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Unfinished Business...

For those of you who thought we'd never get there

The day after we went to Hydra, we knew that we had a task to attend to: the Parthenon must be visited. I know, there are people who say that it's overrated, that there are plenty of other things that are more worthwhile, etc.

These people know nothing.

The Parthenon, simply put, is Athens, in the same way that the Eiffel Tower is Paris. You simply have to see it.

And so, we headed over to the Acropolis (again), climbed the hill from the Plaka (again), and saw it.

And you know what? It is AWESOME. In the true sense of the word. It is HUGE. It is a feat of mathematics and architecture that would be hard to replicate, even today.

The columns, huge by any standard, are slightly tilted and barely wider in the middle than at the top and bottom. Why? Well, the guys who designed it knew that if they did that, they would look straight from any vantage point in the city. The Greeks knew what they were doing, all right.

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It's a difficult thing, writing about something that has volumes written already - but our favorite story lies in something we don't have a picture of: the battle between Poseidon and Athena for rights to the city.

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As the story tells, Poseidon and Athena each wanted to be patron of the new city: Poseidon, in an attempt to impress the ancient Athenians, struck the rocks of the Acropolis with his trident, causing salt water to gush from the place. There is a large crack in the rocks next to the temple, even today.

The Athenians were impressed indeed, but didn't know what they could do with salt water.

Athena then struck the ground with her spear, causing an olive tree to spring from the place. Thus Greece became fruitful with them. The Athenians were so grateful to her that Athena won the contest and the city became known as Athens. Olive trees have gray undersides of their leaves, which is a sign that they are Athena's - she has gray eyes.

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In short, you know if you are in Athens you will go - and you should - it is moving, impressive, amazing, and interesting all at once. It is a wonderful reminder of what once was, and a reminder of how unique Greece is - with one foot in their glorious past and one in the future - the Parthenon standing on in glory over the modern city of Athens is a perfect metaphor.

Posted by Dunnie 13:17 Archived in Greece Tagged parthenon

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