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Athens: a quick visit - Part 3 - Orlando / Florida Guide

Florida Guide > Travelling

Athens is to this day an archaeological dig in progress. Archaeology, incidentally, comes from the Greek word ' arcade. ' A subway system under construction in Athens has unearthed Roman baths, a Byzantine mosaic, and other treasures. So many treasures, in fact, that the subway' s main stations will each have museums displaying some of the treasures found at that site.

Like the Greeks themselves, the Acropolis has weathered difficult times. It has been used as a Turkish harem, a brothel and as an ammunition dump for Turkish soldiers. Through it all it has remained a shining symbol of democracy and art.

The Acropolis Museum is located at the south east corner of the Acropolis. Many of the ancient sculptures from the Acropolis are housed here, protected from the elements. Near the museum is the Theatre of Dionysus, named after Dionysus, the god of drunkenness, ecstasy, transformation, and the mask. When first built, there were 64 tiers and a capacity of 17, 000 spectators. A marble wall surrounds the stage, providing protection from wild animals that were included in the shows during Roman times. The theatre was the stage for the first tragedy plays and is considered the birthplace of European theatre.

There are, as one would expect, many excellent museums in Athens. The National Museum is at the top of the list, containing the largest collection of Greek art and more masterpieces of ancient art than any other museum in the world. There are countless treasures, including the gold funerary mask recovered in Mycenae, believed to be from about 1580 B. C.

The Greek word for stranger, ' xenon' , is also the Greek word for guest. The people were always courteous and friendly. The British poet Shelley wrote, ' We are all Greeks. Our laws, our literature, our religion, our arts. . . ' A trip to Athens is, in many ways, a homecoming.

Where and What to eat:

While a gourmand might not travel to Athens just for the food, there are a number of interesting dishes, such as octopus and squid stewed in wine, fried cuttlefish, and roast lamb. The national aperitif is Ouzo, an aniseed flavoured liquor.

When to go:

Athens has a Mediterranean climate of warm days and mild nights, though in the winter the temperature can dip into the 40’s. The main tourist season is in July and August, when the crowds and the heat are their most stifling. Prices, as in most of Europe, are best in the winter, early spring, and late fall.

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