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Travelogue: By Country | By Date Greece | February 2001  

February 2001 - The Acropolis

A beautiful place (and a beautiful place for a picnic)

The top of the Acropolis.  It was a place of  sanctuary since earliest times.  Could there be a better place to build a temple?  The Parthenon is on the left; The  Erechtheum on the right.  The goddess Monica is on the far right.
Herodes Atticus, a rich Roman, built a 5,000-seat odeum as a memorial to his wife in AD 161. A conventional Roman theatre except that the semicircular auditorium was hollowed out of the rock, it was roofed in cedar and had a three-story facade of arches. Repaired but roofless, it is now used for the Athens summer festival. Tote at the Propylaea, the entryway to the Acropolis. The Propylaea without invader
The Parthenon.  This picture doesn't do it the faintest justice.  The Parthenon seems both solid and light simultaneously.  Though everything about the outside columns appears vertical and solid, there is acually no straight, vertical line in the whole thing.  Each vertical is almost imperceptibly bowed to a vanishing point some 11,500 feet in the sky. The columns get thinner toward the center of the colonnade and the space between them gets smaller. They also lean slightly toward the center.  We think we can see these differences but we're not sure.  The Turks used the Parthenon as a powder magazine, when, on September 26, 1687, Venetian artillery scored a direct hit. The Venetians tried to lower tried to swipe Athena's horses from the pediment, but they goofed and the horses smashed the rock below. The Turks regained possession of the Acropolis the following year and later began selling souvenirs to Europeans, including the Duc de Choiseul and Lord Elgin. Elgin took home 50 pieces, the "Elgin Marbles," most of the remaining Parthenon sculpture.  He later sold them to the British Museum for 35,000 pounds. (Elgin's shipping charges were 75,000, a huge sum for those days.) This is the Erechtheum, originally dedicated to both Athena and Poseidon, it was the most venerated of the Acropolis temples. It later became a church under the Byzantines and then the Turkish commander's harem. Part of the Erechtheum Erechtheum
New pieces for the Acropolis. Rebuilders The woman with the plans Duncan, Tote, and Dad in the Acropolis museum
Sculpture from earlier Parthenon.  Greek sculputures, though we are accustomed to seeing them in pure white, were nearly all painted. Athena from earlier Parthenon.  Athena
Rebuilding the Parthenon Down below is the Theatre of Dionysus. It replaced the Agora stage as the drama centre. It also replaced the Pnyx as the meeting place for the popular assembly. What is now visible is largely Roman. Checking out the Theater Reconstructing the Acropolis
Sketching Helpers on the great Acropolis project.  Just before the guard put an end to the project. Erechtheum There are many cafes on the tiny streets up to the Acropolis
What much of the rest of Athens looks like. Tote watching construction from the balcony with cathedral in the background Dome of the cathedral with our constant companion, the crane Working on a game
Front of the cathedral.  Inside, people kiss icons, light candles, and write pleas on little slips of paper which they push into a little box. View of the Acropolis from our hotel room.