Friday, October 3, 2014

The Agora.

Aphrodite he's not!

From one set of ruins to the next. From the Acropolis to the Agora.

While I had marked all the must-see highlights on our Athens map, I didn't set out any specific daily itinerary e.g, we go hear first and then here next and then.....  I deliberately did this so that Bro could participate in deciding on where we go/what we do/what we see.  After all, it's as much his trip to Greece as it is mine.  So, every day or the night before, we roughly map the day.   As far as the Agora goes, it was on the map and although we could approach the site from any number of different entrances, it made the most sense for us to visit it on our way out of the Acropolis.







There was a direct path leading from where we exited the Acropolis, down the hill to the Agora.  In the midst of all the stone and concrete of the city was this beautiful path, cutting through a bit of woodland. At the entry gate, we showed our tickets to go in.


Once inside, there was another path that led through the site.  It's a big site, filled with ruins strewn about everywhere!  Corri was right.  After while, you start to ignore the stuff.....there's so much of it.  

That's the Church of the Holy Apostles on the left.  Seems a bit out of place here, amid Grecian ruins.

At the entrance, they had given us a map of the site.  Bro loves map so of course, he was trying to follow it.  Me, I just go.  We went.

Looking back towards the entrance.  The Parthenon looming over, high above.

Zooming in, I actually got a good view of the Propylaea and the Temple of Athena Nike.

I admit it, ruins look like rocks.  On the other hand, they also make good seats for when you need to take a rest.

Temple of Hephaestus.

Ruins.  Rocks. I had no idea what we were looking at, map or no map.

 It's amazing to see how so many of the designs we see on ancient Greek ruins are still used today like the egg and dart pattern on the capital on the left.

The Greeks were masters at carving.  They knew how to give solid rock a delicate feel.

On the grounds of the Agora is the Ancient Agora Museum, housed in the restored Stoa of Attalos, a monument which dates back to about 150 BC.

Looking down the length of the Stoa's covered colonnade. 

Under the covered colonnade, were displayed various statues and column capitals recovered from the site.  The museum exhibition rooms were on the other side of the wall.


Statue of the Personifcation of the Illiad.

Cult statue of Apollo Patroos

Inside the museum, which was several exhibition halls, were more artifacts.  Based on the dates, I don't think they were all recovered from the Agora.


I loved this terracotta container, circa 725-700 BC.  Yes, it's really, really old!

Greeks were skillful metal artisans, especially when it came to using bronze as a medium.  This is a bronze head of of Nike (Goddess of Victory)

This was unusual.  A statue of Apollo Lykeios fully rendered in ivory. Ivory?  Circa 3rd century AD.

Greeks.....the original mosaic tile masters.  Really.  

Romans.....the original bust masters.  Everyone else imitated them.  This is the bust of Antonius Pius.



To say that most of the buildings in the Agora have been reduced to ruins is an understatement.  But some structures have survived. 

In the fifth century a large bathing complex, known as the Palace of Giants, was built on its foundations of the former Odeion of Agrippa (or Odeum of Agrippa), a large auditorium built at the center of the Agora to hold musical performances.  Three of the triton statues that adorned the entrance to the Odeion and later the Palace of Giants, are still visible.

Palace of Giants.

Looking towards the Palace of Giants.

From the Palace of Giants, we had one last place to visit before leaving the Agora, the Temple of Hephaestus.  We had long given up following the map.  It was easier to just spot the landmark and head towards it.  There was always a path in sight.

 

The Temple of Hephaestus, also known as the Theseion or Hephaisteion, was built in the 449 BC, two years before the Parthenon.  The temple was dedicated to the gods Hephaestus and Athena.

He's joined the universe of iPad photographers :-)

Similar in style but smaller than the Parthenon, the temple consists of thirty-four Doric columns that support a still partially intact roof.


The meotopes depict the exploits of Theseus and Heracles.



Temple of Hephaestus is the best preserved temple in all of Greece in part because of its conversion into a church in the 7th century and in part to restoration work. The church remained in use through 1834, then became a museum until the 1930s.  The temple has since been restored to its original Greek appearance.

From its position on a hill in the Agora, we enjoyed views of the surroundings.

On the left, the Stoa of Attalos, where we had been to the museum.  On the right, the Acropolis and the Parthenon. What a great view!

The one and only Acropolis and Parthenon.  From this angle, you can also see the Temple of Athena Nike and the Erechtheion.

By now, it was about 1:30p.  We had been wandering about for more than 4 hours.  Hunger pangs were setting in. Time to head off in search of food.  More sightseeing to come!