Posts tagged ‘history’


Architecture, academia and the birthplace of democracy: Athens is the grandest open-air university in the world

Walking the cobblestone pathway of Europe’s largest archaeological park in Athens is a rewarding history lesson in the world’s grandest open-air university.

There are no fees. No professors. No homework. You don’t even have to attend everyday, just as and when there’s an itch of intrigue.

Like Rome, Athens surrounds you with the ancient: the Acropolis, the Theatre of Dionysus, Herodes Atticus, Arch of Hadrian and the Athenian Trilogy. It’s the crumbling Meccano kit of empires built and empires destroyed.

David Constable visited Athens to experience the stunning remnants of yesteryear's empires
David Constable visited Athens to experience
the stunning remnants of yesteryear’s empires

No other country can boast such a hard-bastard dynasty of athletes, Titans and Gigantes. And it’s the Greek history and landscapes, even more than empirical brick-and-mortar that jointly built the modern Greece we know today.

Here is a country routed in our consciousness, whether we’ve visited it or not. The names of ancient Gods and Goddesses are taught to us at an early age, and the epistemology of their philosophers still widely referenced in society today.

Those of you with a loathsome memory of school Maths will recall Pythagoras’s Theorem, the Trigonometry thorn that created hatred in all exam-sitters for Greek mathematicians. Then, there are the philosophers and the poets – the scholars. Greek mythology and Greek tragedies. When we think of the Olympics, we think of Greece. Even their yoghurts are famous.

With only a passing knowledge of the ancient capital, I set out to discover how notorious and historical Athens was merging with the modern, in what is one of the world’s oldest cities.

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