How I Almost Missed the Ruins of Athens, Greece
Athens is one of those cities that just exudes history. The big modern city of today didn’t interest me so much, but I loved that in just minutes I could walk from modern shops to ruins that have been around for thousands of years. My trip to Greece was the first time I traveled alone, and even though Santorini was my favorite part of that trip, I did really enjoy the ruins in Athens. Looking back at what I saw, I can’t help but laugh at myself about my approach to the day of exploration.
Parthenon and the Acropolis
No trip to Athens is complete without going to see the Acropolis and the Parthenon, a temple built in honor of the goddess Athena more than 2000 years ago. The Parthenon is one of the most iconic images of ancient Greek history, and the fact that it’s been standing there for so long just amazes me.
The day I saw it, I remember walking out of my hotel in Athens without asking for directions because I could see it, why would I need directions? It’s visible from just about anywhere in the city, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy to find the actual entrance. I ended up following some other tourists, but I would’ve saved time by asking for directions in the first place.
Not too far from the Acropolis is the ancient agora of Athens. This was the center of the city, where commerce and political activities took place. I’ll be honest, I didn’t really know anything about these ruins before I came to Athens, so I was wandering around uninformed. I only have a few pictures from the area, and after looking at Andy’s post about the Athens agora here, I realized I missed an entire section.
Temple of Zeus
The agora was something I had at least seen in my guidebook, but I completely missed any mention of the Temple of Zeus. I really must have spent more time researching Santorini than anything else for this trip. While I was at the Acropolis, I could see this wide open field with a bunch of tall pillars, so I decided to check it out. It turned out to be the Temple of Zeus. I enjoyed walking around it because it was such an open space in such a crowded city, and there were a lot less tourists than at the Acropolis.
Athens is a wonderful place to go to see ancient ruins. There are thousands of years worth of history right in front of you, and you’ve probably learned a lot of it in history class when you were in school. Being able to see these things in person makes a much bigger impact that reading about it in a history book. But I would suggest doing a little more research ahead of time, or at least picking up some information while you’re there, if you really want to see the ruins of Athens, Greece.
fotoeins | Henry
January 3, 2013 @ 10:43 PM
Just when I think I could sorta kinda do without visiting this place, I admit that stories like these make me wanna go. WIth a couple of friends from Athens, I’m trying to scheme my way to Athens, only if they’re there. 😉 Thanks for the post, A!
January 4, 2013 @ 2:31 PM
Thanks Henry! Andy and I were both in Athens at separate times, and neither of us was really that impressed with the city. But the ruins are amazing! If you have friends there to hang out with, or if you’re going to use Athens as a jumping off point for the islands, go for it.
January 4, 2013 @ 1:45 PM
I really like your pictures, but it seems as if all of these ruins are really surrounded by the modern city, no?
Doesn’t this take away a bit the historic feel?
January 4, 2013 @ 2:35 PM
The Acropolis is up on a big hill, so it doesn’t really feel like it’s IN the city, though you do have really great views of the city, and even out to the sea, from up there. The agora felt a bit too much in the middle of things, but then I also missed a big section of it! And the temple of Zeus didn’t feel too surrounded by the city because it was such a big area and there were lots of trees around the edge. In some ways it is weird to have ruins like this in the middle of a modern city, but in some ways it’s kind of cool because it shows you the contrast of how long those ruins have been there.
January 5, 2013 @ 6:33 AM
Some nice shots and info on Athens. I have to admit that Greece is not near the top of my “places to go” list, but I still think I’ll end up there some day, maybe when/if they ever get all their money/social issues sorted out a bit better than they are at present.
January 5, 2013 @ 4:09 PM
Greece definitely has a lot of history worth exploring. Athens definitely isn’t one of my favorite cities, but the ruins were great, and Santorini is just gorgeous. As for their money issues at the moment, if anything it means things should be a little cheaper for tourists.
January 7, 2013 @ 1:52 PM
I still haven’t been to Greece – maybe this year. Love your photos.
January 7, 2013 @ 3:01 PM
Thanks Laurel! I hope you do get there this year!
January 7, 2013 @ 10:57 PM
I’ve never been to Athens but it always sounds like there is so much to see there! Great photos
January 8, 2013 @ 4:51 PM
Thanks Andrea! I think the islands are probably the best, but there’s definitely a lot to see/do in Athens.
January 8, 2013 @ 8:01 AM
That’s totally something I would do. Assume I know how to get there just because I can see it. What a cool place to visit. I still can’t believe I haven’t been to Greece.
January 8, 2013 @ 4:54 PM
Greece is definitely worth a visit! I hope you get the chance to see it someday.
January 8, 2013 @ 3:45 PM
Great photos! We need to return to Greece to visit the ancient ruins in Athens. Perhaps later this year.
January 8, 2013 @ 4:56 PM
Thanks Jennifer! Definitely a lot of great history to soak up in Athens.
January 28, 2013 @ 9:29 PM
The title of this posts actually makes me laugh because I actually did miss seeing the ruins of Athens, due to my original flight being cancelled (on my honeymoon to say the least!) We were heading to the Greek islands and decided to spend a day in Athens first.. So with this said, we totally missed out!
Maybe I’ll eventually write a post titles “How i actually missed the ruins of Athens” haha..or ” how i missed out on the first day of my honeymoon”. I laugh about it now, but at the time was so upset. Guess we just need to return soon!
January 29, 2013 @ 2:26 PM
Aw that sucks! Maybe you’ll get to go back to Athens someday and see the ruins. Although I’m sure you had a great time in the islands!
October 14, 2013 @ 6:57 PM
This is so awesome! I was searching where in Greece is the place where I can find the ruins then I ended up in your blog! The pictures excites me more :)) I wanna graduate soon then have a job then visit Athens ASAP <3 i love ancient ruins!
October 15, 2013 @ 3:03 PM
Thanks Geline! Greece is a really gorgeous country, I hope you make it there soon! Don’t forget to visit some of the islands too!