Plaka & Monastiraki
The first part of the tour was the Athens Old Town Tour (Plaka & Monastiraki). Plaka and Monastiraki are two of the most popular areas and touristy areas of Athens. Both areas are rich in history, restaurants, shops, museums, and ancient sites. Plaka is located at the foot of the Acropolis, and it’s known as the “District of the Gods.” The Parthenon was built in honor for the 12 Gods, and the temple was dedicated to Athena the Goddess of Wisdom.
The Acropolis (meaning the top of the town) was built by Iktinos and Kallicrates who were architects along with Phidias, a famous Greek sculptor. However, a lot of the workers came from the neighboring Greek islands to build the Acropolis. During the night, the workers would come together to build a home for each of their families at the foot of the Acropolis. They wanted a home that reminded them of their homes on the cliffs in the islands.
During that time, the rule of law said if the structure had a roof, it could not be destroyed so under cover of darkness the workers would construct the start of a home for each worker each night. By morning four pillars and a roof would be complete, and according to law, it could not be destroyed. The next night the communities of workers would start the construction on another house for one of the working families. Many of the homes are painted blue and white, which was their way of preserving their native island history. What a great sense of community this illustrated.
There were many things on this tour that was fascinating to us. Another thing was the large public bathhouse, it was a concrete room with 68 public toilets. This building was constructed in the center of town, and it was viewed as a social meeting place for the people of the town. Its construction resembled our sewer system of today with fresh water continuously circulating. Who would have thought?
The Acropolis is an amazing sight!
As you can see, you will walk away from this tour with a wealth of knowledge and history of the whole area. As you will see the Acropolis is under renovations and from what we here this is a constant with no end date in sight. Through recent renovations to the Acropolis, they have found no building has a flat line. Each of the pillars is ever so slightly curved inward. It has been a painstakingly tedious process renovating the structures because each piece is unique; however, they continue to learn from the past through these restorative renovations.
Our Tip or Suggestions
1. Bring water, a hat, and wear sunscreen. We went in May, and it got hot, especially up by the Acropolis.
2. If you are interested in retaining history, bring something to record the dialogue or take good notes on your notes app. We’re not sure if the guide will allow you to record him or not. Joel did get in trouble for videotaping with this particular guide so it may depend on who you have as a guide. There was so much information that you will forget a lot of it by the time you grab lunch.
3. Wear good shoes – There is lots of walking and standing: bad shoes = sore knees or back.
When we finished up the tour, we both agreed on how important it was to have a guide throughout this day. We can say with certainty and experience that if you do not get a guide, you’re going to walk through the Acropolis not knowing anything about the history. Sure, the buildings are cool, but it will be hard to know what you’re looking at unless an expert or familiar with the history of the Acropolis. We think you will feel like you missed out if you don’t have a knowledgable guide. You look at the building once, and it’s beautiful, but the history behind it was what made this day one of our best in all of Greece.
We highly recommend Athens Walking Tours and their knowledgable staff when you visit Athens they did a fantastic job!!
Disclaimer: This article was brought to you in collaboration with Urban Adventures. Some of the links in this article are affiliate links. All opinions are those of 2 Traveling Lovers.
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