COME SEE The Acropolis, Athens. Greece.
Acropolis of Athens: THE GUIDE
ACCESSIBILITY: By metro or taxi to the entrance and then by foot only.
BEST TIME TO VISIT: Open 8am-8pm everyday, but go early especially in summer.
LOCATION: 8min drive or 20min walk from Syntagma Square | Open in Google Maps
WALKING DISTANCE: 400m one way
TIME REQUIRED: Allow 1-2 hours.
TOURIST RATING: Busiest attraction in the city and country.
COST: €20 in Summer, €10 in winter.
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Acropolis of Athens: THE EXPERIENCE
As told by Jackie Te-Aroha.
The Acropolis of Athens is the most well known and popular historical site in Greece, and for good reason. Firstly, it’s the tallest man-made structure in the city of which, local law ensures to holds true.
And secondly it is the site in which Athena (daughter of Zeus and goddess of wisdom and war); and Poseidon (brother of Zeus and god of the seas, earthquakes and horses) challenged one another to govern the city below.
Acropolis translates to ‘Upper City’ in Greek and was known as the ‘city of the air’ due to its location atop one of the tallest limestone rocks in the area.
It sits about 156m above sea level and offers incredible views over the Aegean Sea and inland towards the National Forrest. So, if your down for views, then get yo ass up and hurrah!
Now, for the story! Two gods, one city. Poseidon and Athena both stated their intention to rule before the cities king but the decision was handed to the people to make. Each god would offer a gift and then votes would be cast. Poseidon struck the floor with his trident and up sprung a stream of water that would inform the men if the seas were safe to navigate. Athena touched the earth with her spear and up sprouted a sacred olive tree which bore edible fruit that could also produce oil to help light fires and warm homes. Unsurprisingly, all men voted Poseidon and all women voted Athena. But, because women were a majority Athena was named victor. Hence, the dedication of the city in her name and the birth of democracy. Of course democracy fell a short time after and the right to vote was taken away from women but that’s another story in itself.
Within the Acropolis stands the most complete structure today, the Parthenon. This temple was dedicated to Athena by the king after her victory.
Located just behind the Parthenon is the Erechtheion complex in which the mythological challenge between Athena and Poseidon took place. It’s even aid that you can still see the crack in the ground from where Poseidon trident struck.
There are many other notable archeological sites within the Acropolis each of which I’m sure has its own mythological tale and some in which are still in use today such as the Theatre of Dionysus. But it was the Parthenon and Erechtheion that stuck out the most to us after we took the ‘Once Upon a Time Tour’ from freetour.com. We found having this background information made our visit to the Acropolis more enjoyable because we didn’t just see piles of rubble and marble, but we saw the story. And I truly hope the same is now true for you on your visit.
Before I go, I want to leave you with a few tips and informational bits:
- You can book skip-the-line tickets in advance online or pay in person at the gate.
- You can pre book a tour or hire a guide at the gate if your a history buff that needs the facts.
- Tickets for the acropolis + slopes are €20 euro in summer and €10 euro in winter.
- There’s a multi site pass for €30 which allows access into The Acropolis + other archaeological sites including Temple of Zeus, Hadrians Library, the Ancient Agora and Roman Agora and is good for 5 consecutive days.
- You’ll never be able to avoid the crowds completely but they’re likely to be less between 8am-9am.
- Last entrance is 7.30pm and gates close at 8.00pm.
- Take a bottle of water with you especially in summer because it can get very hot. There are bubblers at the top of your water supply runs dry but nothing can be purchased inside the gates.
- Wear good shoes because marble is slippery even when dry!
- Hold on to your hats because it can very windy at the top and there are already too many tourist hats laying just over the edge of the city walls.
- Be a polite tourist. If someone’s taking a photo, stop and wait. Don’t be a dick with your eyes glued to your device disregarding everyone else around you!!
We know it’s the most touristy thing you can do in Athens but it’s still an amazing thing to be able to stand where the ancient civilisations, kings, gods and goddesses once stood.
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