter the Acropolis, the Ancient Agora, the Roman Agora, the Teatro de Dionysius, the Kerameikos, the Temple of Olympian Zeus and the Library of Adriano.

You should go early in the morning or at the end of the day, to avoid the heat, especially in the summer months

2. Acropolis Museum

The Acropolis Museum was founded to display all the significant findings found on the Acropolis. The Museum is located at 300 meters a South of the Acropolis and the Main entrance is located at the beginning of Dionysiou Areopagitou Street, a pedestrian passage that forms the central axis of the network of the archaeological sites of the city.

The Museum covers a total area of 25,000 m2, of which 14.000m is exhibit space. The Museum has so much more to see that if we stay only 5 minutes in each piece it will take 15 years to see the whole collection.

Its shape was designed for visitors to maintain visual contact with the Acropolis and the archaeological excavation in their foundations. Among other specificities, I highlight the Glass walls that allow keeping the visual link between the sculptures in the interior and the Acropolis. More than 100 pillars sustain it, protecting the archaeological excavation and, simultaneously, giving the idea that the museum is floating on the air and its inclination through the three floors, reminds the ascent needed to do to reach the top of the Acropolis.

 And all this, alongside the countless sculptures inside, make this one of the most impressive museums of the World.

3. Ágora

The Agora was the old market and heart of the city, the centre of all civic, political, philosophical, commercial, religious and artistic activities. Among other important events, was here that the philosopher Socrates lectured the citizens and the local where the Apostolus S. Paulo’s Yestalk to the people.

The two most imposing buildings of this complex are the temple of Hephaestus and the Stoa of Attalos. The Temple of Hephaestus is one of the best-preserved temples of Greece and is an imposing image when we enter this complex. This Stoa is an impressive building that currently houses the museum of the findings of the Ágora.

4. Roman Forum

When the Romans settled in Athens they changed the central point of the city of Ágora to this location. Smaller and less impressive, the Roman Forum is a very interesting place to visit. The Patio, formerly the heart of commercial activity, and the Tower of the Winds are two highlights. Here is also located the Fethiye Mosque, which survived the Ottoman empire and curiously shifted in the midst of the classic architecture environmentlássica.

5. Mount Filopappos

The Filopappos Mount is a beautiful park of pines and cypress where could be found the best views of the Acropolis. It’s one of the most important places in the history of Democracy, which was born in here, in a place called Pnyx. It was in this area that took place the first meetings of the Congress where representatives of the citizens, debated and decided on the city’s destinies.

The earth and stones trails also lead to the Monument of Filapappos, the National Observatory and two Orthodox churches. One, Agia Marina, is imposing and modern, the other, Agios Dimitrios Loumbardiaris, small and ancient, had a story of resistance to the Ottoman Empire. The legend is that an Ottoman commander tried to destroy the church, but that at the time of the shooting, lightning struck the cannon and prevented its destruction.

6. Temple of Zeus

From the top of the Acropolis, we have seen what appears to us to be an imposing and almost intact classical structure. In the distance it seems impressive and close by, the Temple of Zeus does not disappoint. This once was once one of the largest temples in Greece and is currently one of the best preserved, while still holding 16 of the 104 original columns. Inside the temple Housed A colossal statue of Zeus, In Gold and ivory, similar to the Mount Olympus.

Its construction began in 515 BC but was only terminated by Emperor Adriano 700 years later. The City, in appreciation, built at the entrance of the temple a sumptuous arch in his homage and that Contains A curious inscription: “This is the city of Adriano and not of Theseus”

7. Kerameikos (“The Ceramic”)

This is one of the most curious spaces in the city And it’s Largest necropolis of all Greece. Traversed by the ancient city walls, is the place where many of the Greek heroes who fought in centuries and centuries of war for the defence of the Territory are buried. For this reason, Many of the tombs are gloriously Ornate Like the Tomb of Dionysian, crowned with an imposing lion, or the Tomb of Dexileos, with a warrior on horseback. Kerameikos was still Sacred pathway, of approximately 21 km, the point of passage of priests. For this reason, the Funerary tombs were meant to be seen and admired.

8. Adriano Library

The presence of the Roman Emperor Adriano is visible throughout the city. This Emperor has left a grand work where is included the Temple of Zeus and its Luxury Library. Built in marble and with splendid gardens, patios and even a swimming pool located between the reading rooms, the Library was a space for reflection in the city. Adriano considered that for citizens best enjoy and absorb the knowledge of the scrolls available, they needed an environment of tranquillity and sumptuousness.

9. Square Monastiraki 

Ancient location of an important church and monastery, Monastiraki Square is now one of the liveliest places in the city. Surrounded by several restaurants and starting point for the “Flea Market”, here we can always find animation and things to do.

10. Panathenaic Stadium

The Panathenaic Stadium, also known as Kalimarmaro (‘ beautiful marble ‘) is in the heart of Athens, on the site of the old stadium were, it whereby the forerunners of the current Olympic Games -the Panathinaikos Games. For centuries, several male athletes (nudes) competed here in athletics championships. It is an imposing and unique space in the world, built in white marble and with a capacity for 60,000 spectators. here took place the first Olympic Games of the modern era, in 1896, which were a resounding success and keeps up to the present day.

11. The Neighborhoods of Plaka and Anafiotika

Located at the foot of the Acropolis, Plate Is the oldest district in Athens. A picturesque neighbourhood, with narrow streets, neoclassic houses, shops, restaurants and ruins of the Roman era. It is the ideal place for dinner, followed by a night stroll.

In the most remote area of Plaka, we find Anafiotika, a small neighbourhood located just below the Acropolis. It Is a beautiful area built by builders of the island of Anafi, who here recreated the local constructions, small white and blue houses, giving this neighbourhood a very distinctive environment. It’s full of narrow streets and minimal passageways.

12. Syntagma Metro Station

Any Construction in Atenas What Precise of Drilling the soil can But Beginning à Discovery of another archaeological site. This is precisely what happened at the beginning of the construction of the Metro for the Olympic Games. The excavation of the Syntagma station expos thousands of archaeological pieces of civilizations that have occupied this place for centuries. The station was then built in harmony with the underground excavation, allowing its close coexistence and that everyone who spends there daily can admire the place and some of the pieces found.

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