Ancient Agora… Why Here?

Woot, woot! Another day of sightseeing in Athens! We got a little sidetracked on our way to our first stop: the Ancient Agora. We walked right through a flea market, and both Charlotte and I needed another pair of shoes. After finding two cute pairs of sandals, we headed continued onward to the Ancient Agora!

Most of the Ancient Agora is just a few toppled stones here and there or the remains of a foundation, but the Stoa of Attalos was completely rebuilt in the 1950s. They tried to rebuild it as an exact replica of the original building. It was kind of exciting to walk through a complete building instead of having to imagine what it would have looked like. It’s a beautiful building, and it was a great place to take some pictures.

Apparently, all the picture taking was just too much for Charlotte. She needed to take a little break.

This is the Temple of Hephaestus located in the Agora on a little hill. It had great views of the surrounding areas. While walking around the Agora, we were following the ‘Rick Steves Ancient Agora Self-guided Walk Tour,’ and I was reading it out loud to our little group. We ended up near this other group of tourists, and I realized they were reading the same walking tour. So, we got awkwardly close to them and listened to them read about the Temple of Hephaestus. No sense in repeating it twice.

Another view of the Acropolis. Looking at the landscape of Athens, it’s easy to see why they picked this location to build their temples and create a place of worship and pilgrimage.

I took this picture after hiking around the Agora all morning and by this point it felt like my skin was melting off my body. I started thinking…. Athens is one of the oldest cities in the world. People have been living here for about 5,000 years. Why here?!? It’s blazing hot in the summer, and air conditioning wasn’t invented until pretty recently. Apparently there are people who don’t mind the heat as much as I do, but still. It’s hot. Didn’t they know about places like San Jose, California and its nearly perfect year-round temperatures? Either they are much more tolerant than I am, or every summer they all headed to their favorite Greek Island to escape the heat.

Below is Mars Hill, where the apostle Paul preached to the people of Athens. We didn’t have a chance to walk over to the hill after exploring the Acropolis, but this is a pretty great view of the hill.

We finished our morning with more shopping at the flea market, grabbed lunch, and then started to head back to the apartment for nap time. The skin-melting heat was incapacitating, and we didn’t have the energy to walk all the way back to our apartment, so we tried to get a taxi to come pick us up. We were using an app to get a taxi, but after several attempts and multiple canceled rides Lucy had already fallen asleep in the stroller. So, we decided to quickly tour Hadrian’s Library before it closed at 3 PM and then eat some much needed ice cream to cool off and sit in the shade while Lucy finished napping.

After our ice cream and rest, our next adventure was the National Archaeological Museum. We were really hoping that it had good air conditioning, but were quite disappointed that after being in the museum for about 5 minutes we started sweating again. It’s cooler than outside, yes, but it’s still about 89 degrees in the building. The rooms were organized in chronological order, so it was a good opportunity to teach Chris more about art and why certain statues are “famous” or noteworthy. After seeing the main parts of the museum, Chris took the kids down to the cafe for more ice cream and my sister and I went to hunt down a few art pieces that we really wanted to see.

On the way out, Chris decided to step up our bird chasing and took Charlotte and the stroller flying through the flock of resting birds.

Stray cats. Stray dogs. They are everywhere in Greece. But these stray animals are very friendly and actually well cared for. Many groups and individuals go around taking care of stray animals and making sure they are fed and get any necessary medical attention. Most of these animals have collars and look like they have an owner who must be sitting nearby, but they’re actually strays. I think I would enjoy having nice stray cats around to cuddle whenever I wanted.

2 replies
  1. Darwin
    Darwin says:

    So, why did people move to Athens, or to Greece? Well, the harbor and the Acropolis were the main reasons for settling Athens. The harbor provided excellent docking for ships and the Acropolis was easily defended during the early days of settlement. The Mediterranean was the main trade route for the ancient world so it was surrounded by settlements. Greece has a ton of excellent harbors, so that made the land attractive for settlement. Plus, the climate may be hot in the summer, but it’s really nice the rest of the year — compared to the rest of Europe.

    • jonesaccount
      jonesaccount says:

      Great points! We don’t really think about those kinds of features when we decide where to live nowadays, so it’s easy to forget about them. Excellent harbors? Easily defended city? Didn’t think about that when we recently moved to Portland. But a good harbor is probably why Portland was settled in the first place! And when we come back to Athens….someday… it will be in a cooler, more enjoyable season 🙂


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