- Temples of Athens
- Museum life
- City life
- Gardens and parks
- Festive Athens
Athens is the heart of Greece, steeped in history, where even the most sophisticated tourist can easily find what to see. As in any other city, dating back millennia from the day of its appearance, the achievements of antiquity and objects of modern art harmoniously coexist on the territory of Athens. Going to the Greek capital, make your excursion program more varied and include not only the popular places of the city.
Temples of Athens
Numerous temples of the city are its hallmark and represent the most valuable cultural heritage of the country. Each of the structures is included in the list of specially protected attractions, which testifies to their importance. Among the most visited temples, we note the following:
- The Erechtheion, located in the central and holiest part of the Acropolis. The date of the foundation of the temple is 421-406 BC. The building was erected in the Ionic style in honor of Athena, Poseidon and King Erechtheus. Initially, the main relics of the city were kept in the temple, passed down from generation to generation. Over the centuries, the Erechtheion has been repeatedly destroyed and rebuilt. Today, almost 70% of the building has been reconstructed by replacing the original caryatids with replicas made of Pentelian marble.
- Olympion (Temple of Zeus) is located five hundred kilometers from the Acropolis and is considered the largest building of its kind in the country. The construction of the landmark began in the 6th century BC and ended in the 2nd century AD. According to popular legend, the temple was built on the site of the sanctuary of Deucalion, which is recognized as the forefather of the people of Greece. In different periods of its existence, Olympion was used by the kings as a defensive structure, a place for celebrating events, etc. To this day, 13 columns, decorated with capitals, have survived from the temple.
- Hephaisteion (Temple of Hephaestus) can be seen after reaching the Agora hill and the square of the same name. For a long time, the temple was called Theseion due to the erroneous assumption that the remains of the great hero Theseus were buried in it. The structure was built in 460-420 BC. The outer structure is made in the form of a peripter filled with tall columns. Inside the building, there were bronze sculptures depicting Hephaestus and Athena Ergana. The walls are attracted by the removal of frescoes telling about the 9 exploits of Hercules. Beginning in the middle of the 20th century, the staff of the American School of Classical Studies reconstructed the temple, after which it was opened to the public.
Athens is literally famous all over the world for its museums and their unique collections. At the same time, the theme of museums is very wide and covers layers of history, rooted in the ancient era. If you come to the capital of Greece, you should definitely visit:
- National Museum, which offers the richest exposition. You can find the attraction near the Panepistimio metro station. At first glance, the building is striking in its grandeur and beauty. Once inside, you will enter a world of archaeological finds and relics. Statues, vases, porcelain items, old costumes belonging to politicians and revolutionaries, archival documents, Byzantine armor, weapons, coins - all of this is exhibited in 5 halls.
- The Archaeological Museum, recognized as the largest in the country, contains exhibits dating back to the 7th century BC. Thanks to the efforts of the leadership, a valuable collection of ceramics and sculptures was collected in one area. Also within the walls of the museum there is an exposition of products made of gold and other precious metals. All the halls are divided according to the name of the culture they reflect. For example, the hall of the Mycenaean, Cycladic, Romanesque cultures.
- The Acropolis Museum was opened at the end of the 19th century, when archaeologists decided to exhibit exhibits discovered during excavations. An interesting fact is that in 2007, at the foot of the Acropolis, a new museum building was erected, featuring the latest equipment. The floor of the building is made of glass, under which the ruins of ancient houses are clearly visible. All rooms are filled with bas-reliefs, sculptures, religious objects and other artifacts found in the Acropolis area dating back to the 19th century.
- The Numismatics Museum will be appreciated not only by collectors, but also by ordinary people who are fond of coins. The museum was founded on the basis of the famous mansion in Athens, where the archaeologist Heinrich Schliemann lived. Therefore, one of the halls is dedicated to his life and professional success. The rest of the collection is made up of coins, medals, unusual precious stones, existing in a single copy. In addition to the excursion, visitors are invited to get acquainted with the methods of metal processing in the manufacture of coins, as well as their minting.
Athens is a city of contrasts and a special atmosphere. To fully experience this and see the Greek capital from different angles, head to areas such as Plaka and Monastiraki.
Getting to the streets of Monastiraki, you are automatically transported to several centuries ago due to the fact that there is a huge market here that has not changed its traditions for many years. Noisy merchants, an abundance of souvenirs, grocery stalls with olives, cheeses, seafood and wine - this is just a small part of what is on sale. Separately, it should be noted that from 7 am until late at night, antique furniture is sold on the market at an acceptable cost.
After Monastiraki, do not be too lazy to look into Plaka - the center of cobbled streets, miniature houses built in the Greek style, as well as taverns and shops. In this area, you can taste national cuisine, walk along the pedestrian zone and take great photos.
Those who want to see Athens from above are advised to go to the highest peak of the city called Lycabettus. It is better to do this in the evening, when all the iconic landmarks are illuminated with colorful illumination, creating a three-dimensional effect. On Lycabettus, locals and guests of the city gather every day to see with their own eyes the beauty of the grandiose metropolis.
Gardens and parks
Tired of the sweltering heat, take an excursion to the National Garden, located in the center near the Parliament building. Here you will be pleasantly surprised by the original landscape design, the presence of many exotic trees, plants and secluded recreation areas.
The initiative to create the garden belonged to Queen Amalia, who in 1839 ordered the planting of more than 15,000 trees and ornamental plants brought specially from Milan. Gradually, the collection of flora was replenished, and by 1923 the garden was officially declared a national treasure.
Today the garden, without exaggeration, can be called a "green" open-air museum, since some of the trees are of the same age. For the children's audience, a library and playgrounds were built already in the 20th century, and adults enjoy spending time next to artificial reservoirs where turtles and fish live.
Music connoisseurs are attracted by the Athenian garden, stretched out in front of Megaro Musikis. The territory of the garden is surrounded by a living fence made of laurel and eucalyptus trees. This is followed by a series of centuries-old oaks, cypresses, orange trees and magnolias. In the middle of the garden there is a playground with a lawn, where vacationers can sit and enjoy the performance of the best bands of the city. The advantages of this place are free admission and concert programs.
Throughout the year in Greece, various festivals and public holidays are celebrated, having visited which you will be imbued with the culture of this amazing country.
Christmas and New Years open the winter galaxy of festivities. These celebrations are especially revered, therefore, mass events, folk festivals are held throughout the country, exhibitions are organized where the works of craftsmen are presented.
February is the Greek Maslenitsa or Apocries. The holiday is celebrated on a grand scale in Tirnavos, where it is worth going to the phallic festival, which took place in pagan times.
On the night of April 7-8, Ruketopolemos, known as missile warfare, is held in the city of Vrontados. It consists in the fact that with the onset of dusk, fire battles begin between neighboring churches using homemade firecrackers. As soon as one of the firecrackers hits the bell, the war is considered over and a signal is heard, symbolizing the victory of light over darkness.
Next on the calendar is Easter, the most important holiday in Greece. Its scale can be appreciated by visiting Athens and other major cities. During Easter, the streets are decorated with compositions from the life of Christ, there are massive sales in stores, people walk the streets and congratulate each other.
In the spring, the country hosts a flower festival dedicated to the nymph Maya. Citizens go out into nature, collect flowers and make wreaths for them, which are then lowered into the water or hung on the door of the house. According to legend, such a wreath protects the owners of the dwelling from evil spirits.
In summer, Athens celebrates beach festivals and sports events that mimic the Olympic Games. Anyone can take part in the celebrations.
In August, another Christian holiday is held - the Dormition of the Most Holy Theotokos. On the island of Tinos, there is a procession and a brass band parade. After the official part, people take to the streets and treat everyone with stuffed lamb and sweets.