Summer vacation in Greece won’t make much surprise for anybody nowadays. Winter is quite a different story. If you’re consider yourself a big original, follow my tip and go to Athens for winter holidays.
The ancient Parthenon on the Acropolis mount (the Athenian Acropolis) is floating above the city. There are quite a few cities in the whole world, able to compete with the capital of Greece on their notoriety and fame.
I have never regretted of going to Athens for the Christmas holidays. The story of this city is lost to the ancient times and the lack of historical data is over and above filled in with an amazing in its inspiration and imagination Greek mythology.
As the legend says, two mighty Deities – Poseidon and Athena – struggled for the patronage to the luminous city at the base of a high mount. Their dispute ran over and the almighty Gods of Olympus advised that the opponents should present a worthy gift to the city.
Poseidon stuck his trident into the cliff and it burst with a flow of sea water – so he bestowed a sea power to the city. And when Athena striven her spare into the ground, an olive tree came up. The Gods admitted Athena’s gift the worthiest for the citizens and passed the city under her patronage.
After the landing we showed up in a hotel for a while and got off to the city at first goal! The winter Athens – a traditional Christmas tree at the main square.
And the Christmas tree in the hotel was so good as well. But in winter you may also see some other trees in Greece.
My wife, as many other northerners do, associate Christmas holidays with oranges. No matter it’s December, Greece gladden us with ripe oranges!
A small bright-orange ball, it’s like a sun. I’ll give it to her!
Such an event as the changing of the guard at the Greek parliament draws many peepers even on miserable days.
No matter how do you feel about the exotic guardian uniforms, their “ritual dance” is neat, beautiful and… comical.
Winter holidays in Greece can be organized in different ways, in all events you will hardly stay indifferent or, God forbid, disappointed. And our plan for these holidays was over saturated as always!
Athens preserved memorials of many epochs and cultures, but you can never imagine the Athens without the Acropolis.
The Acropolis of Athens is 156-meters long rocky mount with a flat top – it is an amazing adaptation fusion of architecture and nature. The Acropolis can be compared to the out-of-door architectural museum. You feast your eyes upon it, staying at the mount base and you’ll get even more pleasure watching it from the bird’s eye view.
There is a tiny Temple of Athena Nike inside – a temple of the wingless Goddess of Victory. As the legend says, the initially the Goddess was winged, but they were cut by the Athenians that the Victory could never leave their city.
The place where the temple was built is connected with one of the most dramatic events of the Greek mythology – the Athenian king Aegeus watched the see from there, awaiting the ships of his son Theseus. Brave Theseus sailed to Crete under the black sails to kill the Minotaur and release his city from the terrific human tribute. The son promised to his father that he would change the black sails for white in a case of success, but he forgot about the deal in his joy.
When poor Aegeus noticed black sails on the horizon, he thought that he lost his son and desperately dived into the sea, which was later called the Aegean Sea.
I wish everybody could stand at this mount, visit this city and this country at least once in a lifetime. Yes, nowadays it is completely different – poverty struck, but its history… Some of the historians every now and again say that this land is that blessed Arcadia – the idyllic country of pastoral poetry and music, abiding in the eternal harmony.
And in the northern part of the Acropolis rises the marble masterpiece Erechtheon or Erechtheion – the finest creation of the classic art. It’s decoration – The Kore Porch or Caryatids’ balcony: six sculptures of charming maidens, holding the roof of the temple instead of the columns. The Caryatides…
And finally the Parthenon crowns the Acropolis at the highest point of the rocky hill. It is an amazing 69,5 meters long and 30,9 meters across building, surrounded by 46 ten-meters columns.
It would be foolish even to hope; no, of course Parthenon did not preserve the interior finishing. However, I think there was no interior finishing in the white-stone antique temples. But a long time ago there was a 12-meters long statue of the Goddess Athena in Parthenon, made by the great Phidias of gold and ivory.
Our american readers have the lucky opportunity to see the replica of Parthenon together with its Goddess Athena by Alan LeQuire, Nashville, Tennessee. It supposed to look like this.
The modern Parthenon – is just the stones, but the stones, laid in ideal proportions. The building is unique in terms of the geometrical construction. And its architect was a real great master of the perspective.
The Parthenon has seen a lot in his long life, but the hardest experience was waiting for him in a very respectable for buildings age – only a few are able to survive till such an age!
During the miserable for the Greeks ages of the Othman rule the Turkish army arranged a powder depot in the Athenian Parthenon. And the Venetians, who invested the city made no scruple to shot out of a cannon into it (shame on them!). The explosion seriously damaged this distinguished architectural memorial, and today it is restored only fractionally.
It seems like you may enjoy the Athens for hours, days and months. The Agora museum. Ancient Corinthian capitals are great. How did they manage to contrive these ornaments?
It turned to be easy as ABC. The “models” are only a few steps away. Thanks to the Mother Nature. All you need is to notice.
Unfortunately I can’t promise that the Athens will turn to be nothing but a feast and a fairy-tail to you. The Greek capital has many faces, and the community goes through the hardest times. You just walk along these streets, try some roasted chestnuts and draw your own conclusions.
The old-aged Plaka – the very center of the Athens, is going through the hard times as the whole city itself.
There are both ordinary and fashionable districts located at the base of the Athenian Acropolis.
The road brings us back to it again. And here’s one more Christmas tree – The Goddess Athena tree.
I am ready to forgive a lot to the modern Greeks for those antique faces and bodies, anciently belonged to their distant fathers. But I am so sorry that they are different today – this could be one of the most beautiful nations in the whole world!
Thank God, these genius masterpieces survived till the modern days and we may stay in front of them for hours and watch them, gaping.
Unfortunately, any holidays finally come to an end. But you can never leave Greece without any presents! The friends will be happy and my wife won’t be gladden with just a single orange.
What’s the drift of all this – a tracery of leaves or a tracery of hearts? But the wintry Athens has stolen our hearts for ever and ever.