12 February 2013
Climbing the Acropolis!
The smell dazed me as I was walking up higher and higher. Finally I was able to take in deep gasps of fresh air. We were on our way up the Acropolis to experience the Parthenon and all of the other historic monuments. The meaning of Acropolis is the upper city in which many of the cities of ancient Greece were constructed around it. Looking up pictures of the Acropolis and the Parthenon don’t even compare to the real thing. As I got to the top, gasping for my breath, I blocked out the sounds of little kids running around screaming and crying, the clicks of cameras as people were taking pictures, and the voices of adults just to stare out at the astonishing view and take everything in to just realize how lucky I really am to actually get to be experiencing all of this.
After taking in all of the beauty, Ioanna gave us a tour of all of the temples and the meanings of them. My favorite temple is located on the north side of the Acropolis, named The Erectheum. This temple was in honor of Athena and Poseidon. The first king of Athens needed to find a patron deity for the city. Athena, the goddess of wisdom and Poseidon, the god of the seas both came forward to fight for this position. They each had to propose something to give Athens value. Poseidon was first in the competition; he struck with his trident which streamed out salt water. Then, Athena struck her spear and created an olive tree. The olive tree symbolized peace and prosperity. The king awarded Athena thus giving us the name for the stunning city of Athens, Greece. One of my favorite parts is that the olive tree is still planted in front of the temple.
Another part of this temple I really enjoyed was the caryatid columns. The caryatid column is a column that is sculpted into a woman figure. These columns were very detailed and eccentric. Their arms were behind their backs and you can see the way their clothing flows with their body language. Each caryatid column was the same on the temple. The Acropolis Museum is now restoring these caryatids and is using laser treatment to clean off atmospheric pollutants. They are also fixing unstable segments of the marble statues to save them from crumbling.
Being at the top of this mountain was definitely a change from being in the city of Athens. It was a nice change to actually breathe some fresh air instead of taking in the smell of gasoline from all of the cars, mopeds, and crazy motorcyclists and the smell of fresh dog poop everywhere from all of the stray puppies. But nothing against the stray pups, because they are my favorite no matter how dirty and unwashed they look or smell! But for now, I will have to try and enjoy these smells until the next time I climb to the top of the Acropolis!