Contrary to popular belief among people I’ve talked to after returning home from Athens, the tallest point in the city is not the Acropolis. That honor belongs to Î›Ï…ÎºÎ±Î²Î·Ï„Ï„ÏŒÏ‚ (Mt. Lycabettus). Lycabettus rises dramaticaly above the rest of the city, as seen here from the Acropolis shortly after moonrise on the evening I arrived:
On the morning of my last day in Athens, I decided to head to the top of Lycabettus for the view. As I left the hotel early, there were still clubbers heading home from the night before, even though daylight was beginning to break. My trip began with a subway ride, but the subway only takes you to the base of Lycabettus. After you alight from the train and get to street level, there are numerous stairs for you to climb. As I looked up one pedestrian street composed entirely of stairs, I certainly felt the resemblance of Athens to my home city of San Francisco.
When I reached the base of Lycabettus, I discovered that the funicular railway doesn’t start running early in the morning. Fortunately, there is a footpath up the side of the hill, so I started climbing. When I reached the top, there was a dramatic reward. This is the view looking south from Lycabettus. The Temple of Olympian Zeus is in the foreground, and the street that runs from the temple towards the upper right is Andrea Syngrou Avenue, one of the major surface streets in Athens. At the right edge of the photo, the imposing building is the New Acropolis museum.
The real treat, however, is the view of the Acropolis itself just after sunrise: