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Sightseeing in Athens, Greece

June 18, 2012

Having been awake for 30+ hours straight in getting here, our first night in Athens and we slept pretty good considering the bed was hard as a rock.

This morning we awoke at 7am for a quick breakfast and then a trip over to the bank to convert our American dollars to Euros. So my mother, my 3 brother-in-law's, and myself took a walk. We arrived just a few minutes before they opened. Once inside though, they told us we had to go to the main branch a few blocks further. The whole process took a little longer than expected. When we arrived back to the hotel it was nearly 10am and the tour guide had been waiting for almost an hour.

Now all 16 of us pile into the tour bus and off we go sightseeing around the ancient ruins of Athens. Our first stop is the Parthenon. The Parthenon is the most important surviving building of classical Greece, completed in 438 B.C. The Parthenon is a temple on the Athenian Acropolis of Greece, dedicated to the Greek goddess Athena.

In the 5th century AD, the Parthenon was converted into a Christian church and then into a mosque in the early 1460's after the Ottoman conquest. On September 26, 1687, an Ottoman ammunition dump inside the building was ignited by Venetian bombardment, severely damaging the Parthenon. Although currently undergoing a lengthy restoration, the Parthenon won't be returned to its original "like new" condition.

Here we are at the foot of the mountain looking up to where we have to climb.

Before we hike up though, we first go off just to the left to Areios Pagos; also known as Mars Hill. On this hill is where the Apostle Paul preached to the Athenians and proclaimed Jesus to be "the unknown God" for which they had an altar. (Acts 17:22-31)

Now I've made it to the top of the Acroplois! Up here we had a great view of Athens all the way to the sea. There were also some sites of interest from up here and I've posted a few more photos down at the bottom of the page where I will describe them for you.

After a tour of the Parthenon, we walked down the hill through the Ancient Agora what was the main road leading from the sea to the Acropolis. In this area were the Temple of Hephaestus, the Stoa of Attalos, and the Museum of Ancient Agora where we got a chance of some shade and viewing some of the ancient statues.

A short walk around the corner to Monastiraki Square, find a restaurant and sit down for some lunch!

Then back to the bus where we take off to the Parliament building just in time to watch the changing of the guards at the tomb of the unknown soldier.

Right next door to Parliament are the National Gardens AND a hidden Geocache! There's also an entrance to Athens new subway system. So while our tour guide takes the rest of the family down into the museum portion of the subway, I go and grab a quick cache before meeting the rest underground.

The next stop on our Athens tour was the 1896 Olympic Stadium followed by Lycabettus Hill. I think it was the tallest hill in Athens, certainly the steepest climb. But the views were also spectacular. And another Geocache up here too!

Our final stop for the day was the National Archeological Museum which we choose mainly because it was air conditioned. Did I mention that it was HOT over here? Oh and by the way, another Geocache which my nephew and I found.

After a long hot day around Athens, time to head back to the hotel, freshen up and go for dinner. It was a short walk back over to Monastiraki Square where we choose yet another restaurant and some more great Greek food!

Time for sleep! See ya tomorrow.

View of Museum of Ancient Agora from atop Mars Hill.

View of the Temple of Hephaestus from atop Mars Hill.

View of Odeon of Herodes Atticus theater which was built in 161 A.D.
where many famous concerts have been performed even to this day.

The Parthenon with all its scaffolding.

The temple for Greek hero Erechtheion which stands beside the Parthenon, built 405 B.C.

View of Philopapos Monument from Mars Hill, is the tomb of a Roman prince Gaius Julius Antiochus Epiphanes Philopapos who died in 116 A.D. This tomb was erected by his sister and Athenian officials.

View of Theatre of Dionysus Eleuthereus is the oldest theatre in Greece was excuvated in the 1800's.

The columns of the Parthenon.

You can see the restoration pieces of marble.

View of the Tower of the Winds on the far side of a 1st century Roman courtyard.

Church of the Agii Apostoli (Holy Apostles) built in the 10th Century in Ancient Agora.

The changing of the guards at the tomb of the unknown soldier.

View of the Parthenon from the Lycabettus Hill.

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