Welcome to the Patrol!    SCROLL DOWN ...

Athens, Greece: Birthplace of Democracy

Quick Overview

On a first visit to Athens, one will be surprised to find ancient relics intermixed with new construction of a cafe, hotel or boutique!  I was amazed to enjoy an early morning cappuccino alongside an ancient Roman statue! To build a city among ancient ruins reminds me of just one other city – Jerusalem.  I am amazed that city officials can keep tourists from pilferage these ancient ruins!

Acropolise at Night

Double click on above image to view full picture

Zoom Out
Zoom In

More Views

  • Socrates
  • Acropolise at Night
  • Pantheon
  • Ancient theatre
  • Pantheon

Full Article:

On a first visit to Athens, one will be surprised to find ancient relics intermixed with new construction of a cafe, hotel or boutique!  I was amazed to enjoy an early morning cappuccino alongside an ancient Roman statue! To build a city among ancient ruins reminds me of just one other city – Jerusalem.  I am amazed that city officials can keep tourists from pilferage these ancient ruins!

 

 

One does not have to go very far to revel in ancient perfection – with The Acropolis towering over the city.   The Acropolis is a flat-topped rock where you will find monuments and ruins, including the Parthenon, Temple of Athena Nike and the Theater Dionysus which date back to before 300BC.  If you plan on hiking up to the top be sure to begin in the early morning to avoid the crowds or just before sunset later in the day.  I found the trek inspirational, as I envisioned walking in the footsteps of Plato and Socrates!

 

 

At the top of The Acropolis take a seat and read from Plato's “Dialogues” on the philosophy of Socrates, noted father of democratic thought and an inspiration to Western Civilization.

 

 

 Perhaps US and State Congressional members should review Socratic Dialogues, often referred to as Socratic Method – which directly influenced the western world's scientific method of analysis.  Reason?  So one can arrive at TRUTH and have then the ability to throw out their preconceived ideologies and arrive at finding better solutions and policy for all their constituents.

 

 

I do not wish to be political here, but it is obvious that American educational systems, especially our universities, no longer teach the Socratic method which is the bedrock for scientific method of discovery.  Remember Socrates was in search of truth and virtue as paramount.  He totally warned of ideologues who only see the world through their own vision – which is the most dangerous perspective, especially for those who are leaders of their country and cities.   

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Parthenon and other main buildings on the Acropolis were built by Pericles in the fifth century BC as a monument to the cultural and political achievements of the inhabitants of Athens.

 

 

Each piece of the Parthenon is unique and fits together like the world's biggest and heaviest jigsaw puzzle.

 

 

Lines that look straight are actually not. The ancient Greeks understood the mechanics of site and that to make a line look straight it had to be tapered or curved. The Parthenon is the most perfect and the most imitated building in the world. Enjoy exploring the columns first hand – as you will find remarkable how the lineup appears straight to the eye but instead are curved!  Simply amazing!

 

 

 

Other Monuments:

 

Take some time to explore the other historic sites scattered throughout surrounding neighborhoods.

 

 

The district of Plaka is home to several lesser-known sights, such as Ancient Angora   and the Mitropolis, an elaborate Greek Orthodox Cathedral constructed in the 12th century. Check out  the National Gardens at nearby Syntagma Square, which is also nearby several archaeological sites, including Hadrian's Arch. Another must-see is the Panathinaiko Stadium, located near the National Gardens. Constructed in 330 BC, the stadium was restored to serve as the site of the 2004 Olympics.

 

 

The Odeon of Herodes Atticus, a theater built into a hillside, still welcomes audiences to performances for part of the year. Pay a visit to the Hephaistion, the well-preserved Doric temple that graces the Agora, the marketplace and hub of everyday life in ancient Athens.

 

 

Museums/Culture

 

 

If you only have time for one of Athens' world class museums,try the National Archaeological Museum. The museum showcases artifacts from every period in Greek civilization.

 

 

For a taste of modern Greek culture, visit the new Parliament Building in Syntagma Square -- where visitors can witness the Changing of the Guard several times a day. If you're interested in contemporary Greek art, spend some time in the Gazi district, which is home to several private galleries as well as the Technopolis, a large exhibition center.

 

 

The Erecthion sits on the most sacred site of the Acropolis where Poseidon and Athena contested each other for the name of the city. Poseidon thrust his trident into the rock and a spring burst forth, while Athena touched the ground with a spear and an olive tree grew. Visit my article on the Temple of Poseidon where this was the land where Poseidon's temple was built – a gift for his participation with Athena who won “first” in naming the city. 

 

 

Enjoy your visit to Athens and hope you do take in a day excursion to the Temple of Poseidon within a forty minute drive from Athens!  There are less crowds and you can spend hours catching up on your Plato and Socrates as well as taking in the magnificent views of the Agean Sea! 

 

 

Remember more than just visiting the historical sites, we need to engage ourselves into the spirit of the city and the culture – as we so desperately try to understand the why and how of such magnificent archaeological feats!  With this approach and perspective we will further expand our understanding and enrich our lives as well as others!

 

 

Happy Travels!

 

January 21, 2016

Leave a Reply