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Athens Unraveled: Discovering the Mythical Wonders of the Parthenon and More

Free Low Angle Photograph of the Parthenon during Daytime Stock Photo

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Come on a journey through the richness of history, mythology, and modern mystique that characterizes Athens. You find a special connection to this place because while physically you find yourself in the shadow of the mighty Acropolis, it is as if ancient myths and legends of Greece resonate within you, as if they are echoing in every street and landmark of this city. “Athens Unraveled” is your ticket to learn the art of deciphering secrets of the fabled city, and joining you in discovering the fabulous sights that encompass immortal archaeological sites, busily crowded markets and the warm Hellenic hospitality. Whether Parthenon or Plaka district is your preference, this is the guidebook for you because it reveals the hidden gems, offers tips, and guarantees making old Gent a destiny or adventure. It is surely a book that you will always carry on your trip to Athens. Whether you are an adventurous explorer, a culture savvy or a devoted history buff, “Athens Unraveled” is the very key to opening the door of magic and to making you a part of the outstanding beauty of Athens. Come along with us on this incredible pilgrimage, where the past meets the present, and every step sheds more light on the buried secrets.

1. Acropolis

Acropolis in Athens, was formerly a citadel having a commanding position at the top of the rocky outcrop of Athens city in Greece, still has the remnants of ancient buildings, most famously the Parthenon. It was Pericles, in the fifth century BC, who coordinated the building; the ones that are the present remains are more important than anything else in the site, for instance, Parthenon, Propylaea, Erechtheion and Temple of Athena Nike. Venturing up to this famous landmark is extremely simple as it is easily recognizable even from the furthest vantage points in Athens due to its exceptional location. Those are short starts from Thesion, Monastiraki, and Acropolis metro stations which function as a close station for the passengers who are on foot. The ancient focal points of the city can be admired from different perspectives such as at the Parthenon, Mars Hill and Filopappos Hill with the best views offered by Mt. Lycabettus which presents a majestic panorama that includes the Acropolis and comprises the skyline of the city. The enchantment of the ruins top cliffs surfaces as the sun is fading down, therefore transforming the rooftop bars and restaurants into a mystic after-dark rooftop view bunting. Whether it’s the timeless mystery of ancient history or the staggering views of contemporary metropolis, visiting the Acropolis transports you to another dimension beyond time that awakens your senses.

2. Odeon of Herodes Atticus

A spirit of the Ancient Roman civilization is demonstrated by the Odeon of Herodes Atticus, the preserved masterpiece of stone, which is located on the southwest slope of Acropolis, in Athens, Greece. From its inception in 161 AD done by Herodes Atticus out of honor to his wife, Aspasia Annia Regilla, the unusual monumental construction contained a high sloped design topped by a striking three-storied wall constructed entirely from the stone and a luxurious wooden roof made from cedar of Lebanon timber. Having a capacity of 5,000 people, it used to be a venue for holding impressive music concerts that attracted many people. Although, after years and years of being destroyed and being restrained in its domain by the Heruli invasion in AD 267, the theater was pieced together and was presented again as an open-air venue by the fifties, which is very much beloved for its breathtaking scenic environment. Nowadays, Odeon is dazzling the visitors during the Athens Festivals which lasts two months from May till the end of October, where the best of Greece and expectable world performances are all displayed. The Odeon is easily accessible through the crosswalk-available Dionysiou Areopagitou footpath between the main archeological sites, with Monastiraki and Acropoli metro stations being the closest to these points. 

3. Acropolis Museum

The Acropolis Museum, a charming archaeological collection which is attentively devoted to the discoveries made on the ground of the Acropolis of Athens, long gone glorific, is a canopy of modern progress and antiqual mastership. Triangular-shaped and blending into the foot of the Acropolis, it combines nicely with the ruins of the former settlement, giving an impressive structure that tells the history through its see-through floor. Comprising the Cycladic, Greek Bronze Age, to the Roman and Byzantine periods as well, the museum focusing on the fifth-century BC artifacts is predominantly eminent with the acclaimed Parthenon Frieze sculptures which depict scenes from the myths describing the destiny of the Greek gods. Sink into history while examining the originals, artwork from the Acropolis, all the way to ancient narratives carefully approaching each historical milestone. Being part of the reconstruction of the famous marble frieze in the Parthenon Gallery, taking a look at the awe-inspiring statues that date way before the first Acropolis and revealing the common object, yet profound history of early settlers in the Gallery of the Slopes are all parts of the huge traveling exhibition. Dedicate enough time when you are planning your tour and walk the distance from downtown Athens. Don’t miss this educational experience which enjoys a convenient location either by walk, public transit or as part of the organized tours. On the other hand, the best way to explore the Acropolis on foot, presupposing that one has enough time at one’s disposal, the Acropolis Museum provides companions with many other advantages, including shops, a cafe, a restaurant, and bags with entertaining activities for kids. Complying with the ethics of inclusivity, the museum offers full wheelchair accessibility and facilities of service dogs, thereby letting the patrons with restricted physical zest involved in this amazing tour through the history of humanity.

4. Temple of Olympian Zeus 

In the center of Athens, an impossible wonder that exemplifies the legacy of the antique grandeur stands tall. A temple of Olympian Zeus, comes with the columnary that can echo to the time that is long gone. Since its construction in the 6th century BC by Athenian tyrants and its completion way back during the reign of Roman Emperor Hadrian nearly six centuries later, this truly colossal structure pays tribute to the supreme and acknowledged head of the Olympian gods, Zeus himself. The Temple of the Zeus combines a collection of tourists, whether you are on a comprehensive sightseeing tour or undertaking an exclusive private walking tour led by an expert guide, this beckons visitors to bath in the inspiring history of Athens, ancient. With a five-day ticket that gives access to both the Temple of Zeus as well as a collection of other archaeological sites and museums including the Ancient Agora, the Acropolis Museum, the Ancient Library of Hadrian the Lyceum enabling you to dive deeper into Athens’ rich historical background. On your way to the temple, contemplate the National Garden while wandering down Vasilissis Amalias Avenue from Syntagma Square, and have a quick glance at the delightful Plaka area. On the other hand, a hassle free metro train service is available at the metro station which is at the distance of 1,650 ft from the temple entrance.You need to do just two things – get into the train and then enjoy a thrilling journey through the streets and by-lanes of the ancient Greece.

5. Olympic Stadium

The construction of this facility was initiated in the 1980’s as part of the European Athletics Championships and to later host the Olympic Games in 2004. It was where it was remodeled by Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava for the Olympic Park (“Spiros Louis” Olympic Athletic Center). The greatest stadium in Greece, with the room for 70 thousand seats, the Olympic Stadium has managed to organize events and concerts of world famous stars, from U2 to Lady Gaga.

The marathon running course is named after Spiros Louis, a Greek olympian who won the very first Olympics marathon.

The upgrading of the stadium went along with a process that Athens was undergoing for the last two years, as it made efforts to renovate and rebuild its infrastructure for the 2004 Games. The latest addition is a massive roof, equipped for earthquakes, and lush green grass with an automated irrigation system was set up. Nowadays, the majority of people visiting this stadium are either for concerts or sports events. The only way for you to visit the stadium after being refunded your tickets, is by attending a tour group previously arranged by the organization.

6. Regency Casino Thessaloniki

The Regency Casino Thessaloniki right on the road to Thessaloniki International Airport serves as a point of attraction for local and foreign visitors where they can enjoy all kinds of leisure entertainment in the very heart of business and commerce. The casino has been famous since 1996 and has year-on-year been providing an exemplary gaming ambience for both local gaming enthusiasts and international tourists alike. Bragging a wide variety of over 800 slot machines and several table games- Blackjack, Roulette, and Poker – it is of no doubt that everyone’s taste is perfectly taken care of. From the highly-trained professionals that form the Regency Casino Thessaloniki team, we are bound to deliver unparalleled service that will eventually propel the gaming experience into the realm of supremacy and affluence. Apart from the gaming section, the casino also has something else for food lovers and takes them to the world of Alfredo’s Grand Dining where they will experience gourmet cuisines that will excite their taste buds. 

While visitors will be lured to their fortune in the casino, they can’t miss the reception of the beautiful city of Thessaloniki, full of historical landmarks like the White Tower, the Rotunda, and the Archaeological Museum of Thessaloniki. This contrast between modern and antique elements gives visitors an opportunity to dive into the depth of Greek cultural legacy and never leave its fascinating world behind the gaming tables.

As far as online gambling in Greece is concerned, significant overhauls of the former situation over the last ten years have led to the locals being granted access to a comparatively open common virtual gambling market which includes sports betting, poker, lottery, casino gaming, and daily fantasy sports. Players can happily choose from many reputable high-end online casinos in Greece licensed by Greek regulators or other EU member states, which ensure that payouts are fair and fast. As in the case of online sports betting, the Greeks have been provided with various betting markets and options including win-loss competitions, football, baseball, and the NBA and NFL leagues in the US. Despite the unofficial legalization of the Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS), they are allowed and accepted by local authorities, giving a chance to the participants to select a fantasy lineup from the real-life players and compete for a share of the prize pool. Moreover, online poker gained further legitimacy with its legalization in 2011, which extended its market to even a vast majority of players whose interest ranges from various poker games like video poker games to serious tournaments. Finally, adoration of the lottery in Greek culture is notably emphasized by an extended and related range of lottery systems that have been a key component of the country’s gaming culture since the 1950s.

7. Plaka

Plaka, Athens’s old historical neighborhood, with its labyrinthine streets and neoclassical architecture, is a delightful mixture that weaves around the northern and eastern slopes of the Acropolis. Zea attracts more people as the “neighborhood of the gods” due to its closeness to the Acropolis and several archeological sites. The town quarter had its roots shared with the old town of Athens and during Ottoman domination, it was the Turkish quarter to stay. Surprisingly that area, which was destroyed by fire devastation that revealed ancient sites on its surface, is transformed into a delightful destination of quirky cafés, restaurants, and stores specialized in visitor attractions. In Plaka’s vicinity where the archaeological sites and museums are, one will become overwhelmed to embark on independent exploration and visit several important monuments throughout the city. One can reach Plaka conveniently through the easy access walkways to Acropolis metro station as well as to the huge Syntagma Square metro hub, by just taking a few steps; making the Plaka area very attractive for the city guests.

8. Ancient Agora of Athens 

The Agora of Athens of olden times located in the northwest of the Acropolis and carved out from savannah by the hill Areopagus to the south and the Agoraios Kolonos to the west dates back as a symbol of ancient Greek vernacular democracy and residential life. This historical place of gathering, which combined commercial, municipal, residential, and political functions, was a real embodiment of the civic and social essence of Ancient Athens. Nowadays, this place is a grandiose archeological area which attracts crowds of tourists. Leaving the visitor in awe at the elegance of the Temple of Hephaestus and Stoa of Attalos, monuments that tell us about the coveted past of Greece. Considered to be one the well-preserved monuments of ancient Greek agoras internationally, it urges visitors to take a plunge, so to speak, in the complex history of the place. Those who desire detailed knowledge will be grateful for such guided tours as they are the best interpretation of the ancient stories that the place can be proud of. Alternatively, individuals will find their destination and explore freely using the hop-on-hop-off buses and downloadable audio guides, making the city a convenient transportation means as well as a knowledge packet. Getting to this most beautiful landmark is an easy walk from the Thissio metro station walking along Adrianous Street, where you can see the magic of ancient Athens against the backdrop of the modern city.

9. Meteora

The awe-inspiring cliffs of Meteora have been a sanctuary for people reflecting on their inner selves for centuries, and the presence of hermit monks and the construction of 24 Byzantine monasteries, six of which we still inhabit today, has shed light on the history behind this tranquil haven. This speed-up of natural charms and human capabilities has brought Meteora to the attention of UNESCO and the world heritage site list and made it a great magnet for millions of tourists. The spasmodic Orthodox monasteries together with the magic of the meandering of the dreamy path will call the travelers to tour the area. One can precisely get a hold of the historical as well as cultural fabric of Meteora when experienced in the company of a guided tour. Men and women alike, find this journey a rewarding one no one will ever regret for the experience. Be it a trip to Athens or Thessaloniki where the options are the daily tour from Athens or Thessaloniki, or a discovery of a half-day tour or a sunset only from Kalambaka, or an adventurous hiking or rafting trip along the Ionas River, the opportunities for discovering and being enchanted by Meteora are endless. The route from the towns of Kalambaka and Kastraki is available by road. Alternatively, a train link from Athens, Thessaloniki, or Delphi can be taken with further direct buses also offered. Hence, the entrance to Meteora is not a problem for even those travelers with limited time.

10. Academy of Athens

The 19th-century Academy of Athens, which forms a part of the Athenian Trilogy, known for its extraordinary neo-classic nature, is one of the attractions that sit right on the surface of the city’s architectural excellence. Bringing the Greek culture at its glorious time back to life will be the goal as this institution serves as a headquarters of national institutes which occupy themselves in sciences, philosophy, fine arts, and humanities, channeling the spirit of intellectual endeavor first sparked by Plato. Created by the Danish architects Theophil and Christian Hansen as part of triad of the cultural landmarks opposite the National Library and with University of Athens, National Academy of Athens attracts visitors with its opulent marble facade embellished with a colonnaded portico and the evocative sculptures illustrating the birth of Athena, as well as statues of Athena and Apollo. Although the building’s interior remains inaccessible to the public, its exterior carries the lasting impression of the 19th-century sculptor Leonidas Drossis. His skillful works of Plato and Socrates with their likeness can be seen on the building’s facade. Visitors can use the Panepistimio metro station on line M2 and guided tours that are able to take them to the most famous places making the Academy of Athens accessible to everyone at the same time and without the need of using the public transportation service, and even if are not able to enjoy the Athens public transportation this if possible it will be possible for them to visit the Academy of Athens without any problems.