Archive for the ‘Athens Guide’ Category

Posted on January 6, 2002, on CNN weather report (the pictures that follow were published on the web from various authors).ATHENS, Greece — Greece has suffered further heavy snowfalls in what has proved to be its harshest winter in four decades.Hundreds of motorists and dozens of villages have become stranded by ice and snow drifts and a state of emergency has been declared in certain areas.One elderly woman was found dead in a suburb of Athens after being exposed to the freezing conditions which have stretched across the country including Athens and as far south as Crete.Meteorologists said on Sunday that the icy blast is the worst to hit Greece since 1963.

Greece was not the only country to be affected, with the chill reaching Bulgaria and Turkey, where four people have died.Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis urged residents in his country to stay at home rather than venture out.He said: “I would like to call on all citizens to be careful and limit their movements.”This is an unusual phenomenon and beautiful to watch but also dangerous.”

Roads have been blocked for three days and airports are beginning to resume a limited number of flights after being closed.Troops and emergency services are attempting to clear roads in central and southern parts of Greece.Key roads became blocked around Athens after up to 60 centimetres of snow fell on the outskirts of the Greek capital forcing hundreds of car passengers to spend about 20 hours trapped in their vehicles.Snow chains were needed on vehicles attempting to drive in the city centre.

More than 150 towns in central Greece were cut off by snow and the region was also affected by sporadic power shortages.Hospitals in the Athens area were placed in a state of heightened readiness to deal with any problems.The snowfall and subfreezing temperatures were part of a rare winter storm affecting many parts of the southern Balkans.Four people froze to death in Turkey and seven were missing as heavy snowfall paralysed the country for a second consecutive day, Turkish television said on Saturday.Thousands of villages had become isolated because of the worst snow in years. In northern Bulgaria, a state of emergency was called in three municipalities where roads were blocked and power cuts left numerous towns and villages without electricity, civil defence officials said.

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On January 25, 2006 Ted Chamberlain reported for the National Geographic News:Fresh from hosting the Summer Olympics, Athens looked more like a Winter Games venue yesterday. The famously sunny city was struck by winter storms that shut down the Acropolis and its Parthenon temple, seen here through snow-laden boughs.

This week the ancient Greek city experienced its third subfreezing day in ten years. More than 400 Greek villages and towns were effectively snowed in—authorities in the Mediterranean country were having a tough time clearing the roads, according to the Reuters news service. The southern European cold snap is only the latest sign of an Arctic weather front on the march. Having conquered Russia—Moscow has seen temperatures fall to -22°F (-30°C)— the cold front stormed eastern Europe and the Balkans last week and is continuing south and west. The onslaught has so far taken up to 300 European lives, according to the Times of London.

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Metro Athens

The Athens Metro makes getting around the city easier than ever including to and from Eleftherios Venizelos Airport.


“It took 2000 years but Athens finally has a metro”. And not just any metro, the Athens metro has to be the most beautiful system in the world and should stay this way until the graffiti “artists” get a hold of it. In the meantime even if there is nowhere you need to go with the new metro, it is worth visiting it and even taking a ride a few stops (you can visit the Hilton and the American Embassy). As you may have heard, work on the metro was slow because of all the antiquities they discovered. Every time they dug a new hole they would find a grave, or a wall or an urn or something and would have to put down their picks and shovels and call in the archaeologists who would do their digging with toothbrushes, which is a bit slower. Meanwhile deep below the surface, the giant metro mouse is churning fossilized dinosaurs into microscopic chips as it tunnels it’s way through the city.So the main problem was not having to dig through rock, but having to sift through history. But this was worth the time spent because Syntagma square is more than a metro station. It’s a museum. In the entrance are photos of Athens from 100 years ago when it really was one of the most beautiful cities in Europe.The Syntagma Square station is the crowning achievement in the marriage between high-tech transport and archaeology. You walk down some marble steps and find yourself in a modern universe. The tickets are sold on your right or by machines that for now only take coins, though they are working on this problem. The escalators take you down to the lower lobby and the trains. But don’t go down right away. There is much to see.


To the right, on the balcony that surrounds the lower lobby encased in glass is the stratified excavation where you can see artifacts from different periods of Athenian civilization from Byzantine through Roman to classical Greek, and pre-historic. There is a grave, cisterns, portion of a wall, an ancient road, clay drainage pipes and more. Around the corner in glass display cases are ancient pots, columns and many of the artifacts that were found while digging the station. The lobby is a museum and while many people made their way through the station with the determination of seasoned commuters, many people were wandering around examining the exhibits. An escalator takes you down to the lower lobby (behind the urn) where there are ticket machines and automatic ticket-stampers that take your ticket and spit it right back at you. Then there are long marble halls and more stairs and escalators which lead to the trains below. There is also a display of umbrellas in an air or light shaft perhaps created by a modern artist with a facination for Seattle or places with more rainfall then arid Athens, where umbrellas in summer are as common as bikinis in Antarctica.


The trains themselves are not the super-high-tech streamlined ones I had expected to see. In fact they look like the old trains, only newer, cleaner, smoother and faster. They are fully automated and a woman’s voice tells you which stop is coming next and to get out of the way if you don’t want to hurtle through the tunnels of Athens with half of you hanging out the subway door. And don’t forget…there is no smoking allowed on the metro or in the stations.

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