In the spirit of the recently concluded 2012 Summer Olympics, we will be looking at the city that launched the modern Olympic games: Athens!
The Parthenon is an ancient temple to the Greek goddess Athena and is considered to be the most important surviving building from the Classical Greek era. Construction began in 447 BC to replace an older temple for Athena and was completed in 438 BC. Over the centuries since it was constructed, the Parthenon has been brought down by war and weather. In 1975, the Greek government began to restore the Parthenon using new marble from the quarry it originally used during the construction.
The Panathenaic Stadium hosted the first modern Olympic games in 1896 and is one of the oldest in the world. The original stadium built on this site was built in approximately 566 BC, but was rebuilt in 329 BC and is the only major stadium contructed completely out of white marble. It has undergone renovations 3 times in preparation for the Olympic games that have been held there throughout its history. It was originally created to host part of the Panathenaic Games. In recent times, it has been used for the archery competition in the 2004 Olympic games as well as for music concerts and to welcome home triumphant Green athletes.
Temple of Olympian Zeus
The Temple of Olympian Zeus was dedicated to Zeus, the king of the Olympian gods. The constuction began in the 6th century BC, but was abandoned when the country’s rulers were overthrown. However, it was completed in the 2nd Century AD by Hadrian with two large statues inside: one for Zeus and one for Hadrian himself. The temple began to fall into disrepair due to the sacking of Athens in 267 AD. Over the course of time following Athens’ sacking, the pieces of the temple were used for the materials to build other buildings in Athens, reducing the temple to ruins. Fifteen of the original 104 columns remain standing with another laying on the ground nearby.
The National Garden covers 38 acres in the middle of Athens and was completed in 1840. It was home to 500 different varieties of plants and home to different spedies of animals. Part of the garden was closed to the public and served as a private garden for the King and Queen. Despite discovering that many of the plants were not able to survive the climate in Athens, many of the animals survived and flourished. After the abolition of the monarchy, the entire garden, which contains a duck pond, small zoo, botanical museum, cafe, playground, and library, was opened to the public.
How to Learn About More Historic Locations in Athens