June 2nd, 2014
After touring the Agora, we happened upon a lovely little square with outdoor dining, just in time for a much needed lunch stop! We ordered the Gyros, and were surprised that they were served on a plate, not in a pocket pita.But they were delicious! and, after a hearty lunch, we were on our way.
We were touring Athens on our own (with the help of Rick Steves travel guide and audio tours) and on our feet. We walked down a number of shopping streets, but we were headed back in the direction of our hotel, and the Temple of Zeus. At the end of the street, just in front of the Temple of Zeus, was Hadrian’s Arch.
This Arch was built by the Roman Emperor Hadrian in the 2nd century AD. Hadrian wanted to properly mark the end of the ‘Greek’ section of town, and announce the start of this ‘new’ Roman subdivision. It was kind of neat, but not overly impressive, but it does give insight into the tensions that come with conquering and occupying a nation.
The Temple of Zeus, just behind the Arch, is currently surrounded by a grassy, park-like area, that, though hot and sunny, provided a nice setting to enjoy sitting and soaking up the sense of ‘antiquity’ while resting a bit.
The building of the Temple of Zeus was started in the 6th century BC, but was not completed until Hadrian took over 7 centuries later.
15 of the original 104 Corinthian columns still stand, leaving the reconstruction of the Temple to our imaginations.
I think that I was most impressed by the sheer size of these columns…….
And the decorative details……
Note – This is a ‘Corinthian’ style capital (or top for the column) with the leafy decorations. The workmanship that went into these buildings is just amazing!
This fallen column shows the discs or ‘drums’ that make up the column. The construction of all of the columns in all of the ruins that we have seen is almost too much to comprehend!
Our touring had taken us back to The Athens Gate Hotel, which was just across the street from the Temple of Zeus.
We stopped for a much needed rest and ‘cool down’ before we headed out again.