The Acropolis in Athens, Greece
January 6, 2017
There are a lot of reasons why everyone should hope to visit the Acropolis in Athens if you ever get the opportunity. It is absolutely amazing on so many levels, whether visually, historically, or culturally, it is an important landmark for many reasons. For those of us who treasure democracy, the fact that the foundations of democracy were envisioned over two-thousand years ago is an astounding reality when you consider how long it took to actually implement. Whether you believe in the possibility of a world governed by multiple gods or not, understanding how the ancient Grecians viewed the connection between natural events and the supernatural world is still fascinating. Unlike most modern religions, the Greek gods and goddesses were endowed with human traits and weaknesses, something that seems hard to imagine in a world where higher powers are deemed as infallible.
Regardless of their belief system or the reason for building these temples that have lasted centuries, there is no doubting that they are well worth visiting if you ever get the chance. If we can offer any advice for visiting the Acropolis, it would be to go as early in the day as possible. We arrived at about ten in the morning, an hour after it opened, and we had to wait behind five other groups buying their tickets to enter. While we were inside of the site, we had few crowds and were able to see each of the temples and monuments unobstructed from throngs of people taking selfies of themselves. By the time we exited the Acropolis a couple of hours later, the line to purchase tickets was several hundreds of people long, most likely with a wait that was well over an hour long. Add to that the fact that all of those same people would be competing for the same views, taking the same pictures, reading the same placards, you can only imagine how the experience might be changed.
The second piece of advice that we would offer would be to buy the package ticket bundle that provides access to the other historical sites that are located in Athens. It might only save you about ten Euros, but you won’t have to wait to purchase tickets as you visit each of the other sites, therefore avoiding more lines. We can only imagine how much history is buried beneath the buildings of Athens if only we were able to unearth it, but for now we will just have to gaze in amazement at the sights that have been unearthed for us to see. Even without those other sites, the Acropolis provides an amazing view back into history.
There are five major sites that make up the Acropolis. The most famous is the Parthenon, the Erechthion, the Temple of Athena Nike, the Theatre of Dionysus, and the Propylaia. Before you enter the main site, you pass by the Theatre of Dionysus, which is truly quite striking and could seat up to 17,000 people to watch theatrical events of the time. Surely it must have been quite the social event to spend an evening being regaled with the adventures of the gods or heroes such as Hercules.
As you enter, you pass through the Propylaia, which is the grand entrance to the entire site and will definitely fill you with a sense of awe for everything that you are about to see. On the right of the entrance, you will find the Temple of the Athena Nike, which is not particularly striking, but is still amazing for its cultural and mythical history. Obviously it is not necessary to understand the mythological beliefs of the ancient Grecians to appreciate the grandeur of the monuments that they built, but it is worth knowing if you want to understand why they expended such energy to create monuments meant to appease their gods and bring favor upon the land and the people.
We didn’t take a tour on our trip, but there are certainly plenty of opportunities to get a guide if you so desire. There is so much to see and learn about this important historical and archeological landmark that we will likely read and investigate more and more about it over the coming months and years, just to truly appreciate everything that we have seen. Hopefully you will get a chance to visit and see it for yourself, but in the meantime we hope that you get a sense for how impressive this incredible location truly is from the few images that we were able to capture.