Athens

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I wanted to post something from my trip but I didn’t know what so I figured I’d just post some stuff from the beginning of the trip in Athens. So here I have put together a slideshow of a number of pictures from Athens. The first couple pictures are of the 19th century Chapel of St. George on top of Mount Lycabettus, which I walked up my first day in Athens, one being a close up from on Mount Lycsbettus and the other from some small residential streets at the base of the Akropolis. Not far from there, in a modern part of Athens where I saw this little Greek Orthodox church that has been enveloped by an office building and thought it was funny, the building is hardly longer than it is wide. Many large orthodox churches will have a side church similar to this beside the main temple, I don’t know why.

The next bunch are from a walking tour of the archeological sites in Athens I saw on a walking tour of Athens. The two pictures of the large free-standing columns, are from the Temple of Olympian Zeus, a once very large temple started in about 520 B.C. and but not completed until some 638 years later by the Roman emperor Hadrian. The close up shows the Corinthian-style capitals. The site is important in ancient Greek and local Christian mythology because of the discovery of a large cavern and sanctuary in the middle of the temple that some say is that from the flood stories of those religions. The close-up of the short post from the site of Hadrian’s Library. The temple is the Temple of Hephaestus, inaugurated around 415 B.C., notable for being the best preserved temple. It is the only one (in Athens at least) with sections of the original roof. There are a couple pictures from nearby looking over the Agora, the city centre of ancient Athens, where the city-state was administered, people went to the market and people gathered to talk and hear speeches from the great philosophers of the time. One picture shows the Akropolis, the other a reconstructed building at the Agora.

Another picture shows one of the cool but dilapidated old buildings in Athens. It is illegal to tear these buildings down, and if restored they have to be done true to the period so developers buy them and just wait for them to fall down on their own. There is also a lot of political graffiti in Athens, a reflection of the social unrest there, from what I’ve heard, unemployment is high, wages are low, and shit really hit the fan a while back when the police shot and killed a kid, resulting in huge riots. In places you see police with riot gear sitting in stations near certain sites they are charged with protecting in the event of more riots. There is also a picture of people camped out in front of the national library, giving out information about Afghan refugees.

Other notes on Athens: drivers are crazy, as are the huge amounts of motorcyclists and there is no concept of pedestrians having the right of way. The city has no public parks, the only green spaces are at the archeological sites, which bothers me. The city is overall really hectic, lacks any kind of planning, and is fairly gritty, making it interesting but I don’t think I’d want to live there.

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