Acropolis

Situated on a hill in the centre of Athens, it’s impossible to miss the Acropolis. No visit to the city would be complete without it.

The entrance ticket is 12 Euros, and covers a few separate outdoor historical sites aside from the Acropolis itself – including the Temple of Olympian Zeus, which is located just a few minutes walk from the main Syntagma Square.

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It’s probably exactly the sort of thing you think of when you picture ancient Greek ruins.

There are only a few columns left standing, though apparently there used to be far more. It’s difficult to imagine what it must have looked like back in its days of grandeur. There’s a column that was knocked over in a storm that occurred in relatively recent times, which gives an idea of the scale when laid along the ground. Needless to say, it’s pretty impressive.

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It isn’t the biggest site in the world, and though it only costs a couple of Euros to get in, you should really make the most of the single admission ticket that you get to visit the Acropolis itself. It lasts for a few days, so you don’t need to cram everything in at once.

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The route up to the Acropolis is littered with various ancient structures…

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You have to excuse the random tree sticking out in the middle. The Greeks have a habit of placing telephone poles or other tall objects in front of the best views. Chop down the tree, that’s what I say!

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and wildlife. We spotted a couple of turtles in amongst the usual throngs of stray cats and dogs, which came as a bit of a surprise. For whatever reason, I didn’t even realise that turtles lived in Greece – and if so – definitely not just roaming around wild in the city.

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I’ve been to the Acropolis about five or six times since I was a kid, and it’s always a surprise how much space it occupies.

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The Parthenon is one of the most iconic, and instantly recognisable images from Greece.

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Sadly, it’s not in a great state of repair. When the Ottoman empire occupied Greece in the 1400s sometime, the Turks chose to store their gunpowder in the Parthenon. Now, I’m sure it made sense to them at the time for some strategic reason, but in hindsight we can probably all agree that it was a fairly terrible idea. The resulting explosions caused damage that they’ve been trying to fix ever since.

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You can clearly see where they have replaced sections with new materials – distinguishing between what is new and what is original.

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The view over the city is pretty amazing in of itself.

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You can see the Temple of Olympian Zeus in here.

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One of the great bones of contention that exists to this day is the removal of certain parts of the Acropolis to the British Museum ‘for safekeeping’ in troubled periods of history gone past. Despite the relative stability of Greece now, the UK refuses to return the stones, famously known as the ‘Elgin Marbles’. David Cameron recently reiterated that he ‘doesn’t believe in returnism’. It’s a complicated issue, but given the reason why they were removed in the first place, it would seem right and proper that they were returned to Greece.

You can see where some of the contested stones have been replaced with what looks like concrete blocks.

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As with everywhere else in the country, cats find their way into every nook and cranny.

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