Combine the sights of modern Athens with sites of historical importance with an expert guide on hand to explain all the top Athens Attractions. Explore the incredible Acropolis of Athens on foot seeing one of the most important world heritage sites on the planet and conclude your tour with a visit to the new Acropolis Museum with a staggering collection of more than 4.000 artifacts.
|RETURN TIME||Approximately 1:45pm|
Most sites in Greece involve extended walking and/or slippery surfaces.
Therefore we strongly suggest wearing comfortable sturdy shoes.
Sunscreen, hat and water are also good “travel companions”.
|DIFFICULTY||Due to extend walking and slippery surfaces please inform us if you have walking disabilities or using a wheelchair before booking this tour.|
5-hour sightseeing tour of Athens, combining modern Athens with the city’s ancient sites
See top Athens attractions like the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Constitution Square and the Panathenian Stadium (sight of the first modern Olympic Games)
Drive to the Roman Temple of Olympian Zeus and learn about ancient Athens
Explore the Acropolis of Athens and see the world-famous Parthenon temple
The striking contrast between breathtaking monuments of a glorious past and modern elegant structures is what you will enjoy during your tour of Athens. Visit the Acropolis, the crowning beauty and glory of Ancient Athens, with its many monuments atop its rocky base, including the awesome Parthenon, the Propylaea, the temple of Athena Nike and the Erechtheion, with its Porch of Maidens. Drive to the Roman Temple of Olympic Zeus, the Panathinaic Stadium (site of the first modern Olympic Games in 1896), and the Tomb of the unknown Soldier in front of the Parliament House on Constitution Square. See views of government buildings and elegant structures of the 19th century. Drive along Panepistimiou Avenue and view the Catholic Cathedral, the Academy, University, and National Library. In contrast, conclude your tour with a visit to the new Acropolis museum, a marvel of architecture with a full exhibition of the glory of Ancient Athens.
The Parthenon (Ancient Greek: Παρθενών) is a temple in the Athenian Acropolis, Greece, dedicated to the Greek goddess Athena, whom the people of Athens considered their protector. Its construction began in 447 BC and was completed in 438 BC, although decorations of the Parthenon continued until 432 BC. The Parthenon itself replaced an older temple of Athena, which historians call the Pre-Parthenon or Older Parthenon, which was destroyed in the Persian invasion of 480 BC. Like most Greek temples, the Parthenon was used as a treasury. For a time, it served as the treasury of the Delian League, which later became the Athenian Empire. In the 5th century AD, the Parthenon was converted into a Christian church dedicated to the Virgin Mary. After the Ottoman Turk conquest, it was turned into a mosque in the early 1460s, and it had a minaret built in it. On 26 September 1687, an Ottoman Turk ammunition dump inside the building was ignited by Venetian bombardment. The resulting explosion severely damaged the Parthenon and its sculptures. In 1806, Thomas Bruce, 7th Earl of Elgin removed some of the surviving sculptures, with the Ottoman Turks’ permission. These sculptures, now known as the Elgin Marbles or the Parthenon Marbles, were sold in 1816 to the British Museum in London, where they are now displayed. The Greek government is committed to the return of the sculptures to Greece, so far with no success.
The monuments of the Acropolis have withstood the ravages of past centuries, both of ancient times and those of the Middle Ages. Until the 17th century, foreign travelers visiting the monuments depicted the classical buildings as being intact. This remained the case until the middle of the same century, when the Propylaea was blown up while being used as a gunpowder store. Thirty years later, the Ottoman occupiers dismantled the neighboring Temple of Athena Nike to use its materials to strengthen the fortification of the Acropolis. The most fatal year, however, for the Acropolis, was 1687, when many of the building’s architectural members were blown into the air and fell in heaps around the Hill of the Acropolis, caused by a bomb from the Venetian forces. Foreign visitors to the Acropolis would search through the rubble and take fragments of the fallen sculptures as their souvenirs. It was in the 19th century that Lord Elgin removed intact architectural sculptures from the frieze, the metopes and the pediments of the building. In the year 2000, the Organization for the Construction of the New Acropolis Museum announced an invitation to a new tender, which was realized in accord with the Directives of the European Union. It is this Tender that has come to fruition with the awarding of the design tender to Bernard Tschumi with Michael Photiadis and their associates and the completion of construction in 2007. Today, the new Acropolis Museum has a total area of 25,000 square meters, with exhibition space of over 14,000 square meters, ten times more than that of the old museum on the Hill of the Acropolis. The new Museum offers all the amenities expected in an international museum of the 21st century.
In ancient times, it was used to host the athletic portion of the Panathenaic Games, in honor of the Goddess Athena. During classical times, the stadium had wooden seating. It was remade in marble, by the archon Lycurgus, in 329 BC and was enlarged and renovated by Herodes Atticus, in 140 AD, to a seated capacity of 50,000.
Olympic Zeus Temple
The archaeological site of the Olympeion comprises the temple of Olympian Zeus, Roman baths, Classical residences, a basilica of the fifth century AD, and part of the city’s fortification wall. Hadrian’s Arch is located just outside the site’s fence.
Buildings along the street include the Bank of Greece, Athens Eye Clinic, the University of Athens, the Academy of Athens, the National Library, the Numismatic Museum, Titania Hotel, Attica Department Store, as well as a part of the Grande Bretagne Hotel and the Catholic Cathedral of Athens. Many buildings as high as ten to fifteen stories line this street. Old neoclassical buildings of no higher than two to three stories used to exist until the 1950s, when a construction spree, which lasted several decades, demolished all but a few of them.