Acropolis Museum, Athens

Athens gift to visitors, the glass floored gallery houses relics from the slopes of the Acropolis. The transparent glass floor provides a view of an archeological excavation while the upward slope of the floor represents the ascent to the Acropolis. This is one of the best museums I’ve ever visited. It was designed by architect Bernard Tschumi with Michael Photiadis and inaugurated in the summer of 2009. The Museum hosts its collections across three levels, as well as in the archaeological excavation that lies at its foundations.

The Museum’s exhibition culminates on the third floor, in the glass-encased “Parthenon Gallery”. The relief sculptures of the Parthenon frieze depicting the Panathenaic procession are exhibited in continuous sequence along the perimeter of the external surface of the rectangular concrete core of the Gallery. The metopes, the marble slabs with relief representations from Greek mythology, are exhibited in between the stainless-steel columns of the Gallery, which are the same in number as the columns of the Parthenon. The colossal figures of the two pediments have been placed on pedestals on the east and west sides of the Gallery. The east pediment depicts the birth of the Goddess Athena, emerging from the head of her father Zeus, and the west pediment depicts the battle between Athena and Poseidon over the land of Attica. The third floor is the exact length of the Parthenon.

Many of the displays provide line drawings the exact size of a particular ancient and actual remnants attached of the drawing, providing a real look at a particular site as the excavations continue to reveal original pieces.

Drawing with original remnants attached.

Hermes It is believed that the God held a turtle in his hand. The lyre, the musical instrument invented by Hermes was made from the turtle shell. Second half of the 5th cent. BC (Acr. 1346)

Amid the treasures are video displays, 3 D projections and you can tour virtually the Archaic Gallery and the Parthenon Gallery. The “walk-through” feature of the project uses Google’s Street View technology. Explore physical and contextual information provided about the collection of the Acropolis Museum. The virtual images of artworks are reproduced at extremely high quality.

The Six Sisters of the Acropolis

From the NY Times article on the Six Sisters: For 2,500 years, the six sisters stood unflinching atop the Acropolis, as the fires of war blazed around them, bullets nicked their robes, and bombs scarred their curvaceous bodies. When one of them was kidnapped in the 19th century, legend had it that the other five could be heard weeping in the night. But only recently have the famed Caryatid statues, among the great divas of ancient Greece, had a chance to reveal their full glory. For three and a half years, conservators at the Acropolis Museum have been cleaning the maidens, Ionic columns in female form believed to have been sculpted by Alkamenes, a student of ancient Greece’s greatest artist, Phidias. Their initial function was to prop up a part of the Erechtheion, the sacred temple near the Parthenon that paid homage to the first kings of Athens and the Greek gods Athena and Poseidon. Today they are star attractions in the museum; the originals outside were replaced with reproductions in 1979 to keep the real maidens safe. Over the centuries, a coat of black grime came to mask their beauty. Now conservators have restored them to their original ivory glow, using a specially developed laser technology.

An excellent story on the maidens in the NY Times

The Six Sisters site at the Acropolis

During the cleaning and  restoration of the Six Sisters, which was done on site, the museum recorded the process.

Plan to spend several hours roaming this beautifully detailed and stylish educational museum. Not far from the Acropolis, hike the Acropolis and Parthenon grounds before the heat in the morning, lunch near the museum and spend your afternoon in the museum. See post on lunch at Gods Restaurant.

Local Food Athens Gods’ Restaurant

Gods’ Restaurant, Athens
I haven’t deciphered the meaning of the name, in relation to the owners. But be advised this is not a fancy restaurant, it is a typical taverna and besides serving fresh, authentic Greek cuisine, it is right across the street from the amazing Acropolis Museum…two perfect reasons to visit. What better for a late lunch to sit beneath an unfurled canvas awning, on a tree lined sun dappled neighborhood street in the heart of Athens?

Gods’ Restaurant Athens

The sidewalk waiters will attempt to lure you in, do resist as it is part of their calculated game of  persuasion – it’s utterly a contest by the two bulky gentlemen who recite the menu, compliment your  attire; they are friendly enthusiastic barkers and a giggle to watch! I recommend the front row seat on the sidewalk, order your libation and saunter inside to look at the glass cabinets of delectable offerings. You may prefer to order from the menu, but why not practice the traditional Greek custom and peruse the cases of fresh delights. This is authentic fare, the Dolmades were some of the best I tasted in Greece, try the tender chicken skewers with yogurt sauce, oh and always order handmade pie of the day..its not a sweet, it’s a traditional flaky phyllo dough pie with cheese and spinach..gooey delightful! Or if you simply can’t decide what to order, try the Plateau of traditional Greek food. Have everything delivered together and nosh on a bite here a bite there.

From the restaurant site: they explain it better than I: Greeks tend to associate pleasure with homemade food, quality wine and good company. Heirs of the richest gastronomy in the world, richest in materials, in way of cooking, culture and wisdom, they always search for a special hangout that combines the intimate atmosphere of home with their mama’s kitchen aromas. At the traditional, family-owned Gods’ Restaurant, you will feel right at home with the rustic and hospitable atmosphere, but it is the father who heads the kitchen here. With 50 years of cooking experience, he works alongside the executive chef to create authentic Greek recipes, like the traditional finger-licking dolmades (meat and rice wrapped in grapevine leaves with egg and lemon sauce), the famous Lamb “kleftiko” in the pot or the ancient Greek recipe, fried feta cheese wrapped in phyllo pastry with honey and black sesame.

handmade pie of the day Gods Restaurant Athens

tender chicken skewers with yogurt sauce, Gods’ Restaurant Athens

It has Greek traditional cuisine with tastes and cooking that will satisfy even the most demanding. The Family with more than 50 years of experience in cooking and restaurant business and total respect to the tradition of Greek gastronomy, our father, Mr. George, is offering daily (since 2000 here, in this area) authentic recipes of our country and hugs with smile and love all our customers. Behind every successful man there is a woman, so it couldn’t be different here, our mother, Mrs. Maria, is always close to us, taking care of “Gods'” tastes… Vaggelis and Nikos, the two sons, responsible for the service and the public relations. Along with us, our executive Chef, Elias, with his own recipes, a more creative and modern reach to the Greek cuisine, to satisfy the most demanding palate.

Gods’ Restaurant 27 Makrygianni Str., Acropolis, Athens, Greece.

Οινομαγειρείο των Θεών, Εστιατόριο Hours 9 am till 1 am.

Truly a gift from the Gods.