Athens' Ghosts of the Past: Acropolis, Ancient Agora, Temple of Hephaestus
Athens Travel Blog› entry 2 of 4 › view all entries
January 11th, 2007 – by: genkeeper
Athen's ancient Acropolis dominates the view in Athens - being visible from nearly everywhere. It still holds the power, beauty and promise of what it once was. It's location on top of a solid rock hill with sheer cliffs on all sides adds to the dramatic effect. The Acropolis is both heartbreaking and awe-inspiring. It ipedmizes man's destructive tendencies and disregard for the past, but also shows what great things men and civilizations are capable of. The entire Acropolis was once reduced to ashes when the Persians burned it on the eve of the Battle of Salamis (480 BC).
When you enter the Acropolis you first walk through the propylaia, a columned entryway. This part of the complex is nicely preserved.
On the other side of the Acropolis there is a small museum that houses the artifacts found on the site. This museum is well worth the entrance fee. Some interesting items were terracotta figures offered by poor worshippers (dates to the Archaic period, 520-480 BC), freize from the earliest Parthenon (the one the Persians destroyed), blocks from the Temple of Athena Nike (at this time conservators had taken the temple apart piece by piece to clear it and were now putting it back together), statues from the pediment of the Archaic Temple of Athena depicting the Gigantomachy - the Battle of Gods v.
For great views of the Acropolis, walk over to the little hill next to the Acropolis. Besides a good photo-op, this is also where 5th Century BC murderers and arsonists were tried. Yep, the hill has a little bit of character, but sadly no ancient dead people, they come later in the trip.
There isn't much left of the Ancient Agora; just a lot of foundations, lower halves of columns and the occasional statue. It is still a pretty area to see and it was the business and administrative center of ancient Athens.
Temple of Hephaestus
The Temple of Hephaestus, dedicated to the god of the forge Hephaestus, is the best preserved Doric temple in Greece. The structure was built by Ictinus, an architect of the Parthenon, in 449 BC, then rebuilt by Pericles. The temple is well preserved and amazingly intact. Even though the building is small it is quite beautiful.
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