Greece: Land of the gods

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Saturday, December 1, 2012


THE International Delphic Council (IDC) had a board and election meeting at Athens, Greece where German and Liza Ilagan, Rey B. and I attended.

Greece holds a privileged position on the planet, blessed with extraordinary natural beauty – is called “Land of the Gods.” The initial glimpse of sapphire water or the discovery of millennia-old ruins, and it’s mingling of history, ensures Greece’s enduring appeal.

Chaotic and exhilarating, Athens has been inhabited continuously for over 7,000 years. The ancient sites are the most obvious of Athens’ attractions, but the cafes, markets and landscaped stair-streets, the startling views from the hills and around the foot of the Acropolis, all have their appeal. We saw numerous ancient sites, but I will attempt to describe only what impressed me most.

Our first day was a walking tour around the city passing through the Ancient Agora (6th c. BC), once the centre of civic life and government, now a confused jumble of ruins. Our guided group ascended the ACROPOLIS (meaning High City) - a World Heritage Site. It was the hill where the Greeks built their temples in homage of the goddess Athena and was one of the earliest settlements in Greece at around 5000 BC! We moved on to the Panathinaic Stadium (4th c. BC), the venue for the first modern Olympic Games in 1896. Walking through the former Royal Gardens was a cool refuge from the hot sun on our way to Parliament House, formerly the royal palace and now the seat of the Greek Parliament.

Next day, we ascended the south slope of the Acropolis and lingered at the Theater of Dionysos (6th century BC), and the Theatre of Heroes Atticus, Athens’ premiere and most inspiring venue for summer performances of music and classical drama. The PARTHENON stands on the highest point of the ACROPOLIS and is the largest Doric temple in Greece. On a lower slope stands the ERECHTEION which was built on the site’s most sacred spot. Its six maiden-columns are the famous CARYATIDS. We entered the ACROPOLIS MUSEUM, the place of conservation and home to all the Acropolis’ temples exhibits.

The LIBRARY OF HADRIAN (150 BC) was once the most luxurious public building in the city. A few meters away is the ROMAN AGORA (1st c. BC). The MUSEUM OF THE ATHENIAN AGORA is housed in the reconstructed STOA OF ATTALOS with a double colonnade on its façade. Standing on a hill is the TEMPLE OF HEPHAESTUS (449 BC), the best preserved Doric temple in Greece.

Coming from our long walks every day, passing through ERMOU Pedestrian Street, ending up in MONASTIRAKI SQUARE near ATHENS STYLE HOSTEL, and buying the most delicious 100% Greek GYROS for only 2 Euros (P120), was amusing!

Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on December 01, 2012.

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