As our family witnessed during our trip to Greece, the country is filled with lots of interesting archaeological sites and museums. While many cultural sites are located in the Macedonia region, the largest of the nine geographical regions, quite a few can also be found in Central Greece, the most populous region.
When we were in Central Greece, we explored several places in Athens, the country’s capital. However, the one I was the most excited about seeing was the Acropolis, one of Central Greece’s UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The Acropolis is home to the remains of a collection of ancient buildings, including the Parthenon, Erechtheion, Temple of Athena and Propylaea (which serves as the entrance to the Acropolis). And, because the site is situated on top of a rocky hill more than 500 feet high, it provides visitors with a mesmerizing view of the city below. So, make sure your camera or phone is charged and that you have enough space on it to take at least a few photos while you’re there. I also encourage you to wear appropriate walking shoes since some of the marble steps and pathways we used felt slippery at times.
Speaking of wearing appropriate walking shoes, you’ll also need them if you visit Mars Hill, the marble hill that’s next to the Acropolis. Just ask the people who heard me squeal when I slipped on the stairs while climbing to the top! By the way, I was wearing gym shoes for walking or running–which are normally great for different types of terrain–but I felt unsure of my footing a couple of times while navigating those stairs. So, why am I recommending this site if getting there might be challenging? Because this is the place where the Apostle Paul preached a famous sermon. So, for many people, simply being there will be inspiring. In addition, you can see the Acropolis–as well as other parts of Athens–from a different vantage point when you’re on Mars Hill. In other words, it will be worth it! And, if you don’t want to navigate the slippery steps as you head back down the hill, use the metal ones that have been erected on the hill as I should have done when I climbed to the top.
We also visited Syntagma Square in Athens to observe members of the Hellenic Army’s special Presidential Guard unit as they participated in the changing of the guards ceremony. The ceremony takes place every hour on the hour in front of the Old Royal Palace, home to the Greek Parliament. I was impressed by how precise their movements were, especially in light of how hot it was the day we were there and the fact that the guards who were about to leave their posts had been standing as still as a statue in the same place for an hour. (By the way, the guards have three one-hour shifts per day every 48 hours.)
Absolutely spectacular. That’s how I would describe the sunset we witnessed the evening we visited Cape Sounion on the southernmost tip of the Attica peninsula. Situated just over 40 miles southeast of Athens, Cape Sounion is home to The Temple of Poseidon, a major monument of the Golden Age of Athens, and a popular destination for those who enjoy watching a seaside sunset.
I’m not sure I’d ever heard of Delphi (which Ancient Greeks considered to be the center of the world) before going to Greece, but I’m glad the Archeological Site of Delphi (a UNESCO site) ended up on our itinerary. However, I must admit something about our visit: Traveling by tour bus up to the site, which is found on the southwestern slope of Mt. Parnassus, one of the tallest mountains in Greece, was a little scary. Fortunately, our driver had driven on that winding road many times in the past and he always seemed to know just when to slow down or how much room he’d need to leave for other drivers. Once we arrived at the site, however, I forgot about the bus ride and simply enjoyed learning about the site’s monuments, including the Treasury of Athens, theater, and ruins of the Temple of Apollo, among others.
We went to the Delphi Archaeological Museum, home to one of the most valuable collections of ancient art and artifacts in Greece, the same day that we toured the adjacent archaeological site. Included in this expansive collection are sculptures (such as the famous bronze Charioteer sculpture seen in the featured photo of this post and in the below slideshow), statues, clay figurines, bronze helmets, jewelry and votive offerings, as well as architectural elements (like friezes). Because of all that is housed in this attractive museum, it would be a great place to have on your itinerary if you or someone in your family is a history buff and it would be the perfect place to wrap up your time in Central Greece.
Have you ever been to Central Greece? If so, please take a moment to tell me in the comments below which cities and sites you visited and which ones you liked the most.