Athens Walking Tour

9:28:00 PM Unknown 0 Comments

We took the free (until you tip your guide at the end) Athens Walking Tour. Our guide, Walter, was great. An American, he has lived in Greece for about 10 years so he was well versed in the social issues facing Greece. He was super knowledgeable, had interesting facts to tell and was really willing to cater to our wants and desires. I would recommend taking the tour at the beginning of your Athens trip to put all the ruins in context. The tour is more than just ancient ruins though. There is a good mix of twentieth century history in there as well. The tour lasts about 3 hours.

The Details
Athens Free Walking Tour
Location: Meet in front of the new Acropolis archaeology museum
Cost: Free, but if you should tip at the end
Time: About 3 hours
Tip: Reserve your spot by registering online.
Note: During the tour we walked by sites the required a fee, for example the Agora.  At these sites we stood outside the gate for the explanation.  The expectation is that you will go back on your own  armed with lots of good information.

Despite being hot, the wool suit these poor soldiers wear is full of symbolism. The 400 strings in the tassel and 400 folds in the skirt represent the 400 years Greece was under Ottoman rule. The steel-toed shoes each weigh about 2.5 pounds.

The Roman Emperor Hadrian loved Athens and spent much time here. He wanted to build a new city to be called Hadrianopolis, where the gate stands (lower right corner in collage). On one side the gate reads "this is Athens, ancient city of Theseus" and on the other "this is the city of Hadrian, and not of Theseus."  The city never took off and this gate along with the Temple of Olympian Zeus are all that remain of his failed attempt.

Athens is dotted with these small Byzantine churches.  They are so interesting to look at because the exterior was often built using stones pilfered from other buildings that had fallen into disrepair.  It is not uncommon to see blocks that are totally out of place in the facade.  Many of the churches still function as Greek Orthodox churches.  They are tiny, but incredibly ornate.

The first modern Olympics were hosted in this stadium in 1896. Appropriately, it was built on the site of an ancient stadium and is constructed using the same pentelic marble you find in the Parthenon.

Great city tour, I highly recommend and if you can get Walter all the better!