The Athenian Girl at Dionysiou Areopagitou.
When I was studying Architecture in Rome, some friends of mine visited me and I was proud to be their walking guide in the streets and alleys of the Eternal City. It was my pleasure to make them see the city that I was living by that time, through my eyes and through my architectural knowledge. That was easy, mainly for two reasons:
My first time in Rome was as a tourist.
My second time in Rome was as a student of Architecture. Therefore, not only did I had to learn the history of Architecture of this significantly important city, but also, there were so many architectural tours in the city with my University that it was impossible not to learn at least the very basics.
After my graduation, I moved back to Athens. Even though I knew the history of Architecture of my city very well (since its architectural value is very important and is being studied to Schools of Architecture worldwide), I realized, I had never been a tourist in my own city. I could not create any touring plans, if a friend of mine wanted to visit my birth city. Since I knew Rome by heart, someone would expect from me to know Athens as well.
Of course, that was not the case for me. However, since then, years have passed by and that gap has been filled.
And I enjoyed big time!
Starting from this blog post, I am going to cover -through my point of view- some very basic walking tours of Athens.
So, if someone asks me, what’s the first thing he should do in Athens, that would be a walk through Dionysiou Areopagitou, the longest walkaway of Athens in Makrygianni area.
Pedestrian precinct Dionysiou Areopagitou, is the perfect place to start your Athenian journey, as it will travel you back to ancient Athens since it connects the most significant archeological sites.
Since it is a big pedestrianized street, you will have the time to stroll around, cycle, take coffee and snack breaks and most importantly you feel like you are in a different era. (Well, somehow you are).
On this walking tour, you will have the opportunity to visit some of the most significant landmarks of the ancient world:
The Theatre of Dionysus: this theatre, dedicated to Dionysus, was built in about 530 BC and it was the birthplace of Greek tragedy. Tragedy playwrights, such as Aeschylus, Euripides and Sophocles, wrote the plays that had been firstly performed here. Their plays that have been survived until nowadays, (not too many), are being studied worldwide. The seating capacity was approximately 16.000.
The New Acropolis Museum: the museum was built to house every artifact found on the Acropolis and on the surrounding slopes. The most important galleries of the museum are the Parthenon Gallery and the main monuments that constitute the classical Acropolis, that is, the Propylaea, the Athena Nike and the Erechtheion.
The Odeon of Herodes Atticus: The Odeon of Heordes Atticus lies on the southern slope of the Acropolis hill and since its restoration, it has been the main venue of the Athens Art Festival (that is being held yearly, from May to October), featuring concerts and performances, with a marvelous acoustic experience by a variety of distinguished Greeks and International performers.
The Areopagus, or Hill of Ares: The Areopagus was the place where the elders of the city held their council. Now you can enjoy a stunning view across the Acropolis, Athens, the Agora, the Philopappos Hill and the surroundings.
… And of course…
The Acropolis: The Acropolis is the landmark of Athens and one of the greatest architectural complexes that the Greek Antiquity has offered to the world. Started building around 450 BC, during the Golden Age, under the ambitious project of statesman Pericles that generated most of the surviving structures on the Acropolis. Through the guidance of the Sculptor Phedias, this rocky hill has been transformed into a unique monument.
Propylaea, is the monumental gate on to the Acropolis, that was built by Architect Mnesikles. South of the Propylaea, lies the temple of Athena Nike.
Temple of Erechtheion is said to be built in order to honor the king Erechtheus. On the north side, lies the porch of the Caryatids, which consists of six female figures, Caryatids, as supporting columns.
The Parthenon’s main function, was to house the approximately 10 meters Chryselephantine (made of gold and ivory) Sculpture of Athena, the patroness of Athens. Sculptor Phedias was the creator and it was situated in the south end of the cella. Unfortunately, it has not survived until nowadays.
The Ionic frieze – a pentelic marble sculpture that was running around the upper part of the exterior wall of the cella – was depicting the Panathenaic procession, the biggest religious festival of Athens.
The east pediment narrates the birth of Athena and on the west pediment is depicted the contest between Athena and Poseidon, during their competition for the honor of becoming the city’s patron.
The Architects of this legendary monument were Iktinos and Callicrates. There are interesting theories, saying that it was constructed according to the golden ratio, or that there is an optical illusion of parallelism between the entassis (slight swelling) in the center of the columns. Unfortunately, those theories are not confirmed, although some affirmative conditionals make a positive assertion.
It is also worth mentioning that until 1687 the Parthenon was mostly intact. Parthenon also carries a reputation of being “the most perfect Doric temple ever built”. All monuments of the Acropolis were constructed entirely of marble from Mount Penteliko (pentelic marble).
Some tips about this walking tour:
Please keep in mind that since some parts of the Acropolis may be slippery enough, you have to pay some attention by wearing suitable shoes.
If the weather is hot, always provide water with you.
Admission fees apply to all archeological sites.
Dionysiou Areopagitou, is easily reachable by the metro station “Acropolis”(Red line).
Apart of the ancient treasures that this street is combining, I am also always dawdling the beautiful neoclassical buildings of the street.
Whenever you feel tired, you can have a rest.
The area offers numerous coffee places and traditional taverns.
You can enjoy the panoramic view of the Acropolis at the Cafe & Restaurant of the Acropolis Museum, while having a coffee, a drink a light snack or a hot dish.
You can enjoy excellent Greek cuisine in the lounge area or at the roof garden (with a marvelous view) of Attikos Greek House.
Strofi is also a great choice for Greek and Mediterranean cuisine under the exceptional view towards the Acropolis as well.
For a Greek fusion cuisine, try Trapezaria.
MANHMANH is also an excellent choice for Greek cuisine.
The AthensWas Boutique Hotel offers a stunning view towards the Acropolis, at the Modern Rooftop Dinning.
Later in the evening, or at night, the area offers wonderful choices as well:
Tiki Athens is an exotic bar that is a great choice for signature cocktails or for their famous Tiki burger! They often host events and theatrical performances.
If you love wine, try the Wine Point bar to taste Greek wine labels at great prices.
For Jazz lovers, you can visit the atmospheric Palio Radiofono bar. (One of my personal favourites).
“Fly me to the moon and let me play among the stars”
Until next time! ♥