The transition from weekend to new week brought a move from ‘settling in’ to serious sightseeing. Top of the list were the city’s most popular attractions: the Acropolis and its associated museum. The Acropolis is an ancient citadel situated on top of a rocky hill in the city centre. (The name Acropolis means ‘summit of the city’). The surviving buildings date from the fifth century BC. The most celebrated of these is the Parthenon, a temple in honour of Athena, goddess of wisdom and patron of ancient Athenians. A major restoration project got underway in 1975 and is still very much in progress.
On to the museum
The magnificent Acropolis Museum was opened in 2009, having been designed to provide a suitable home for historical artifacts found within the Acropolis and on the slopes of the rocky hill. The completion of a world-class museum has reignited the controversy surrounding the so-called Elgin Marbles, currently housed in the British Museum in London. This collection of sculptures was removed from Greece by the 7th Earl of Elgin in the early 19th century, on the grounds that the country had no suitable museum for preserving such treasures.
After appreciating the building itself and enjoying a light lunch, we got started on looking at the exhibits. The policy on photography was somewhat confusing. You could stand near some members of museum staff to line up a photo and, so long as no flash was used, they were fine about it. Meanwhile, some of their colleagues were observed telling people that they must stop.