Thursday, October 18, 2012

Athens: Academia, Antiquity, and Architecture

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? :)
Libby’s graduation gave us the opportunity to, 
once again, explore Athens’ ancient treasures. 

The Temple of Hephaestus
Surrounding Plaka

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. 


Thanks for visiting!



  1. These beautiful pictures reinforce how much I missed when I thought I couldn't take three weeks off from work to accompany her to Greece! Next time, I won't say no! ~ Maureen
    ps- She reads you now but says it makes her wish she was living your life.

  2. Καλημέρα!! Κάθε φορά που θα ανέβω Αθήνα για κάποια δουλειά θα περπατήσω οπωσδήποτε σε αυτά τα μέρη. Σήμερα με ταξίδεψες με τις όμορφες φωτογραφίες σου! Σε ευχαριστώ!! Καλό Σαββατοκύριακο!!

  3. Oh my God Poppy - first of all congratulations!
    And second of all those photos are magazine worthy - thanks for the mini vacation - just beautiful!

  4. Beautiful photos! And, congrats to your daughter :)

  5. Congratulations to your daughter.
    Beautiful pictures of our beautiful city.
    Good night, Poppy !

  6. Greetings from DC, Poppy ~ Many congratulations to Libby! What an honor to have studied in a city full of history, culture and importance. Thanks for sharing your gorgeous photos!! That first one of the ceremony hall should be a postcard :) Athens is very picturesque and an architectural gem!
    Have a wonderful weekend friend!

  7. Hello Poppy,
    What a delightful post! You live in one of the most spectacular places in the world. The architecture, soft pastel colored stucco, stonework and the majestic Mediterranean are all so amazing. And, how wonderful that they are all at your doorstep. My husband has visited Crete and my youngest son is in Italy for the next few months. I have yet to travel there and maybe one of these days....ahhhhh! It doesn't hurt to dream.
    I lived in Hawaii for 5+ years and grew so accustomed to the lush floral landscape...much like you have there in Crete. I had a giant bougainvilla outside my kitchen window. Today, I have tall ponderosa pine trees outside my windows here in Central Oregon. Quite a contrast.
    Thank you for sharing your thoughtful comments on my blog, my friend. I'm so glad you came for a visit.
    Have a wonderful weekend,
    Blessings across the many miles,

  8. As an "assistant stylist" I would like to express my appreciation for the result. Albeit, it would be NICER if you had included the rumbles I had been telling you about. Lastly, Libby's contribution is evident since she has conducted a thorough research by providing her expertise on facts and figures of the classical period.
    And YES, I WAS THERE!!!
    Amazing entry, as always!

    Ωρίστε Libby ασχολείσαι με το αντικείμενό σου :p
    Sincerely yours,JKS

  9. Congratulations! May Liberty find happiness and be successful in her career and in all the other areas of her life. (Ptou, ptou!) Thanks for sharing those photos,Poppy. I think it's especially important in times like this to be reminded of all the beauty that is still Greece, and that's what your pictures and narrative here did. Kourayio!

  10. How fortunate you are to live in such a beautiful part of the world. The photos are amazing. Congratulations to your daughter, you must be so proud. Thank you for visiting my blog. Please come again.------------ Shannon

  11. Amazing! Beautiful how the ancient structures comingle with newer ones - the streets look romantic - such a very lovely place! Congratulations to you and to your daughter!
    I do appreciate you sharing with Home and Garden Thursday,

  12. Congratulations to Libby! I love the shots of the streets of Plaka. That's one of the parts of Greece that I always thought would be so fun to visit with it's quaint shops and interesting architecture. Love the scenery and seeing the city spread out below.

  13. Beautiful shots. I wish I were having a coffee in one of those cafes right now. I linked up with you from The Tablescaper -- here's my travel diary for today if you'd like to stop by.

  14. I love all the colors and architectural details of the Plaka, I enjoyed seeing it through your post, thanks for sharing
    Come and join my new Monday photo carnival on my travel site!

  15. What a spectacular place with a ton of history. I can't imagine graduating in place like that.

    Great to have you be a part of "Oh the PLACES I've been!". Hope to see you next week!

    - The Tablescaper


Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to comment. I really appreciate hearing from all of you! Have a great day!