Back to the Museum of the Acropolis

When we went to Athens last year, we headed to the Acropolis right away.  How could we not?  And when we finished, we went to the nearby Museum of the Acropolis so we could better understand what we had just seen.

This is as close to the Acropolis as I got this year.  It's an imposing sight (site) (ha ha).

This is as close to the Acropolis as I got this year. It’s an imposing sight (site) (ha ha).

I didn’t return to the Acropolis this year — too hot, and too many tourists.  But when I realized that my Saturday was open, I decided I’d like to go back to the Museum.  It’s a beautiful place, and I could see things at my own pace this time.  Also, air conditioning.

So after a bit of a lie-in, I ate a quick breakfast and headed to the Acropolis’ neighborhood on the Metro.

The public transport in Athens is the best, most convenient and well distributed, that I've ever seen.  Not that I'm an expert -- but it's tremendous.

The public transport in Athens is the best, most convenient and well distributed, that I’ve ever seen. Not that I’m an expert — but it’s tremendous.

Upon arriving at the Akropoli Metro stop, I was faced with these stairs, next to an escalator going — down?!

Oh my.

Oh my.

But the good news is that the Museum was right around the corner from the Metro stop, so I was soon happily looking at very old things.

The entrance to the Acropolis Museum, with glass floors showing the ongoing archeological excavations underneath.

There are antiquities at every turn in Athens.  Here, the entrance to the Acropolis Museum, with glass floors revealing the ongoing archaeological excavations underneath.

A look at the excavations

A look at the excavations

The Museum of the Acropolis holds items found at the site of the Acropolis itself, as well as in the surrounding area.  This part of Athens has been inhabited since prehistoric times, so there’s a lot of “ground” to cover.  I crack myself up — I’m full of the puns today.

One of the main galleries.  Note how open and airy it is -- perfect for appreciating each piece on display.

One of the main galleries. They were all this open and airy — perfect for appreciating each piece on display.

As I mentioned in my post about the Museum last year, I love how the pieces — hundreds or thousands of years old — are right out in the open, with nothing between them and us.  We could get right up to them, to feel “close” in a way that isn’t typical at museums.

Unfortunately, the Museum only allowed photos in a small portion of the displays, which limits what I can show here.  I guess you’ll have to visit the Museum yourself!

One place where I could take photos was actually my favorite area, displaying the Caryatids of the Erechtheion, one of the Acropolis’ buildings.  These lovely ladies, which acted as columns supporting a porch structure on the Erectheion, likely represent the strong, tall and beautiful young women of Karyæ, who served the goddesses Athena and Artemis (my two favorite goddesses, if you’re interested).

These caryatids were restored in 2012 with lasers, which selectively removed grime without harming the stone.  One caryatid, carried ofr to England in 1888  by Lord Elgin, remains unrestored at the British Museum in London.

These caryatids were restored in 2011-2015 with lasers, which selectively removed grime without harming the stone. One caryatid, carried off to England in the early 1800s by Lord Elgin, remains unrestored at the British Museum in London.

You can read a nice New York Times article about the caryatids’ restoration at the link below:

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/08/arts/design/caryatid-statues-restored-are-stars-at-athens-museum.html?_r=0

One of the five lovely ladies

One of the five lovely ladies

One thing that captivates me, and many others, about the caryatids is their backsides.  Well excuse me, it’s true!  Each lady is similar, but unique.  One of the most detailed areas is their hairstyles — which actually allowed the sculptor to thicken their necks, which would otherwise have been too delicate to support the roof over their heads.

Graceful folds and an ancient fishtail braid, carved in stone

Graceful folds and an ancient fishtail braid, carved in stone

Just look at that gorgeous braid.  I love it — and I wasn’t the only one taking close-up pics of it.

This braid hasn't unraveled for 2500 years.  Amazing.

This braid hasn’t unraveled for 2500 years. Amazing.

After my tour of the Museum I stayed to eat lunch at its swanky restaurant.  Look: giant beans!

Delicately flavored with fresh herbs, and served with herbed bread and pancetta, they were delicious.

Delicately flavored with fresh herbs, and served with herbed bread and pancetta, they were delicious.

I got a chance to view the Acropolis one last time, from the roof of the Museum.  All in all, a wonderful beginning to my day off.

Giving the Acropolis the side-eye.  Don't think you can pull one over on me, you old relic, you.

Giving the Acropolis the side-eye. Don’t think you can pull one over on me, you old relic, you.

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