The Acropolis and Athens

2015/01/20-24: Athens
We spent four nights in Athens, but between recovering from the boat trip and preparing our bikes for the flight to Vancouver, not much time was left for touristing. We did, however, see the main sites. We spent one day seeing the Acropolis and surrounding outdoor areas, and one day walking in the gardens and seeing the New Acropolis Museum.

One cannot view the Parthenon without considering its columns. The Minoan columns we had seen on Crete were wider at the top than at the bottom; this was because they were made of a tree trunk — and having the trunk upside down inhibits regrowth. The Minoan columns look strange to my eye, however. The Doric columns of the Parthenon look perfect, and it takes an informed eye to notice the techniques used to make them look perfect: the corner columns are thicker, the columns are thinner at the top than the bottom but bulge slightly in the middle, the centre column is slightly longer than the corner ones giving he plinth a slight arch, and columns tilt inwards slightly. While I think the ingenuity shown by such refinements it amazing, I think the statue columns on the Erechtheion are the most interesting.

Being at the Acropolis in January means that you do not have pictures with blue sky’s but it also means the crowds are limited.

The Parthenon

The Parthenon

The statue columns of the Erechtheion, at the Acropolis.

The statue columns of the Erechtheion, at the Acropolis.

Temple of Hephaestus as seen from the Acropolis.

Temple of Hephaestus as seen from the Acropolis.

Byzantine Church, probably built early in the 13th century.  (Church of Theotokos Gorgoepikoos & Ayios Eleytherios)

Byzantine Church, probably built early in the 13th century.
(Church of Theotokos Gorgoepikoos & Ayios Eleytherios)

The New Acropolis Museum is architecturally magnificent. It is built so as to house the marble carvings and statues that adorn the Parthenon, and other buildings of the Acropolis. But the key of the design is the Parthenon cravings are located in exactly the same positions that they would be on the Parthenon, only in a controlled environment and in a manner that makes it easy for the visitor to appreciate them. Being an Englishman, visiting this building is not easy, as it clearly is the correct place to store the Elgin Marbles stolen by Lord Elgin from the Parthenon and currently held in London. We have no pictures from in the museum because cameras are not allowed.

Getting to the airport was interesting. Taxis in Athens are sedan cars and our bike boxes do not fit in them. We got a 12 person van to take us to the airport. On the way we got an explanation of all that is wrong with the Greek government from the driver. This was timely because the next day was Election Day.

C

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