Everyone knows that Athens is the historical capital of Europe so you can bet that when I decided to move there for a couple of months in 2016 I thought I pretty much knew everything I needed to know. I mean, I’ve taken Mythology classes in grade school, I read up on global history consistently, and I see magical pictures of Athens and Greece every time I go on Instagram so I thought I had it all down. I couldn’t have been more wrong. There is so much to Athens that I didn’t know, like about the fact that Athens was pretty much a ghost town after the good old days until the 1800’s when a Dutch aristocrat thought “I have so much money I don’t know what to do with it. I know, I’ll build a city.”
I really had no knowledge of Greek food. “Feta? Yeah..that’s Greek right?” While yes, feta is indeed Greek, so are dolmades, souvlakis, spanikopitas, and literally the best salad you’ll ever have in your life. More on the food here.
Today, we are going to focus on the ruins around the city of Athens. There are so many ancient structures worth visiting around the country of Greece but I think that the ones in the capital city are the most well known and those are what I have pictures of sooo enjoy!
Easily one of the photos I am most proud of. This is the Parthenon, the former temple dedicated to the goddess Athena, built in 447 B.C. (But you already knew that).
This is the Gate of Athena Archegitis in the Roman Agora that you can find a little north of the Acropolis. Be sure to grab a Mythos at one of the many restaurants lining the path around the temple but be careful because food can get expensive around ruins and a little too crowded with socks and sandals wearing tourists.
Stadium near the Acropolis called Odeon of Herodes Atticus, which has been used since 161 AD for events and concerts. It is still in use today!
The Temple of Hephaestus was the most well preserved temple that I saw in Athens. You can almost imagine walking through with your gladiator sandals and white robe having conversations in ancient Greek. The reason why it is so intact is because it’s been used as a church, as a museum, and currently stays well maintained. The ticket is worth the price but students get in free! (Tip for you auxiliares in Spain; I used my TIE and my student card from my old university in Minnesota to get a free ticket).
In the early 19th century, Lord Elgin from Scotland removed one of the original caryatids with a permit granted to him from the government of the Ottoman Empire (who ruled Greece at this point in time) and is now on display at the British Museum. The others are held right in Athens at the Acropolis Museum.
Not really a ruin but I thought this statue of Plato and Athena in the background in front of the Academy of Athens was pretty cool.
The Arc of Hadrian was built to celebrate the arrival of the Roman Emperor and to honor him for the many attributions he gave to the city.
I just really loved the gold and marble with the frescoes in this building which I actually can’t remember what it is used for.
And that’s all I have for Athens for now so stay tuned for the next one!