Athens. The city with
the most glorious history in the world, a city worshipped
by gods and people, a magical city. The enchanting capital
of Greece has always been a birthplace for civilization. It
is the city where democracy was born and most of the wise
men of ancient times. The most important civilization of ancient
world flourished in Athens
and relives through some of the
world's most formidable edifices.
Athens is situated in the prefecture of Attica and extends
to the peninsula that reaches up to Central Greece.
surrounded by mountains Ymmytos, Pendeli and Parnitha, northwards
and eastwards, and the Saronic gulf southwards and westwards.
The sun is shining over Athens all year round. The climate
is one of the best in Europe, with mild winters and very hot
summers, ideal for tourism. It is located just a few kilometers
from the port of Piraeus
the central commercial port of the capital, and the shores
of southern Attica.
Who hasn't heard of the Acropolis
? 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.
It is the most
significant reference point of ancient Greek culture, as well as the
symbol of the city of Athens itself as it represent the apogee of
artistic development in the 5th century BC. During Perikles' 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 Propylaea are the monumental entrances to the sacred area dedicated
to Athena, the patron goddess of the city. Built by the architect
Mnesicles with Pentelic marble, their design was avant-garde. To the
south-west of the Propylaea, on a rampart protecting the main entrance
to the Acropolis, is the Ionian temple of Apteros Nike, which is now
The first habitation remains on the Acropolis date from the Neolithic
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 (marble
korai, bronze and clay statuettes and vases) indicate that the cult of
the city's patron goddess was established as early as the Archaic
period (650-480 B.C.).National Achaeological Museum.
Along with the Louvre in Paris, the Vatican Musuem, and London's
British Museum, this is one of the great world museums. Although the
focus is narrower than at its rivals--the Greek world, naturally--there
is perhaps as great or greater a concentration of "A-list" pieces of
great world art in Athens' NAM than in anyh other musuem in the world.
From the Cycladic "Harp player" to the gold "mask of Agamemnon" to the
bronze Zeus/Poseidon, this collection rewards even the casually
intitated with an incredible collection of outstanding pieces and a
lifetime of study for scholars of Greek art.
Although a visitor will be
tempted to rush to the museum early in a visit to Greece, my advice is to
wait until the end and make it a capstone of one's experience. I have
taken students to Greece since 2000 and few have left the NAM with
anything short of awe and astonishment. Do not miss this Athenian gem
and world treasure on your visit to Greece.