You can’t miss The Acropolis when in Athens. We were even lucky enough to have a nice view on what probably is the most famous building in Greece from the window of our hotel room. A visit to Athens without a visit to the Acropolis would have been unthinkable for me. So, like hundreds of other visitors, we made our way to this historic place.
Visit the Acropolis
High above the city on a limestone rock over 150 meters high, the Acropolis sits on top of it all. Standing up here and looking down on the city, it is obvious why the Greeks erected the building here. You can see incredibly far! At first, the Acropolis was castle of the kings and a cultic place, later it served as the seat of the patron saint of the city. Easy for the inhabitants to develop the feeling of being watched over by the patron saint like this.
A bit unfortunate for the visitor, but important for the preservation of the UNESCO world cultural heritage, is the ongoing restoration and maintenance work. An attempt is being made to restore the original condition and, in addition, the destruction caused by today’s environmental influences must be minimised as much as possible. Not only smog and exhaust fumes, also the annual somewhat 3 million visitors leave their marks.
I was admittedly somewhat disappointed by the state of the Acropolis. Not only that I had expected more temple plant (actually preserved buildings), I also felt that the terrain was quite confusing. Our travel guide has done a good job and I have read a lot. I was impressed by the sheer size of the area. The idea of transporting the building material up the mountain and then building this huge temple complex makes me think very highly of the ancient Greeks. Nevertheless, I did not regret the visit. Much of what I was told in school has become clearer here. The building is architecturally impressive and needs to be preserved! A small tip: The visit to the Acropolis Museum is really worth it. We are not museum fans per se, but this one had us really impressed. Not only the museum restaurant and the great view of the Acropolis but also the representation of the Parthenon frieze on the third floor is worth seeing.
The Dionysos Theatre is situated at the south-east foot of the Acropolis. This site is understood as the birthplace of Greek theatre. It was consecrated to Dionysus, the god of wine and ecstasy. Every year, festivals were held with theatrical performances and classical tragedies.
Firstly, only the stage area was built, the spectators were still sitting on the slope. Later, 78 rows of seating were created for about 17000 spectators. The first row of seats was reserved for special dignitaries; 67 marble seats were placed here. We tried these special seats – they weren’t all that much more comfortable than the ordinary ones. Hopefully, there were enough pillows!
The theatre can only be visited if you bought a ticket for the Acropolis.
Amphitheater Odeion of Herodes Atticus
Directly below the Acropolis, on the southern slope, lies the Odeion of the Herodes Atticus. In the year 161 AD, this amphitheatre was built. The steeply rising seats of light marble provide space for about 5000 spectators. The theatre is very well preserved, and even today performances and concerts are held here.
The theatre was designed in Roman style. The stage area is enclosed by the audience on one side and the stage house on the other side. You can still very clearly see the niches that divided the stage house. Unfortunately, the roof that covered the auditorium no longer exists. You can visit the amphitheatre only with a guide. We had a good look from the outside.
I can very well imagine the great atmosphere during theatrical or opera performances here.
Opening hours (2016):
Admission fees (2016):
Adult: 20,- €