ATHENS, A CULTURAL GEM
Rising up from the center of Athens is the Acropolis, a fortified limestone plateau that is topped with the Parthenon and several other historical monuments. This is ancient, iconic Greece, the place where philosophers questioned the universe, democracy and freedom of speech were born, and temples were built to honor the gods. The term “acropolis” refers to the fortified hill. Sitting on and around this hill are several very important sites. The Parthenon is the most famous, but there is also the Temple of Athena Nike, the Erechtheion, the Odeon of Herodes Atticus, and the Theater of Dionysus.
The Ancient Agora is an archaeological site located near the Acropolis. For 5,000 years, this area was used as a marketplace, gathering place, and residential area. The ground of this large site is littered with the ruins of buildings and walkways. However, there are two important places to visit (the Temple of Hephaestus and the Stoa of Attalos).
Plaka is a neighborhood in Athens that stretches from the Acropolis to Syntagma Square. This is one of the best spots in Athens to go shopping. Ermou Street is a pedestrian street lined with popular stores. The older and more interesting streets are located closer to the Acropolis. The Anafiotika area is a charming, older section of Plaka with narrow, photogenic streets and picturesque shops.
This is a bustling, busy spot in Athens. It’s located in the heart of Athens, near Hadrian’s Library, the Ancient Agora, and just a short walk from the Acropolis.
For a sprawling view of Athens and the Acropolis, walk or take the Lycabettus Cable Car to the peak of Mount Lycabettus. From here, you get to see just how big this city is, with the Acropolis proudly rising up in the center from the low, white buildings. In the sunlight, this city literally sparkles.