November 24th, 2014

Athens: a city dedicated to the goddess.

The oldest of the capitals of Europe. The time of its foundation is IX-VIII centuries. BC. e. The city was dedicated to the Greek goddess of wisdom – the favorite daughter of Zeus Palladian. Probably, she was kind to the Athenians, because, under its patronage policy was one of the largest and richest in Greece, and his fame spread far beyond the country. Tourists from all over the world come to Athens to admire the Parthenon, the Acropolis walk, to touch history …

And surprised to discover that Athens – is not only a huge open-air museum, but also very modern and vibrant city with a population of about 5 million people, generating, by the way, two-thirds of all industrial production in Greece.
Athens … For all mankind, this city is a symbol of ancient Greek art and culture. Its easy to find on the picture due to the Parthenon and propileus.

Athenian orators speech – Demosthenes, Lysias, Isocrates – quoted in modern textbooks of rhetoric, Cicero studied art in Athens eloquence legendary king Theseus defeated the Minotaur, was an Athenian, Aristophanes, named "the father of comedy" – as well. Athenians believed that grow wheat, and build ships first started here. And little doubt that their city was the birthplace of the great Homer. Citizens of ancient Athens would be proud of their city even more (if possible), they hear at least a small part of the praise in honor of famous temples, porticoes and sculptures extant.

Perhaps there will be no educated person who has not heard about the confrontation between the two policies – Athens and Sparta. Their struggle can not be called ordinary rivalry, because it was not so much about the division of spheres of influence, but about the confrontation of incompatible principles of society: asceticism and self-indulgence, monarchy and democracy, brevity and tendency to prolixity.

Although the Spartans again triumphed, the final result was in favor of Athens: the foundation of European civilization lay precisely Athenian culture. Those who come here, trying to restore the image of Hellas itself – the country's freedom and responsive to all wonderful people, poets and philosophers, athletes and warriors. Suitcases are gradually filled modern copies black-figure amphora, photographs of the Acropolis. The past is gone from Athens, it rustles in every corner of the city – then quieter, then louder. We need only to listen.

Athens is located in the center of the attic of renin. Framing the city are mountains Parnet (1413m), Gimett (1026 m), Pentelikon (1109 m), Egaleos (465 m). In the center is two hills: the world famous Acropolis and Lycabettus Hill (Lycavitos), on top of which rises to the sky St. George. There is an interesting legend about how the mountain was Lycavitos in Athens. According to legend, the goddess Athena wanted her sanctuary on the Acropolis was closer to the sky. To implement their plan she went to Mount Pentelikon and tore from her big rock to hoist it over the Acropolis. But on the way back two black birds told her about the events in which she had to intervene immediately. Goddess angry bad news, threw a rock down, and then completely forgot about it. Huge (278 m) rock remained lying adjacent to the Acropolis. In ancient hill slopes were covered with dense forest, and on top there was a sanctuary of Zeus. But over the years of Turkish rule, they emptied. Restoring mountain flora was started in 1880 and completed around 1915. Modern Lycavitos as of old, covered with pines and cypresses

You can not say that the fate of the Greek capital was easy and straightforward. Over its history, Athens many times subjected to destruction, the once busy streets herds of goats. Greco-Persian warriors, fighting with Turkey feuds often forced residents to rebuild the city. Enormous damage was done archaeological sites hunters antiquities sold to foreigners fragments of statues, bas-reliefs – all that accidentally fell into his hands during field work … Living Stones of Athens can tell a lot.

The first known structures in the Acropolis is considered a royal palace built during the Mycenaean era (1600-100 years. BCE). He was surrounded by a cyclopean wall reaching 4.5 meters in thickness. However, even these precautions are not saved the city from destruction: as you know, the most reliable way of capturing the fortress – the inside. Under the tyrant Peisistratos in place of the palace was built a temple of Athena Gekatompedon (ie, "temple length hundred steps"). Until today only fragments of sculptures gables and foundation.

During the Greco-Persian wars Acropolis temples were destroyed by the Persians. Athenians took an oath to restore the shrine only after the expulsion of the enemies of Greece. And kept their word. Highest town reached under Pericles, the most outstanding statesmen that stood