Although Athens is a bustling modern capital city, it still holds the ancient Acropolis and all of its history high enough for everyone to remember. The core of the city is built on a hill with steep sides, providing an excellent defensive site. It is protected by a ring of lower hills, and by two rivers that flow into the sea nearby. The Athenian port of Piracus is only six miles away. It is from that location that the stones were cut and hauled to build the structures at the Acropolis.
We arrived in Athens, Greece in the early morning. As we docked, and throughout the day, our ship was patrolled by a Greek Coast Guard vessel. While this isn't uncommon, it was most obvious in Athens.
We left the ship and boarded a bus that would take us through the city and to our final destination, the Acropolis. In the right photo you can see the Olympic Arena under construction in the distance. Most of the photos that follow of the city are taken from a traveling bus. It left little time for photo composition or lighting adjustment. However, it did provide for the opportunity to capture a glimpse of Athens as we quickly passed through.
As we drove through the town we passed the arena that would be a centerpiece for the Olympic Games that were to be held in only three months.
This is an arched entrance to the Pnyx - an amphitheater. The photo on the right is a telephoto close-up of the structure in the distance.
On our way to the Acropolis we stop to visit the ruins of the Pnyx, a small crowded amphitheater where the Assembly met and debated political issues. Since each citizen had the right to speak and vote, the Pnyx is the true home of Athenian democracy.
These are some photos and signs that tell of the restoration efforts being done by the Ministry of Culture and their restoration efforts of the Acropolis.
This is a sign and helpful (???) map for visitors who will make their way up the hill to the Acropolis. It will be a long walk to the top to the Acropolis - "High City"
The photo on the right is the Tower of the Winds.
From the pathway at the Tower of the Winds we could see Athens in the distance. These are telephoto pictures of some interesting buildings in the distance.
Compare the detail of the building corner with the corner (same corner) of the next photo. Notice how the blocks of stone interlock. The stone with the carving is a single stone.
It would be nice if we could remember the names of these buildings. Although the guide told us the names and significance they all tended to blend together into one unintelligible mess. We just enjoyed the magnitude of them.
We were intrigued with the columns that were carved to represent feminine figures.
This is the Acropolis as it stands today. In about 20 years or so it will look quite different. It is being reconstructed using the original stones that have been found plus new stones that are cut to replace those that have become permanently lost. If you look carefully at the left corner of the supporting beam you will see a portion of the sloping roof. The left photo is the detail contained in that portion.
Notice the similarity of the construction of the beams with those at Pompeii. At the time the buildings were constructed it was impossible to transport and lift a stone to span the entire distance. Thus, a series of small stones were 'keyed together' to form the illusion of one piece.
Likewise, this is the right (opposite) detail of the same building.
Lynn doesn't get his picture taken often as he is the one with the camera. This is to prove that he really was there. Actually, having been around so many ruins in such a short time he began to feel like a ruin himself.
Again, notice the 'white' stones that are intermixed with the 'yellow' stones. The white stones are new stones used in the reconstruction fitted between the original stones. Crystal really got chewed out by the guard behind her. Apparently, it is a no-no to touch the stones.
The above is a map that is used to tell us where we are. Apparently, we are in the red area within the yellow pathway. Our exit is along the green path.
These are some photos taken from the hill side by the Acropolis of the surrounding buildings below.
The big hill of rock you see in the photo would be what we would call a courtroom. A close-up of the rock is the photo on the right. This is where the accused would stand in the middle and the judges would decide and pronounce judgment as it was considered to be a public trial.
On our way down we passed a building ruin. If you look in the middle of the left photo you can see the lion statues sitting on the walkway.
We pass what once was a drinking fountain and a source for water when the Acropolis was occupied.
This is a sign that depicts the overall plan of the reconstruction of the Acropolis and how it will handle pedestrian traffic.
It is once more time to take our last pictures of the Acropolis and return to our ship.
You can see how crowded the streets are. Notice the little car parked on the sidewalk. It is called a Smart Car that hold two passengers. The passenger seat is just in front of the rear tire.
Many of the streets are narrow and crowded. Notice the bus how it is built to bend and fold as the bus turns a corner.
Notice the variety of buildings throughout the city. Some are ancient building with new modern structures built adjacent to them.
The photo on the left is a branch of "The University of New York." We were intrigued with the chimney flues.
This is what we would refer to as a City Hall.
Small shops abound in the city.
The sides of trucks carry colorful advertising. The photo on the right is a motorcycle / auto dealership.
Lynn was surprised with the wooden scaffolding that the men were working on. Of all the graffiti we have seen in our travels, this was the prettiest. If the guide wouldn't have told us it was graffiti, we would have thought is was a mural.
This is a typical busy street corner. St. Nicholas Church is on the right photo. It was taken with a telephoto from the ship.
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