Athens, Greece Pt.2
Monastiraki, Roman Agora, Ancient Agora, Temple of Hephaestus, Kerameikos
Weather: Extremely hot, scorching sun, had to stay hydrated. Evening became bearable.
I am absolutely overwhelmed with everyone’s messages on this mini series, seriously! Isn’t Athens BEAUTIFUL? I highly, highly recommend planning a trip here because pictures can’t show the vibes of the city, I mean if pictures are this beautiful imagine how it would be in reality?! WELL, day 1 was clearly adventurous, but it didn’t end there because day 2 was even more action packed! We felt a little more familiar around the area we were staying, it was Jummah so we found a local Masjid to pray at, I don’t know if I mentioned this in my last post but Mashallah a good amount of Muslims! There wasn’t a area for women to pray, so I just waited outside.
Instead of sitting in Taxi’s we used Uber, it was the safest to use in Athens (we were told by locals to do so) so our Uber arrived and we headed towards our destination. Our drive was really nice (a good 20 mins), we saw more of the city which was extremely busy, we passed by a lot of familiar stores which honestly I wasn’t expecting (hey I’m new here). We arrived at “Monastiraki”, which is one of the oldest and busiest markets in Athens. It’s known for its narrow streets filled with lots of stores, street food and fresh fruits basically an open bazaar. Also (which I found SO interesting) in 1759 a Masjid was built, and is now used as a Museum and a Church. The flea market/bazaar has been held here since 1910 and runs until this day.
My husband is a TRUE fruit lover, so we stopped by some shops to pick up some fresh fruits, which he very much enjoyed (I am not a fruit person). We explored around, shopped a little and then made our way towards “Roman Agora”, which was walking distance as I mentioned in my previous posts that all the main places to be visited were planned around each other so we didn’t waste anytime. As we were approaching Roman Agora, the narrow streets were so beautiful of Monastiraki with so much history and richness, such a beautiful memory.
The timing we planned on arriving to Roman Agora worked out perfectly because it was not crowded at ALL. We literally had the place to ourselves, so reading about its history, taking photos and just enjoying the scene was very calm, except the sun we couldn’t leave our eyes open LOL. The Agora used to be the social and political center of the city, such as law courts, temples and stores. The remains here are of different times of History from the Romans to the Byzantines and Turkish. In which there were churches, workshops, and a Masjid (how interesting!). Everything was so beautiful, each column, pathway, entryway, even the arch of each ruin.
After exploring Roman Agora, we walked through Monastiraki, another side of it and that was another beautiful walk itself. We then made our way to “Ancient Agora”. This place used to be the main gathering place in the city. People here used to go to school, socialize with one another, do businesses, have entertainment, attend courts, and politics. The sun was a bit bare able by now, so we went ahead and explored the ruins read up about the history and ofcourse had a photo session 🙂
There was also a museum within the location, so we went and saw old ancient artifacts, how they made their pottery, how old statues were all in a line of their Gods and Goddesses (which I found so cool). We spent quite sometime there, also because there was AC soooooo yeah. After we were done with Ancient Agora, we made our way to the “Temple of Hephaestus”. The temple was located in Ancient Agora so our walk was a hill way up, and we made it! The Temple of Hephaestus, is the first temple to be made out of complete marble, from research it is mentioned that no one really knew which God was worshipped here. But within time of exploring the Temple, archeologists came across a discovery that the temple may have been to honor the dieties Athena Ergane (Goddess of Pottery) and Hephaestus (Goddess of Volcanoes) because their statues were found. A very beautiful structure.
After we finished here, we made our way down back to Monastiraki and then headed towards our final site- “Kerameikos”. By this time, the sun was not really “setting” but it was less sunny so we felt very good at this point. Our goal was to see every ruin before sunset and thankfully that was a succsess over all Alhamdulilah (Thank God). This location was not very big. I personally think because of how the sun was beginning to set, the location looked even more lovely. At this point my poor husband was so relieved we finished everything and this was our last stop LOL. Kerameikos, was once a potters headquaters of Athens. There is an ancient burial ground, two of the cities largest gates stood here, animal structures to represent the deceased and much more art all around.
The surroundings we were exploring was really interesting because, where the ruins we were exploring at had a dusty/sandy floor but at the same time there was green grass in other spots of the location. We walked around, saw the burial ground, we went inside and around some of the ruins, climbed up where the animals were structure for the deceased (majorly Lions). Our last stop was a very quick one because, the location was not as big compared to the other places we saw. We then sat down, looked around one more time, and took it all in, gave eachother high-fives on achieving our most tiring travel ❤ Once we were done, the sun was beginning to set, and we made our way back to the alleys of Monastiraki and came across a huge food strip of beautiful outdoor restaurants and live music (Oh God I miss the vibe).
We found a place to eat (Thank you Google for reviews) ordered some pasta, the famous stuffed vegetables, and a fresh Greek salad (it was a must for me with every meal). We watched the sun set across from us, enjoyed live music and had a very delicious meal. We then came back to where we started our day, Monastiraki sat there and enjoyed Athens night life, had some smoothies, ice cream, basically a junk food night :-). After all that, we headed back to our place to get ready and pack for our next destination in Greece…any guesses?