Posted by: Joseph J. Skarzenski | July 8, 2009

Just another day in Athens, Greece

Session 1 students in front of the Parthenon

Session 1 students in front of the Parthenon

Class, lunch, the Acropolis Museum, and the Acropolis. Given the agenda for today’s program, JTG students were kept very busy until around 8:00 PM.

Listening to Dr. Dimitriou in class

Listening to Dr. Dimitriou in class

The day began with class at the Uindy campus, where Dr. Dimitriou discussed some of Greece’s modern history. The lecture began with a background of immigration in Greece. Students learned about the major groups immigrating to Greece, including illegals from West Africa, Albania, and central Asia. The topic continued with EU policy regarding immigration, such as repatrioting obligations. In addition to introducing the concept of immigration, Dr. Dimitriou also spoke about how Greece’s culture has changed because of the influx of residents from other countries.

Class discussion continued with an introduction to some of Greece’s history, starting with political establishment after the Greek War of Independence. Students engaged in conversation as we tied the political decisions of King Otto of Greece to major aspects of Greek culture. For instance, Otto’s efforts to unify

Dr. Stanley Sfekis speaking about the Acropolis and Hellenism

Dr. Stanley Sfekis speaking about the Acropolis and Hellenism

the country with Evzone uniforms and “Amalia costumes” led to the country having a national dance, the Kalamatiano. The topic of Greece reforming its identity continued with the presentation of Constantine’s rule. From there, Dr. Dimitriou introduced the rise of Eleftherios Venizelos during World War I and Greece’s status during the post World War I era. At that point, class was dismissed and students left for their apartments.

Following lunch we returned to the Uindy campus at 2:30 PM to meet Dr. Stanley Sfekis, one of the professors at the school. He shared a video (that he actually helped produce) that presented the mathematical equations used in Greek architecture and positioning of temples and sacred sites using the golden mean. Following the film Dr. Sfekis gave us a brief overview of the Acropolis, its contents, and the reasons behind its construction. The information he shared was perfect for students, since he connected it with the nature of Greek identity and Hellenism.

In front of the Acropolis museum

In front of the Acropolis museum

From school we walked directly to the new Acropolis museum. We began our visit by looking at the excavation site located directly under the museum. There is actually a large area in the entrance of the museum where you are less than 20 feet away from ancient ruins! Continuing our visit, students separated as they looked at three floors of ancient Greek marbles. The top floor of the museum was definitely a favourite for many, since it featured the marbles that were actually on the Parthenon. Upon seeing the different coloured freezes, students learned more about the current issue regarding the “Elgin” marbles and Greece’s efforts to reunite them in Athens.

Walking up the propylaea

Walking up the propylaea

We departed from the museum to begin our immediate ascension to the Acropolis. Before we knew it, we were at the steps of the Propylaea enjoying a magnificent view of the surrounding city. After posing for a group photo in front of the Parthenon, students were free to explore the Acropolis. From taking memorable photos with new friends, to seeing some of the history of the area first hand, the visit was nothing less than spectacular.

For only our fourth day in Athens, we have already seen so much of the city. With an upcoming Dora Stratou performance tomorrow, and weekend excursion to Delphi, Olympia, Mycenae, and Epidavros, the program is only getting better!

Below is the link to photos from today’s events:


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