Winter Holidays? To Athens!

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.

Athens, Greece - The Goddess Athena

The Goddess Athena, Athens, Greece

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.

The Acropolis of Athens

The Athenian Acropolis

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.

Athens, Greece

And the Christmas tree in the hotel was so good as well. But in winter you may also see some other trees in Greece. :-)

Olympia Hotel in Athens, 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.

The changing of the guard, Athens, Greece

The changing of the guard, Athens, Greece

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! :-)

The goal attractions: Acropolis and Athens Archaeological Museum – the Corinth Canal – the Mycenae – the Thermopylae – the Delphi – the monasteries of Meteora.

Athens preserved memorials of many epochs and cultures, but you can never imagine the Athens without the Acropolis.

The Acropolis of Athens, Greece

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.

The Athenian Acropolis, Greece

Athens, Greece

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.

The Erechtheon, Athens, Greece

The Caryatid Porch of the Erechtheion on the Acropolis at Athens

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…

The Parthenon of Athens, Greece

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.

The Parthenon of Athens, Greece

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 Goddess Athena by Alan LeQuire, Nashville, Tennessee

The Goddess Athena by Alan LeQuire

Photo credit

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?

Corinthian capitals, Athens, Greece

Corinthian capitals, Athens, Greece

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 roasted chestnuts in Athens, Greece

The Byzantine Church, Athens, Greece

The old-aged Plaka – the very center of the Athens, is going through the hard times as the whole city itself.

The old-aged Plaka, Athens, Greece

Athens, Greece

Athens, Greece

There are both ordinary and fashionable districts located at the base of the Athenian Acropolis.

The Athens, Greece

The Athens, Greece

The road brings us back to it again. And here’s one more Christmas tree – The Goddess Athena tree. :-)

The Athens, Greece

The Goddess Athena's Christmas 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!

Classical Greek sculpture in the Athens Archaeological Museum

Classical Greek sculpture

Classical Greek sculpture in the Athens Archaeological Museum, Greece

Classical Greek sculpture in the Athens Archaeological Museum

Classical Greek sculpture in the Athens Archaeological Museum, Greece

Thank God, these genius masterpieces survived till the modern days and we may stay in front of them for hours and watch them, gaping.

Classical Greek sculpture in the Athens Archaeological Museum

The Bronze statue of Zeus or Poseidon. Athens Archaeological Museum

The Bronze statue of Zeus or Poseidon. ca. 460 BC

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. :-)

Shopping in Athens, Greece

Shopping in Athens, Greece.

Shopping in Athens, Greece

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.

The Athens, Greece

More about Greece:
A Miracle in Clouds – Meteora Monasteries of Greece
Whether Antinous and Emperor Hadrian Were Lovers? Such a Primitive Version!

12 Responses to “Winter Holidays? To Athens!”

  1. wordsfromanneli Says:

    I have fond memories of holidays in Greece. Thanks for sharing these photos.

  2. alangent Says:

    Great photos as ever Victor and I’m glad to see I’m not the only one who visits a monument to find scaffolding and tower cranes….. :-)

  3. elisaruland Says:

    You presented a beautiful and convincing argument for spending Christmas in Athens!

  4. TheTuscan (@anylatitude) Says:

    Who knows what a bumped Italian car does in one of those alleys? :)

  5. KTunravels Says:

    Thanks for a great post. I’m off to Athens at Easter, probably a much busier time of year, but your post made me so eager to go!

  6. Sylvia Jordan Says:

    Wow! Your photos have piqued my interest in visiting Greece next month. Such lovely scenes. The statues and ruins of old seem to resonate a feeling of majesty. Your blog post will definitely be helpful in organizing my trip.

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