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The Erechtheion is the most sacred of the ancient temples. It was the last of the great works of Pericles. Athena and Poseidon were worshipped here. Poseidon who was the city's old patron was also known as Erechtheus. According to legend, the Erechtheion was the site on which Athena and Poseidon held a contest to see who would posses Athens. Athena won and at the touch of her spear the first ever olive tree appeared from the ground. The Erechtheion is situated on the northern edge of the Acropolis hill, and from most of Central Athens it is the monument that one can see. Until I actually went up to the Acropolis, I assumed that this was probably The Parthenon. When you actually get to see both monuments, it is very clear that the Erechtheion is rather dwarfed by its older cousin. However, it is less visited, under less scaffolding, and more accessible than the Parthenon itself. It truly is a wonderful building. At night the Erechtheion is beautifully lit, and a meal outside a Taverna looking up at the magnificent monument on top of the imposing hill is guaranteed to get the romantic juices flowing in even the crustiest of old souls like me! Although the Parthenon is the main reason for a visit to the Acropolis, the Erechtheion is worth the entry fee of around twelve Euros on its own. A word of warning though. I visited at the end of October and it was hot and busy. I don't dare to imagine what it must be like in the heat of the summer. I would guess something close to unbearable. One last anecdote from my visit. All over the Acropolis are signs saying that you mustn't touch anything and that no souvenirs are to be taken. They are very strict on this and there are several security people around. When we came back down from the hill and left the site my thirteen year old son said, 'look dad, I've got these for Dan and Joe.' He held up two pieces of rock he had taken from the site to give to his brothers for Christmas. I'm not sure if we appear on wanted posters in Athens, but if we do, please don't tell on me!
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