Saturday, June 25, 2011

Greece-




As Neil had 3 months off from his studies and I was free as well- we decided to spend part of the summer in Greece. After being in London and not seeing the sun for so long- we as South Africans needed to feel the sun on our bodies again.Elsa decided to join us and she flew from Amsterdam  to London a few months before- so we could decide where to go -and what to do.

 
 
There was a South African girl working at South Africa House that had a brother that lived on Skiathos -one of the north west islands of Greece .She asked him if he could arrange some accommodation for us. We were planning to stay on Skiathos for at least two weeks- so it needed to be cheap as were on a student budget.
As we had more time- Neil and I would fly to Athens for a few days and then meet Elsa on  Skiathos  a week later.


 
Athens- Greece.
 
 Landing in Athens and feeling the sun on our faces were wonderful.
 It was a hot day and we found a very nice hotel with a view of the Acropolis. The room  had big windows with shutters to cool off the room and  marble floors .One feels the age of this place and it was so amazing to realize that this city has been occupied for more than 7,000 years.

 
View of the Acropolis

The Acropolis dominates the city and one is aware of it the whole time:-
It also represents the cradle of Western Civilization and Democracy .



The Acropolis hill (acro - edge, polis - city), so called the "Sacred Rock" of Athens, is the most important site of the city and constitutes one of the most recognizable monuments of the world.
 During Pericle's Golden Age, ancient Greek civilization was represented in an ideal way on the hill and some of the architectural masterpieces of the period were erected on its ground.



The Propylene is the monumental entrances to the sacred area dedicated to Athena, the patron goddess of the city.




To the south-west of the Propylene, on a rampart protecting the main entrance to the Acropolis, is the Ionian temple of Apteros Nike.



The Porch of the Caryatids


On the Erechtium there is the famous "Porch of the Maidens", with six draped female figures  as supporting columns, each sculpted in a manner different from the rest and engineered in such a way that their slenderest part, the neck, is capable of supporting the weight of the porch roof while remaining graceful and feminine.The first habitation remains on the Acropolis date from the Neolithic period. Over the centuries, the rocky hill was continuously used either as a cult place or as a residential area or both. The inscriptions on the numerous and precious offerings to the sanctuary of Athena -indicate that the cult of the city's patron goddess was established as early as the Archaic period (650-480 B.C.).



Elgin Marbles

Lord Elgin took most of the marble decorations from these monuments and sold them to the British Museum  where they are now  on display .The Greeks feel he stole them- and they should be returned to Greece.


The Acropolis at night

Mosaic of St Paul in Greece.

St Paul also preached on the Acropolis to the Greek people of his time
It was a great experience to visit this site.
I picked up one of the stones here and kept it as a keep sake for many years.


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That night we went to the Plaka with is great restaurants. Greek food is delicious and healthy and we had a great time walking through the old town's streets with one restaurant after the other.
 


The Plaka

We also visited the Herod Anticus theater on the side of the Acropolis where we saw a piano recital by a Greek pianist. This is one of the oldest Greek theaters in Greece.
 It was built in 161 AD by Herod Atticus in memory of his wife, Aspasis Annina Regilla.She was from a Roman and  of aristocratic birth . He married her when she was 14 and he was 40. 
   It was originally a steep-sloped amphitheater  with a three-story stone front wall and a wooden roof, and was used as a venue for music concerts with a capacity of 5,000.
Many well known artist  performed here like The Vienna Philharmonic  under Herbert von Karajan and Maria Callas.
 


Herod Anticus Amphitheater.



The next day we visited  the Museum of Archeology and ones idea of age flies out of the window when you see stuff that is mostly BC  . I thought Rome was an old but this city was part of ancient history.The museum houses some of the most important artifacts from a variety of archaeological locations around Greece from prehistoric to late antiquity . It is considered one of the great museums in the world and contains the richest collection of artifacts from Greek antiquity worldwide.



Museum of Archeology



 We also visited the Syntagma Square where the soldiers guard the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier-


 

After enjoying  the city of Athens very much we took a bus to Volos to  catch the ferry to the Island of Skiathos- one of the Sporades islands.

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