Climbing Palm Trees in an Ancient Cemetery, Windy Towers, and a Little Splash of Rome

Athens Travel Blog

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Keramikos Cemetery

Keramikos is Athen's ancient Greek cemetery from the 12th century BC to Roman times.   Basically, it's a sunken street of tombs and lavish stone-carved grave stelae.   The Dipylon Gate, next to the Sacred Gate, was the ancient Athen's main entrance where the Panathenaic procession began and where the city's prostitues used to hang out.  There is a grassy spot in front of the Dipylon Gate, which it turns out is quite an important square of grass.  From here, Pericles stood and gave his famous speech extolling the virtues of Athens and honoring those who died in the first year of the Peloponnesian Wars - thus rousing many more Athenians to the long and costly war.
Every good male aristocrat needs a giant smitting grave stelae.

(On a side note, the palm trees that fill the cemetery are fun to climb, but contain prickly bushes at the bottom.  So use extreme caution and try to be sneaky so the guards don't see you.)

Tower of the Winds

The Tower of the Winds is part of the Roman Agora.  The Roman Agora isn't much to look at, but this little tower is pretty interesting.  It was built by Andronikos from Kyrrhos in Macedonia and it doubles as both a sundial and a water clock.  On the top of the tower, are carvings of the winds of each of the season, which are apparently bearded old men.  The Winter Wind has a coat/cloak and boots, while the summer wind has sandals and only a skimpy wrap around its waist. 

Roman Agora and Hadrian's Library

There isn't much to see here, just a few columns and a wall at the Library.
Tower of the winds. Apparently, wind is an old man.

Hill of Pynx and Filopappou Hill

Both of the Hill of Pynx and Filopappou Hill overlook the Acropolis.  The Hill of Pynx was the meeting place of the Democratic Assembly.  The Filopappou Hill, or the Hill of the Muses, is a great spot to watch the sun set over the Acropolis and the Pireaus Port and then for the lights to slowly turn on, illuminating the Parthenon.  I made friends with two other people also up there to watch the sun go down and the Acropolis light up - Ioannis and Lee.  Ioannis is a Greek guy who was leaving the next day to go to Nottingham England to work in the University's Biomedical Engineering Department.  Many years ago he had spent 5 months doing Biometric research at the UW.  Lee was a traveler from South Korea where he teaches High School.
Roman Agora.
  Our little triumvirate chatted while watching the sunset...well really Lee and I listened to Ioannis talk about Greece.  During out little discussion, I learned, interestingly enough, that the US Embassy in Athens had been bombed that morning at 6 am by a militant Greek group.  They were apparently pissed at the US involvement in Cyprus and the US's installment of a short dictatorship in Greece a number of years earlier.  Who knew a US Embassy had been blown up that day in the city I was running around in, Lizzie and I certainly hadn't been informed.  Lee was rather mute during many of our discuss, mostly because he spoke very little English.

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Every good male aristocrat needs a…
Every good male aristocrat needs …
Tower of the winds.  Apparently, w…
Tower of the winds. Apparently, …
Roman Agora.
Roman Agora.
Love these vases - mostly because …
Love these vases - mostly because…
Lizzie climbing a palm tree in the…
Lizzie climbing a palm tree in th…
Street lined with aristocrat tombs.
Street lined with aristocrat tombs.
Moons out at the Roman Agora.
Moon's out at the Roman Agora.
photo by: Johnpro