Roman Athens

We flew to Athens Saturday afternoon and checked into the Hotel Attalos, right in the heart of the city. On the roof of our hotel there was a bar with an excellent view of the Acropolis. The structure you see on the top of the Acropolis is the Parthenon (the flag in the foreground is the Greek flag).

Sunday was to be our only full day in Athens and our main goal was to get to the top of the Acropolis.

Our journey up would take us through the part of Athens that had been where the Romans had set up house after kicking out the Macedonian Greek lords of the city in 146 B.C.

In the 1st century B.C., during the reign of Julius Caesar, the Romans built a Forum north of the Acropolis on the lower ground next to another building, the Tower of the Winds, which was an octagonal structure that served as a sundial, wind vane, compass and water clock which was powered from a spring flowing down from the Acropolis. Here’s Dale peaking inside.

And here she is again, standing at the entrance to the ruins of the Roman Forum.

Between 117 and 138 A.D., the Roman Emperor, Hadrian, lived in Athens and he undertook the building of a tremendous library here by the Forum that did more than house the writings of the times (on papyrus scrolls); it was also the cultural center of Roman Athens and a great public space.

Hadrian’s Library was so huge that after it went into disuse, a huge basilica was built inside of it. Here’s a view of the foundation of the basilica inside the Library.

But, more impressive was the remaining exterior wall to Hadrian’s Library that we encountered when we walked around to the left and down to the entry.

Looking back up to the Acropolis from Hadrian’s Library, we saw we still had quite a hike ahead of us.

But we made good time, our legs having strengthened from our trek through the Samarián Gorge.

There are so many magnificent ruins here in Athens that at times we couldn’t even be sure what we were looking at. I think this one was called the Hephaisteion.

But, we still had quite a ways to go to get to our destination.

At last we reached the ticket booth and entry to the Acropolis. There was a nice overlook of the Theater of Herodes Atticus; however, by this point in our travels, we weren’t really that interested in theaters.

There was a good view of the southern part of Athens from here.

One-third of the population of Greece lives in Athens; it’s a huge city today, as it was in the old days.

It was a hot day, but fortunately we found a water-dispensing vending machine. But which bottle to pick? B13? C22?

Time for a group photo in front of the Propylaia before heading up to visit the Parthenon and the other temples on top of the Acropolis.

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