Things to See in Athens – Acropolis – Greece
The Acropolis is the star attraction of Greece and is very much on the itinerary of every visitor to Athens. It contains four ancient buildings with most of the artifacts from the temples being housed in the Acropolis museum.
On the Acropolis are the Temple of Athena Nike, the Erechtheion and Propylaea and on the south slope are the Dionysus Theatre, one of the oldest theatres built in the 4th century BC and the very beautiful Odeon of Herodes Atticus which was built by the Roman ruler Herodes Atticus in the 2nd century AD. The Dionysus hosted plays like Euripides, Aristophanes, Sophocles and Aeschylus. The Herodes Atticus amphitheatre seats 5,000 spectators and nowadays is used to host the Athens Festival during summer.
The fame of the Acropolis may cause it to be the victim of its own popularity. On this visit, there were three cruise liner loads of visitors and the long queues and jostling by some made the visit quite unpleasant. Sadly too, these appear to be the budget cruises and many of the passengers were keen to rush up to the site, pose for photos at every building… and that appeared to the extent of their interest. One of our fellow travellers had been there some 50 years ago and he was most disappointed at this experience. He recalled from his earlier visits how he was able to wander around and enjoy the serenity of the place and soak in its history. Peter would most certainly not return again. Would Perikles have been pleased to see that the building work that he had envisioned to represent the political and cultural achievements of Greece is now flooded by mass tourism?
On the south porch of the Erechtheion is the Porch of the Caryatids. Statues of women were used to support the roof, in place of columns. This is one of my favourite sights. The originals of the statues have been replaced by casts and four of the originals can be seen in the Acropolis Museum. The Propylaia was built in 437 BC to form a new entrance to the Acropolis and then there’s the Temple of Athena Nike, the Parthenon and the two theatres, all star attractions.
In spite of the crowds, a visit to the Acropolis is a must and maybe next time the gods will be kind to us and spare us from cruise liners.