Explore Athens, Greece: A Virtual and Accessible Tour
This week we are heading to Greece to explore one of its most ancient city-states, Athens. Founded around 500 BC, Athens has made its mark as an incredibly important and interesting Greek cultural center. We are trying to make sure the content we suggest is accessible in different ways. Although it can be difficult to find websites that are fully accessible, we review many to offer you the ones that are the most accessible. As always, if you find barriers or have suggestions please reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know so that we can improve!
Visit the Museums and Sites
Harkening back to the ancient civilization, Athens is a reminder of the longevity of Grecian culture and the wonders of antiquity. Athens has a vast amount of sights to see, including ruins, museums, and markets.
Starting off with the most heavily visited attraction, the Acropolis is a fascinating part of Athens. On top of the hill is the Parthenon, a temple dedicated to ancient Greek gods, as well as other notable buildings. The Acropolis and the Acropolis museum virtual video tour can be accessed by this link, which gives a holistic view of each piece of the Acropolis in a detailed video. The video contains closed captions. A blog by Kuntala’s Travel Blog also goes over the most captivating exhibits and gives crucial historical context to the architecture, linked here.
Another admired tourist stop is the National Archaeological Museum of Athens, containing key art pieces from all over Greek history. The site to the virtual tour is linked here, and takes the virtual tourist through the most entrancing sculptures and metalworks of the entire collection. The tour website gives little blurbs about the various art pieces and supporting photographs. A blog by Wanderlusertful also touches on the highlights of the museum, linked here.
Like the National Archaeological Museum of Athens, the Benaki Museum hosts a prize collection of Greek art from prehistoric times to modern day. Showing off pieces from Mycenae to Corinth and more, the art spans all over Greece and gives an overview of Greek life through the years. The virtual tour of the Benaki Museum can be accessed by the link here, and the exploration can be continued through an informative Art of Holidays blog about the Benaki Museum, linked here. As stated above, the virtual tour site gives facts about the various art pieces and shows supporting photographs.
The Panathenaic Stadium is a unique look back at the past, as the stadium held the first Olympic games where athletes would compete in sporting events. A guided tour in the form of a blog by You Go Culture is linked here. The guided tour provides the comprehensive history behind the stadium and what is featured on the premises.
For incredible views of Athens and a glance at the religious history of Greece, look no further than Mount Lycabettus. Boasting a scenic lookout, a Greek Orthodox Church, a cafe, and more, this video, linked here, goes over the different parts of the mountain that tourists can explore. The video includes closed captions.
In the heart of Athens, the Monastiraki Markets present themselves as a great place to shop and socialize. From performances to delicious meals to relics of old, the markets are a reminder of community and the excitement of the city. The Travel Insiders have created a blog detailing the highlights of the market, linked here.
Finally, we come to the Museum of the Ancient Agora, housed in the Stoa of Attalos. Its collection contains various metalworks, sculptures, pottery, and visible connections to Athenian democracy. The virtual museum tour site can be accessed by the link here, and the site gives facts about the various art pieces and shows supporting pictures. An article written for the site Classical Wisdom, linked here, goes over more of the history behind the structure and what it meant for ancient Greek citizens living there at the time.
Tune in to Shows and Movies About Athens and Ancient Greece
For an enlightening documentary about the history of Athens and its role in Ancient Greece, turn to the documentary Lost Worlds: Athens, an episode in the History channel series Ancient Supercity, linked here.
The Opposite Lifestyles Of Sparta and Athens, linked here, is a similar documentary, providing a link between Athens and another ancient Greek city-state, Sparta. Comparing the very different sociocultural and political dynamics of the two city-states is vital to understanding ancient Greek history and the inner workings of the civilization. Both documentaries can be accessed for free on YouTube, and both include closed captions.
Directed by Panos H. Koutras, Xenia follows two brothers as they attempt to find their Greek father after their Albanian mother has passed. The film can be accessed on Amazon with a Premium subscription, linked here, or by renting it on YouTube via the link here. The film has subtitles on both platforms.
The vastly popular film 300 chronicles the Battle of Thermopylae, in which ancient Greek Spartans face off against Persian forces. 300 can be accessed on Amazon Prime through this link, and includes closed captions and audio description.
In the Greek drama Son of Sofia, a young Russian boy travels to Athens to find that his mother is married to her Greek employer. Son of Sofia can be watched on Amazon Prime via the link here, and the film includes closed captions.
Providing a dose of fantasy to the world of ancient Greece, the series Blood of Zeus juxtaposes its anime-style storytelling with ancient Greek gods, goddesses, and monsters. The show can be found on Netflix, linked here, and includes closed captions and audio description.
Barnard Columbia Ancient Drama presents its audience with a depiction of ancient Greek theater, specifically diving into the play Herakles by Euripides, linked here. The performance can be found for free on YouTube, and includes closed captions.
Get Lost in Books About Athens
Chronicling the larger history around the city-state, The Rise of Athens: The Story of the World's Greatest Civilization by Anthony Eviritt gives a great picture of the beginnings of Athens, its golden age, and its subsequent decline. The book, linked here, is available on Kindle and Audible.
For a more feminist take on classic Greek mythology, A Thousand Ships: A Novel by best-selling author Natalie Haynes gives the perspectives of women specifically who were impacted by the Trojan War, linked here. The novel is available on Kindle and Audible.
Ovid, one of the classic poets of Ancient Greece, brings together a multitude of Greek myth and legend in Metamorphoses. Ovid’s collection of poems is linked here, and is available on Kindle and in audiobook format.
The Odyssey is one of Homer’s most popular and fascinating poems, following the journey of Odysseus as he travels back to his home in Ithaca and encounters grave obstacles along the way. To access this book, click on the link here. The Odyssey is available on Kindle and Audible.
The Gates of Athens by Conn Iggulden reviews the motivations, strife, and consequences associated with two of the most famous battles in ancient Greek history: the Battle of Marathon and the Battle of Thermopylae. The book, linked here, is available on Kindle and Audible.
Unique to Athens is the creation of defined democratic principles, and the major involvement of Athenian citizens in democracy through politics. Athenian Democracy: The History of the World’s First Democracy in Ancient Athens by Charles River Editors explores just that, linked here, and is available on Kindle and Audible.
Ancient Greek culture is riddled with mythology, featuring characters like fantastical creatures, monsters, heroes, gods, and goddesses. Mythos by Stephen Fry takes on some of these myths and explores how they shaped ancient Greece’s understanding of the world. The book is linked here, and is available on Kindle and Audible.
Bring Athens to Your Kitchen
Greek cuisine is extremely popular around the world, and many dishes are actually vegan and allergen free.
Fasolatha is a staple of many Greek households, a hearty yet light white bean soup. For a satisfying meal that is vegan and gluten free, The Spruce Eats has created a great recipe, linked here.
Olives are also well loved in Greece, serving as appetizers or as sides to larger dishes. BBC’s Good Food has provided a quick and easy recipe for rosemary olives, linked here, that are sure to hit the spot. The recipe is gluten free and vegan.
As for desserts, the Greek honey sesame bar, known as pasteli, has its roots all the way back in ancient Greece, and remains a favorite sweet snack for many. A recipe for vegan pasteli by The Greek Vegan gives both a recipe with honey and without, linked here, and is gluten free.
Another amazing dessert that is common to find in Greece is baklava, which contains layers of phyllo dough, crushed nuts, and a heavenly, sticky syrup. We found a recipe for incredible vegan baklava by The Big Man’s World, linked here. For a gluten free version, substitute regular phyllo dough for gluten free phyllo. Please be aware that this recipe contains walnuts, but they can be replaced by other nuts or sunflower seeds if needed.
Where to Next?
Thanks for wandering Athens, Greece with us virtually. Join us next time as we explore Istanbul.