Architecture

Beautiful Balconies/όμορφα μπαλκόνια

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Photographs that I took of the  beautiful Venetian and Neoclassical style buildings in the small town of Nafplio, Greece. Many of the buildings are getting a ‘facelift’ as you can see in the photographs, and it was nice to see some work being done on them, instead of letting the buildings fall into disrepair.

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View From A Fortress

Last weekend, I visited the small town of Nafplio which is located in the Eastern Peloponnese, it’s not a far drive from Athens which is why many Athenians like to head here for the weekend. I have been to Nafplio many years ago, but I don’t remember too much.  This time I decided that I was going to take it in more and spend more time exploring and even walk up those 999 steps that lead to the fortress of Palamidi. The climb up was a difficult one for me because I’m not an athlete. However,  the view was breathtaking and it was worthwhile  even though it took me three days to recover. My poor legs 😦

Palamidi Fortress

Palamidi fortress & its 999 steps.

Entrance to the Palamidi fortress

Entrance to the Palamidi fortress

Steps that look like Machu Picchu

Steps that look like Machu Picchu

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Beautiful view of Nafplio on the way up..

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In the distance the ‘Bourtzi fortress’ on an islet.

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..and the sea is beautiful too.

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A cruise (?) ship in the distance.

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Steps..

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and more steps.

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But, it’s worth it!

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A cell where prisoners were held.

The last steps to the fortress

The last steps to the fortress

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At the top at last. And on the other side of the door is the archaeological site of the fortress.

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999 steps, but this time I’m going down.

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The butterfly was a good sign.

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The Tower of the Winds /Ο πύργος των ανέμων

The Wind Tower

The Wind TowerThe tower of the winds or the ‘Horologion (timepiece) of  Andronikos of Kyrrhos’ was built by Macedonian Astronomer Andronikos in 50 B.C.  There are eight figures carved out on each side,  and each figure represents the eight different wind gods. The North wind is ‘Boreas’, the Northeast ‘Kaikias’, the Southeast ‘Apeliotes’, the East is ‘Eurus’, the South is ‘Notus’, the Southwest is ‘Livas’, the West is ‘Zephyros’, and the Northwest is ‘Skiron’. The octagonal structure has a sundial on the outside and a water clock on the inside.  In ancient times, there was a bronze statue of Triton holding a rod in his hand. Triton is a Greek god and messenger of the sea, and he is the son of Poseidon and Amphitrite – the god and goddess of the sea.  Triton would move in different directions from the wind. This is where the idea for weather vanes came from. The tower  had various uses over time and is one of the best preserved structures in the area.

Ο πύργος των ανέμων ή το «Ωρολόγιον (ρολόι) του Ανδρόνικου του Kyrrhos» χτίστηκε από τον Μακεδονικό αστρονόμο Ανδρόνικο το 50 π.Χ. Υπάρχουν οκτώ στοιχεία σε κάθε πλευρά, και κάθε εικόνα αντιπροσωπεύει τις οκτώ διαφορετικούς θεούς του ανέμου. Ο Βοριάς είναι ο ‘Βορέας’, ο Βορειοανατολικά ο ‘Καικίας’, η Νοτιοανατολική ο ‘Apeliotes’, η Ανατολή είναι ο ‘Εύρος’, ο Νότος, η ΝΔ είναι ο Λίβας, η Δύση είναι ο ‘Ζέφυρος’ και η Βορειοδυτικά είναι ο ‘Σκίρων’. Η οκταγωνική δομή έχει ένα ηλιακό ρολόι στο εξωτερικό και ένα ρολόι ύδατος στο εσωτερικό. Στην αρχαιότητα, υπήρχε ενα χάλκινο άγαλμα του Τρίτωνα κρατώντας μια ράβδο στο χέρι του. Ο Τρίτωνας είναι ένας Έλληνας θεός και ο αγγελιοφόρος της θάλασσας, και είναι ο γιος του Ποσειδώνα και Ἀμφιτρίτη- το θεό και θεά της θάλασσας. Ο Τρίτωνας  κινούταν σε διαφορετικές κατευθύνσεις από τον άνεμο. Η σύγχρονη πτερύγια καιρού προήλθε από αυτή την ιδέα. Ο πύργος είχε διάφορες χρήσεις με τη πάροδο του χρόνου και είναι ένα από τα καλύτερα διατηρημένα κτίσματα στην περιοχή.

View of Acropolis/Θéa της Aκρόπολης

View of the Acropolis from the Agora below

The Acropolis from Below

A model of how the Acropolis looked like in ancient times.

A model of the ancient city

View of the Temple Of Hephaestus within the Agora

“A great city, whose image dwells in the memory of man, is the type of some great idea. Rome  represents conquest; faith hovers over the towers of Jerusalem; and Athens embodies  the pre-eminent quality of the antique world, Art.” Benjamin Disraeli

 

Temple of Hephaestus/Ο Ναός του Ηφαίστου

After years of living in Athens I paid my first and overdue visit to the ancient Agora.  For the past few weeks I felt drawn to the Temple  of Hephaestus. The temple is located  just below the Acropolis in the ancient Agora (market place). Hephaestus is the God of blacksmiths, craftsmen, artisans, sculptors, metals, fire and volcanoes.  The temple is the best preserved ancient temple in all of Greece. Upon visiting the temple I was awe-struck by its beauty and energy.  Even though I don’t work with metals I do get crafty, I am good with my hands. What a coincidence that I would feel a pull to visit this place!

The temple with the Agora below

The temple with the Agora below

View of the temple from the front with its Doric columns

The west side of the temple facing Thiseio

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Not a bad-looking temple for a God who was considered the ugliest God of all, and who was crippled by Zeus!I walked for hours that day and the next I could barely walk. I felt crippled just like Hephaestus!

Old Parliament Building/Παλιά Βουλή

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Last Saturday I ventured downtown to get a few art supplies at an art and hobby store. As I was walking down Stadiou St. I noticed the old parliament building. In  the  past I  have stood in front of it to take pictures of the statue of Greek General Theodoros Kolokotronis who is depicted riding a horse . I had never been inside the building, but that day something came over me and I decided to follow the group of people that were heading into the building. There was no entrance fee or anything and I was free to wander everywhere.  The building was built in 1875 with plans by French architect Francois Boulanger and with foundations that were layed by Queen Amalia of Bavarian origin. After the Greek war of independence Greece had a monarchy for a short time that began in the late 19th century.The building has ceased to be used as a parliament building in 1932. The current parliament building is located at Syntagma square.

The parliament building is now the National Historical Museum. When I walked in I was awe-struck by the amount of historical artifacts that are displayed in the old building, from the conquest of Constantinople by the Ottoman Turks in 1453 to the Second World War.  Also, there are costumes and works of art from drawings to paintings and statues from different time periods and many weapons that were used during the many wars that Greece participated in.

 

Suburban Excursion

Yesterday, the weather was great, it was about 25 degrees celsius, so I decided to take a stroll up to the North of Athens.

This is the affluent part of Athens where the Pizza Hut looks like this:

Gourmet Restaurant? No, it's Pizza Hut!

Where the houses look like this:

Greek Architecture?

Weird.

And where the shops look like this:

A church? No!

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1000 Year Old Byzantine Church

The entry of King Otto of Greece in Athens and...

Image via Wikipedia

Για πολλα χρονια ψωνιζα στα μαγαζια στην Οδο Ερμου στο κεντρο της Αθηνας και περνουςα την μικρη εκκλησια, αλλα δεν ηξερα την ιστορια της. Λογο της περιεργιας μου εμαθα για το μικρο εκκλησακι.   Η εκκλησια ονομαζεται ‘Παναγια Καπνικαρεα’ και ειναι ενα απο της πιο σημαντικες Βυζαντινες εκκλησιες στην Αθηνα.

Το Βυζαντινο εκκλησακι χτιστηκε το 1050 μ.χ (!)  πανω απο τα συντηριμμια ενος αρχαιου ναου αφιερομενο ειτε στη Θεα Αθηνα η στην Θεα Δημητρα. Παραλιγο να γρεμιστει η εκκλησια μετα την επανασταση του 1821, ομως παρενεβει Ο Αρχιεπισκοπος της Αθηνας και ο Ludwig of Bavaria o πατερας του Βασιλια Οττο.  Το μωσαικο στην εισοδο τηn εφτιαξε Ο Elli Voila το 1936, και ειναι πολυ εντυπωσιακο.

For many years, I have walked passed the tiny old church pictured above. It is located in the middle of  the downtown Ermou shopping district  of Athens.   The church is always surrounded by people who like to sit on the ledge.  I have sat there many times and one day I decided to go in to light a candle.  I knew that it was an old church is but I did not know exactly how old.  Recently I decided to take photographs of the church and to do some research on it.  What I discovered surprised me the church named: ‘Panagia Kapnikarea‘ is dedicated to the Virgin Mary and it is one of the most important Byzantine churches in Athens.  The church dates back to 1050 (11th century)! It was built on the ruins of an ancient temple either dedicated to the Goddess Athena or Demeter.   Panagia Kapnikarea was almost destroyed after the Greek war of Independence of 1821, but the Bishop of Athens and Ludwig of Bavaria father of King Otto intervened and the church was saved.  The mosaic at the entrance was made by Elli Voila in 1936, and it is quite beautiful up close. In addition, the Northern side of the church is dedicated to Saint Varvara.

For more info:
http://www.athensinfoguide.com/gr/wtschurches/panagiakapnikarea.htm

http://www.focusmm.com/greece/gr_byza.htm