Theatre of Dionysus

Theatre of Dionysus

This panorama of the Theatre of Dionysus was taken separately from the one of Herodes Atticus' Odeon (taken on the first day in Athens) instead taken on the day just before leaving Athens. In fact, it's not immediately obvious how to get to the Theatre of Dionysus when visiting the acropolis, as it has a separate entrance to the site - so on our first quick visit before getting the coach to Lavrion we had only enough time to go up and see the Parthenon etc. without working out how to get back down and round to this one. It is a shame that it's not possible to get into the orchestra itself, and that there are restoration works going on at the moment (the Parthenon is itself surrounded by scaffolding and a large crane).

The new acropolis museum however is very nicely designed and it's possible to see the Parthenon itself from the gallery built to house the frieze. The plaster copies of the frieze are footnoted with a little unexplained (BM). The video on that floor mentions that through various periods of the history of the acropolis it was subject to looting and vandalism by foreigners, with Elgin given as an example of such. There is a little cartoon of men lowering bits of the Parthenon down on cranes. They could probably deal with the politics of this a bit better, but the museum arrangement they've created for the frieze is certainly a better space for it than the one in the British Museum.

On the other hand, I do have to say that I am unimpressed that visitors to ancient sites in Greece are charged for it. As an MA student I got in for free, but I was amazed that generally visitors (or those who forget student cards) are charged 7 euros or something to walk up to the Parthenon, in the middle of the cranes etc. The same goes for the acropolis museum. In the British Museum at least it is free to visit.

In Palermo, the unemployed have invented the job of car park attendant. They stand in public squares and crossroads where people generally park. Occasionally they point out empty spaces to cars entering. When someone parks, they go up and expect a euro. Presumably the safety of the car is difficult to guarantee otherwise. I get a very similar feeling from the modern Greeks inhabiting ancient Greek sites. They seem not to be providing a service, and presumably the money is nothing like sufficient to help with the restoration of the site. The site was not created by them and is just held hostage by their having erected their little hut strategically at the entrance.

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