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Athens: a quick visit - Part 2 - Orlando / Florida Guide

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After you have walked through the Agora, you should continue on in a northeasterly direction. At this point you then enter the Ceramics Cemetery. This is one of the oldest cemeteries in the world, settlers around the Acropolis buried their dead here beginning in the 11th century BC.

Near the entrance to the cemetery on Hermes Street is a museum that contains many of the more recent finds from the cemetery, including an extensive collection of pottery. The cemetery was named after Kearns, the patron of potters. Many of the tombs are embellished with carved representations of the dead. Some tombs have statues of the deceased, standing or sitting on horseback. The Athenians often placed vases on the tombs. The bottoms of these vases had holes drilled in them so wine could be poured in and received by the dead.

In the southeast corner of the cemetery is the Diploma Gate, the largest in Athens. This was the main entrance into the ancient city. The gate was heavily used by travellers coming into and out of the city, and was a productive location for prostitutes to greet weary travellers.

Walking through the Diploma Gate and back through the Agora, as the ancient travellers had, the Acropolis can first be seen. Acropolis, which means simply ' upper town, ' was a fortress and a sacred sanctuary of the goddess Athena. Upon seeing it, I could well imagine the ancient Greeks' belief in the mythological gods. It is truly one of the wonders of the world; an awe inspiring feat of architecture and art.

Walking past the Prophylaxes, the entrance to the Acropolis, you look down at the worn rock and see the imprints of chariot wheels from ancient times. Passing through the gates, you are met with the beautiful western view of the Parthenon. The Parthenon took nine years to complete and was dedicated to the virgin goddess Athena. The columns were constructed with Enteric marble that with age has turned a mellow honey colour. Built in 450 BC, it is 228 feet long and 101 feet wide. There are no straight lines in its construction. The columns have a slightly inward curve that is not only visually pleasing but an enormous feat of mathematical precision. Like the tombs of Egypt, scientists are still astounded that such a structure could be built in ancient times.

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