Athens Treasures

26 08 2015

Part of the reason why I chose to stay at The Electra Palace Hotel in the Plaka District was the rooftop views of The Acropolis it boasted on its website.  I imagined afternoons spent frolicking in the pool, perhaps enjoying a tropical drink, and looking off to the distance to see this iconic view.

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Well, perhaps I should have planned longer than a day and a half in Athens if I wanted to make those daydreams come to life.

Instead, I found myself enjoying the rooftop terrace in an unexpected, and much more intimate way.

Jetlag had me up at 5:30AM the first morning and the excitement of a new place and all of the potential had me jumping out of bed, throwing on some clothes and taking a peek outside.  Just what I thought – The Acropolis was all lit up!

I wasn’t sure if the rooftop terrace would be accessible that early in the morning, but it turns out that it is and I had it ALL to myself.

Just me and the Acropolis, having a little photo shoot!

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After I finished up with my alone time with the Acropolis, and we marched through the city looking for a camera store to replace a polarized filter (a casualty from a fall on my BFF The Acropolis and the second replacement in less than 2 months) we finally got back to the business of exploring the city and a couple little ancient ruins.

Hadrian’s Arch was built by the Athenians, in 131 AD, in honour of Emperor Hadrian.  The monument is built of Pentelic marble and bears two inscriptions.  One inscription, facing west towards the Acropolis and the old town says, “This is Athens, the city of Theseus”.  The other inscription, facing east says “This is the city of Hadrian, not Theseus”.  

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Hadrian’s Arch was built after The Olympieion, which includes the Temple of Olympian Zeus, Roman baths, classical houses as well as a section of the ancient city’s fortification wall.

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View of Hadian’s Arch and the Temple of Zeus from The Acropolis

At about 11AM the heat was starting to get a little bit much and we headed indoors to explore The New Acropolis Museum.  It’s been said that construction for this museum was being protested by the ancient Greek gods.  After many protests and delays, work finally started and an ancient urban development was unearthed from the ground dug up for the foundations – construction was immediately halted.  Finally a design was created to build the museum in a way that the ancient site would be preserved and open to view.

When we approached the museum, we thought that it was the coolest thing that they had built the museum overtop of these ancient ruins and showcased them with an opening at the entrance and glass floors.  We hadn’t realized that this unique feature of the museum was not part of the original plans.

Entrance to the New Acropolis Museum is 5 euro and in my opinion, it was worth it.

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Right before we left the museum we saw this small silver cup encased in glass and a video playing.  This was the trophy won by the Greek Marathon winner, Spyros Louis, in the first modern Olympic Games.  He was the only Greek athlete to win at the 1896 Olympic Games in Athens.  As he approached the stadium to win the Marathon race, people yelled, ‘He’s GREEEEK’, and the crowd went wild!

The marathon created for the 1896 Games was inspired by the legendary run of Pheidippides, a Greek messenger, who ran from the battlefield of Marathon to Athens to bring the news of victory by the ancient Greeks in their battle over the Persians.  He died moments after delivering the message of victory after running the 25 miles/40 km distance – and there you have the historical roots of the Marathon.

When the Breal’s Silver Cup was displayed at the museum in 2012, this was the first time it had been displayed in Greece.

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2 responses

27 08 2015
Jessica Chann

Wow, beautiful pictures! I hope to one day visit Greece

-Jessica

27 08 2015
tracilee

Thanks Jessica!

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