|Athens Points Of Interest|
Acropolis: The rock of the Acropolis rises up in the middle of the Athenian basin, 156m. above sea level, with a length of 300m. and a width of 150m. The rock of Acropolis, with the ruins of the Parthenon rising above it, is the ultimate archetypal image of the western culture. Its position is of particular strategic importance because of the view it affords of all the surrounding area, all the way to the sea.
Ancient Agora: The Agora was the most important part of every city-state in ancient Greece. It was the center of life, of economic, social, political and judicial activity, as well as the main commercial center. The Ancient Agora of Athens covers an area of about 10 acres. It lies below the Acropolis, south of the hill of the Areopagus. On the north side of the Ancient Agora are the ruins of a structure known as Basilica, from the 2nd century AD, and a portico from a civic building from the 1st century AD. Here are also the remains of the "Politiki Stoa". It was erected in the 5th century BC with a Doric colonnade on the facade and an Ionic one in the interior. The philosopher Zeno, whose adherents were called Stoics, also taught there. In the central area of the Ancient Agora are the ruins of the sanctuary named Leokoreon. South of the "Poikili Stoa" are the ruins of the Altar of the Twelve Gods and even further south the Temple and the Altar of Aris (Mars). In the center of the market was the Odeon of Agrippa and the Gymnasium. The entire central space of the Agora was full of votive offerings. Roman Agora: Lying east of the Ancient Agora, the Roman Agora has actually nothing to do with Romans, but took this name because it was created during the Roman times -1st century AD- in order to serve a growing Athens. It constitutes a self-sufficient space and is entered from Aiolou Street. Among its well-known buildings is the Agoranomeion for the Market Authorities, the Portico, and the Gate of Athena Archigetis (The Leader).
Kolonaki/Lycabettus: The Chic Square of Athens is Kolonaki, officially known as Philikis Etaireias Square. Some of the most fashionable stores in Athens are located on Kolonaki square and the surrounding streets, along with many pastry-shops, cafeterias and bistros which are crowded all day long. The Gennadios Library is on Soudias St., and specializes in Greek publications after 1453. The excellent Museum of Cycladic Art is housed on Neophytou Douka St. The funicular railway that goes to the top of Lycabettus is in the Kolonaki area. Lycabettus is always beautiful! You can climb it throughout the year and enjoy the superb view that it offers. You can reach the hill either on foot following the stairs, or by car taking the road that leads to the theater of Lycabettus. But the most romantic way to reach Lycabettus, is with the funicular railway thats starts from Kolonaki and goes all the way to the top (275 m.). During antiquity the hill was called Aychesmos Lycabettus. During the times of Pausanias, Aychesmos Lycabettus had a statue of Zeus Aychesmios at its summit. Lycabettus hill is mentioned in Aristophanes' "Clouds" and in Plato's "Critias". During the Middle ages there was a chapel to the Prophet Elijah at its summit. Today there is a chapel to St. George which was built after 1835. On its northwest side is a cave with the small church of St. Isidore. During the summer, the Lycabettus theater hosts various theatrical performances and concerts. It is a spacious theater with 5,000 seats and occupies one of the most inspiring and idyllic sites in Athens.
Parthenon: Seen from the Propylaia, the Acropolis is dominated by the Parthenon, set on the rock's highest ground. Parthenon is one of the worlds most stunning sights. Even its constructors, however, could not have anticipated that their temple would come to symbolize no less than the emergence of human civilization. The erection began in 447 BC, and the inauguration was held in 438 BC during the celebration of the Panathenaic Games. The sculptural decoration of the building would be completed in 432 BC. Iktinos and Kallikratis are known as the architects of the Parthenon. The temple is Doric, peripheral, with eight columns on each façade and 17 columns on the long sides.
Plaka: The neighborhood of the Gods, as Greeks and foreigners alike have named it, singing its praises. Located on the northeastern slopes of the Acropolis rock, Plaka was the center of Athens since antiquity. Plaka holds it's fascination as it manages to preserve the sense and the aroma of a more romantic and carefree era, despite the growth of the city during the last decades.
Stadium: The Panathenaic Stadium was built on Ardittus hill next to the Ilissos river. In 330 BC Lykourgos built this stadium of stone. In 140 AD Herod Atticus renovated it, adding marble and a majestic Propylaia. The track has a length of 204 m. and a width of 33.36 m. The course was marked out by herms instead of ordinary distance markers. The herms were square columns with the busts of Dionysios and Apollon. Only four of these columns have been found. The Panathenaic Games were held in the stadium and included all the usual contests. The winner's trophy was an amphora, which contained olive oil from Athena's olive tree. In 1896, with the revival of the institution of the Olympic Games, the first games were held here 1,500 years after the final ancient Olympic games. Soon, in the year 2004, Panathenaic stadium will be the starting point for the Olympic Games of Athens with the ceremony of the"Holly Flame".
Temple of Olympian Zeus: The Columns of the Temple of Olympian Zeus rise up in one of the most beautiful settings in Athens. This area, because of its proximity to the Ilissos river, has been inhabited since prehistoric times. Here was the center of the town, and where tradition places the oldest sanctuaries such as the sanctuary of Olympian Zeus, the Pythion and the sanctuary of Gaia. According to Pausanias, the site is connected to the myth of the creation of the human race. Devkalion,according to the myth, was the founder of the sanctuary of Æeus. He and his wife Pyrha, were the only human beings who survived from the Great Flood. he temple that was built here was one of the largest in Greece and the largest built in the Corinthian style. Its foundations were laid by Peisistratos in the 6th century BC. It was completed in the 2nd century AD by Hadrian. The temple is built on a large rectangle, 250 m. long and 130 m. wide. On the north side there was a Portico with four columns and the main entrance. The temple is dipteral with eight columns. Today 16 columns have survived of the original total of 108. Of these, one lies on the ground since 1852, when it was hit by a bolt of lighting.
Theseio: At the peak of Agoraios Kolonos hill is the best preserved temple of antiquity, the Theseio. The Theseio or the Temple of Hephaestus, is a peripheral temple, the same as the Parthenon. It was built with pentelic marble. It has 13 columns on its long side and 6 on its narrow. The feats of Hercules and Theseus are engraved in relief on its metopes. The Theseio was built during the time of Pericles. After 1821, it was the only closed and covered space usable as a museum, the first national archaeological museum of modern Greece. During the early years of Christianity the temple was converted into the church of Saint George. There was also a square building on the same hill known as the Skevothiki, a small sanctuary from the 2nd century BC, that was dedicated to Demos and the Three Graces.