October 2020: Athens (Part 4): From Hill to Meeting Place


This was another ‘city day’, and just as Monday had begun with an ascent to the Acropolis, so this morning brought another climb. Our objective this time was the nearby Filopappou (or Philopappou) Hill, a favourite of Athenians themselves. There is a monument at the top dedicated to Philopappos, a distinguished Greek whose life straddled the first and second centuries AD. But the greatest attraction is undoubtedly provided by the number of viewpoints across the city, to neighbouring hills and most notably, the Acropolis.

Back at ground level, we paid a short visit to the small 12th-century church of Agios Dimitrios Loumbardiaris before exiting the parkland setting on its eastern side. Walking north, we soon realised that we had reached the perimeter of our next objective, the Ancient Agora (meeting place) of Athens. The only problem was that we were on completely the wrong side to gain entry. Beginning the required walk around the edge of the site, we soon noticed a definite uptick in commercial activity, bringing the welcome opportunity to reward our earlier hill-climbing efforts with a refreshment. As Bruce noted: beer o’clock gets earlier each day!

Duly reinvigorated, we easily made our way to the entrance of the Agora, paid the required entry fee and began our exploration in a generally anticlockwise direction. It is an extensive site, but the highlights for me were the Agoraios Kolonos in its elevated location, the Temple of Hephaestus and the restored Stoa (covered walkway) of Attalos.

When we were done at the Agora, we returned to city streets, first in search of lunch and then to return to base. Along the way, we encountered a number of interesting Orthodox churches, with construction dates spanning nearly a millennium. Back at the apartment, we had an opportunity once again to enjoy probably its best feature – the private garden!