Discovering the oldest cities of the world
May 3, 2016
Two of my close friends and I took a plane from Istanbul to Athens, and the two-hour flight was smooth and fast. While in the plane, I kept staring out the window and admiring the beauty of Greece’s geographical nature. The mountains on the ocean made the scenery breathtaking.
We landed at the airport, grabbed our bags and headed toward a taxi. The drive from the airport to our hostel was a good distance way. We arrived at nighttime so we did not have time to explore.
The next morning we got up extra early to discover the old ruins Athens has to offer. Our hostel was within walking distance from the major sites which was a great convenience for us.
We made our way toward Monastiraki Square, where we found shops and snack stands that sold fresh fruits and coconut sticks. The square is located in old town Athens, where it was the site of the largest monastery in Athens, however during the 19th century it was destroyed during the archaeological diggings. The only building that remains in the square is a small church called Monastiraki.
I was stunned to see many shops that sold natural cosmetic products that were made from Athens’s natural good, which are honey, olive oil, avocado oil, rose oil, tea tree oil and argan oil. Most of the shops carried handmade soaps, facial and body lotions that contained these natural oils.
Once we walked through the flea markets we made our way up toward the Acropolis, which is one of the seventh wonders of the world. Sarah, Summer and I walked up a hill, where we encountered many cats on the way and kept stopping because we fell in love with literally every cat. They each carried their own little personality. We wanted to take all of them home!
We climbed up the Acropolis, although the hike was a bit tiring the view we experienced was incredible. We overlooked the whole city of Athens. I found it shocking to see how enormous the city is, and as I looked away in the distance toward the ocean, a woman came up to me and asked if I could take a picture with her and so I did.
My friends and I walked toward the Parthenon, where we found more tourists taking pictures and admiring the beauty of this former temple. The Parthenon was initially dedicated to the goddess Athena, who the people of Athens consider as their patron.
Its construction began in 447 BC, and it’s the most treasured building that has survived in Athens for centuries. The Parthenon was originally used as a treasury of the Delian League that later became the Athenian Empire. During the sixth century AD, the Parthenon was transformed into a Christian church and dedicated to the Virgin Mary. After the Ottoman Empire invasion, it was converted into a mosque in the early 1460s, and was later bombarded by an ammunition explosion and severely damaged in 1687.
The Acropolis was near its closing hours, so we headed toward the temple of Apollo, where we discovered more of Athens’ historic ruins and learned about its early years of civilization.
Athens is known to be the birthplace of democracy and Western civilization. It is also the center of arts and philosophy. It is also recognized as a global city due to its convenient location, shipping, finance, commerce, media, entertainment, arts, culture, education, international trade and of course tourism.
The next morning we decided to hop on a plane and visit the island of Crete, where an early Arabic influence was established due to the Ottoman Empire.
We visited the small town of Chania, which known to be the largest town with in the island of Crete, and is located south of Athens.
We took a stroll through the streets, and since it was during the winter, there were not many people out. However the weather was bearable and we enjoyed the remarkable view at the lighthouse, where we hung out by the marina in the old harbor.
On our way back to catch a taxi to head back to the airport we encountered a couple of dogs, one in particular who followed us the whole way. Sarah, Summer and I decided to feed the dogs–one was extremely stubborn and did not want to eat, but it made us happy how these “Greek” street dogs were so friendly and just wanted attention.
Once we spent time with the dogs we headed toward a dessert shop, where we indulged in Greek sweets and took some to go.
We hoped on a taxi and headed toward the tiniest airport we have ever been at and headed back to the city of Athens.