When I studied abroad I went through a program called AIFS, the American Institute for Foreign Studies. I took a Greek Art and Architecture class. My class was at the American College of Greece. I had two different teachers and they were both well known in their fields of study…one of them was British and thoroughly enjoyed making fun of the Chinese tourists. They are everywhere and ALL of them have selfie sticks.
We spent three days a week in the classroom and two days at Architecture sights or museums. The days at sights were my favorite because it was like having your own personal tour guide but 10000 times better. Of course downtown Athens and the Acropolis were major hits and we spent a lot of our on site lecture time there! Keep reading for some of my tips for visiting this sight and to see some pictures.
The slideshow has some pictures of the Acropolis and the buildings up there that we studied. Acropolis literally means “high city” in Greek, which is fitting because it’s a few buildings on the top of a hill. Obviously the Parthenon is one of the most well known pieces of architecture in the world but don’t forget the others! It’s hard to imagine just how old some of these buildings are, most of them were built around 400 BC!!! The shield in the slideshow below is from the war between Athens and Sparta…like Sparta as in the movie 300…I’m just going to nerd out over here for a sec…
A few things to know about the Acropolis:
- Get a tour guide, the history makes these buildings so much more than just stone.
- It’s really windy up there because it’s on the top of a hill so hat wearers…you’ve been warned.
- Don’t spend all of your time at the Parthenon. The coolest building up there in my opinion is the Erechtheion, aka the building with the ladies holding it up. (Make sure to ask your tour guide about the tree and hole in the ceiling, it has to do with the myth about Athena and Poseidon fighting to be the Patron god/goddess of the city…obviously Athena won hence the name Athens.)
- It’s rocky, hot and uphill so wear sensible shoes, some of the rocks are seriously slippery.
- When you walk through the Propylaia (the elaborate entrance) be sure to turn around and look at the view!
- Either on your way in or out, climb onto the small piece of rock called the Areopagus. It looks like just a hangout place for local teens but it’s actually the sight where the apostle Paul supposedly spoke to the people of Athens. How incredible that I stood on the same rock as PAUL?!
- Lastly. Go to the museum…at least for a whole day, it’s incredible and air conditioned which is a nice break from the hot sun. The restaurant is also worth eating lunch at. I think our little group ate there everyday after our lecture. The pictures below are taken from the museum. The view of the Acropolis from the museum restaurant is unique because the architects built it parallel and level to the ancient site. (A fun fact is that this museum was built using all the latest technology because Greece is desperately trying to get their artifacts back from other museums, mainly the National British Museum that took a lot of the statues and artifacts in the 1900’s.)
Sorry for the long post but I just started looking through pictures and fell in love all over again!
If you go to Athens remember my little epiphanies and you’ll be all set for your day at the Acropolis 😉
xoxo, the blonde