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.