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Published: July 19th 2018
We finally made it up to the Acropolis. I am glad we waited for day 3. We now know much more about Greek and Roman Athens, and it informed our visit to the Acropolis.
Day 21 - The Acropolis and Filopappou Hill (and points in between)
Our plan was to get to the gates of the Acropolis early to avoid the worst of both the heat and the crowds. We also entered from the eastern gate, the one not used by all the tour companies. This took us past many of the sites lower on the hill such as the Theatre of Dionysus, several temples, caves that had been turned into churches, the work sites of various craftsmen, and a roman era theater that is still used today. We finally made it to the gates of the Acropolis and walked up the marble steps to the summit. We were able to see the Parthenon, the temple to Athena Nike, and many other smaller temples on the summit. The whole area was covered with slick natural marble and we had to watch our steps. We could also see the amazing conservation efforts that were being done to stabilize and reconstruct the area. Newer marble was used to piece together fragments just as it was for the statues and friezes in the museum.
After we saw what we wanted
The seats, at one time, reached all the way to where this picture was taken. It was massive.
on the hill, including fantastic views of Athens, we headed down and around the base of the Acropolis. We ended up on a less busy side and saw many caves and shrines to lesser gods as well as many springs that seem to have provided water in past centuries, though many had collapsed and were not flowing now. We worked our way around the northside and back to the Theater of Dionysus and out the gates into Athens proper.
On our way down from the Acropolis, we encountered mobs of people, mostly tour groups, climbing their way up. We found out that the cruise ships, which regularly dock at the ports, start arriving at about 10am, and then it is game over. It was so crowded, that we had to each wind our way from point to point and plan our route through the mass. Here is a good time to talk about some tips.
Pro Tip 1: Go early. The gates open at 8am. Get their at 8am. Don’t sleep in. Don’t let jet lag dreariness waste your morning. Get there right away. It makes a gigantic difference, both in crowds
These seats in the Theater of Dionysus had backs.. wealthy patrons, I suppose.
and in temperature. We were able to leisurely walk around the entire monument during our first 90 minutes.
Pro Tip 2: Get the multi-pass at another site. It’s currently 30 euros, compared to the 12 euro single entry fee. However, the lines just to purchase tickets were more than an hour long. The people at the end of the line would have time to walk to Hadrian’s Library, buy the multi-pass, visit Hadrian’s library, walk back, and still get into the Acropolis before finishing the line at the gate of the Acropolis. We went to all but one of the 7 sites on the ticket, and each one was well worth it. You could even go to all of them in one day, if you wanted, and could stand the heat. The tickets are good for 5 days.
Pro Tip 3: Carry lots of water. The only place to buy water is at the entrances. There was no water available anywhere else on the mountain. We carried about a gallon of water total, and drank all of it. By the way, did we mention it was hot. Get the water in one
Expanded by romans
The theater here was big in Ancient Greece, but had wooden seats, etc. The Romans expanded the theater with marble.
of the many convenience stores nearby (perhaps on your way from Hadrian’s Library).
After coming down from the Acropolis, we got some water and a snack and then headed to our next stops, the Roman Agora and Hadrian’s Library. We wound our way through Athens, going through streets dedicated to selling food and souvenirs to tourists as well as quieter back streets and local flea markets. We finally ended up at the park around Filopappou Hill.
There are three main peaks in Athens, the Acropolis, Mount Lycabettus, and Filopappou Hill. We can now say we made it to the top of all three. The peak of Filopappou has a monument to Philopapos, a prince of the ancient Armenian Kingdom of Commagene. The monument included his tomb before it was destroyed. The monument site has a fabulous 360 degree view of Athens and from there you can see the other two significant peaks. The park also contains some other significant ruins and caves including the supposed prison of Socrates. Many of these were used to hide the treasures of the Acropolis during WWII and sealed with concrete. They were reopened in the 1960s
A roman theater on the same side of the Acropolis hill where they still have performances. It's massive also.
when major conservation of the area started.
More water and a light lunch followed our descent from the Hill and once again we headed back to the house for a nap and to watch the World Cup Final between France and Croatia. It was a high scoring game with France winning 4 to 2.
A late dinner rounded out our day and tomorrow we fly back to London. We are hoping to continue our “Caves in every country we visit” trend and see the Koutouki Caves outside of Athens before we go but getting there is turning out to be a bit difficult.
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