|The Propylaea, ceremony hall|
Last week we travelled to the capital to attend our daughter’s commencement. It seemed most fitting that Libby receive her bachelor’s degree in Classical Philology at the Propylaea, the beautiful headquarters of the University of Athens, which also serves as a ceremony hall and rectory.
|The National Library|
It was quite an emotional day with speeches, family and friends, and of course, a hearty Greek meal of traditional meze, local wine and rich dessert.
And coffee, lots of coffee. Brewed strong, Greek coffee is thick and aromatic, with a signature frothy topping, called 'kaimaki', served in an espresso sized cup, thus, café hopping is a must if one is to skip siesta in favour of sightseeing and a swim!
|Plaka, perhaps the birthplace of the original chalk paint? :)|
|The Temple of Hephaestus|
Whether they date from as early as antiquity (8th century BC to 600 AD), or the last 200 years, the city’s impressive architecture is appreciated both by tourists, who travel the world to visit and study mystical ancient temples, and the Greeks themselves, who, especially in these times, need to be reminded of the admirable accomplishments of their ancestors.
Wandering the narrow labyrinth-like streets of Plaka, also referred to as the ‘Neighbourhood of the Gods’, as it is situated directly below the Acropolis, we were enchanted by its unmistakable neoclassical style of geometrical finery and chalky palette.
|Plaka, and the Acropolis above|
Among all the residential beauty, the restored Stoa of Attalos (159 -138 BC) can be found, with its impressive columns of marble and limestone.
|Stoa of Attalos|
One might say that this ancient stoa, which is basically a covered promenade, can be compared to a modern day outdoor mall, as it housed a shopping centre, offices, and galleries, as well as a space for religious gatherings.
|Stoa of Attalos|
The masterpiece of the ancient agora, or marketplace of Athens, has to be the Temple of Hephaestus, or Theseion, as it stands strong and tall on Agoraios Kolonos hill, still looking very much like it did when it was erected (449-415 BC), in honour of Hephaestus, the patron god of metal work and craftsmanship.
|Temple of Hephaestus|
Stay tuned for part two of our trip, as we trek up to the clouds, where myth meets mystery, and a British poet of the past, who penned his love for this land and its people, kept company with Poseidon, leaving his own traces of immortality, high above the sea.