Acropolis at night Glifada
Full moon over the Acropolis, as seen from the Plaka, in Athens Glifada, a bus ride away from Athens



Considered the birthplace of democracy, the origin of drama, history, and philosophy, and the cradle of Western civilization, Athens was named for the goddess Athena, goddess of wisdom and knowledge.   One of the best-known archeological sites in the world, the Acropolis, served as the first citadel of ancient Athens.  Despite its strategic location, most of the original buildings were destoyed in the Persian sack of Athens, 480 BC.  What remains today is mostly ruins of buildings that were constructed in the next roughly 75 years following the sack.

Parthenon The Parthenon, Athens' famous ancient temple, erected 447-432 BC, during the Age of Pericles. Erechtheion The Erechtheion, built in 420-406 BC on that part of the Acropolis held to be the most sacred.
Temple of Athena Nike Temple of Athena Nike, (427-424 BC), to
commemorate Greek victories over the Persians
Temple of Olympian Zeus The Temple of Olympian Zeus (lower right), with the Acropolis in the background
changing of the guards Changing of the guards ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, in front of the Parliament building National Garden The National Garden, which contains centuries-old trees and plants, is located just down the street from the Parliament building



The nearest islands, Aegina, Poros, and Hydra, are all located in the Saronic Gulf, and all within two hours of the port town Pireas, which in turn is an easy fifteen-minute subway ride from Athens.  

Pireas port view
Pireas, just outside the train station.  There are ferries in the distance. view from the ferry


Aegina features a modern port, a Byzantine monastery and church, and the ruins of an ancient temple.  Mythology tells us that this island was named after the daughter of Asopos, who was abducted by Zeus. The god transported her to the then deserted island and fathered a son, Aiakos, who afterwards became one of the three judges of the underworld.

coastal Aegina view along the coast of Aegina Temple of Afaia Temple of Afaia, which dates back to the fifth century BC
Aghios Nectarios The Monastery of Aghios Nectarios Bay of Aghia Marina The bay of Aghia Marina



The smallest of these three islands, Poros can be hiked from one end to the other in an hour or two.  It was a volcanic island, formed through the union of two smaller islands, Kalouria and Sphaeria.

Poros Blue woodwork and white walls are typical of Greek island architecture Poros view Distant view pots These pots created a photo opportunity



Hydra is a favorite resort of the international jet-set.   You can hike, swim, or ride a donkey here.

coast A view of the coast Hydra street The narrow cobblestone streets of Hydra are car-free
Hydra panorama of Hydra donkeys on Hydra Donkeys waiting to take passengers around the island


Last updated on 03/04/2001

This page, and all photos copyright 1999-2000, Steve Hershoff