The cruise ship I am working on docked in Piraeus today which is one of the biggest cities in Greece, and has been the port for the city of Athens for 100’s of years.Whilst Athens is an extraordinary city, I am a sucker for a bit of history, so I wanted to see the Acropolis.
‘Acropolis’ is the name of an ancient town that is home to a collection of temples. The Parthenon is at the centre of the town and was considered the most impressive temple in the world at that time. The Propylaia is the impressive entrance to the Acropolis, and The Erechtheion temple was built to accommodate religious rituals. There are a lot more temples within the Acropolis but these three are the main ones. Like other hilltop cites, in the ancient Greek world Acropolis or ‘high city’ was both a place of worship and refuge when under attack. The ancient ruins overlook Athens and are a lasting testament to Greece’s golden age in the 5th century BC.
From the port, Leah and I figured out that the cheapest and the fastest way to get to the Acropolis was to take the ‘hop on hop off bus’. This way we got to hear about various sights we passed on the way. The day pass cost €15 and the drive there took an hour, because of traffic. It would have taken the same amount of time in a taxi but would have been triple the price.
Walking up the windy path towards the ticket office, we were getting more and more excited. The queue for the tickets took about 10 minutes, but because you were waiting in the sunshine it didn’t feel that long. The ticket cost €20 and credit cards were not accepted. They said it was just for that day because their card machines had broken, so because this is something that can happen, you are best off taking the cash.
We wandered up towards the ancient city along with the other eager tourists. We finally got to the Propylaia (the entrance) which is as wonderful as it looks on pictures. Being so big it’s a wonder how they were able to build it back then. The path is treacherous. There are broken stairs and rocks that move when you stand on them, and what seems like a thousand tourists that are walking in every direction, so you really need to have your wits about you.
The Parthenon still stands with the help of ongoing restoration work. Although the scaffolding doesn’t do much for the pictures, it’s better to have it supported than not. Although it is a shell of what it once was, the temple is still very impressive. The carvings are so intricate and identical to one another, which is amazing considering it was all done free hand.
Along the left side of the Parthenon is a path that is lovely to walk along because you can see all of Athens from this high point. When I was walking down, I could just imagine Senates and Kings in their togas walking where I was and talking about their city. The view of Athens is lovely and definitely picture worthy. Honestly, it’s worth coming to the Acropolis just for the view even if you are not intrigued by the historical buildings.
We wandered around the Acropolis for 2 hours before deciding to head back. You would need longer than two hours to explore all the temples within The Acropolis but we saw what we wanted to see at that time. Walking down to the bus took 10 minutes and then we had to wait for another 10 minutes for a bus to arrive, which was fine.
I highly recommend putting the ancient city of Acropolis on your to-do list. It is an architectural and historical wonder that we are lucky enough to be able to explore.