Monday, June 14, 2010

Visiting the Mysteries of Eleusis, Trip to the Agora, Riding down to Piraeus

Me at the Gypsy castle of Eleutherae

An example of a funerary statue relief.

They had the tablet which centralized the standard measures for feet, arms and hands. Sam K. is shown here comparing herself to it.

The yachts are shown in the dock here.

This week has gone by so fast. The days and nights are blurred together with fantastic sights and memories. I can’t believe there is only one week left in Athens before I move to Paros for the second summer session. Monday was lecture in the classroom but Tuesday was another day trip. We journeyed to West Attica and saw Eleusis, Eleutherae and Aegosthena. This was the best class ever. Any class that ends with hours of swimming in the gulf of Corinth is pretty baller.

Eleusis is one of the leading towns in Attica. It is important because it is a great religious center known for the "mysteries of Eleusis." The Eleusian Mysteries are not completely clear but are connected to Demeter. It is also the birthplace of Aeschylus, a famous tragedian.

Eleusis seems to be independent city of Athens, seperated by a plain, but is an Athenian cult. We saw the temple at Eleusis, then we ventured to Eleutherae. Here we saw one of the best preserved Greek fortresses and the gypsy castle. That day we had great food. We made spanakopita, penne and marinara supplemented with olive oil, tziki, feta and bread. For dessert, I had a great chocolate bar, which had chocolate ice cream on the inside and was coated in orange chocolate.

The next day, Wednesday, we went to the Agora. The agora is a market, which is more or less equivalent to a Roman Forum. The Agora was built in 150 BC after Alexander the Great dies. Athens was the center of philosophy and educations. Princes of royal houses would come here to study and later donate to the city. The Stoa of Attolis is an example of an "alumni gift." Here we had the behind scenes tour by John Camp at the Stoa of Attolis. We were able to go in storage and see the remains of bodies they found in the area as well as amphoras. It was interesting to learn that one is able to identify the trade routes by looking at the amphoras (which hold material such as oil) and other remaining pottery and dating the pieces.

Thursday, we took a trip to Piraeus via the metro and saw the museum there. Piraeus could be thought of the other part of a dumbell with Athens at the other end. They are both part of a greater area, seperate but connected. Pireaus is the port city. This is where we took the ferry to Crete and where one takes a ferry to the other islands as well. This was a leisurely walk through the city and the museum. It wasn't that intense of a history lesson, but there were a few key monuments. It was cool to see all the ships in the port. Stay tuned to hear more about my trip on Friday to Corinth and Perachora as well as my last week of classes in Athens!

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