Kalispera! (Good evening!)
A few days after seeing the Acropolis, today we went to the Acropolis Museum. In order to preserve and display the foundations of an early Byzantine town, the museum was raised up above ground level, and the excavations were visible through glass floors within the building. The first floor of the museum displayed pottery and votive offerings to the nymphs, who were associated with marriage and childbirth.
The second floor of the museum, the archaic floor, had scattered statuary from the first temple to Athena. The statuary included large depictions of fights between man and beast as well as Kores, female figures, as offerings to Athena. We split into groups to analyze different aspects of the statuary, and we saw examples of gender identities in the active males and passive females.
The third and final floor of the museum was possibly the most important feature, as it consisted of a to-scale representation of the Parthenon and the placement of its metopes and friezes. The reliefs depicted the victories of the Athenians against various barbarians on the outer level, and on the interior, the Panathenaic Festival was portrayed. Some were plaster cast to show, very obviously, which reliefs are in the hands of the British Museum.
After exploring the Acropolis Museum, we found a quaint restaurant that served ten dishes of our choice to each small group. It was a family-style restaurant, and we all greatly enjoyed trying out different dishes such as dolmadhes (stuffed grape leaves) and a fava bean dip.
From the restaurant, we walked down a very busy pedestrian walkway (Athenians traditionally come out to socialize on Sundays) to make our way to Pnyx, which is a hill that was used for political debates and votes in antiquity. It was quite large (in ancient times it had a quorum of 5,000!), held up by huge blocks of bedrock, but it also had a beautiful view of the Attic basin. In modern times, it’s a popular place for families to sunbathe and play with the dogs of Athens.
– Katie and Shoshana