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The Parthenon – An Enduring Landmark of Western Civilization

I have seen the Parthenon in history books, TV documentaries and in gazillion postcards. I’ve also read about it in guidebooks and classical literature. Never have I ever thought that one day, I’ll be seeing it and standing on Acropolis where once the gods and goddesses of Greek mythology believed to have resided. No visitors in Athens would miss this enduring icon that withstood the weathering of time.

The Parthenon stands mightily on the hills of Acropolis (Athens, Greece).

When I looked up the colossal facade of the Parthenon, it felt like a mythical place came out from the pages of the classics I’ve read in my university days.

The Parthenon stands mightily on the hills of Acropolis (Athens, Greece).

The Parthenon, however, isn’t mythical. It is a realm on its own merit. Nothing much has been left there to see but the archaeological ruins show a powerful civilization that spread its influence beyond lands and oceans.

How Athens Got Its Name

The Parthenon is on the hills of Acropolis where Athens got its name. It had been said that the city was founded by a half-snake, half-human creature – Cecrops. In fact, the city’s first name was Cecropia, named after the legendary leader who turned the city into an important trading center.

It’s been said that the contest between Poseidon and Athena happened in this temple.

One sunny day, Cecrops and the residents of the city went up to a high hill to watch the gods giving their gifts. 

The Acropolis (Athens, Greece).

Poseidon was the first to present his gift. He struck a rock with his trident and there came out a spring of water that gushes forth from the ground. This meant that was assuring the people of Athens with water and therefore they won’t experience. However, when the citizens tasted the water from the spring, it was salty – and they were not exactly amused by his gift because it’s just like the salty sea, which Poseidon ruled.


Next was the goddess of wisdom and war – Athena. She planted a seed in the ground, which turned to become a lovely olive tree. The people liked it better because it would give them oil, food, and firewood. So, they proclaimed Athena as the winner of the contest and named the city after her. Even until today, Athenians still consider Athena as their patron.

The view of the Parthenon on Acropolis from one of the rocky hills in the area. (Athens, Greece)

The Acropolis – Birthplace of the Western Civilization

The Acropolis and its surrounding ancient sites had been living witnesses to many of the most important contributions of the western civilization to the world. The Greeks are proud to say that in these places, there emerged theater, democracy, arts, sciences, letters and philosophy.

Odeon of Herodes Atticus Amphitheater (Acropolis, Athens, Greece).

And if you are a kind of traveler who reads every descriptions as you go around the sites, you’ll find out that you’re following the footsteps of brilliant philosophers like Plato and Socrates.

Best Time to Visit the Parthenon

Of course, the morning is the best time to visit it – if your plan is to avoid the crowd. It is advisable to buy your ticket online so you don’t have to queue at the gate. My friend and I decided to visit the Acropolis Museum first – and it turned out to be the best decision.

The crowd at noontime (Parthenon, Athens)

We had our breakfast at the museum where we could see the unobstructed view of the Parthenon. Inside the museum, you’ll find a replica of what the Parthenon looked like in ancient times. It has an impressive collection of archaeological artefacts found inside the temples (including the Parthenon) of Acropolis. And most of all, there’s a 15-minute documentary you’ve got to see to give you an idea of how amazing this feat of architecture changed history.

Temple of Athena on Acropolis (Athens, Greece).

View of Athens from the Acropolis

From Acropolis, the sweeping 360-degree view of Athens is breathtaking. Standing here, you’ll understand why the ancient Greeks built the Parthenon on the rocky hill that dominates the city’s skyline.

The panoramic view of Athens from the Acropolis (Athens, Greece).

From the Acropolis, you’ll see the ancient Temple of Zeus below.

The Temple of Zeus (Athens, Greece)

If your eyes were as big as mine, you’ll see the Panathenaic Stadium, the venue of the first modern Olympic Games.

Panathenaic Stadium (Athens, Greece).

If you have more time staying in the city, climb the surrounding hills to get a different perspective the city’s skyline, specially at night.

The Parthenon – An Enduring Icon of Athens


Where to Stay in Athens

If you want to stay in the heart of ancient Athens with a fantastic view of the Acropolis and the Parthenon from your room window, then, A for Athens Hotel in Monastiraki is your best bet. They also have a rooftop bar and restaurant with a breathtaking view of the ancient sites nearby. Remember that Monastiraki area is where you can walk to all the sights you want to see in Athens. If you’re a budget traveler, there are a couple of hostels in this area, too. Try City Circus Athens Hostel and Bedbox are nice hostels to stay in. You can book either of them via HostelWorld and Booking.com

The Parthenon - An Enduring Icon of Athens
The Parthenon – An Enduring Icon of Athens

Enjoy the rest of the photos.

The Parthenon - An Enduring Icon of Athens
The Parthenon – An Enduring Icon of Athens
The Parthenon - An Enduring Icon of Athens
The Parthenon – An Enduring Icon of Athens
The Parthenon – An Enduring Icon of Athens
The Parthenon - An Enduring Icon of Athens
The Parthenon – An Enduring Icon of Athens
The Parthenon – An Enduring Icon of Athens
The Parthenon - An Enduring Icon of Athens
The Parthenon – An Enduring Icon of Athens

Athens, by the way, is a good place to start if you’re planning to go to Santorini.

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