With nearly 3000 years of continuous history, Athens can be daunting. This overview walk is designed to help us get our bearings while we begin an examination of the city and its history. We'll explore some fundamental themes and draw our attention to specific details in order to make sense, on a basic level, of this very rich but complicated city.
Led by a variety of specialists from our network in Athens, this walk usually begins in Syntagma Square, the center of the city. With a display of archaeological finds found during the construction of the metro, and surrounded by 19th- and 20th-century buildings, Syntagma gives us a good base for shifting back and forth across time periods.
From here we normally immerse ourselves in Plaka, the historic neighborhood in the shadow of the Acropolis. There is much to explore here, from Byzantine churches and a maze of streets dating to the 11th century, to modern art deco and contemporary meze restaurants. We may climb the north slope of the Acropolis to experience Anafiotika, the beguiling rural village clinging there, or head deeper towards Monastiraki. Or, we may decide to circumnavigate the Acropolis along the pedestrian walkway, passing through the archaeological core.
Along the way our docent will provide us with some of the visual tools we'll need later in our trip to read monuments and place the city in a historical and cultural context. Ample energy will be spent answering questions and helping with directions. And, we'll make sure to stop along the way for a snack!