Monday, August 15, 2011

Athens City of Contrasts

Ancient Ruins
Modern City Center

When you think of Athens, what is the first thing that comes to mind? I'd bet it is The Acropolis, the greatest of all archeological sites, which dominates the Athenian landscape.

Following our Lunch at Metropolitan Hotel Athens, we boarded our motorcoach for our journey to Cape Sounion.  Before bidding goodbye to Central Athens, we navigated through the streets of this bustling metropolis passing several sights which our guide pointed out along the way.  In the picture above, you see some remnants of an archeological exploration which have been protected in an exhibit.

Major Attractions

Three of the well-known attractions are the modern Academy of Athens, next to the University of Athens and the National Library (not shown) forming 'the Trilogy'.  The main purpose of the Academy of Athens is the cultivation and advancement of the Sciences, Humanities and Fine Arts, the conduct of scientific research and study, and the offer of learned advices to the state in these areas.

Athens Panathenaic Olympic Stadium (1896)

The U-shaped stadium, in which was held the re-birth of the Olympic Games in 1896, is set between two natural hills in central Athens.  When we visited, preparations were being made for a Special Olympics event, thus all the activity and scaffolding in the image.

Getting Around Athens

There is a Hop On Hop Off sightseeing bus tour in Athens which stops at about 15 sights for around $25 per person.  These types of tours make it easy to get from one attraction to another without being tied down to a strict schedule.

If you simply need transportation, and not the tour aspects, you can opt for a one-day pass on the metro.   The metro was upgraded for the Olympic games a few years ago, and it is quite easy to find your way around Athens for those that want to be quite independent.

No matter how you decide to explore Athens, you will definitely notice the contrasts between ancient artifacts and the modern city center.  Click the following link for more images of Central Athens.

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