Athens

June 26, 2019

 

The owl, sacred to Athena, goddess of wisdom, 

for whom the city is named

 

June 26, 2019, Athens, Greece — The pre-concert-tour tour is over. The rest of the singers (and a few companions) flew in yesterday, and we had our first rehearsal within a half-hour of their arrival. We sounded surprisingly good, considering 4/5 of the chorus had just landed after a red-eye.

 

Athens has been inhabited for 7,000 years. Despite its glorious classical past (4th and 5th centuries BCE), while Greece was part of the Byzantine and Ottoman Empires, Athens was not a major force. It returned to importance in 1834 when King Otto made it the capital and turned it into a new, European-style city of Neoclassical public buildings designed to resemble ancient temples. ​Today many of those that are left are museums and galleries.

 

Note the painted frieze and vibrant wall color on this University of Athens building... that was typical.

​​The Academy of Athens. These two buildings were just down from our hotel. 

Sadly, in the 1950s and ’60s, the city was hit with the dreaded ‘urban renewal’ plague, and many of the beautiful buildings were torn down and replaced with ugly boxes — what our guide Kriton calls ‘brainless architecture.’ In the midst of which, you can still find ruins of an ancient temple or archway.

 

Around the back of the National Library were several used-books kiosks. Not surprised to see this title: 

 

 

Next up: Visiting the Acropolis, seen here, lit up at sunset. #

 

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