The Eight Columns on the Façade of the Parthenon on the Acropolis in Greece

Seeing the Parthenon during our trip to Athens, Greece was certainly one of the most interesting sites that we visited. At night, the Parthenon was lit up so that it can be seen from all around the city. The fact that there are eight columns on the façade and seventeen columns on the flanks was done very specifically by the ancient Greeks. They wanted to conform to the 9:4 ratio that was a common design in the days that the Parthenon was built. This ratio governs the relationship between the vertical and horizontal proportions. It is also true of the relationship of the spacing between the columns to the height of the columns. Obviously, geometry was extremely important to the ancient Greeks and it is fascinating to see how they applied this to their lives and to the monuments that they created.

Looking Up at the Parthenon
Parthenon from the Distance to Get a Sense of the Proportions
Parthenon and the Acropolis at Sunset
Different View of the Parthenon
Even the Zappeion Mansion has Eight Columns at the Entrance
Standing in Front of the Parthenon

The Roman Agora in Athens, Greece

One of the sites that is included when you buy the multi-ticket for the Acropolis in Athens, Greece, is the Roman Agora. There is also the Ancient Agora, also known as the Agora of Athens, but the Roman Agora is smaller, yet still interesting. An agora is an open space that is used for markets and public gatherings. The Roman Agora was originally built in the 1st century BC and contains several interesting structures.

Standing Outside of the Roman Agora

Walking the Ancient Street of the Agora

Tower of the Winds Surrounded by Ancient Columns

Looking Out from the Tower

One of the most interesting structures on the site is the Tower of the Winds, which is an ancient clock tower. There is a sun dial, wind vane, and water clock that have been excavated by archeologists and the structure is quite fascinating. It is unclear if the tower was built prior to the agora or was added afterwards. On the inside of the tower, you can see where the water entered, having traveled down from the Acropolis, making its way to the center of the tower to be used as a water clock. Wooden beams support the marble roof, which is adorned with classical figures on the exterior.

Looking Up at the Tower

Ancient Water Clock

Wooden Ceiling

Ancient Architecture

Another interesting feature of the Roman Agora is the Gate of Athena Archegetis. It is the first ruin that you see as you enter the complex and makes for a dramatic entranceway. The grounds of the agora have a variety of ancient columns and even pottery scattered along the walkways. The site itself is not very large and everything can be seen in about 30 minutes. There are a few outdoor restaurants that line the gates surrounding the Roman Agora and we stopped to have a refreshing drink and a few appetizers.

View of the Gate

Ancient Pottery

Standing Inside of the Roman Agora

Ancient Remains

We truly enjoyed visiting the Roman Agora and it was very interesting. If we hadn’t bought the bundled ticket, we probably wouldn’t have paid the entrance fee to visit the site. You can see much of it just by walking around the gates and looking at the ruins, but it was definitely worth it to see inside of the Tower of the Winds. We highly recommend buying the multi-ticket when visiting the Acropolis, which gives you access to the Ancient Agora, the Acropolis, the Roman Agora, Hadrian’s Library, and more.

First Glimpse of the Agora

Protein Drink

Fried Snack

Marble Columns

The Acropolis in Athens, Greece

There are a lot of reasons why everyone should hope to visit the Acropolis in Athens if you ever get the opportunity. It is absolutely amazing on so many levels, whether visually, historically, or culturally, it is an important landmark for many reasons. For those of us  who treasure democracy, the fact that the foundations of democracy were envisioned over two-thousand years ago is an astounding reality when you consider how long it took to actually implement. Whether you believe in the possibility of a world governed by multiple gods or not, understanding how the ancient Grecians viewed the connection between natural events and the supernatural world is still fascinating. Unlike most modern religions, the Greek gods and goddesses were endowed with human traits and weaknesses, something that seems hard to imagine in a world where higher powers are deemed as infallible.

The Parthenon

View of Athens from the Acropolis

The Erechthion

Regardless of their belief system or the reason for building these temples that have lasted centuries, there is no doubting that they are well worth visiting if you ever get the chance. If we can offer any advice for visiting the Acropolis, it would be to go as early in the day as possible. We arrived at about ten in the morning, an hour after it opened, and we had to wait behind five other groups buying their tickets to enter. While we were inside of the site, we had few crowds and were able to see each of the temples and monuments unobstructed from throngs of people taking selfies of themselves. By the time we exited the Acropolis a couple of hours later, the line to purchase tickets was several hundreds of people long, most likely with a wait that was well over an hour long. Add to that the fact that all of those same people would be competing for the same views, taking the same pictures, reading the same placards, you can only imagine how the experience might be changed.

Another View of the Erechthion

Theatre of Dionysus

We Were Glad to Miss the Lines

The second piece of advice that we would offer would be to buy the package ticket bundle that provides access to the other historical sites that are located in Athens. It might only save you about ten Euros, but you won’t have to wait to purchase tickets as you visit each of the other sites, therefore avoiding more lines. We can only imagine how much history is buried beneath the buildings of Athens if only we were able to unearth it, but for now we will just have to gaze in amazement at the sights that have been unearthed for us to see. Even without those other sites, the Acropolis provides an amazing view back into history.

Close-Up of the Top of the Parthenon

Enjoying Everything that We Saw

Backside of the Erechthion

There are five major sites that make up the Acropolis. The most famous is the Parthenon, the Erechthion, the Temple of Athena Nike, the Theatre of Dionysus, and the Propylaia. Before you enter the main site, you pass by the Theatre of Dionysus, which is truly quite striking and could seat up to 17,000 people to watch theatrical events of the time. Surely it must have been quite the social event to spend an evening being regaled with the adventures of the gods or heroes such as Hercules.

The Parthenon

Another View of the Theatre of Dionysus

The Erechthion from the Distance

As you enter, you pass through the Propylaia, which is the grand entrance to the entire site and will definitely fill you with a sense of awe for everything that you are about to see. On the right of the entrance, you will find the Temple of the Athena Nike, which is not particularly striking, but is still amazing for its cultural and mythical history. Obviously it is not necessary to understand the mythological beliefs of the ancient Grecians to appreciate the grandeur of the monuments that they built, but it is worth knowing if you want to understand why they expended such energy to create monuments meant to appease their gods and bring favor upon the land and the people.

The Propylaia

We Were Very Happy

Temple of Athena Nike

We didn’t take a tour on our trip, but there are certainly plenty of opportunities to get a guide if you so desire. There is so much to see and learn about this important historical and archeological landmark that we will likely read and investigate more and more about it over the coming months and years, just to truly appreciate everything that we have seen. Hopefully you will get a chance to visit and see it for yourself, but in the meantime we hope that you get a sense for how impressive this incredible location truly is from the few images that we were able to capture.

Another Temple