Sunday, November 5, 2006

Athens - the Parthenon

The Parthenon was a temple of Athena, built in the 5th century BC on the Acropolis of Athens. It is the most famous surviving building of ancient Greece, and has been praised as the finest achievement of Greek architecture. Its decorative sculptures are considered one of the high points of Greek art. The Parthenon is an enduring symbol of Ancient Greece and of Athenian democracy, and it is regarded as one of the world's greatest cultural monuments.

The name of the Parthenon likely derives from the monumental cult statue of Athena Parthenos housed in the eastern room of the building. This statue was sculpted in ivory and gold by Phidias; Athena's epithet parthenos refers to the goddess's unmarried and virginal status.

Athens - Erechtheion

The Erechtheum, or Erechtheion, is an ancient Greek temple on the north side of the Acropolis of Athens in Greece, notable for a design that is both elegant and unusual.

The temple as seen today was built between 421 BCE and 407 BCE. Its architect may have been Mnesicles, and it derived its name from a shrine dedicated to the legendary Greek hero Erichthonius. Some have suggested that it may have been built in honour of the legendary king Erechtheus, who is said to have been buried nearby. It is believed to have been a replacement for an older temple destroyed by the Persians around 480 BCE.

Athens - Change of the guard at the parliament

The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, right in front of the building of Parliament, is guarded by two members of the Army's Presidential Guard. The guards, dressed in traditional revolutionary garb, stand guard around the clock.

The changing of the guard in Athens is performed by Greek soldiers called 'Evzons' or 'Tsoliades' in their traditional uniform and shoes with toes tipped by a red or black ball.

The uniform is a traditional representation of Greece's historic mountain guerillas 'The Klephts' (thieves) which resisted the Turkish occupation.

Their foustanela (kilt) has 400 pleats each for every year of the Turkish occupation. Also there are three versions of the costume. One for summer (khaki color), one for winter (blue) and one that is the most formal (on Sundays and celebrations, like in these pictures).