We were nonplussed on visiting Athens dissuaded and swayed by our friends that most of the archeological sites are in ruins and there would be nothing for us to see there. A visit to Santorini by ferry from Athens was on cards and we decided that we should spend some time exploring the unearthed greek history which laid the foundation for the western civilization.
Finally, we did it and we are glad we did it!
Athens, the capital city of Greece is well known for its compelling antiquity and the archeological sites. The ancient sites beckon the inquisitive tourists and history buffs from all over the world.
Day 1 – Argolis full day tour – 350 km tour circuit which included Corinth, Mycenae, Epidaurus, and Nafplio starting from Syntagma Square in Athens.
Our first stop was the spectacular Corinth Canal. The azure waters flowing through the high rocky cliffs of the narrow man-made canal was awe-inspiring.
The Ancient Corinth – Even though the site only remains of the foundations and pillars of the temples, shops and pathways but the city looked very impressive.
An archeological Museum displayed fine mosaics, busts of Roman rulers and comprehensive collection of Greek pottery.
The fortress of Acrocorinth provides with spectacular views over Peloponnese.
Mycenae – Other than the main access to the citadel the Lion Gate, which has a relief of the two lions above the entranceway and Lions Tholos Tomb nothing much remains of the archaeological site of Mycenae.
Nafplio – We drove along acres of orange farms with the farmers selling oranges all along the way and even savored on some of the sweetest and juiciest oranges ever. We drove to Akronafplia fortress which rewarded us with the spectacular views over the city and the Nafplio Harbor.
The theater of Epidavros is the best preserved ancient theaters and is still used for frequent plays and concerts. The astonishing acoustics of the theater is such that, regardless of seating, one can hear the slightest sound clearly.
We drove back to Athens through the south coast of the Saronic Gulf enjoying the views of the calm blue sea.
Day 2 – Athens city sightseeing
The first agenda in the morning was to visit the Syntagma Square to watch the impressive guard changing ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and then to the Acropolis.
Acropolis in Athens is a complex of several ancient monuments of great architectural and historic significance. Theatre of Dionysus is an ancient theater dedicated to Dionysus, the god of winemaking and Grape harvesting.
Propylaia is a huge entrance building to the main Acropolis complex.
The imposing building on entering the complex is the magnificent Parthenon. It is a former temple dedicated to the goddess Athena and had 46 outer columns and 23 inner columns in total. It is said to be set on fire, ravaged by earthquakes, looted for its sculptures and almost destroyed by the explosion.
The other interesting temple is the Erechtheum dedicated to both Athena and Poseidon and is popular for the porch of maidens.
The hot scorching sun had drained the energy out of us. We descended the hill into the charming district of Plaka where the cobbled streets are lined with souvenir shops and restaurants and quaint houses have bougainvillea adorned balconies. Plaka is mostly packed with tourists so need to visit it early mornings to avoid the crowd. Plaka has some great accommodation to offer too. Check out where to stay in Athens.
Not far from Plaka are the temple of Olympian Zeus and the Arch of Hadrian.
It is disheartening to see the ruins of the temples and places of worship being unearthed by excavation. Has God been partial when it comes to this wonderful land of mythology and legends which have been revered as the ‘Land of Gods’? The unearthed architectures are so astonishing that certainly, these structures in their years of glory must have been the most remarkable structures.
What do you think of the archaeological sites of Athens? Do share with us in Comments.
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