Up to 15 Guests
Athens Historical Private Virtual Tour Live Experience
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- Parliament – Changing of the Guards
- Academy of science – Athens University – National Library
- Lycabettus Hill
- Old Olympic Stadium
- Temple of Zeus – Arch of Hadrian
- Acropolis Hill – Parthenon – Erechtheion – Dionysus
- Theatre – Herodion Odeon
We will start with the changing of the guard (Evzones) in front of the old palace, which is today Parliament House, above the central square of Athens.
After that, we will drive to Panepistimiou Street one of the most historical streets of Athens to see numerous neoclassical buildings still standing and dating back to the late 19th century but more importantly we’ll see the architectural trilogy of Athens (The Academy – The University – The National Library). Then moving into the historical center of the city we will drive up the highest hill of Athens, Lycabettus Hill, where you’ll have the best panoramic view of the city, from the hill of Acropolis to the Aegean Sea.
From there we will visit Panathenaic Stadium where the first modern Olympic Games were held in 1896 and then we will head towards the Temple Of Zeus by way of Hadrian’s Arch.
Sightseeing in Athens ends with the hill of Acropolis which will make your day. From the historical Mars Hill, you will have the opportunity to see the Acropolis with the Temple of the Athena Nike, the monumental gateway (Propylaea), the Erechtheum and of course the famous Parthenon, the main temple dedicated to the virgin goddess Athena.
Inclusions - Exclusions
Professional Drivers and leaders with Deep knowledge of history.
- Live experience.
- Entrance to the Archaeological sites.
The Changing of the Guards:
These guards, the Evzones, stand motionless at the tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Getting into this unit is an honor, and they have to be over 6 ft. tall. They wear white tights, a white skirt, a white blouse with full sleeves, an embroidered vest, red cap, and shoes with big pom-poms. but don’t let the outfit fool you, these guys are the best of the best. The uniform is based on the clothing of the Klephts, mountain fighters who fought the Turks from the 15th Century until Greek independence in the 19th Century.
The Academy of Science:
The Academy Building constitutes one of three parts in an “architectural trilogy”. It was founded with the Constitutional Decree of March 18th, 1926, as an Academy of Sciences, Humanities and Fine Arts. The same Decree appointed its first members, who were all eminent representatives of the scientific, intellectual and artistic circles of that era. Designed in 1859, by the Danish architect Theophil Hansen (1813-1891, the younger brother of the University’s architect, Christian Hansen). It is considered the most important work of Hansen and is regarded by some experts as the most beautiful neoclassic building worldwide. The architect’s source of inspiration was the classical architecture of 5th century B.C.E. Athens, as portrayed in the monuments of the Acropolis. In particular, Hansen imitated the Ionian rhythm that dominates the building of the Academy, from the Erechtheion monument. The essence of all ancient Greek tradition can be found in the building’s sculptural and pictorial decoration; simultaneously the character of that era’s Hellenism and its visions for the future are also expressed.
The University of Athens:
The National and Kapodistrian University of Athens is the largest state institution of higher learning in Greece, and among the largest universities in Europe. The splendid Athens University was designed by the Danish architect Christian Hansen and completed in 1864. It was the first of the Architectural Trilogy to be built. It still serves as the university’s administrative headquarters. To its left is the Athens Academy, designed by Hansen’s brother Theophile. Unfortunately, neither is open to the public.
The National Library:
The National Library of Greece was built at the end of the nineteenth century, as the last of the Architectural of Athens, a group of three neoclassical buildings which also includes the Academy and the University. The building was designed by Theophil Hansen, a Danish architect who had studied classical architecture in Vienna and Athens. Construction of the National Library started in 1887 and was completed fifteen years later. Theophil Hansen died in 1891 and would never see his building completed. The National Library was designed as a Doric temple flanked by two wings and built almost entirely with Pentelic marble. The design of the Doric building was based on that of the Propylaea on the Acropolis. Two wide winding staircases lead to the entrance of the “temple”. The statue standing between the staircases shows one of the benefactors of the library, the merchant Panaghis Athanassiou Vallianos. The building houses a large collection of books, maps, newspapers, and manuscripts in Greek and other languages. Most interesting is the collection of Greek manuscripts, some of which are more than 1400 years old.
The Hill of Lycabettus:
The name Lykavittos appears in various legends. Popular stories suggest it was once the refuge of wolves, (Lycos in Greek), which is possibly the origin of its name (means “the one [the hill] that is walked by wolves”). Mythologically, Lycabettus is credited to Athena, who created it when she dropped a mountain she had been carrying from Pallene for the construction of the Acropolis.
There is a path that leads to the summit Alternatively, take the funicular railway, or Teleferik or a drive up to the top. Don’t try to walk up (pilgrims used to, but it’s an Everest for the faithless). The panorama from the top is priceless – all the way to Mount Parnes in the north, west to Piraeus and the Saronic Gulf, with the Acropolis sitting like a ruminative lion halfway to the sea. There’s also a cafe/restaurant up there. Perched on the summit is the little Chapel of Agios Georgios, floodlit like a beacon over the city at night. The open-air Lykavittos Theatre, northeast of the summit, hosts concerts in summer. And many famous artists have performed there.
The Old Olympic Stadium/ Panathenaic Stadium:
The grand Panathenaic Stadium lies between two pine-covered hills(between the neighborhoods of Mets and Pangrati). It was originally built in the 4th century BCE as a venue for the Panathenaic athletic contests. It’s said that at Hadrian’s inauguration in AD 120, 1000 wild animals were sacrificed in the arena. Later, the seats were rebuilt in Pentelic marble by Herodes Atticus. After hundreds of years of disuse, the stadium was completely restored in 1895 to host the first modern Olympic Games the following year. It’s a faithful replica of the original Panathenaic Stadium. There are seats for 70,000 people, a running track and a central area for field events. It made a stunning backdrop to the archery competition and the marathon finish during the 2004 Olympics. It’s occasionally used for concerts and public events, and the annual Athens marathon finishes here.
The Temple of Zeus:
This marvel is right in the center of Athens. It is the largest temple in Greece. Building began in the 6th century BCE by Peisistratos, (but it was abandoned for lack of funds). Various other leaders attempted to finish it, but it was left to Hadrian to complete the work in AD 131 – taking more than 700 years in total to build. The temple is impressive for the sheer size of it. Originally it had 104 Corinthian columns (17m high and with a base diameter of 1.7m). Unfortunately, only 15 remains (the fallen one was blown down in a gale in 1852). Hadrian also put up a colossal statue of Zeus (in the cella) and because he was such a modest fellow he placed an equally large one of himself next to it.
The Roman emperor Hadrian had a great affection for Athens. Although he did his fair share of spiriting its classical artwork to Rome, he also embellished the city with many monuments influenced by classical architecture. His arch is a lofty monument of Pentelic marble that stands where busy Leoforos Vasilissis Olgas and Leoforos Vasilissis Amalias meet. Hadrian erected it in AD 132, probably to commemorate the consecration of the Temple of Olympian Zeus. The inscriptions show that it was also intended as a dividing point between the ancient and Roman city. The northwest frieze reads, ‘This is Athens, the ancient city of Theseus’, while the southeast frieze states, ‘This is the city of Hadrian, and not of Theseus’.
The Acropolis hill (acro – edge, polis – city), so-called the “Sacred Rock” of Athens, is the most important site of the city and constitutes one of the most recognizable monuments of the world. It is the most significant reference point of ancient Greek culture, as well as the symbol of the city of Athens itself as it represents the apogee of artistic development in the 5th century BCE. During Perikles’ Golden Age, ancient Greek civilization was represented in an ideal way on the hill and some of the architectural masterpieces of the period were erected on its ground.
The Propylaea is the monumental entrances to the sacred area dedicated to Athena, the patron goddess of the city. Built by the architect Mnesicles with Pentelic marble, their design was avant-garde. To the south-west of the Propylaea, on a rampart protecting the main entrance to the Acropolis, is the Ionian temple of Apteros Nike, which is now being restored.
The Parthenon. It is the most important and characteristic monument of the ancient Greek civilization and still remains its international symbol. It was dedicated to Athena Parthenos (the Virgin), the patron goddess of Athens. It was built between 447 and 438 B.C.E. and its sculptural decoration was completed in 432 B.C.E. The construction of the monument was initiated by Perikles, the supervisor of the whole work was Pheidias, the famous Athenian sculptor, while Iktinos (or Ictinus) and Kallikrates (Callicrates) were the architects of the building. The temple is built in the Doric order and almost exclusively of Pentelic marble. It is peripheral, with eight columns on each of the narrow sides and seventeen columns on each of the long ones. The central part of the temple, called the cella, sheltered the famous chryselephantine cult statue of Athena, made by Pheidias. The rest of sculptural decoration, also by Phidias, was completed by 432 BCE. The sculptural decoration of the Parthenon is a unique combination of the Doric metopes and triglyphs on the entablature, and the Ionic frieze on the walls of the cella. The metopes depict the Gigantomachy on the east side, the Amazonomachy on the west, the Centauromachy on the south, and scenes from the Trojan War on the north. The Parthenon, the Doric temple, the pinnacle of Pericles’ building program, is beyond question the building most closely associated with the city of Athens, a true symbol of ancient Greek culture and its universal values.
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