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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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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Coach Handbag Outlet Locations – Coach Factory Outlet Store

Making the decision to buy a new handbag is never an easy decision for a woman. Purses come in many different shapes, many different sizes, an infinite number of materials and textures as well as an array of colors. Then of course, many of us must consider the price, especially when you’re considering purchasing a designer handbag. At times, choosing the perfect purse can be an incredibly lengthy and frustrating experience.

Fortunately, women today have the opportunity to take advantage of a broad selection of shapes, sizes, textures and colors while saving tons of dollars in the process. In more recent years, Coach has introduced their Coach Factory Outlet Stores which house an incredible inventory of coach handbags, wallets and super popular accessories. Coach products have long been one of the most desired brands in the designer clothing industry and the outlet stores give shoppers the chance to look just as glamorous as Hollywood, but at a fraction of the cost.

Items arrive in the outlet stores when they are not sold in traditional Coach retail stores or are slightly damaged in manufacturing or shipping. Typically, the “flaws” are unnoticed and often would have been realized through normal wear-and-tear anyhow. Often it could be something as minor as a slight scuff on the leather in an obscure place or a scratch on the metal buckle that holds the purse strap. Because of this, visiting a Coach outlet store can deliver you a discounted coach purse at a significantly lower price.

You can visit our growing list of Coach Handbag Outlet Locations online to discover a Coach Factory Outlet Store nearest you.

Piraeus Port – Athens, Greece

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The port of  Athens , Piraeus was the greatest port of the ancient world and remains one of the busiest in the Mediterranean. In a country that derives most of its livelihood from the sea, Piraeus is the true capital, while  Athens  is a sprawling suburb full of bureaucrats. Still, it’s hard to find much charm in the tall buildings and dusty streets, although Zea Marina and Mikrolimano with their yachts, brightly-lit tavernas and bars are a handsome sight.

Themistocles founded the port of Piraeus in the 5th century BC when Phaliron,  Athens ‘ ancient port, could no longer meet the growing needs of the  city . The Miletian geometer Hippodamos laid it out in a straight grid of streets that have hardly changed. The centre of action was always the huge central agora, where the world’s first commercial fairs and trade expositions were held. All religions were tolerated, and women were allowed, for the first time, to work outside the home.

As Piraeus was crucial to  Athens ‘ power, the conquering Spartans destroyed the Long Walls linking  city  and port in 404, at the end of the Peloponnesian War. After the 100-year Macedonian occupation and a period of peace, Sulla decimated the city to prevent any anti-Roman resistance, and for 1,900 years Piraeus dwindled away into an insignificant village with a population as low as 20, even losing its name to become Porto Leone. Since the selection of  Athens  as the capital of independent Greece, Piraeus has regained its former glory as the reigning port of a seagoing nation, but much of it dates from after 1941, when German bombers blew the port sky-high.

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Are you looking for Rick Owens Outlet Store?

Rick Owens is amongst the most loved new-age designers. His collections are inspired from Gothic theme and are doing very well with the stylish generation of the 21st century. Besides, the man has had enough experience and reputation to sell his designs to half the world which is, anyhow, going all gaga over him. Rick Owens Outlet Store can be found online and that is the biggest gift of internet to the fashion-savvy people. Without online stores, it would have been very difficult for some people to lay their hands on his collections. His clothes are demanded by people from all sides of the globe. So, only a web-based store which can be accessed from any corner of the planet can do real justice to the hysteria he has created.

Another thing that goes in his favor is his surprising ability to literally erase the boundaries between a man and a woman. His clothes can be called androgynous to a large extent. They often give little importance to the gender of a person as they seamlessly gel with all kinds of bodies. The designs are of such a maverick nature that they can add a layer of femininity to a male body and a layer of masculinity to a female body. So if a coy girl wishes to appear slightly brawny, the outfits picked from any Rick Owens Outlet Store will help her achieve that persona. Likewise, if a guy wishes to tone down his masculinity and add a layer of softness to his features, the outfits by Owens will put him in good stead. So basically what Owens does is that he combines grunge with glamour. This unique style of designing has been hailed by people and critics together and has earned him the title of the master of Gothic series of dresses and the pioneer of the glunge (where grunge meets glamour).

However, it would be wrong to assume that his collections offer only the glunge kind of outfits. Over the years, the Owens brand has only got better and bigger. Now, his fame is there to be seen all over the world. Consequently, his retail outlets have gone ahead with more experimentation and with adding variety to the collections. The good thing is that Owens is the designer for the masses. He designs for both men and women and does not shy away from taking risks. It is said that you get profit only when you take risks. He has been doing that for many years and resultantly has been coming out with some really whacky and catchy themes.

At an online Rick Owens Outlet Store, you can run through his vast collection and shop at leisure from your home. Since the prices of his collections can be very nominal, especially when the sale is on, one can buy his clothes in heaps to last for an entire year. Durability, brand weight and value-for-money are some potent features of his collections.

Athens – Greece

Few cities in the world can compare to the historical significance of Athens. This city is not only the site of the first democracy in history; it has also been populated for over seven thousand years! When Ancient Greece started to rise in the fifth century B.C., it was Athens that sprang up as its capital and epicenter for the government. Athens is still the capital of Greece to this day but much has changed in the many thousands of years since it became the precursor to all of western civilization.

Despite its age, Athens still manages to be a very important and culturally relevant city in the 21st Century. It ranks among the top forty richest cities in the world and is also in the top thirty most expensive cities to live in. This owes much to the fact that Athens is and always has had a central role not only in the economic and political sphere of Greece but of the whole of Europe. Back when it was called “Classical Athens” and was considered one of many “city-states”, it was the educational capital of the world. The fathers of philosophy and modern thinking called Athens their home and the city fostered the growth of the mind, a concept relatively untouched by other countries at the time. Athens was the site of Socrates’ famous dialogues while Plato and Aristotle both used Athens as their headquarters for furthering the Socratic Method with the former’s Academy and the latter’s Lyceum still standing to this day within the city limits.

These days, Athens still boasts a remarkable beauty thanks to the combination of the ancient Greco-Roman architecture mixed with the Neo-Classical and Modern styles that stand side by side and, in some cases like Omonoia Square, are mixed together to create strikingly beautiful buildings. Though the city has withstood attacks from Persians, Romans, Germans, and many more in its thousands of years of existence, the beautiful art and architecture of Athens was nearly decimated by a very unlikely foe in the 1970s: Pollution. The vast amount of air pollution around Greece was taking its toll on the statues and sculptures until the Minister of Culture stepped in and completely revamped Athens’ energy policy. Thanks to his efforts visitors today can stroll around the Acropolis and the Parthenon without breathing in smog and the gorgeous caryatids and sculptures now seem poised to withstand yet another millennium.

Tourists still flock to Athens on a large scale each year and it isn’t hard to see why. Whether it is the history buff reveling in the leftovers of the first democracy or the partygoers who worship Athens’ beautiful beaches and nightlife, there is truly something for everybody in this remarkable city. Few ancient towns possess the immediacy of modern day Athens and it is a testament to the city’s unerring dedication to furthering the mind with intellectual pursuits rather than warmongering that this gorgeous area still stands proudly as a shining beacon to the brilliance of Ancient Greece.

Coach Factory Outlet Store

For years, Coach handbags have been recognized as THE premier designer handbag manufacturer in an industry flooded with brands, styles, patterns and price. The name itself personifies quality in craftsmanship but it is equally important to point out that Coach purses are the most affordable designer bag in the costly and competitive handbag industry; but that does not suggest that there is any compromise in quality.

In recent years, Coach has introduced the Coach Factory Outlet Store, a series of storefronts spanning the globe that offer the same Coach purses that you would normally find in a traditional store, at a fraction of the price. Given their high standards in workmanship, the quality of a Coach purse is unrivaled – even when compared to other mainstream purse designers. However, with the mass quantity of purses that Coach manufactures year in and year out, it goes without saying that some do not meet their standards of perfection.

Since these flaws – while typically minor and invisible to even a trained eye – do not meet Coach’s stringent standards of quality, they cannot be sold in a traditional retail store.

Often, the flaws are insignificant, typically a scratch in the leather or on the metal buckle that would generally be realized in daily wear-and-tear anyhow. In addition, outdated designs that are overstock and discontinued lines from the traditional stores are shipped to the outlet stores to be sold.

The Coach Factory Outlet Store makes an already affordable, quality-crafted designer handbag THAT much more affordable. Women in social classes spanning from the middle-class all the way up to the rich-and-famous strap coach purses to their shoulders – and now anyone can do it for less which makes Coach within reach for anyone looking to purchase one. Shoppers wondering how much they can save in a Coach Outlet should expect to see prices as low as 35-60% off of the manufacturer’s suggested retail price.

You can search for a Coach handbag outlet location nearest you however, there are online merchants that offer online stores that allow you to buy Coach purses online and have them shipped directly to your front door in the event that an outlet store is not close by.

Before making that online purchase, buyers should make sure to read up on how to tell if your Coach purse is a fake and review photos, their are a lot of really good imitation purses out there.

Gymboree Outlet Store: A Mixed Bag

Gymboree Outlets operate in a somewhat unusual manner to usual retail stores. Generally the items for sale in your usual retail outlet are overstock or may have some sort of cosmetic defect, however, at a Gymboree Outlet, most of the items on offer have been developed for sale specifically in an Outlet store. The products on offer may be, for example, remakes of previously popular collections with different colours and pieces, so you can ‘mix and match’ items from the Outlet and regular store to help your clothes last longer and represent better value.

User comments on the quality of gymboree outlet clothing varies; some say the level of durability is not as good as clothes from regular Gymboree stores, others say the opposite. Either way, some users report that Gymboree will replace any items that have shrunk or have worn quickly with ‘no questions asked.’

Gymboree Outlets quite often have a ‘sale’ area where you can pick up even greater discounts on outfits and accessories. You can quite easily pick up a whole outfit for the price of a regular single t-shirt in a normal Gymboree store.

You can earn ‘Gymbucks’ at Gymboree outlet, but unfortunately you are not able to redeem these within the Outlet itself. If you are a Gymboree Reward Card Member, the coupons you receive over email or via the website can also be used at the outlets, so sign up online for further discounts. At Gymboree Outlet stores, you are also able to place phone orders.

The ‘Gymboree’ brand is one of many run by the Gymboree Corporation; a retailer offering a variety of brands specialising in children’s accessories, clothing and play programs. The company has over 30 years of experience in speciality childrenswear and accessories and is one of the most longstanding businesses in this field.

Clothing is designed to be worn from newborn up to age 12 years. The brand offers a colourful ‘mix and match’ approach, with coordinating accessories available for outfits. Clothing is generally sold in whole outfits rather than individual pieces. Gymboree offers a whole range of clothing including sleepwear, underwear, swimming apparel, shoes and plus size clothing. You can also pick up adorable costumes for seasonal events such as Halloween and Christmas and gifts for babyshowers and birthdays.

Cheap Flights to Athens

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A glorious and magical  city  worshipped by gods and humans alike,  Athens  happens to be one of the most famous vacation destinations in Europe. With the sun shining over the city all year through, the climate is one of the best in that part of the world, making it an ideal place for tourism. There are several cheap flights to  Athens  plying on a regular basis, board one and embark on a vacation of a lifetime. This enchanting birthplace for civilization is laden with breathtaking views. If it’s not the magnificent landscapes that inspire you, the ancient and contemporary architecture will.

The city with distinct aspects is at once appealing and exciting. A walk around the famous historic triangle of Plaka, Thission and Psyri overwhelms you, a stroll in the old neighborhoods reveal the coexistence of different eras, and the mansions of yore, some well-preserved and some worn out by time present a striking contrast to the modern. The Greek capital dates back to mythological times and as a result the place is dotted with stamps of antiquity all through its surface. The city that you see in its entire splendor is a consequence of several influences, including ancient and medieval Greek, Roman, Byzantine and the contemporary era. Do a wise thing, come to the Greek capital equipped with a rather long stay, reason? The historical attractions are one too many. Start your journey with the South Slope of Acropolis, go on to the ancient Agora, visit the temple of Olympeion Zeus, spent a few hours admiring the Hadrian’s Arch and Library, go atop the Hill of Areopagus, the Hill of Philopappou and that of the Nymphs, and see Kerameikos. Attractions like Lysicrates’ Monument, Panathenaic Stadium, Roman Agora, Temple of Hephaestus, and the Tower of the Winds is also not to be missed.

Museums and art galleries showcasing creative arts are omnipresent throughout  Athens  with some giving a great insight into Greek archeology, history, modern art, while others dedicated to ceramics, music, railway etc. One of the unique selling points of  Athens  as a tourist destination is its close proximity to the whitewashed Greek islands. Enjoy one-day getaways, charming villages, ancient historical cities and equally fascinating and picturesque countrysides, each one with a varied color, culture and character. If you happen to be visit  Athens  with family, fret not. The city presents myriad options for all of you to enjoy together. These include parks and gardens, National Zoo, planetariums, educating and entertaining cultural centers, go-karting areas, and amusement parks. Places to stay and crash in are as varied as the attractions of the city itself. You can opt to stay at a luxurious five-star hotel, book yourself a bed and breakfast, stay in a holiday home or an apartment, or check into a cheap hotel accommodation. Culinary delights and gourmet foods can be relished and savored at any of the several world-class restaurants, or try a meal at the local eating joint, which is equally scrumptious and satisfying. For a prefect start to your holidays in Europe, come to  Athens  first.

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Athens Hotel Guide

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 Athens  is a  city  which arguably has one of the richest histories in the world. It was the home and center of the world empire of Greece, and is still the capital of the country today. If you are looking for a lively  city  rich in culture and history, there are few places better to visit than  Athens .

 Athens  is a  city  riddled with mythology. The city is very ancient, and was the center of learning and Greek culture. Many of the concepts and ideas formulated in ancient Greece are what we today call “western civilization.” Today the city is home to nearly three and a half million people.

 Athens  is named after Athena, the goddess of wisdom, and the best time to visit is during the late summer or fall. Winter is also a good time to visit, as there will be few tourists and the weather will be good with the exception of a bit of rain.

 Athens  is a  city  full of parks, gardens, and cafes. While the hustle of the  city  might remind you of New York, you will find that  Athens  has a charm of its own. There are many landmarks for tourists to see, and you don’t have to travel far to see all of them.

The first place you may want to visit is the Acropolis, the ancient part of  Athens  field with beautiful temples. You will be able to fully appreciate ancient Greek architecture after viewing the Acropolis with your own eyes.

The Agora market is another area of  Athens  you will need to visit. In antiquity this was the center of the commercial and political activity in the city. This was once the place where Socrates gave his speeches, and is also the place where St. Paul searched for potential adherents to Christianity.

When it comes to dining, Athenians love to eat out. You will find a lot of fresh produce while touring the city, and there are plenty of places to eat traditional Greek cuisine. You will want to try the country salad and eggplant mixed with mince meat.

 Athens  is no longer the cheap  city  it used to be. Frugal backpackers can expect to spend 40 euros per day by hiking and staying in hostels. Having your own room and eating at hotels will cost you about 80 euros a day, and if you really want to enjoy yourself you can expect to spend up to 120 euros daily. No matter what budget you’re on, traveling to  Athens  is the trip of a lifetime.

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