Other places to visit in Athens

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The Agora

This pleasant wooded area was the focal point of ancient Athens, the centre of commercial, political and social life (for men that is, the only women here were prostitutes and poor women pedlars.)
It was here that Socrates expounded his philosophy, and men debated, argued and generally put the world to rights, and where, later, Saint Paul preached. It contains the ruins of the 4th century temple of Apollo, and the remarkably well preserved temple to Hephaistos (Vulcan), the patron of blacksmiths and metalworkers. Also erroneously known as the Thesion, this temple escaped destruction as it was used as a church, the wooden ceiling being replaced with a barrelled vault (which you can glimpse inside).
Built about the same time as the Parthenon it has the classical form of 6 x 13 Doric columns with Ionic friezes.

Do visit the museum, contained in the reconstructed Stoa of Attalos(originally 2nd century BC). Here you can see charming everyday objects from graves, an amazing balloting machine, a child's potty and the óstraka, pieces of pot on which names of those thought to be a threat were scratched, a water clock for lawyers (to stop them talking too much!), a 5th century portable oven, a clay sieve and a clay sausage grill. The exhibits cover a wide period form Mycenaean to Byzantine.

Tower of the Winds

In the Roman Agora is this well preserved monument known as the Horologium of Andronikos Kyrrhestes who built it around 100 BC for measuring time by means of a clepsydraor water-clock internally (powered by water running from the Akropolis) and a sun dial externally. The building is made of Pentelic marble and stands on a stylobate of 3 steps. It is octagonal, its eight sides facing the more important points of the compass. Above incised lines forming the sun dial are sculpted figures representing the eight principal winds. On the north-east and north-west sides are porticoes with fluted Corinthian columns. The conical marble roof originally had a bronze weather vane on the top.

The Kerameikós Museum & ancient cemetery 148 Ermoú (near Thision Metro station)

Kerameikós was the potter's quarter of ancient Athens, (hence our word 'ceramic'.) The cemetery, which was used from the 12th century BC until Roman times, is in a beautiful, peaceful setting, on the Sacred Way, partly outside, partly inside the city walls. It contained hundreds of graves, many along the so called Street of Tombs, marked by huge vases, stelae and miniature temples. The graves got more and more fancy and ostentatious until eventually a law was brought in forbidding elaborate graves! Most of those we see today are from the Classical period, many can still be seen in situ, some are in the excellent museum on the site and many more are in the National Archaeological museum.

In the Kerameikós museum don't miss the wonderful square kouros base with a fight between a boar and a lion, the relief of Ampharete with her grand-child, the Sphynx, the 4 horsemen, (Room 1) and in the courtyard the magnificent marble bull (a copy is outside).

The Temple of Olympian Zeus at the end of Adrianou (to the south east of the Akropolis)

This temple was the largest in ancient Greece, and also took the longest to build. It was begun in the 6th century BC but not completed until AD 130 ! Although dedicated to Zeus, the Roman emperor Hadrian got in on the act by having a cult statue in his image as well! Most of its 104 Corinthian columns have gone but a group of thirteen remain standing

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Mainly Peloponnese Itinerary