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Mount Lycabettus

Mount Lykavettos, Athens

Sometimes the best things in life are free. Like a walk to the top of Mount Lycabettus in the center of Athens to see the view, one of the best ways to spend a morning or late afternoon in Athens.

When Christopher Wordsworth came to Athens in 1832 he wrote in his book Athens and Attika: Journal of a Residence There, that the mountain was known to the inhabitants of Athens, just recently liberated from the Ottoman Turks, as Saint George, because of the small church that still crowns it. It was Wordsworth who figured out that of all the mountains mentioned in the ancient descriptions, only Lycabettus seemed to be a name without a mountain. From a description in Plato and a fragment of Aristophanes Clouds he deduced that this mountain that overlooked the city must be Lycabettus. However on the mountain itself he discovered a marker which called it Dios Oros or Mountain of Jove, which was the ancient Mount Anchesmus as mentioned by Pausanias. Wordsworth came to the conclusion that Lycabettus was the older of the names for the mountain and it has stuck.

According to journalist Adrian Brettos "Lykavittos means "where the wolves go," but the modern ancient Greeks in the know call it "path of the wolves." It is said that in Periclean Athens, wolves roamed freely on Lykavittos as this was their last haven in the Attica basin."

The wolves are gone but the forests are still here and the view is fantastic. On a clear day you can see all the way to the Peloponessos. There is the popular Horizon Cafe-restaurant at the top and the small church of Saint George. For those who don't have the energy to make the climb they can take the Funicular Railway, the world's weirdest train which leaves at the top of Ploutarchou street in Kolonaki and costs 2 euro each way.

Here it is. The world's strangest train. It leaves from the top of Ploutarch street in Kolonaki. Some people walk up but I think the effect is more spectacular when you go on what they call the Funicular Railway. If you have kids this is the way to go. It's like a ride at an amusement park...sort of. It costs about 2 euro each way and you can buy r/t tickets but the walk down is easy and you can choose which part of Athens you want to end up in.

Lykavettos Cafe

They say the cafe on the top of Lykavittos is pretty good. I have never eaten there. This photo was taken in January  and as you can see it was a warm sunny day. If it is a windy day in Athens then it will be very windy up here so bring a sweater.

lykavettos towards Ambelokipi

Looking towards the Athens Tower towards Agia Paraskevis. The low flat building surrounded by trees is the US Embassy and the large building to the left if the Megaron Music Hall. The apartment buildings in the lower right corner is the top of Kolonaki.

The large buildings left of center are around Syntagma Square. The larges one is the Grande Bretagne. To the left and in front of them is the Parliment building. Beyond is the Acropolis and Faliron. The large building that takes up an entire block is where EOT (Greek National Tourist Organization) used to have their offices, but now it is somewhere off in Ambelokipi where nobody can find it. Now the building is a department store.

Athens from Lykavettos

The center if the National Gardens and the Zappion building. The Parliment is on the right as is Syntagma Square. You can see the Temple of Olympian Zeus in the upper right corner of the gardens. To the left is the old Olympic Stadium and Arditos Hill. Kolonaki is in the foreground. You can see Aegina in the distance but on a clear day you can see lots of islands and the mountains of the Peloponessos.

Athens from Lykabetos

Looking towards the University and Panapistimiou Street. The area beyond is Votanikos, Egalio and Peristeri. The tall buildings on the far right are in Omonia Square and the large avenue you see is Agios Konstantinos.

View of Athens

Alexandras Avenue is in the center. Beyond that are the courts and to the left Areos Park. Beyond the park is Kypseli, one of the most densely populated places in the world and one of my favorite areas in Athens. I think that is Mount Parnitha in the background. Neapoli is in the foreground.

Lykabettus Cafe

The cafe around sunset

The large curved building in the center is the Hilton Hotel. In front of that are the buildings of Evangelismos Hospital. The area behind the forest is Panapistimopoulos which is the Univerisity Town. Mount Hymettos, Kessariani, Vironas and Illioupolis are in the background. Kolonaki is in the foreground. How many swimming pools can you count?

Galatsi from Lykavetos

The hill in the background is Galatsi. The line of large buildings running horizontally in the center are on Alexandras Avenue and the tiled roofs you see in the green area are the courts. Just above the roof of the cafe is the parking lot for the ampitheater. Probably the best place to see a concert in Athens.

Plaka and Acropolis from Lykavettos

Here is the Plaka in front of the Acropolis and Faliron beyond it.

Ag Giorgios, Lykavettos

The Church of Agios Giorgos (Saint George) on the top of Lykavittos with a tourist stand and my daughter Amarandi.

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