Athens: attractions, places of interest, excursions

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Athens: attractions, places of interest, excursions
Athens: attractions, places of interest, excursions
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Modern Athens was born long before the new era. In the 5th century BC, they played a major role in the history of all ancient Greece. It was a city-state in which democracy was formed in antiquity, and the philosophy and art of the theater acquired classical forms. At the moment, the interesting places of Athens attract millions of tourists who were interested in the history of the ancient world at school, since this very history was created here.

Excursions in Athens

If you do not know what to see here, do not limit yourself to the Athenian Agora and the Acropolis. In the historical part of the capital, you will find a huge number of ancient monuments, and each of them deserves to lead the rating of the largest sights. When planning excursions in Athens, do not forget about local museums as well! Here are collected unique collections of ancient Greek treasures.

Acropolis

In ancient Greece, the acropoliscalled located on a hill and fortified part of the city. The Acropolis of Athens was a refuge for the inhabitants in the event of an enemy attack. At the same time, a temple was built on its top for the gods, who were considered city patrons.

Climbing the Athenian Acropolis, you can see the ruins of the buildings of Ancient Greece, which are depicted all over the world on the pages of textbooks:

  1. Temple of Athena Nike, built in the first third of the fifth century BC. e. marble.
  2. The Parthenon is a temple dedicated to Athena, the goddess of wisdom and military strategy.
  3. Hekatompedon is the main temple built during the reign of Peisistratus. The sculptures that adorned its pediment are in the New Museum, located at the Athenian Acropolis.
  4. The Propylaea are the front gates that form the entrance to the Acropolis.

The hill is in the center of the old city. It began to be built up in the XV-XIII centuries. BC e. under Mycenae, however, the buildings of that era were destroyed by the Persians during the Greco-Persian wars. The temples and ruins that remain are from a later period.

Temple of Athena Nike

Ancient Greek Temple of Nike Apteros (Athena-Nika) is located on the Acropolis. It is the first Ionic temple here and is located on a hill to the right of the central entrance (Propylaea). In this place, the locals worshiped their goddess in the hope of a good result in a long war with the Spartans, as well as their allies.

Temple of Nike Apteros

Unlike the same Acropolis, where you could get into the walls of the sanctuaryjust across the Propylaea, the Temple of Nike Apteros was opened. It was erected in 427-424. BC e. Callicrates, a famous ancient Greek architect, on the site of an older temple of Athena, destroyed in 480 BC. e. Persians. This building is an amphiprostyle, in which there are four columns in one row on the back and front facades. The stylobate of the temple has 3 steps. The friezes are decorated with sculptural reliefs depicting Zeus, Athena, Poseidon, as well as scenes of military battles. Fragments of sculptural friezes that survived were exhibited in the British Museum and the Acropolis Museum, high-quality copies are now attached to the temple.

Like most of the buildings of the Acropolis, this temple is made of Pentelicon marble. After the completion of the work, it was completely surrounded by a parapet in order to protect people from falling off the cliff. It was decorated on the outside with bas-reliefs with views of Nika.

Agora

In the heart of Athens are the ruins of the Athenian Agora. During the times of ancient Greece, it was the financial, political, religious, cultural and administrative center of the city, second only to the Acropolis in its importance. Trade deals were concluded in this place, justice was administered, theatrical and athletic competitions were held. It should be noted that the famous Panathenaic Way lay through the Ancient Agora, leading to the Acropolis, along which solemn processions passed during the Panathenaic period (festivities in honor of Athena, the patroness of the city of the goddess). At the moment, the Ancient Agora is one of the most popular and interesting sights of the capital, in addition,an important historical and archaeological site.

athenian agora

The very first excavations of the Athenian agora were carried out here in the 2nd half of the 19th century by the German Archaeological Institute and the Greek Archaeological Society. Periodically, work began in the twentieth century by the American School. The results of the excavations were so amazing that they decided at the state level to demolish a large number of modern buildings in order to be able to reveal the boundaries of the Ancient Agora.

Temple of Hephaestus

The Temple of Hephaestus in Athens, also known as Hephaestion and Theseion, is one of the best preserved temples of the Classical Greek period. This temple was created in the Doric style, decorated with columns, located in the north-west of the agora.

The temple was built in honor of the god Hephaestus (the god of fire, the most talented blacksmith, and also the patron of blacksmithing). The construction was initiated by Pericles, an Athenian statesman, commander and orator. Athens under his reign reached a high degree of cultural and economic development, this period is also called the "Pericles Age". The construction of the temple lasted for almost 30 years, since some of the workers were transferred to the construction of the Parthenon. The architect of this masterpiece is still unknown.

The Temple of Hephaestus was built from Parian and Pentelicon marble. It stands on 34 Doric columns, but the friezes are Ionic. At the same time, out of 68 metopes, 18 were sculptural, the rest were probably painted. At the temple on the east side, 10 metopes had differentsculptural images of the battles of Hercules. 4 metopes, located on the adjacent side pediments, were decorated with episodes from the life of Theseus.

Dionysus Theater

In the legendary Acropolis on the southeastern slope is one of the oldest theaters on the planet. The Theater of Dionysus in Athens is an important historical monument and one of the city's most interesting sights.

Theater of Dionysus in Athens

Many centuries ago, it was the venue for festivals in honor of Dionysus - Lesser and Greater Dionysius, during which theatrical competitions, popular in Athens, were held. Plays by famous ancient Greek authors such as Euripides, Sophocles, Aristophanes and Aeschylus were presented to the public for the first time on the stage of the theater.

The first theater was built in the 5th century. BC e. In the original theater, the seats and stage were made of wood. Some wooden structures were replaced by stone ones by the end of the fifth century. As part of the Athens beautification project in the second half of the fourth century, it was decided to reconstruct the theater. The new marble building was famous for its excellent acoustics, as well as its ability to accommodate 17,000 people, which by the time it was completed made up almost half of the city's population. Seats in the front row were intended only for high-ranking officials, as evidenced by nominal engravings, partially preserved to this day.

During the reign of Nero, the Roman emperor, the theater was reconstructed, a high ledge was added in front of the first row, which can still be seen there today. Tothe sculptural frieze with satyr species, discovered during excavations by archaeologists, dates back to the same time.

Tower of the Winds

The Tower of the Winds in Athens deserves special attention. It is located in the Roman Agora. It is believed that the tower was built in the middle of the 1st century BC. e. Andronicus, a famous Greek astronomer from Kirr, however, scientists do not exclude that this structure was erected a little earlier.

The Tower of the Winds is an impressive octagonal structure crafted from Pentelicon marble. Its height is 12 meters with a diameter of 8 meters. The tower in the ancient period was crowned with a weather vane in the shape of a Triton, showing the direction of the wind. But it has not survived to this day, while the images of the 8 divine winds of mythology - Kekia, Boreas, Evra, Apeliot, Lips, Notus, Skiron and Zephyr, encircling the upper region of the tower, can still be seen today. Under the figures of these deities there was a sundial, while inside the tower there was a water clock or clepsydra, to which water was supplied from the Acropolis.

Metro Athens

The Athens metro is not only a convenient mode of transport, but also a historical asset of the city. At the moment, the metro in Athens is the most modern in Europe, despite the fact that it was founded in 1869, only 6 years later than London, which is considered the very first on the planet.

National Garden

The National Garden was built by order of Amalia, Queen, the first ruler in independent Greece. The National Garden in Athens was designed by Schmidt, a gardener fromGermany. Queen Amalia personally chose the experts. At the same time, the improvement work lasted more than thirty years.

National Garden in Athens

Birds, plants, animals from different parts of the world were brought here. Some green spaces took root easily, others perished in a foreign climate. Only the best varieties of fruits and vegetables grew in this park. They were grown for the queen's table.

After the abolition of the monarchy, this park was made public, after which it received its current name. And today it is one of the biggest attractions in Athens.

There are 12 palm trees at the main entrance to the garden. They are located next to the sundial. Amalia planted these trees personally in 1842.

There are almost 150 shrubs and trees on the territory, which are well over 100 years old. Walk a little further along the alleys, where you will find the remains of buildings from ancient times. There are almost whole columns, partly mosaics and walls. On the alleys there are busts of ancient Greek poets. The garden is ideal for relaxing walks. It has a pond with ducks. Be sure to bring some grain or bread with you to feed the local birds. A small zoo is open for children. While they watch his animals, adults can sit quietly in a cozy cafe or on a bench.

Go into the garden and find the Peisistratus aqueduct. Drinking water came to Athens through it in ancient times. When the metro was being built near Syntagma Square, the builders came across a huge number of pipes that made up the aqueduct system.

Parthenon

Of course, of all the sights of Athens, the most significant and largest temple occupies a special place. It was erected in honor of Athena the Virgin, the goddess. The authors of this project were the architects Kallistrat and Iktin, and the sanctuary was decorated by Phidias, an ancient Greek sculptor, a friend of the founder of Athenian democracy and the famous orator Pericles.

The Parthenon began to be built after the end of the Greco-Persian wars. It is surrounded on all sides by a colonnade whose height exceeds ten meters. Each of the columns (there are 46 in total) with 20 grooves along the length has a diameter of 1.9 m at the base.

Athens interesting places

The temple was thought out to the smallest detail. At the same time, the architects highlight the curvature of the Parthenon - this means a special curvature that is needed to correct the error of human vision so that the temple looks perfectly straight. So, the corner columns look towards the center, while the middle columns look towards the corners, while the diameter of their section changes smoothly along the entire longitudinal axis - so they do not look concave.

In the construction of the temple of Athena, Pentelian marble was used, while the blocks were turned and fitted tightly without mortar. On the pediments of the temple there were sculptural groups that depicted the life of the ancient Greek gods. Now in museums there are originals of the preserved statues.

Erechtheion

But this is not all the sights of Athens. The most beautiful temple of the Acropolis, the Erechtheion, was erected in honor of Erechtheus, Poseidon and Athena, the mythological king of the city. Asymmetrical layout of this sanctuarydue to the fact that under it the soil had a significant drop, while the builders took this into account when creating the project.

East and north Ionic porticos frame the entrances. In the Erechtheion, on the south side, there is the Caryatid Portico - the most replicated part of the temple in tourist brochures and historical textbooks. 6 two-meter statues, created from Pentelian marble, represented women who supported the beam ceiling. You can look at authentic sculptures in the Acropolis Museum, and today the portico of the Erechtheion is decorated with exact copies of the masterpieces of a now unknown sculptor.

Temple of Olympian Zeus

500 meters from the Acropolis hill is another attraction of Athens, left over from the period of ancient Greece, which is called the Temple of Olympian Zeus. The huge Greek temple took 650 years to build.

Athens attractions

The first stone in this building was laid under Pisistratus, but at first the temple was again dismantled in order to use the stone for the construction of a defensive wall. This sanctuary was completed only under Hadrian, the Roman emperor, and opened solemnly during his visit to the city. The solemn event was the highlight of the program of 132 festivities.

To this day, only one corner of the temple has survived. You will be able to find only 16 columns, each of which is decorated with carved capitals, however, even the ruins give you the opportunity to imagine the greatness and power of the once largest temple in all of Ancient Greece.

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