Classical Athens

Athens is an ancient city best known for the Acropolis and the Parthenon in particular. The Acropolis is an old fortified city centre that resides on top of a rocky hill.  The photo below shows the north side of the Acropolis on the left and the western side of the Acropolis to the right.  The main entrance to the Acropolis is on the western side through the Propylaia. Click on the picture below to see the Acropolis and the Parthenon.

The Roman and Greek Agoras in Plaka

Roman Agora and Tower of the Winds.  
The construction was started by Julius Caesar, but was finished by the emperors Adrianus and Traianus. The Tower of the Winds was built by by the astronomer Andronikos before this time.  It is an octagonal tower (3.20 m. long on each side) of white Pentelic marble. There are entrances on on the NE and NW side. At the top of each of the eight sides there is a male figure with the appropriate attributes that symbolizes a wind with its name inscribed. Sundials were on the external walls and an elaborate waterclock was inside.

Click here to see close up shots and descriptions of the Tower of the Winds.
Ancient entrance to Roman Agora.
Agora with Tower of the Winds.
The Library of Hadrian.
Right near the Roman Agora entrance.

Lysicrates Monument , or Diogenis' Lantern.  
This was a monument built in the fourth century B.C. to commemorate the winning of a choral festival.  It is now part of a square in Plaka.
Lantern in the square, with closeup
to the right. I'm always amazed
that this structure wasn't torn
down and reused to construct
other buildings over the millennia.
Greek Agora
and the Hephestion in the background above the trees.  

The Stoa of Attalos
in the distance with the Greek agora in the foreground.  This is a recreation of an ancient Greek roofed colonnade, which provided a place to meet and shop in the shade.  It is now a storehouse and museum.  The Acropolis lies off to the right and the photo was taken from the Hephestion.  The Stoa was a present to Athens by Attalos, a king of Pergamon who died in 138 B.C.  Stoa just means covered colonnade.

The Temple to Hephestus (or the Hephestion),
the god of smithing. If you are not going to see any other doric style temples, take the time to visit the Agora and this temple as it will give you a better idea of what the Parthenon looked like when intact.  This building was used as a Byzantine church which helped to preserve it, and there were crypt burials in the floor.
The crypts are from the  late Byzantine period when the building was used as a church.
The front of the Hephestion
The Hephestion from the side

This is an Athens panorama shot from the Acropolis looking SE to Mount Hymettos.  The large space in the foreground with the immense columns is the Olympion.  Behind the Olympion is the Olympic Stadium.  Two very busy roads lie between the Acropolis and these sites. Work on your jaywalking (which isn't illegal by the way, but dangerous if you're not careful).


Olympion with the Acropolis on the background. This was a temple to Zeus that was the largest temple built, and it was stripped for building materials later.  In the 19th century a mystic lived in a little shack build on top the othe surviving columns.

The Olympion from the south side. I'm in the front for scale.  

The Olympic Stadium

Renovated for use in the modern Olympics, it was the site of the original Olympic Games in ancient times.