A Business Traveler’s Guide Can Be Your Best Friend

Do you do a lot of traveling? Whether you travel for pleasure or for business this article may be able to benefit you greatly. There are some things you should keep up on if you are an avid traveler. One of the things, which can help you keep up to date on a lot of information, is a business traveler’s guide. In this article we will tell you what the business travelers guide is and why you should never leave home without it.

A business travelers guide will keep you informed on airlines and what is going on with them. This way you are always aware of what is going on in your local airports and destination airports you are traveling to. It will tell you which airline is lowering or raising their prices.

It will also give you traveler’s tips. It may give you some things you should do and those that you should not. It may offer you helpful advice on what to do or not to do when traveling to certain cities. These offer great information and let you know what is going on at your next destination.

There may be a travel blog. It can be on different topics like travel safety for example. It may give you some tips on keeping safe during your travel experience. You can never receive enough tips on safety. There may be something there, which you never thought of.

With the travelers guide you will also be able to easily find topics you want to browse. It can be airlines, airports and/or car rentals. It can tell you about flights out of different airports. It may give you information about car rentals. So you can find the best place to rent a car. There are always helpful and instructive topics to choose from.

There may be different articles to read on different topics concerning traveling. These can be on a wide array of topics. For example there could be one on ‘How to save room when packing’. Or ‘Green Travel Tips’.

There can be videos for you to watch also. One video example might be, ‘How to avoid Jet Lag’. Another one they could have would be, ‘Tips for traveling with a laptop’.

There are many sites, which you can go too and read a traveler’s business guide. If you type it in several options will come up. Places like biz-Journals and WHY Go business travels can easily be found. There is also a business traveler’s guide in places like the newspaper. The New York Times has one and a lot of other papers do as well.

If you are an avid business traveler or even one who travels for pleasure, the business traveler’s guide will be an advantage for you. It will keep you informed about a lot of your traveling needs. It will also help you find some great traveling deals. It can tell you how to earn points while flying. Tell you about the best hotels in the city you are traveling too. The possibilities seem to be endless.

If you have never checked out these business guides, I would advise you to do so before you take your next trip.

Business Travel Insurance – How to Get Monetary Protection to Your Business Traveling Needs

Those who run a business often have to travel a lot. If you are one of them, make sure you obtain a suitable business travel insurance policy to provide protection to your money that you pay for traveling expenses. However, besides covering travel expenses, you may also get certain other types of coverage, such as problems with hotel accommodation in a small city and other such things. Therefore, it is important for you to research your needs thoroughly and look into each and every aspect while you are shopping for the best plan.

Amount Of Coverage
The amount of coverage must be sufficient enough to protect your money. It should neither be too high or too low. For example, if you are running a small business, a business travel insurance policy with excessive coverage may not make sense for you. Besides that, you also need keep in mind that the more coverage you opt for, the higher premiums you will have to pay.

Things To Consider While Talking To An Agent
While you are talking to an insurance agent, you must provide complete details about your business plan and financial statements. This will make it easy for the agent to suggest the most suitable plan for you. As compared to individual plans, business plans carry much larger amounts of risk. Therefore, you do an accurate assessment of your financial situation.

Comprehensive Coverage
There are several benefits of buying comprehensive coverage in a business travel insurance policy. For example, your insurance company may offer discounted individual auto and health insurance plans for your employees.

Travel Route
If you have a regular travel route, you can easily find a good bargain on your policy. The insurance company may offer you a very low rate if you have representatives or offices at the places you frequently visit.

Liability Coverage
You should pay special attention to the liability coverage also. Make sure that the plan you have chosen provides optimum protection to your business as well as individual assets while you are away on a business trip. It is always wise to protect your long-term finances by opting for high financial thresholds for life insurance, medical coverage, and rental car collision.

Travel Interruption Coverage
What if you travel gets interrupted because of some reasons? Your business travel insurance policy must protect your money in such circumstances. For that, you will need travel interruption coverage. With this coverage, you will be able to travel in alternative means of transport without needing to pay additionally for the same. Some companies however require you to pay the expenses out of your pocket first and then submit a claim – the amount will be reimbursed to your account. But, most companies have contracts with several airlines and other forms of transports – so, you wont actually have to pay anything from your pocket.

Do your managers and other employees also have to travel for your business? If so, you had better consider a business travel insurance policy that provides sufficient amount of coverage to all those travelers.

Business Travel – Discover the Biggest Secret CEOs Are Using to Earn Huge Profit Off Corp Travel

Up until the break of the new millennium, business travel has always seemed to be more of a burden of business expenses and earnings. The only upside is the huge tax deductions for small businesses. Even at present times, it doesn’t seem to matter who your company’s personal travel agent, travel vendor, or online travel website is that you use for travel, it’s still expensive.

Next to customer fulfillment and office supply expenses, travel expenses are major. However, every since the recent recession that the entire U.S. has collapse into, new and great innovations of the 21century has finally change the way corporate America travels.

Now CEOs and savvy business owners that travel frequently discovered a rich business travel success. A travel success that only the few and profound has been using since 2001.

 

That’s right. The chosen few that have found this hidden secret are calling it the “Small business and corporate travel bail out plan through travel.” Plus. It’s quite simple…

Book a flight, get paid for it, book a hotel, get paid for it, car rentals, condos, and anything affiliated with business travel, your company gets a large percentage of the travel commission earned back into the business. I’m talking “cold hard Cash.” Not some travel points or rewards cards either. Your membership puts your business in profit instantly!

Your business now generates income from every employee, executive and anyone who books travel from the company. Plus, your company travel is still a write-off, how cool is that.

With this newly innovative business travel revenue and revolutionary breakthrough, Expedia, Hotwire, and even your personal travel agent become useless. You’d actually lose money by using these old 20th century tactics in the 21st century.

These are one of those business travel news secrets they don’t want you to know about until they “milk the cow dry.” Well now you know.

So while companies are easily losing thousands from travel expenses, you can be massively earning thousands from your own travel expenses, off every trip.

It’s been around since 2001, but because of it’s none mainstream media influence, only the savvy and smart business travelers have adopted this business travel model into their income streams. And boy is it revenue generator. I’m talking profits, earnings, positive cash flow, you name it.

One of the biggest names thus far that quickly adapted this new corporate travel innovation is NFL’s Kansas City Chief football team. They’re faithful members because the business model makes common since, “if you use travel for business why not make a profit from it.”

So if your company struggles to earn profit in this troubled economy while still taking flight after flight to increase revenue, easily step up your game and increase earnings to be among the elite business owners that use this new income stream everyday. You may just meet your quarterly goals with this revenue generator alone.

How the Killing of Osama Bin Laden Will Affect Business Travel

Introduction

The death of Osama Bin Laden does not conclude the global threat of terrorism but in many instances it will trigger a new wave or business travel threats. If you want to know more on how the killing of Osama Bin Laden will affect business travel then you need to read this article. This article will identify the major delays, disruptions, risks and threats to business travel as a result of this high profile leader’s death. By the end of the article you will know the key issues affecting business travel as a result and be able to identify the primary areas for travel planning and risk management focus.

Bin Laden’s Death

The death of Osama will no more signal the collapse and conclusion of global terrorist events than if the CEO or chairman of a major multi-national were to die also. Global and local terrorism threats are made up of networks, many redundant and independent of any one single point of leadership. Standing Armies, Air Forces and Navies are also constructed along such lines. Would the death of a General bring an Army to a halt? Not likely. Therefore, while being a major news and emotional event for many it will have little to no effect on the command and control of sympathetic terrorist groups. It will embolden some to act, rally to the cause and even further elevate Bin Laden as an icon for their actions, much the same as Che Guevara has evolved as the face of freedom fighters the world over.

Terrorism

Terrorism remains a minor threat to business travel based on the volume of travel and those affected. The responsibility and duty to combat such a threat still remains within the government realm and not that of corporate entities although they do need to be aware of developments and capabilities for local governments to combat or prevent attacks to ensure their travellers do not become targets or affected. Business travellers will still be more likely to be affected by delays, disruptions and threats from more routine and frequent issues such as motor vehicle accidents, illness, airline disputes and bad weather.

The Real Threat to Business Travel

The real threat to business travellers in the wake of the death of Bin Laden will be the subsequent response by the global aviation security and government intelligence agencies. Most will view this result as a success but also be immediately focused on the potential for reprisal. Many individuals and groups are already in the advanced stages of planned attacks but others may rush to action and attack in support of Al Qaeda or Islamic extremists. Their single-minded attention on these issues will result in greater inconsistencies, delays and threats to business travellers.

Airport Security

Airports will become even more unpredictable as to what and how security measures are implemented and changes are all but guaranteed. These changes will further disrupt the efficiency and flow of check-in, boarding, screening, arrivals and departures. However, the effects and approach will not be universal nor predictable to the average traveller and delays, disruptions and missed flights will results and further impact the effectiveness and efficiency of business travel. Company risk and security managers may also be on a hair-trigger and cease, suspend or defer business travel until they get “more information” on the situation, further compounding the issue. If history is any indication, any minor or major incident in the coming weeks and months will result in knee-jerk security treatment solutions that impact more travellers than it prevents terrorists.

Affected Demographics

Profiling and heightened security measures will be applied to specific ethnic groups, nationalities and those traveling through identified travel corridors. Once again this will be inaccurate, inconsistent and opaque to the majority of travellers who will suffer the wider effects and possibly even personal effects of such changes. Those traveling from the Middle East, of Pakistani ethnicity, Muslims, single males, those with beards, women in burkas, travellers with no check-in luggage, those paying by cash or even those that “act funny” at the airport will all draw the attention of someone who is looking at reasons why someone poses a threat or could jeopardize air safety and security, therefore requires interception.

Conclusion

The world is no safer or riskier than it was the day before Osama Bin Laden was killed. The subsequent actions and reactions following his death however will impact the landscape in which business travellers journey through. Hopefully it will be short-term but should we see the slightest hint of threat or reports from the government agencies then we are all likely to be subjected to greater delay, disruption and risk due to this relatively low level threat. Osama’s death will not signify the end of terrorism, business travellers need to remember there is continued and greater threat from the more routine, airport security will have it’s ups and down in the coming weeks/months and the color of your skin, accent, religion and point of origin will all play a role on how you are viewed by the various security agencies.

While this event should not have had any major impact upon business travel, in reality it will. Now you know what the real threats are, you should prepare yourself and your travellers for the road ahead to ensure they continue to remain productive, efficient and safe during the course of their various business travel demands.

Travel Agencies – For a Comfortable Business Travel

There are a lot of things that one has to take care of while going on for a business trip to a foreign destination, more so when it is one’s first business travel. To make it convenient and comfortable, it is better that one hires the services of a travel agency. They will take care of all your requirements. There are a large number of travelling agencies in Australia who can fulfil all your travelling needs.

Some of the benefits of hiring travel agencies for the business trips are discussed below.

Since business trips are very different from the leisurely trips these need more meticulous planning and execution. These are more serious in nature and any loophole in the planning may lead to huge losses. Taking care of both the business deal and the business travelling details is not easy for a person. Therefore it is better to hire a travelling agency which understands these things and therefore give utmost attention to each detail.

These travelling agencies will look into all the details of your business trip and plan accordingly, right from the start of your journey to the last moment of your stay as well as getting back to your home destination.

For people who travel frequently for business purposes must go for travelling agencies specializing in the business tours. These agencies have a lot of experience in this field. They can provide you the best of services at very low rates.

From business air travel booking, hotel booking to meeting arrangements, everything is done by the travelling agency.

These agencies have a lot of experience in handling these business trips and therefore know each and every requirement of a business trip. This is the reason why you can rely on their services.

These agencies understand that businessmen travel frequently on business trips. Therefore to attract more travellers they give discounts on frequent basis. They have a lot of alluring business tour packages to suit the needs of all types of business travellers. These packages help you save a lot of your money but this does not mean that they compromise on services. These discounted packages provide you affordable business tickets, comfortable stay, fine dining options and the best arrangements for meetings and conferences.

You can also take your family along with you on the business trips. These travelling agencies can include all the facilities for the family members also. So your business trip can easily be turned into a family vacation.

They can in fact provide you with packages which have the business trip combined with sight seeing. After your work for the day is over you can indulge in a lot of pleasure activities also. The sight seeing will include visits to all the popular attractions of that place. There are many travelling agencies which provide these two in one services. There is always a lot of ample time between business meetings and work. This time can easily be utilized for sight seeing and pleasure activities.

Hiring the services of these travelling agencies will help you save a lot of your time, money and energy and you will have a comfortable trip without a doubt.

Athens – What To See And How To See It

There are so many aspects of current civilization that were birthed in ancient Athens. Among these are theatre, philosophy, democracy, classical art and even the Olympic games. Athens is located on the southern coast of Greece and has existed for over 7,000 years providing a rich culture expressed in a diverse setting. The term diverse fits as you will find ancient relics and sites in some of the same areas where there are trendy boutiques and sidewalk cafes all mixed in together. This mixture of the very old and the new create a very unique experience provided nowhere in the world like it is provided in the ancient city of Athens. You will need to be sure your passport is up to day so if you need to add passport pages, be sure to go online and access a passport site to help you with this so you can be on you way.

World travel requires a passport but computers have simplified all passport needs. Even if you have to get an emergency passport, an online passport is available to help you. No one plans to have their travel documents lost or stolen but if this happens, help is as close as the nearest computer.

Athens is a city that contains many sites that make history come alive so this is certainly the ideal place for lovers of history to visit. High on top of the Acropolis you will find the Parthenon. This famous sight has earned the honor of being named as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Investigating these ruins takes you back to sights names in Greek Mythology related to gods and goddesses, the titans and many other mythological characters. Admission to this site also opens the Theatre of Dionysus, the Roman Agora and the Temple of Olympian Zeus to the traveler.

Being the birthplace of the performing arts, it is no wonder that the arts and culture are very important to the Athenians. While the National Gallery is certainly large and well known, many smaller art galleries populate the city. Athens is also host to approximately 148 theatres so if you are in the mood for a show, the difficult part will be which performance to see. Among the theatres is the famous Herodes Atticus Theatre.

Using a bike or even walking around this city is a wonderful way to see the sights. Green space is always welcome when you travel to big cities and the National Garden of Athens provides an exceptional treat. Within it can be found a small zoo, ponds with ducks, colorful flowers and beautiful landscape with no shortage of a shady tree to relax under and consider the sights of the day.

For those who would like to shop till your drop, your experience will be a little different in Athens. Rather than large malls and strip centers, you will find street vendors selling custom crafts rather than name brand items. Some of the most visited markets are found on Plaka, Kolonaki and Ermou Street. You will find endless selections of shoes, purses and jewelry if you visit here and the quality will certainly not disappoint you.

Authentic cuisine is always interesting in a foreign city and Athens is no exception to this rule. Known for their souvlaki, which is comprised of grilled meat, veggies and a special yogurt sauce, this Athenian staple is considered a treat by all who try it.

Athens – Church of Agioi Theodoroi

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Crossing Odos Dragatsaniou, in the end stands the attractive medieval church of Agioi Theodoroi (St. Theodore), built on the site of a church founded in the ninth century, but in its present form dating from between 1050 and 1075. This small cruciform church with its high narrow dome, multiple roofs that lend it an air of rhythmic grace, narrow mullioned windows and decorated central door surmounted by arches, is a precious gem of eleventh century Byzantine architecture.

The earliest form of Byzantine churches was that of the basilica, a long rectangle divided by two or four ranges of columns into three or five naves. Later, during the 11th and 12th centuries, the plan changed to that of a Greek cross within a square, dominated by a dome constructed in brick and often combined with one or more subsidiary domes. The exterior walls consist of square-cut stone with thin brick surrounds and are enriched by bands of decoration, carving and the use of color. Few of these churches were large. Apart from St. Theodore, typical examples are the churches of Kapnikarea and St. Eleutherios.

The glory of the Byzantine church lies not so much in the architecture as to the ethereal beauty of its mosaics or frescoes. From the center of the principal dome Christ looks down upon the faithful and below Him are the Apostles. The Virgin appears in the half dome, while around the sanctuary are symbolic figures and emblems connected with the Eucharist. On the West wall opposite the chancel is the Last Judgement. Colored marble and similar material in the lower walls add to the resplendent beauty of the interior.

The liturgy of the Greek Orthodox Church requires separation of the altar from the laity. The altar is placed in a chancel screened from the congregation by the iconostasis, i.e. the screen dividing the sanctuary from the church proper. This is adorned with pictures of Christ, the Virgin, and Saints, and generally has three doors, the curtains of which are lowered while Mass is being celebrated. The chancel is flanked by the Prothesis, where the bread and wine for the Eucharist are prepared, and by the Diakonikon, or vestry.

In St. Theodore one can also notice the influence of the East on Byzantine art, which was prominent in the period from the mid-9th to mid-11th centuries, when Byzantine artists used a variety of Oriental motifs in their designs. It is probable that the design of pseudo-kufic characters (the script perfected during the 7th century by calligraphers in the city of Kafa, in present-day Iraq) that decorate the terracotta panel below the windows of the facade was inspired by the work of Arab craftsmen.

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The Acropolis – Athens, Goddess Athena

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Archaeologists tell us that the original city of Athens was situated on the Acropolis. Even in classical times, the Athenians still referred to this area as “the City.” The city of Athens and its patron goddess emerge into the light of history as inseparably coupled. In Mycenaean times each city was built around a central palace, and each palace was under the protection of its patron goddess. Athena was the goddess of the palace on the Acropolis. The names of the city and its goddess are essentially the same: Athena was Athens, and Athens was Athena. She was “The Athenian.” The ancient Athenians seem to have exhibited, during much of their history, precisely those virtues which they traditionally attributed to her. This may be because, when the Athenians imagined their goddess, they did so in their own image.

According to the myth, Zeus fell in love with a beautiful titaness, Metis (“Cunning Intelligence”). Although she repeatedly changed her shape to avoid his unwelcome attentions, as was his way, he persisted. In the end he caught up with her and raped her.

An oracle then announced that Metis would bear Zeus two children: first a daughter then, a son, and the son would be mightier than his father. Just as Zeus had once overthrown and dispossessed his own father, Chronos, so he was destined in his turn, to be overthrown by his own son. In a desperate attempt to avoid sharing his father’s fate, Zeus gave Metis a potion of drugged ambrosia, and then swallowed her whole.

Some time afterwards a terrible headache came upon him. In great pain, he sought the advice of Hermes, whose only suggestion was that Hephaestos, the smith of the gods, should open his head in order to allow the cause of his pain to escape. Zeus was so desperate that even this drastic remedy was preferable to doing nothing, and Hephaestos was duly summoned to cleave open Zeus’ head with his mighty axe. When he did so, to the astonishment of all the immortals, Athena sprang out with a great war-cry, fully-formed, wearing armour and bearing arms.

Zeus’ daughter not only became the patron of many arts at that time normally considered masculine preserves, such as ceramics, she was also credited with a distinctly unfeminine warlike nature. When the Olympian gods were faced with a titanic struggle against the giants, Athena played a major role in the war, defeating the giant Enkelados in single combat. She came to be depicted not merely as a virgin goddess, but, as an ancient Roman writer put it, as a virago: as a female capable of playing a leading role in a world dominated by men.

It came to be said that the reason for the birth of this goddess lay in a wager between Zeus and his consort, Hera, as to which of them could generate the better progeny entirely alone and unaided. By herself, Hera managed to produce only the crippled god, Hephaestos and a monster; while Zeus was able to bring forth, in Athena, one of the greatest of the Immortals.

This seems to have been a picturesque reference to a widespread belief, which was to appear later in the works of the philosopher Aristotle: that the father alone is responsible for generating his children, and for providing them with their inherited characteristics, and that their mother affords them nothing more than a temporary shelter and sustenance in her womb during her pregnancy.

This is a striking example of the strong climate of male chauvinism which dominated the early classical period in ancient Greece, which is very evident in myth and legend.

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Ancient History – Athens

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Archaeologists have found evidence that Athens has been inhabited from at least the fifth millennium BC. The site would have been attractive to early settlers for a number of reasons: its location in the midst of productive agricultural terrain; its closeness to the coast and the natural safe harbour of Piraeus; the existence of defensible high ground, the Acropolis (from akron and polis, or ‘city on the high ground’); and the proximity of a natural source of water on the north-west side of the Acropolis.

Traces of Mycenaean fortifications from the thirteenth century AC can still be seen on the Acropolis, including some foundations belonging to what must have been a palatial structure. The fortifications, known as the ‘Pelasgian’ walls (after the indigenous people believed to have built them before the arrival of the Greeks around 2000 BC), remained in use until the Persian Wars of 490-480 BC. One stretch behind the temple of Athena Nike appears to have been deliberately preserved in the Classical period.

There was a decline of Mycenaean society across the Greek world around the end of the twelfth century BC. Whether this was directly connected with the Trojan War (around 1184 BC), or the so-called Dorian Invasion thought to have taken place soon after this conflict, Athens does not appear to have succumbed to an attack. The Mycenaean royal family of Pylos is said to have taken refuge in Athens after their city’s fall to the Dorians. One of its members, Codros, became king of his adoptive city.

The collapse of Mycenaean civilization left Greece in political, economic and social decline, accompanied by loss of artistic skills, literacy and trade networks. The Mycenaean form of writing, known as Linear B, was completely forgotten, and the Greek alphabet did not emerge until the late eighth century BC as the new form of writing. At this time city states began to emerge throughout the Greek world, governed by oligarchies, or aristocratic councils. Thirteen kings ruled in Athens after Codros, until in 753 BC they were replaced by officials with a ten-year term, known as decennial archons, and in 683 BC by annually appointed eponymous archons.

Conflict between the oligarchs and the lower classes, many of whom had been reduced to slavery, led to a series of reforms that paved the way for the emergence of the world’s first true democracy. Around 620 BC the lawmaker Dracon set up wooden tablets on the Acropolis known as axones. These were inscribed with civil laws and punishments so harsh that the death penalty was prescribed even for minor crimes, giving rise to the term `draconian’ which is still used today. Dracon’s intervention did little to ensure order, prompting representatives of the nobles and lower classes in 594 BC to appoint the statesman and poet Solon as archon.

Solon terminated aristocratic rule, setting up a representational government where participation was determined not by lineage or bloodline, but wealth. He eliminated slavery based on debt, and restituted freedom and land to those who had been enslaved. Solon created a `Council of Four Hundred’ from equal numbers of representatives of the Ionian tribes to which the Athenians claimed to belong, and instituted four classes of citizenry.

Peisistratos, Solon’s younger cousin, became tyrant (tyrannos) of Athens in 545 BC. He ensured the Solonian constitution was respected and governed benevolently. After Peisistratos’ death, however, things took a negative turn and anti-Peisistratid sentiment grew. By 510 BC King Cleomenes of Sparta was asked to assist in deposing Peisistratos’ son Hippias. Hippias sought refuge in Persia at the court of King Darius.

Soon after, the aristocrat Cleisthenes promised to institute further reforms giving a more direct role to citizens in government. His reforms were passed in 508 BC, and democracy was established in Athens. A new `Council of Five Hundred’ (the Boule) replaced the ‘Council of Four Hundred’, with equal representation from the various tribes. Cleisthenes is also credited with instituting the system of ostracism, which ‘voted’ an individual considered dangerous to democracy into exile for ten years.

It is uncertain when the former Mycenaean citadel was transformed into a sacred precinct but by the late eighth century BC a modest temple (or perhaps more than one) stood on the plateau. The oldest and holiest cult image on the Acropolis was the statue of Athena Polias (Protectress of the City), a crude olive-wood figure, so old that Athenians of the Classical period believed it had either fallen from heaven or been made by Cecrops or Erichthonios. This sacred image of Athena was ritually ‘dressed’ every year in a peplos, a sacred robe, as part of the Panathenaic festival.

A temple is thought to have been built around 700 BC to the south of the later, Classical Erechtheion, to house the statue of Athena Polias. The first major building of which there are significant remains on the Acropolis was the so-called ‘Bluebeard Temple’, built in the Archaic period around 560 BC. The ‘Bluebeard Temple’ is thought by some to have stood to the south of the later Erechtheion. Ancient texts mention a mysterious building or precinct contemporary to the ‘Bluebeard Temple’, called the Hecatompedon, or ‘Hundred-footer’. Whatever this structure or place was, it gave its name to the principal room of the Classical Parthenon, perhaps because the later building occupies the same site.

With the expulsion of Hippias a new temple was built on the Acropolis, its foundations still visible to the south of the later Erechtheion. This building, the Archaios Naos, or ‘ancient temple’, is likely to have been deliberately commissioned around 506 BC as a replacement for the ‘Bluebeard Temple’.

The first Persian invasion of 490 BC saw the victory of the Athenians at the battle of Marathon against the forces of King Darius of Persia. The following year the elated Athenians leveled an area on the south side of the Acropolis and began construction of the Old Parthenon. A new gateway to the Acropolis was also commenced, known as the Old Propylaia.

This post-Marathonian building program on the Acropolis came to a violent end in 480 BC when Xerxes, son of King Darius, led a second Persian invasion of Greece. Athens had to be evacuated and Xerxes razed the city and buildings on the Acropolis. Under the command of Themistocles, the Athenians destroyed the Persian fleet in the battle of Salamis. Victory over the Persians was ensured after the battle of Plataea (479 BC), to the northwest of Athens, when a combined Greek army annihilated the Persians.

In the aftermath of the battle of Plataea, a vow was made by the victors never to rebuild the shrines that were destroyed in the war, preserving them instead as memorials for later generations.

Pericles, who was a general and statesman, came to power in Athens around 461 BC. He considered the oath of Plataea to have been fulfilled, as thirty years had elapsed from the Persian invasion, and proceeded to reconstruct the temples on the Acropolis. He gathered together the best architects and artists in the city and plans were drawn up to erect new buildings that would outshine those torn down by the Persians. The Periclean building programme enhanced the lower city with new monuments, such as the Temple of Hephaestus, also known as the Theseion, and the Painted Stoa or Poikile situated near the Agora (marketplace).

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Athens – The Destination

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Athens was named after Athena, the Greek goddess of wisdom, which is certainly fitting for the birthplace itself. Evidence of its ancient heyday is everywhere, in the remnants of monuments, statuary and sacred sites that are still revered as survivors of one of history’s most important eras.

A Poseidon adventure in art

In Greek mythology, Poseidon is the god of sea, so it is only fitting that the astoundingly wrought bronze statue of him was raised from the bottom of the Aegean Sea, where it lay for centuries after a shipwreck off the Cape of Artemision. The two-meter tall figure stands with arms extended and leaning forward on its left leg. The right hand once held a trident, and the unknown sculptor clearly was a master in accurately duplicating the complicated balancing act that goes into the seemingly simple motion of throwing a spear.

This work of art is one of the many stunning bronzes at the National Archeological Museum in Athens. The museum’s collection – which includes pieces that date all the way back to the prehistoric period – offers the best collection of Greek art in the world. Renovations closed the museum for a year and half, but it was reopened just in time for the 2004 Olympic Games.

At 260 feet above the city, the Acropolis (“high city”) is not only the highest point in Athens, but for many people it is the high point of any visit to Greece. It is the oldest known settlement in Greece and was a sacred site for ancient Athenians.

During the period of 448 to 420 B.C., the distinguished Athenian statesman Pericles commissioned the construction of four new monuments on the Acropolis at the site of former ruins. The Athenian sculptor Phidias presided over the construction and interior design. The Ionic Erechtheum includes the Porch of Caryatids, with its column in the shape of monumental female figures that identify remains a mystery. The Ionic Temples of Athena Nike, dedicated to the cult of Athena as the goddess of victory, was built during the Peloponnesian War, its frieze depicts the Greek victory over the Persians in the battle of Plataea. The Propylaea, the gateway to the Acropolis with rows of both Doric and Ionic columns, replaced an earlier version destroyed by the Persians. And of course, the Acropolis remains home to what’s left of the Parthenon.

The Parthenon, designed by architects Iktinos and Kallikrates, took 15 years to complete. It was the closest to Pericles’ heart: Among various friezes depicting life among gods, the large statue of Athena represented his homage to the goddess and to the greatness of Athens.

Even in A.D. 131, savvy developers like the Roman Emperor Hadrian recognized the importance of signage. “This is the city of Hadrian and not of Theseus,” reads the inscription on Hadrian’s arch, situated at the foot of the Acropolis and once the marker between Hadrianopolis and the Athens city limits. The side facing the Acropolis and ancient Athens reads, ” This is Athens, the city of Theseus.”

Like all the surrounding monuments and the Athens infrastructure itself, Hadrian’s Arch has undergone a major facelift. The 60-foot high archway, constructed of Pentelic marble, upheld by columns with Corthinian capitals and topped by a series of Corinthians columns, lost a bit of structural stability in the mid-18th century, when 8 of its columns were removed.

Restorers shored up the arch, cleaned away centuries of pollution and repaired its cracks, just in time for the 2004 Olympic Games.

The Evzones

The Evzones were once the elite soldiers of the Greek army. Today they are the presidential guards, a ceremonial unit that maintains watch over The Parliament, The Presidential Mansion and The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. The soldiers wear a traditional and highly photogenic uniform comprising a scarlet cap with a long black tassel, a cotton tunic, black knee tassels above white stockings, red clogs with black pompons and a woolen kilt called a fustanella. The fustanella has 400 pleats, one for each year that the Greeks were on the occupation of the Ottoman Empire. Bearing leather cartridge belts and rifles with a bayonet, the soldiers maintain strict physical discipline as they stand at attention and resist tourists’ attempts to distract them.

A changing of guard is performed daily before the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, but on Sundays, the complete ceremony – involving an army band and dozens of soldiers – is conducted.

Alice in Wonderland

Imagine Alice in Wonderland’s tumble into a magical world, and you will have an idea what this-off-beaten-path attraction in the Village of Paiania is like. Far larger than a rabbit hole, Koutouki Cave is a natural wonder that will awe you with its colors and formations. In 1926, a goat disappeared from its herd where it was grazing on the slope of Mount Ymittos. A search turned up a small crevice, and a brave soul descended by rope into the abyss below. The goat had not survived the fall, but its intended rescuer returned with a story of a beautiful underground chamber.

The vertical cave consists of a 38.5 meter shaft that opens onto a large cavern with a diameter of about 60 meters. Guided tours take visitors in through a man-made entrance and lead them on a path through stalactites and stalagmites formed by mineral deposits from water seeping through the limestone of the mountain. The tour ends with a light show accompanied by classical music. It’s just a short taxi ride from Athens to nearby Paiania.

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