"On the south slope of the rock:" Athens Travelogue by leics

Athens Travel Guide: 4,467 reviews and 10,225 photos

On the south slope of the Acropolis there are two theatres as well as the ruins of many other ancient structures, their stones hidden in the grass. Some of these latter are being reconstructed, but many more are just sitting there, as they have done for centuries, waiting peacefully......

The Theatre of Dionysos saw the first performances of pieces by Aristophanes, Sophocles, Euripides and many more.........so it is a powerfully evocative place to visit. Surpisingly (from what is now visible, because only 20 tiers of the original 64 survive) it could hold 17000 people in its heyday. What you can see now dates from the 4th century BC, when it was rebuilt.........still amazingly old.

I loved the marble 'thrones' in the front rows, their seats carefully carved to provide a comfortable resting place for wealthy and powerful bottoms (though I bet they took cushions with them as well!). These seats were for important officials and priests (some have the names carved upon them).

There is a frieze at the back of the performance area, depicting events in the life of Dionysos, and a lovely colourful marble floor.

The Theatre of Herodes Atticus was built much later, in the second century AD. It's been massively restored in order to be used for modern performances, and you can't actually go inside unles you are attending such a performance. The frontage is original.

Between the two theatres is the Stoa of Eumenes, a huge two-storied market place cum shopping mall (that's what stoas were) which was also erected in the second century AD.

Set amongst the grass and trees there are also the ruins of the Askeplion, a sacred site and spring devoted to the god Askeplius as well as sundry other smaller sites of various types.

The whole place is covered with stones, carved and plain.These poppies look beautiful set against the pale grey of the stone......even on a chilly, overcast day.

At the entrance to the site is a display of some of the inscribed bases and fragents of statuary found there.

The site dog (just visible to the left of the photo) won't bother you if you don't bother him.

  • Page Updated Apr 11, 2009
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leics

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