The sacred Rock of Acropolis, crowned with the eternal jewel – the Parthenon – radiates an energy so formidable that dwarfs any other historical remnant in the old neighbourhoods of Athens. The compelling impact of the Classical era often leaves little room for the subtle whispers of stories that unfolded in the following centuries. And, yet, the trails of the Hellenistic, the Roman, the Byzantine, and the Ottoman times intertwine elegantly among the narrow alleys, inviting every passerby to a more profound exploration of the city’s adventurous past.
Even though Athens was under Ottoman occupation for almost four centuries (1458 – 1833), the remains of that period can easily be overseen, even by the locals. No minarets are rising to the sky, while many buildings, having been constructed on ancient sites, were destroyed by an archaeological frenzy in the 19th and early 20th century, when the recent history was not considered significant enough to be preserved. Still, a careful observer can distinguish some fragments of that era and, with tenderness and imagination, the pieces can be put together, recreating the aromas and ambience of a time that has left much deeper marks in the Hellenic psyche than what we care to acknowledge. [Read more…]