We only spent three days in Athens, since we had already spent a week there on our previous trip to Greece.
Our first morning we spent in the sun: walking
around the Acropolis, beginning in the attractive Keramikos district.
There is a wide pedestrian street that runs around the west and south sides of the Acropolis, and it was a lovely day.
Much of the Parthenon is still covered in scaffolding: a major restoration project is underway.
Here is what the Acropolis looked like in
antiquity, with a massive stairway that was removed
at the end of the Roman Empire and replaced with a fortified entrance, for defensive reasons.
Below: the acropolis from the east.
Below: the acropolis from the north.
We returned to the Acropolis the next day and were the first ones in line to see it!
As you climb up to the top, you pass the Roman amphitheater built into the side of the hill.
The entrance to the Acropolis is called the Propylaea, a series of small connected buildings.
Also near the entrance is the small and elegant Temple of Athena Nike (Victorious Athena).
Once up to the top, the views over the city are great!
The Parthenon is the star attraction of the Acropolis, the ruined ancient temple to Athena.
Another cluster of ancient temples is called the Erechtheum.
The Ionic capitals atop the columns have a different shape when used in the corners.
It is most famous for its caryatids, columns sculpted in the shape of women.
We were there early enough to see soldiers hoisting the Greek flag, a ceremony that takes place every morning.
All the random pieces lying around on the
Acropolis are currently being digitized,
in the hope that computer programs will help to identify which buildings they were from and how they fit together.
After about an hour, the crowds started to arrive, so we left.