Towering high above the city of Athens, the Parthenon atop the Acropolis is a glorious marker of ancient times. The Acropolis is one site that is a must-see on any tour of Athens, and is no more than a leisurely walk from busy streets, up a contemplative wander through the marvels of ancient sites, to the most incredible view of Athens.
View of the Parthenon from amidst Athens
The gentle meander begins on the south slope of the Acropolis where, about halfway up, visitors stumble over an ancient pedestrian walkway once treaded by Plato, Pericles and Socrates during their teaching.
The south side of the Acropolis
Ancient, meandering pedestrian walkway - take the same steps at Plato
The Theatre of Dionysos appears, majestic, further along the path. The Theatre is one of the earliest preserved open-air theatres in Athens and was used for festivals in honour of the god of wine, Dionysos. Dating back to the 4th century BCE, the Theatre could seat 17,000 spectators.
The Theatre of Dionysos
The second theatre any meander will come across is the spectacular and better-preserved Odeon of Herodes Atticus which is still used for performances and festivals today. In ancient times, this theatre was covered in a roof of cedar of Lebanon timber. Built in 161 AD by Herodes Atticus, an Athenian magnate, in memory of his wife, the Odeon of Herodes Atticus had a capacity of 5,000 people. The stage was restored in the 1950s using pentelic marble, returning the theatre to an element of its previous grandeur.
Odeon of Herodes Atticus
Athens stretches out endlessly before your very eyes as the walk continues, with the Thission – a temple to Athena and Hephaestus – coming into view in the distance.
Athens, stretching out before your eyes
Atop the Acropolis, bits and pieces of damaged, fallen or unused column pieces and other building items decorate the path around the Parthenon. Throughout its history, much of the Parthenon has been taken apart then returned to its original shape, replaced or restored in efforts to remedy centuries of wear and, more recently, air pollution.
Excavated marble column piece
As it stands, the Parthenon represents a tribute to the achievement and glory of Ancient Athens. The Parthenon is a temple dedicated to the Goddess Athena and the patron deity of Athens. Completed in 438 BC, it is the most important surviving building of Classical Greece and is considered widely to be the culmination of Doric order development. The Parthenon is one of the world's greatest cultural monuments and serves as an enduring symbol of Athenian democracy, Ancient Greece, and western civilisation.
Having reached the Parthenon and standing within metres of a cultural and artistic icon, visitors can contemplate the state of the world with a final view over Athens, gazing off into the distance at the Temple of Zeus.
View over Athens
Opening hours: the Acropolis is open for admission between 8am and 7:30pm daily during summer (April-October), and 8:30 am to 3pm daily during winter (November-April). Entry will set you back 12 Euro, however, expertly guided walking tours including the Acropolis and key parts of Athens can be booked for between AUD70-100. Guided tours provide incredible insight into the ancient monuments scattered throughout the heart of Athens.