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  • Day13

    The main event, The Accropolis

    October 4, 2017 in Greece ⋅ ⛅ 23 °C

    The Acropolis and the Parthenon. Wow. Amazing. Breathtaking.

    The Parthenon is considered by many, particularly the Greeks to be the symbol of ancient Greece and the birthplace of democracy. I can now see why. This monumental structure was built in 9 years from 447BC - 438BC although decoration continued through to 432BC. It was designed as a temple for the goddess Athena, the patron of Athens.

    It is believed the Parthenon replaced an older temple of Athena that was destroyed in the Persian Invasion. As was Athenian custom the temple also doubled as the city treasury. Sometime in the 6th Century AD the temple was converted into Christian church. In the 1460s after the Ottoman conquest it was converted to a mosque. In 1687 the building was severely damaged as a of result of fighting between the Ottomans and the Venetians. In the early 1800s a significant amount of the sculptures were removed from the temple and sold into private collections. The Greek government has actively been trying to repatriate this artwork. Given that some of these pieces have been in the British Museum since 1816 I think they have no chance. But I hope I am wrong.

    The Parthenon is currently partially covered by scaffolding, initially I was disappointed to have an obstructed view. However, I overheard a guide talking about the painstaking restoration operation and how without it this monument would completely collapse. In a nutshell, they locate a marble stone slab that is structurally unsound, measure it's dimensions and create a concrete replica. The replica replaces the marble and then they find local marble of the same colour to replace the broken slab. The marble is prepared using a mixture of traditional and modern techniques to ensure that in time new and old marble will blend and she together. The new marble replaces the concrete slab once it is prepared.

    But the Acropolis is home to more than just the Parthenon. It has beautiful 360° degree views of the city. I also liked the temple dedicated to Nike and there was plenty more on the slopes of the Acropolis. The highlights for me were the Theatre of Dionysus, Odeon of Herodes Atticus and the cave on the south-eastern slope.

    After being in Greece for a number of days we were yet to try souvlaki, we had been recommended to try Thanasis Souvlaki in Monasteraki. To be frank this was the most disappointing meal of the trip to date. It was tough, unflavoured, chewy meat and there was minimal sauce leaving us with a very boring and tasteless souvlaki.

    We finished the night A for Athens, a roof top bar in Monasteraki. It has amazing views of the Acropolis and lovely (but pricey) cocktails. A perfect to finish a big day. Despite the price this place is worth a visit.
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