Travels in Europe: Athens, Part III

This is a continuation of our five day trip to Athens in June 2022; Part I is here, and Part II is here. After the walk up and then back down from the Acropolis, we ate a hearty Greek meal of way too much food, and then had to walk it off afterward. Lucky for us, we did, as we we explored more of the city. We were first treated to a peaceful and bright sunset:

After, we walked past an ancient grave site,

some art deco buildings (and there are a lot of art deco buildings in Athens, like, a lot),

and through Omonia Square.

We continued our leisurely stroll, with no particular direction, until we found ourselves in front of Vallianeio Megaron, the National Library, built in 1832.

Nearby is the Academy of Athens, built in 1859, and it is a truly spectacular building. It is pictured at the top of this post, and was near impossible to fit the entire building in one picture (I couldn’t do it). But it is so detailed, and with the huge columns holding up Greek gods Athena and Apollo, as well as the statues of Plato and Socrates flanking the entrance, that it is a must-see when in Athens.

Ernst Ziller, who is known as the man who designed modern Athens, first oversaw the construction, and we visited his former home the prior day.

The building was already closed so we could not see inside, but just being able to sit on the steps, and enjoy the cool evening after sunset, was enjoyable enough to cap a great day.

Our last full day was much more relaxed; our plan had been to get to the Athens Archaeological Museum early, before the crowds; but we slept in a bit and were there after there was a decent line to enter. They have clear glass on the outer walls of the museum, so we could see inside it was a lot of statues, which we had seen a lot of statues recently, in Antalya, at their Archeology Museum, so we decided to do some more wandering about town, as that is when the most fun typically happens.

Holy Metropolitan Church of the Annunciation to the Virgin Mary

We found ourselves in front of the Holy Metropolitan Church of the Annunciation to the Virgin Mary, which is a mouthful. If you have read even just a few of my blog posts, you will know that my favorite christian art depiction is the Annunciation, so I took this as a sign to go inside this stunning church.

Construction began in 1842, and the church was finished 20 years later. Much care was taken in building the church, and once one goes inside, it is easy to see why.

The dome, is a mosaic of Jesus

We asked a parishioner, who I saw talking to a priest, who was buried here, and he told us in broken English (which was much appreciated by us) that “it is Saint Gregory,” the man in the picture.

Ethnomartyr Patriarch Gregory V of Constantinople, was hanged on orders of the Sultan in connection with the Greek Uprising against the Ottomans in 1821. On the square outside the church, are two statues; one of Archbishop Damaskinos (who you can see facing the church in the picture above from outside it); he was Archbishop of Athens during World War II. The other is of Constantine XI, who was the last Emperor of Constantinople and died fighting Mehmed the Conqueror’s Ottoman army in 1453, when the Ottoman’s took Constantinople.

Constantine XI

Another Orthodox Church, near our hotel, was the Holy Church of the Presentation of the Virgin Mary, dating back to the year 1050.

It is located right in the middle of a major shopping and eating district, and seems out-of-place, and most people we saw are sitting on the short stone fence that surround the building, and do not pay any mind to the building itself. It is quite beautiful inside, and the mosaic pieta above the door is also something to behold.

Our last morning in Athens we had to leave the apartment a few hours before our flight, so found a nearby cafe, shared some breakfast treats, fresh orange juice and coffee, while the Acropolis, always present, high above all, was in the background. It was a fitting end to our time in Athens.

Ciao Athens!

Published by Phil Barrington

Currently living in Spain, Accountant by Day, Writer by Night. Lover of baseball, travel ,and spreadsheets. Check out my blog:

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