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Wednesday, July 06, 2011

VISITING ANCIENT GREECE


New Acropolis Museum

I can not understand people who come to Athens and fail to visit the Acropolis or the new Acropolis museum.  This museum is one of the most outstanding displays of artifacts and well worth taking the time to visit, even if you're not a history buff.  In my opinion, if you've come all the way to Greece on holidays, you should at least spare a little time to visit ancient Greece as this history is such an important part of the Greek culture and psyche.

The new Acropolis Museum is more than just a museum, it's a link between present and past. It's treasure include more than 50,000 pieces unearthed in excavations around Athens.  And one of the amazing things is about it is walking over the plexi glass floors and viewing below you several eras of Greek life from Byzantine, to Roman, to Classical and Hellenistic.  The way the exhibits are displayed is also a beautiful thing to see. As many times as I've viewed these exhibits in the old Acropolis museum, to see them in their new, modern spacious exhibition halls is breathtaking.
So, if you're in Athens, don't miss out on this experience. You won't forget it and it's impossible not to feel the positive energy around you as you come in touch with Athens past.


No visit here is complete without a visit to the Acropolis, the city's most iconic landmark.  Since my first visit to Athens back in 1979, to the present, I must have visited the Acropolis several hundreds of times, yet I never get tired of climbing the hill and wandering those sacred heights.  The restorations are still in progress and there is scaffolding around the Parthenon, but it's still as beautiful as ever. If you go, try to go early in the day or evening because it's a long climb up in the fierce mid-day sun.  But you won't be sorry you made the effort.
Temple of Olympian Zeus from the Acropolis
Theatre of Dionysus
There are sights to see below the Acropolis too. I love the little theatre of Dionysus, and if you get chance, go to a drama or music performance at the Herodian (Theatre of Herod Attica - Roman period). 


The Agora

And don't forget the agora -- ancient Athens meeting place.  One of my favorite temples there is the beautiful Temple of Hephaestion.  I never grow tired o browsing the pathways around the ruins or visiting the little museum in the Stoa of Atticus.  On my very first visit to Athens, when I let my feet take me walking, I found myself in the agora.  As I stood there, it was as if a curtain had been lifted and I saw it as it had been.  It was an overwhelming deja vu experience and I began to cry, overcome with emotion.  Since then I have had a special draw to this ancient meeting place, as if I had truly 'been there' in the past.  Maybe that's why, when I've written about it in my historical fiction novels, I can 'see' it so clearly.   These ancient monuments have a very special meaning tome and I'll never get tired of visiting them.

Today I went to the Benaki Museum mainly to look at artifacts from the Bronze Age 3200 - 1000 BC, the Classical period 5 - 4 BC) and the Hellenistic period 3rd C BC) 

Macedonian gold treasures at the Benaki
The Benaki also has an excellent Museum of Islamic Art that is worth a visit. While you're over there in Thission visit the Keramikos which is where the elite of ancient Athens were buried just outside the city gates. 

There's lots of museums and sights to see around Athens so when you come for a visit be sure an take yourself around. If you're pressed for time you can always hop on and off one of the tour buses or the little red train!
I'm going to visit the Bronze site of Mycenae and the ancient theatre and Asklepion of Epidaurus tomorrow.

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