Note to self: don't wear denim dresses in Athens. I say this because it's hot. Like, really hot. Whenever I would express this while I was away, the common reply was, "you're from Australia." Gimme a break people, I'm from Melbourne. It's hot for like two days and then next minute you're shivering in your bikini and it's raining but somehow you're still getting burnt by the sun.
Anywho, so I'm in Greece and I'm climbing up to the Acropolis and I'm wearing a denim dress. A recipe for sweat. But it's worth it when you get to the top because there it is: the Parthenon. Hey to the Temple of Athena too.
Now, there's a lot of history surrounding the Acropolis, and if you ever get the chance to be standing on it, the best way to appreciate the opportunity is to know a little bit about it. So here's a few things you should know about the Acropolis if you're planning to go there, if you're standing there now, or if you're just a little curious about what all the fuss is about.
~ When talking about the Acropolis and the Parthenon, it can be confusing which is which. So, the Acropolis is the area on top of the rock. The Parthenon is the biggest temple on top of the Acropolis.
~ The Acropolis is a citadel. A citadel is the main fortified area of a city. It literally means "little city". There are many acropoleis in Greece, but because the Acropolis of Athens is the most famous of all of them, it is known as 'The Acropolis'.
~ The Parthenon is a former temple of the goddess Athena built in 447- 432 BC.
~ In Greek mythology, Athenians were literally 'born from the earth' on the Acropolis. The god Hephaestus tried to rape Athena and there was a struggle and she got away but a bit of semen got on her thigh. It fell to the ground and from that, the people of Athens sprung from the earth!
~ Poseidon and Athena fought over who would be the patron deity of Athens. Seems kinda silly because of her significance in the birth of the Athenians. Also her name literally has the city in it. Anyway, Poseidon obviously didn't think this was significant enough, but Athena won the battle anyway, so all good.
~ The metopes are the little pictures running right around the edge of the Parthenon near the top. There are 92 metopes, depicting mythical battles and a wedding.
~ The pediments are the triangle shapes on top. The west pediment shows the competition between Poseidon and Athena, and the east shows the birth of Athena.
~ It was converted to a Christian church for ten years in the 6th century AD by the Byzantines, and an Islamic mosque in 1456 when the Ottomans invaded Athens.
~ In 1687 the Parthenon was bombed by the Venetians. It's still being rebuilt today.
If you are planning to make a visit, there are a few things you should keep in mind:
~ If you are a student, make sure you have your student card from your university or school with you, because it's free entry for students! Otherwise, you'll have to pay 12 euros, that's 19 AUD at the moment.
~ Wear good walking shoes that have good grip. The pathway up to the Acropolis is really really slippery because it's marble and has been worn down by all the people trekking up to the top. It's really easy to slip and it would be very annoying to say the least if you twisted your ankle.
~ Bring a water bottle. Especially if you are travelling in summer, I promise you will need it. If not to drink, to pour over yourself!
~ Sunglasses. You probably won't see anything without sunnies on, because it's so bright on top of the Acropolis. The ground is very pale and dusty so the sun reflects back into your eyes. There's no shade up there and there is nothing worse then squinting when you're trying to take everything in.
~ Don't wear denim.
So the marble steps were slippery and the sun was hot, but oh was it worth it knowing I had the honour of standing on Greek god semen.
But really, there is nothing like the Acropolis. The myths and the legends, the link to another civilisation, and the heart of the city of Athens.