Finally, after three months of waiting, the Municipality of Athens decided to reopen all of the outdoor museums and archeological sites. Having been here for months and not being able to go see the things that Athens is best known for was quite difficult. For this reason, I have gone a bit stir-crazy in visiting as many sites as I possibly can.
The first place I went to was the Acropolis and the Parthenon. This is pretty much the crown jewel of Greek archeology, and maybe archeology in general. Many people consider the Parthenon to be the symbol of civilization and knowledge as a whole, and it really lives up to its name. The sheer size of the Parthenon, and the detail of all of the buildings on the Acropolis are amazing. I walked around the entire place for about 20 minutes with a few friends, and we were practically alone. This is incredible considering that it is one of the biggest tourist attractions in all of Europe. I am told that the line to get in is usually around 2-3 hours. When I went, I didn’t even have to wait in line. This is a bit of a silver lining during the COVID pandemic. But, it also makes me want it to end so much quicker because I know many Athenians rely on tourism for a living. Being in the presence of so much history and culture is such a gift, and it makes me treasure the study abroad experience more.
Another site I visited recently is the Greek Agora. This is the main marketplace of the Greek classical era. Among the random columns laying around is the Royal Stoa, the Temple of Hephaestus, and more. My favorite building is the People’s Court, which is a ruin seemingly forgotten about. It is on the side of the train tracks that go through the Agora; this is the building where the Trial of Socrates took place, and he was sentenced to death. Abundant everywhere you go in Athens is the opportunity to learn about many interesting facts.
Overall, I am so happy to be learning about the history of Athens and Greece while finally being able to enjoy some of the most interesting archeological sites in the world.