Meeting Point: Melina Mercouri’ Statue (Leoforos Vasilisis Amalias 54, Athina 105 58)
Interesting Sightseeing while strolling the pedestrian way of Dionisiou Areopagitou Street, Apostolou Pavlou Street to Thission and back:
1/ Hadrian’s Arch
The Arch of Hadrian, most commonly known in Greek as Hadrian’s Gate (Greek: Πύλη του Αδριανού, translit. Pyli tou Adrianou), is a monumental gateway resembling – in some respects – a Roman triumphal arch. It spanned an ancient road from the center of Athens to the complex of structures on the eastern side of the city that included the Temple of Olympian Zeus. It has been proposed that the arch was built to celebrate the adventus (arrival) of the Roman Emperor Hadrian and to honor him for his many benefactions to the city, on the occasion of the dedication of the nearby temple complex in 131 or 132 AD. The arch is located 325m southeast of the Acropolis.
2/ Theater of Dionysus
The Theatre of Dionysus Eleuthereus is a major theatre in Athens, considered to be the world’s first theatre, built at the foot of the Athenian Acropolis. Dedicated to Dionysus, the god of plays and wine (among other things), the theatre could seat as many as 17,000 people with excellent acoustics, making it an ideal location for ancient Athens’ biggest theatrical celebration, the Dionysia. It was the first theatre ever built, cut into the southern cliff face of the Acropolis, and supposedly the birthplace of Greek tragedy. The remains of a restored and redesigned Roman version can still be seen at the site today. It is sometimes confused with the later, smaller, and better-preserved Odeon of Herodes Atticus, located nearby on the southwest slope of the Acropolis.
3/ Odeon of Herodes Atticus
Built in 161 AD by the Athenian magnate Herodes Atticus in memory of his wife, It was used as a venue for music concerts with a capacity of 5,000. It lasted intact until it was destroyed and left in ruins by the Heruli in 267. The audience stands and the orchestra (stage) were restored using pentelic marble in the 1950s. Since then it has been the main venue of the Athens Festival, which runs from May through October each year, featuring a variety of acclaimed Greek as well as International artists, such as Maria Callas, Frank Sinatra among others…
4/ Acropolis of Athens
The greatest and finest sanctuary of ancient Athens, dedicated primarily to its patron, the goddess Athena, dominates the center of the modern city from the rocky crag known as the Acropolis.
The monuments of the Acropolis stand in harmony with their natural setting. These unique masterpieces of ancient architecture combine different orders and styles of Classical art in a most innovative manner and have influenced art and culture for many centuries. The Acropolis of the fifth century BC is the most accurate reflection of the splendour, power and wealth of Athens at its greatest peak, the golden age of Pericles.
5/ Areopagus Hill
The Areopagus is a prominent rock located northwest of the Acropolis in Athens, Greece. Its English name is the Late Latin composite form of the Greek name Areios Pagos, translated “Ares Rock” (Ancient Greek: Ἄρειος Πάγος). In classical times, it functioned as a court.
6/ Roman Agora
The Roman Agora at Athens is located to the north of the Acropolis and to the east of the Ancient Agora. It is a later construction dating back to the Roman occupation of Greece. Public life in the city of Athens was concentrated in and around the Agora, the market, a large rectangular shaded with plane trees, willows and poplars, ornamented with fountains, statues and votive offerings, surrounded by porticos where the merchants and sellers sold all sorts of goods and provisions.
7/ Temple of Hephaestus
The Temple of Hephaestus or Hephaisteion or earlier as the Theseion, is a well-preserved Greek temple; it remains standing largely as built. It is a Doric peripteral temple, and is located at the north-west side of the Agora of Athens, on top of the Agoraios Kolonos hill. From the 7th century until 1834, it served as the Greek Orthodox church of Saint George Akamates. The building’s condition has been maintained due to its history of varied use.
8/ Sanctuary of Zeus
The Sanctuary of Zeus Polieus was a walled open-air sanctuary dedicated to Zeus Polieus (city protector) around 500 BC on the Acropolis of Athens, sited to the Erechtheion‘s east. None of its foundations have been discovered and its trapezoid plan and many entrances have been worked out from rock cuttings on the acropolis.
9/ National Observatory of Athens
The National Observatory of Athens is a research institute, founded in 1842. It is the oldest research foundation in Greece, as it was the first scientific research institute built after Greece became independent in 1829, and one of the oldest research institutes in Southern Europe.
10/ The Pnyx
The Pnyx is the hill where the ancient Athenians were gathered to host their popular assemblies, thus making the hill one of the earliest and most important sites in the creation of democracy. The Pnyx is located less than 1 kilometre (0.62 mi) west of the Acropolis
11/ St. Sophia’s Church of Acropolis
This simple church, situated in Areopagitou pedestrian street right under the Acropolis and the Herodeon, belongs to Meropeion Old People’s Home, but is open to the public. The church celebrates on September 17th. It was built at the early years of the 20th century and inaugurated at 1926.
12/ The new Acropolis Museum
The Acropolis Museum is an archaeological museum focused on the findings of the archaeological site of the Acropolis of Athens. The museum was built to house every artifact found on the rock and on the surrounding slopes, from the Greek Bronze Age to Roman and Byzantine Greece. It also lies over the ruins of a part of Roman and early Byzantine Athens. The museum was founded in 2003 and opened to the public on 20 June 2009.
Starting and Finishing point: Melina Mercouri’ Statue
Melina Mercouri was a Greek actress, singer and politician. She has been nominated for an Academy Award, a Tony Award, three Golden Globe Awards, and two BAFTA Awards. A political activist during the Greek military junta of 1967–1974, she became a member of the Hellenic Parliament in 1977 and the first female Minister for Culture of Greece in 1981. Mercouri was a strong advocate for the return to Athens of the Parthenon Marbles, which were removed from the Parthenon, and are now displayed in the British Museum.