Interesting find at Mount Lycabettus: a plaque with a partial quote from Revelation 15:3-4 “Great and wonderful are Thy deeds, O Lord God the Almighty! Who shall not fear and glorify Thy name O Lord?”
The restaurant Orizontes Lycabettus offers fine Mediterranean dining with seafood oriented cuisine on a panoramic terrace reached by the furnicular which is situated at the corners of Aristippou & Ploutarchou streets in the area of Kolonaki.
The furnicular serves thousands of tourists during the summer & operates all year round & til midnight. Many Athenians come to this restaurant about 300m high up to dine & enjoy the spectacular 360° view of Athens by day & at night.
The Bell Tower, Flag pole & the Church of Agios Georgios (St George) dominates the top most part of Mount Lycabettus.
The Church of Agios Georgios, is this tiny but stunning whitewashed space built in the 18th century. It was important & stood out because it was different in architectural style from most churches of the same period. A Byzantine era church was previously located here & traces of a temple dedicated to Zeus in ancient times have also been found. When the 1st temple was ruined, a new temple of basilica style was built on this same foundation.
Within the well-preserved church you will see that it is filled with intricate & valuable religious art & artefacts.
The Bell Tower was built in 1902 with a donation from Nicholas Thon, a wealthy landowner & member of King Othon’s court. The large bell was made in Russia & gifted to the church by Queen Amalia.
This 3000 seater amphitheater at the top of Mount Lycabettus is known as Lycabettus Theater & it was constructed in 1964 & still remains a popular venue for concerts & shows though mainly during summer only.
Famous acts that have performed here at Lycabettus Theater in Athens include Ray Charles, The Pet Shop Boys, Radiohead & UB40.
We can also see the Panathinaiko Stadium from Mount Lycabettus too. This multi purpose stadium was built on the site of a simple racecourse by the Athenian statesman Lykourgos c.330 BC primarily for the Panathenaic Games. It was rebuilt in 144 AD by Herodes Atticus, an Athenian Roman senator & it is the only stadium in the world constructed entirely of beautiful marble. This was also the venue of the 1st Modern Olympics held in 1896 & the last venue in Greece from where the Olympic flame handing-over ceremony to the host nation takes place.
The amazing view here includes the Temple of Olympian Zeus, Piraeus Harbour (on your right not in the picture) faces the Saronic Gulf & the island of Egina. The Port of Piraeus is the chief seaport of Athens located on the western coast of the Aegean Sea. It is not only the largest port in Greece but also in Europe. As of 2020, the Port of Piraeus is majority owned by China COSCO Shipping, the 3rd largest container ship company in the world. The Greek government was in a bind & sold the port to the Chinese to raise funds to finance debt & their flagging economy in 2016 much to the dismay of the Greeks; for they saw it as a giveaway of property that belonged to the Greek people.
Construction of this colossal temple started in 6 BC but it was only completed during the reign of the Roman Emperor Hadrian in 2 AD some 638 years later. The temple had 104 huge Corinthian columns made of high quality Pentelic marble which are 17m tall & 2m in diameter & was renowned as the largest temple in Greece that housed the equally colossal chryselephantine statue of Zeus in the cella. Today only 15 columns remain standing & the 16th column lies on the ground where it fell during a storm in 1852.
The Hellenic Parliament also known as the Greek Parliament is housed at the Old Royal Palace overlooking Syntagma Square in Athens. This is the supreme democratic institution that represents the citizens through an elected body of Members of Parliament. 300 MPs are elected for a 4 year term.
Tourists are waiting outside for the Changing of the Guards which takes place at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier off Syntagma Square below the Parliament House at 11am on Sundays when they are in full Ceremonial uniform.
The Evzones is a special unit of the Hellenic Army known as Tsoliades who guard only the Monument of the Unknown Soldier & the Presidential Mansion. The Presidential Guards first instituted in 1868 have become a symbol of bravery & courage to the Greeks. They are selected according to their height, excellent physical condition & psychological state as well as character & morality with a tough month’s training to still the body & mind before being inducted to the Presidential Guards.
This ceremonial outfit is only worn on Sundays & National Holidays. The uniform is Blue in winter & Brown in Summer. Their shoes the Tsarouchia which are red & made of leather with a small tuft at the front, weigh 3 kgs each.
The Acropolis Museum (on your left) is the one with a prominent square top & the Acropolis of Athens, the magnificent ancient citadel sitting on rocky outcrop as seen from Mount Lycabettus.
The Acropolis of Athens is the most striking & complete of ancient Greek monumental complexes still exisiting today. It sits on a hill that rises 156m in the basin of Athens & is a UNESCO World Heritage Site inscripted in 1987. This photo was taken from the Temple of Olympian Zeus with Hadrian’s Arch, the ancient monumental arched gateway straight ahead.
It is interesting how this 300m high hill is named Mount Lycabettus. The myth was that Lycabettus Hill was created by the Greek goddess of Wisdom, Athena who dropped the limestone mountain she was carrying meant for construction of the Acropolis; when she was startled by bad news she received from a crow after the box holding Erichthonius was opened. Legends has it that wolves used to live in this hill, hence the name “Lycos” which in Greek means “Wolf”.
There are 3 ways to get up Mount Lycabettus. On foot, by furnicular or by car. It is a great place to visit for stunning panoramic views of Athens in the day & when illuminated by the moon at night, it transforms to a romantic place all at once.
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