Athens…it may not be the eternal city, but it certainly feels that way. The Acropolis (perhaps another surprise?) is the hill that the temples and other buildings sit on top of, gazing down on all that lay at their feet. They seem like they have been there just short of forever and still they stand, albeit not quite as regally as they once did.
It took some 50 years to cut and transport the marble from Mount Pentelicus about 16 km away. Then haul it over land and up the hill. The temples were built, carvings were done and the public was allowed to come up and worship (Athena). 50 years to do it all.
It’s been under reconstruction now for decades with no end in anything remotely resembling a near future. I guess that’s understandable, given all the incredible (comparatively speaking) technology the unions have at their fingertips. And the democratic government that the ancient Greeks so blessed us with. And the massive amounts of money that has been used to accomplish….some…stuff. Ok….I’ll get off my high horse.
So here we have them….Athena and Poseidon arguing over what name the new city will have. As they couldn’t come to any agreement, Zeus decided each would give a gift to the city. The citizens would decide the value of the gift and so determine the winner.
Poseidon gave the first gift…a spring of water. But, it was somewhat salty. In many respects, the same as the seawater they already had access to through Piraeus. Not really what they were hoping for as far as a gift from the gods was concerned.
Athena gave the city an olive tree. This was met with great joy as the wood from the tree could be used for many utilitarian items. The fruit of the tree was not only used for food, but oil and trade goods. Even the leaves could be used for medicinal purposes. The olive tree was certainly the greater of the two gifts. From her name sprang the name of the city – Athens.
Although tourism and tourists run rampant, there is still much to do and see in this city. Take the HOHO and/or find a good guide and go with the intent to learn and experience.