Piraeus (Athens), Greece
 Monday November 2 , 2009
Piraeus is the main port of Athens, the biggest in Greece, and one of the most important in the Mediterranean Sea. Piraeus is walking distance from Kastella, a hill strewn with beautiful houses that offers a majestic view of the Saronic Gulf. Other points of interest include an archaeological museum, Mikrolimano, where you can enjoy an ouzo accompanied by seafood mezedes. While here we visited the Temple of Posiedon, located at Cape Sunion, which is the southernmost point of the eastern European land mass. From here we sailed directly to Barcelona due to 85 mph winds and 15 foot swells which prevented the ship from getting into Naples.
GENERAL INFORMATION: Throughout history Athens has been one of the most important and influential cities of the western world. The peak of this civilization occurred during the 70-year Golden Age in the fifth century BC. It was during this period that great strives were made in architecture, literature, math, science, philosophy and medicine. History gave witness to some of the most celebrated men of our time including Sophocles, Euripides, Hippocrates, Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle.
   Despite its vast history, the Athens of the 21st century is a bustling modern city with overcrowded streets, traffic jams, pollution, and characterless modern cement buildings. The city has been criticized for lack of overall planning during an enormous population growth growth in the 19th and 20th centuries. When Athens became the Capital of Greece in 1834, it was a mere village of 6,000 residents. The Athens of today is home to million people and covers an area of 165 square miles.
   Although at first glance the visitor may not see the splendor of ancient Athens, the mental images of an historic civilization come alive with the first glimpse of its most prominent architectural masterpiece, the Acropolis. Athens is a city where past and present coexist, sometimes harmoniously, but more often unharmoniously. This however should not detour the tourist from experiencing some of the most awe inspiring sights of the Western World.
   Located 7 miles from the center of Athens, Piraeus has been Athens' port since the early 5th century BC. The city became an economic center in the 1920's with the construction of over 75 steam powered factories. The population has now reached 600,000.

HISTORY: Athens grew to a city of historic importance around the 8th century BC when it became the artistic center of Greece. It continued to flourish and reached its zenith in the 5th century BC. This period was known as the Golden Age of classical Greek culture and produced some of the most influential historical figures of the Western world. Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides wrote tragic masterpieces while Aristophanes satirized contemporary ideals with his comedies. Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle debated the fundamental questions of knowledge and meaning, and early historians such as Herodotus challenged the assumption that gods, no human beings, governed history, Hippocrates developed the science of medicine, and classical architecture and sculpture reached new heights with the construction of the Acropolis and Parthenon.
   The end of the Golden Age began with Peloponnesian War (431-404BC) between Athens and Sparta. Athens continued to be a notable cultural center until the 2nd century when the Roman Empire took control of Greece. The city remained the center of Greek education until the fall of Rome to the Byzantine Empire in 476 AD. Emperor Justinian closed Plato's Academy in Athens and the dark ages (Medieval Era) prevailed for the next 500 years.
   Athens experienced a pseudo-renaissance around the 12th and 13th centuries but then fell under Turkish rule for the next four centuries. The Greek War of Independence (1821-1829) brought the city out of cultural hibernation and in 1834 Athens was proclaimed the capital of the new, independent Greece.

Not all thumbnails will produce a larger picture

Panathenian Stadium

Acropolis in Background

Theater of Dyonisus
View of The Agora (Market Place)

The Parthenon
Rear Side of the Parthenon

View of the Temple of Zeus

The Erechtheum...

was dedicated to...
Athena and Poseidon
Acropolis Kitty
The Portico of the Caryatids
Exiting the Acropolis Area
Greek Writing On Marble Block
Marble Lions
Shot Through the Entrance

Rock From Which St. Paul Preached
Temple of Posiedon at Cape Sounion
Temple of Posiedon
View of Temple From Visitor's Center
Quail-Like Birds at Sounion
Statue of Greek General
Sun Setting On the Aegean
Bus #3

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