Sightseeing in Athens in Greece.
The following ancient sites including the Roman Agora are within the Monastiraki area of Athens so easily reached by Metro. Also in the area are several markets, lots of shops and of course plenty of tavernas and cafes.
Pantanassa Church - Monastiraki - Little Monastery. This beautifully shaped church and monastery gave it's name to this area of Athens. It is located opposite the metro station at Plateia Monastirakiou and was built during the 10th century.
Originally constructed by the Turkish Governor Tsistaraki in 1759 several of the columns from the Temple of Olympian Zeus were crushed to make lime for the brickwork. This was somewhat unpopular as turkish law did not allow the
destruction of ancient monuments and ultimately led to his downfall. The mosque was restored in 1981 following an earthquake and now contains the Kyriazopoulos Folk Ceramic Museum.
Located in the same part of Monastiraki as the above two buildings Hadrian's Library was built in 132 AD> The almost square building (it measures 120 metres x 80 metres) was mostly built from limestone although the front/main entrance is of
marble as are the columns. The square inside had gardens and a pool and was surrounded by more marble columns.
Tower of Winds (or Horologion of Kyrrhestos).
Situated within the Roman Agora, the octagonal Tower of Winds is 12 metres high, has a diameter of 8
metres and was built by the astronomer Andronikos. The tower was a combination of weather vane and internal water clock (the water clock was used for time
calculations during cloudy days). Each of it's eight sides represents a different wind.
The Fethiye Mosque (Mosque of the Conqueror). The Mosque is beleived to have been built in the late 17th century by the Ottomans.
Keramikos Cemetery. Located a little to the northwest of the Acropolis near to Thiseio Metro station this quite extensive ancient
Athens cemetery - it has been a burial ground since at least the 12th century BC - also has a small but very interesting museum (The Oberlander) which contains several statues,
various toys which had been discovered in the graves and a lot of pottery. The Sacred Way (Eleusinian) was one of the most ancient roads in Athens - it
went from The Acropolis then through the Ancient Agora and Kerameikos and on to Eleusis - a distance of around 20 kilometres - and was used for the procession of the Eleusinian Mysteries. The bed of a small river called The Eridanos still
runs through the site - so there are lots of flowers and reeds (plus attendant wildlife) around. The Eridanos starts in the Lykabettos foothills and runs through the The Agora and Roman Baths and on into Kerameikos. It is easy to spend a couple of hours wandering around the peace and quiet found at Keramikos Cemetery.
Temple of Olympian Zeus.
This is located to the south of the National Gardens in the Plaka area of Athens the Temple of Olympian Zeus is the largest temple in Greece. Originally started by the tyrant Peisistratos
the temple took over 600 years to complete - finally being finsihed by the Roman Emporer Hadrian who dedicated it to Zeus.
There are only 15 collonades still
standing - originally there were 104 of them - however you still get a good idea of just how impressive the original structure would have looked.
Within the site there are extensive remains of Roman Baths, several mosaics to look at as well as the water systems which were built by the Romans to move water around the area.
Just outside of the Temple area is Hadrian's Arch which was constructed between 131 - 132 AD as a triumphal arch in honour of the Roman Emporer Hadrian. Standing 18 metres high and 13.5 metres wide the monument was
placed on the road which linked the city with Llissian sanctuaries and marked the boundary between the old and new cities. (During 1778 the arch was converted into a Gate and named Vasilopoula's Gate or Kamaroporta.)
These are just a few other photos from around Athens.
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