Tag Archives: acropolis

Athina – Part 2

The Acropolis isn’t just about the Parthenon – there are other temples there as well. We entered the complex through the Propylaea, the main gates.

On the Acropolis

Through it, you can see the city and the mountains.

On the Acropolis

Athens does seem to go on forever nowadays, but not long before, it occupied only the immediate valleys.

On the Acropolis

The Erechteion is the most well-preserved, and I think most beautiful, of all the existing temples.

On the Acropolis

However, the Ancient Greeks weren’t the only ones to build here. Down below are the remains of two Roman amphitheaters. This one, the Odeon of Herodes Atticus, is still used for concerts in the summer.

Odeon of Herodes Atticus

The Acropolis however isn’t the only thing to see in Athens. I’ll show you some more sights in my next post.

Athina – Part 1

Welcome to Greece, and to Athens! It certainly was a change, coming to almost sultry Athens from cold London. The light, the people, the atmosphere, the history, the food, the traffic; yes, it was all different from the UK.

On the Acropolis

We’ll start off at the top – on top of the most famous landmark in the city, the Acropolis. As you can see from the view above, the Acropolis is a hill on which the ancient temples stood. The most (in)famous of them being the Parthenon.

On the Acropolis

Given that the building is some 2500 years old, it needed a bit of maintenance and restoration.

On the Acropolis

The temple is being pulled apart piece by piece, and then joined back together using laser technology – a costly business considering how many pieces there were left to be joined back together.

On the Acropolis

This is also the scene of some daylight robbery by the British. The Greeks, as you can see, want the stolen friezes back, but as I explained before, the British are having none of it.

On the Acropolis

Consequently, all the friezes still in Athens are now housed in a special museum just down the hill. The New Acropolis Museum has been built so that its dimensions and alignment match the original.

On the Acropolis

From the museum, you can clearly see the Parthenon above.

New Acropolis Museum

And inside are the tablets, all in its original configuration. There were even casts of the British Museum ones – better than nothing.

New Acropolis Museum

The details on the marble were fantastic, considering how old they were. The Roman Empire was some 300 years away, and Britain was just a collection of tribes. Since then it’s housed a mosque and a church, and was almost destroyed in the war between the Ottomans and the Venetians. It must cost billions to restore, but Greece ploughs on. Considering that Plato and Aristotle, foundations of Western Civilisation, walked there, it is not just Greek history they are preserving, but the world’s.

British Museum – Part 5

The jewel in the crown of the British Museum, in my opinion, were the Grecian galleries. I mean, what can you say when you see a whole temple before you?

Greek Galleries

How all of these pieces got here is rather controversial. In the early 19th Century, a certain Lord Elgin (then British Ambassador to the Ottoman Empire) obtained permission from the Ottomans to remove sculptures from the Parthenon and other buildings. The British government later purchased his ‘loot’ and it has been on display at the British Museum ever since.

Greek Galleries

One can’t deny that they are exquisite up close; so beautifully formed, and surprisingly well-preserved.

Greek Galleries

Greek Galleries

The debate on whether Britain should return them has raged ever since. The British have currently refused to give them back, but the British weren’t the only ones who removed pieces from Greece – some other startling pieces of Ancient Greece are also in Paris, Berlin and Munich.

Greek Galleries

Having now seen the rest of the existing Parthenon sculptures in Athens itself (which I will go through when I post about Greece), it was probably good that they went to a museum early on and not been exposed to 20th Century Athens pollution. But having seen what a good job the Greeks have done with the new Acropolis museum, I see no reason why the British (and others who have taken from the Parthenon) can’t return them now. What do you think?