14 Jun2008

The Acropolis

by Marketman

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The Acropolis or “high city,” sits on a limestone hill or plateau, with a commanding 360 degree view of the surrounding plains, mountain ranges and the sea around Athens. My history is weak, and you can read all about it in your guidebooks, but suffice it to say, this place is awe-inspiring. The area has been inhabited for thousands of years, and the ruins photographed here date back as much as 2,500 years! The buildings ware in much better shape until the last four hundred years when plunder, war, bombs, etc. have left it in its current state. That such detailed architectural and sculptural wonders were planned and completed in the fifth century B.C. is simply mind-boggling. And all of these buildings done without modern day cranes, calculators, or computers! The main building on the Acropolis is the Parthenon, the one with several imposing columns, and it was built in honor of the goddess Athena.

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The area must be at least a couple of hundred meters up with a relatively steep climb to get there; go early and rest along the way…

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Thousands of rocks from other structures in the vicinity are visible on the climb up. From ampitheaters, to baths, to storage facilities, minor temples, etc., this must be one of the world’s largest jigsaw puzzles which will probably never be completed.

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I am not that old, but I can tell you the trek up to the top was a challenge. I would have paid $20 for an escalator ride or even a lift from a hot air balloon. Ski lift maybe…

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But once you get to the top, the ancient buildings up close are just stunning, impressive and certainly worth the effort. And the surrounding views of Athens are wonderful!

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From the top you can also make out many other ancient buildings and with the help of our trusty guidebook, we started to plot our sightseeing schedule for the days ahead…

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Is the Acropolis one of the most recognizable and impressive man-made sites on the planet? Definitely. Now if only they relaxed a bit and sold some Diet Cokes up there for weary Marketmen…

 

COMMENTS:

  1. quiapo says:

    The columns were constructed to be wider at the top than at the bottom so that the optical illusion of receding at the top would be less pronounced.

    Jun 14, 2008 | 6:14 am

     
  2. Apicio says:

    Sets my teeth on edge whenever I reread that this shrine to chryselephantine Athena (quite imposing even in its ruined state) was where the Ottomans chose to stash gunpowder. The English of course were prescient enough to have picked up the scattered pieces (of its frieze) and shipped them away to become one of the charms of the British Museum, the Elgin marbles. Present day Greeks have been trying to repatriate them for some time now. I wonder if they are also trying to retrieve the Aphrodite of Melos from the French who actually snatched them right from the mouth of a kiln that converted them to masonry lime or my absolute favorite, in an obscure stairwell in another part of the Louvre, the colossal pinkish winged Victory, the goddess Nike from the island of Samothrace.

    Quiapo, the columns actually gently swell around the middle, a technique of optical adjustment (somebody suggested, not me) they must have borrowed from the fashioning of their anatomically faithful phallic monuments.

    Jun 14, 2008 | 7:46 am

     
  3. Marketman says:

    Apicio, you make me smile, and a post on statues in the days ahead will reveal why. As for the columns, yes, they are slightly thicker in the middle. The Elgin marbles are still heavily sought after. And while the Ottomans stocked the gunpowder, I think it was the Venetians who attacked them and as a result, blew the roof off the Acropolis in the 1600’s?…

    Jun 14, 2008 | 8:03 am

     
  4. shalimar says:

    I have been to the British Museum and saw the Elgin marbles god damn they should return them …

    Jun 14, 2008 | 10:05 am

     
  5. shalimar says:

    My Sunday walk is always around the Acropolis I never get bored seeing this great wonder….

    Jun 14, 2008 | 10:06 am

     
  6. Naz says:

    This is an off-topic and I hope you don’t mind me posting this find. This is Journey’s (complete video, in 3 20+ minutes segment) concert in Chile. As you probably know by now, their lead singer is a kapwa Filipino. In case you don’t find this appropriate in your blogsite, please, feel free to delete this one, but if you’re into Pinoys’ greatness, a blog entry is most appreciated.
    http://arnelpineda-intlsite.com/videos%20pg3%20-%202008%20feb21%20chile.html

    Jun 14, 2008 | 2:00 pm

     
  7. quiapo says:

    It has been 35 years since I have been to the Parthenon, and I am sure you are right, the columns swell towards the middle.
    I do remember buying a souvenir from one of the stalls on the way to the Parthenon, and the vendor correctly idetifying me as Filipino. He prided himself on his ability fo pick customers’ nationality, and told me he was able to support his 2 children’s schooling in Switzerland from the proceeds of his humble stall.
    It is amazing that you can appreciate and have the same sense of wonder 35 years after I did, and no doubt, even my great, great grandchildre will be able to stand in the same spot and experice what I have done. Magi places like the Parthenon link us all through space and time, whereever we come from, from whatever era.

    Jun 14, 2008 | 4:18 pm

     
  8. thelma says:

    i love history and archeology. i truly enjoy your pictures and the info…

    Jun 15, 2008 | 3:43 am

     
  9. navyGOLF says:

    I had a chance to visit a miniature version of the Parthenon in Nashville, Tennessee and the replica would have been majestic enough what more if you can actually see the ruins of the real thing… nice pictures MM!!! Thanks for sharing. Greece will now be on my top destinations to visit in my lifetime next to Holy Land and Morocco.

    Jun 18, 2008 | 5:16 am

     
 

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