Seeing historic sites like the Acropolis and the Temple of Zeus were a major reason that I decided to participate in this study abroad. After taking Latin in high school, the civilizations of Rome and Athens have always been fascinating to me. The Acropolis and the Acropolis museum were the highlights of my trip.
We visited the Acropolis after our first day of lectures at the Athens University of Economics and Business. It was a beautiful evening and a great way to unwind after learning about the Greek financial crisis. Our tour guide, Eleni, gave us a guided tour and we had some free time to explore afterwards. The Acropolis comes from two Greek words that mean the highest point of the city. Eleni told us that it was built as a piece of propaganda for the leaders at the time. The major structures at the Acropolis include the Parthenon, the gates to the Acropolis and Erechtheion. The Parthenon was built as a temple to Athena. The Erechtheion was constructed as a temple to Athena and Poseidon. The Erechtheion also includes some beautiful statues called Caryatids. It was fascinating to learn that many of the structures and statues at the Acropolis were in full color but have diminished to their white appearance that we see today. The Acropolis visit was more than I imagined it would be. It was an extraordinary plethora of structures. It would be amazing to have visited it at its peak in history.
The Acropolis Museum was built in 2009. It exhibits the original works that were found in the Acropolis and the original pieces of the Parthenon that remain. When they began building the Acropolis Museum they found remains of a civilization under it. The way that this surprise city is exhibited is really cool. They continue to excavate the city, but created a clear floor over it in the museum, You can look down and see the excavations. At the Acropolis, our tour guide, Eleni, has mentioned to us that many of the sculptures actually were painted with color. At the Acropolis Museum we were able to see a few of the colored statues that remain. We also got to see the real Caryatids. The ones at the Acropolis are replicas. The Acropolis Museum houses five of the six Caryatids. The sixth one can be found at the British Museum. The top floor of the Acropolis Museum has a beautiful view of the Acropolis. It is measured to be the same size as the Parthenon with eight by seventeen columns There are also models of what the top of the Parthenon really looked like. One of the sides shows all twelve of the Greek gods. It was very cool to walk around and see the original pieces of the Parthenon. I was struck by how little pieces are left however. It is sad that so many have been taken from Greece or destroyed over time.