ATHENS – August brings to mind crowded beaches and watermelon milkshakes or cocktails on some Greek island, but surely, this month does not even make anyone think about the city of Athens. Or maybe not? For those staying in Athens during summer’s last month, the city fortunately has two good aspects.
On one hand, big stores and clubs are closed or at least, do not work as many hours as they used to, and the Greek capital seems almost dead. On the other hand, residents of Athens enjoy a peaceful, easy-to-park city and have an extra plus this summer- August has two full moons.
Here are some good tips that might help Athenians or visitors enjoy their stay even more.
1) Pay a visit to the National Archaeological Museum of Athens to enjoy the exhibition entitled The Mechanism and the Shipwreck of Antikythera. It is a unique opportunity to see every ancient item found in the shipwreck. The Antikythera Mechanism is the earliest preserved portable astronomical calculator. It displayed the positions of the Sun, the Moon and most probably the five planets known in antiquity: Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn. It was used to predict solar and lunar eclipses, keep an accurate calendar of many years, and display the date of Pan-Hellenic games that took place at Nemea, at Isthmia, at Delphi, at Dodona and at Olympia. The National Archaeological Museum of Athens is open on Mondays from 13:30 to 20:00 while from Tuesday through Sunday from 9 a.m to 4 p.m.
2) Don’t forget to visit the Athens University History Museum in Plaka, the historical center of Athens. This building housed the first university of the modern independent Greek state. Visitors can admire the interesting collections of the Museum including books, pamphlets, manuscripts, medallions and photographs of the University professors. The Museum is open from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. every day while it remains closed at the weekends. On Sunday 12 August, officials announced the Museum will be open from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
3) Many Athenians live in the capital but have never decided to visit the modern Acropolis Museum. This August may be ideal since the museum organized the Archaic Colors event inaugurated on July 31. The museum wants to conduct research on its unique collection of archaic statues, which retain their colors to a small or large degree, and to open a discussion with the public and various experts on color, technical issues, detection using new technologies experimental use on marble surfaces, digital reconstruction, meaning, as well as the archaic period’s aesthetic perception of color.
For ancient Greeks and their society, color constituted a way to characterize various attributes. The blonde hair of the gods projected their power; the brown skin of warriors and athletes their virtue and valor, while the white skin of the korai, the grace and radiance of youth. Brief presentations are conducted by the museum’s archaeologists, with rich visual material, both in Greek and English. The Museum is open to the public from Tuesday to Sunday from 8 a.m. through 8 p.m. and Friday until 10 p.m.
4) Summer cinemas are a must-do this August. Under the Athenian sky or the full moon, couples or families can choose among a great variety of films to watch. The smell of jasmine flowers will accompany you during the film!
5) 1st Donation Film Festival: It is the first film festival taking place in Athens based on volunteering work and takes place from August 15 under the auspices of the Spanish embassy and the Thervantes Institute. There is no entrance fee, but donations are encouraged.
6) Don’t forget that an artist never stops performing! Several theatrical and musical plays will be presented in small theaters all over Athens during August. Check the concert lists as well, since many singers and bands will entertain their fans in some open concert hall as well.
Have fun and enjoy the rest of your summer in Athens!