Piraeus Athens Greece about 1892

Piraeus Athens Greece about 1892

THE PIRAEUS, ATHENS, GREECE — No traveler who has the least admiration for classical associations can gaze upon this port of Athens without profound emotion, it still retains its ancient name of the Piraeus, and on these waves, which are as blue to-day as when they charmed the eyes of Socrates or Xenophon, Athenian ships once rode at anchor, and many a fleet has swept hence into the Aegean for some glorious victory. How strange it seems, on landing here, to read upon the shops and corners of the streets words in those old Greek characters which we learned in boyhood! It all sweeps back upon us. The modern city fades from view, and in its place the traveler sees the school-room with its rows of well-worn desks. He feels again upon his cheek the summer breeze, as it came in temptingly through the open window, and lured him from his Greek lexicon to the fair fields. At last Xenophon’s graphic style and Homer’s matchless verse seem based upon reality. Six miles from the Piraeus is Athens itself, and in the clear atmosphere of Attica its famous hill, the temple-crowned Acropolis, is plainly visible, as are its adjoining mountains, Pentelicus, Hymettus and Lycabettus. Interesting, therefore, as this Athenian harbor is in some respects, it is only a doorway to glories beyond, and after leaving his steamer here the tourist is eager to hasten on to the capital itself, thronged with inspiring memories and still retaining traces of those works of art which have made Athens immortal. At the Piraeus, therefore, one justly feels that he is standing on the threshold of one of the most interesting countries in the world, and that it is all before him to enjoy, first in its glorious historical associations, second in the excitement of actual sight-seeing, and lastly in the calmer but perpetual pleasure of its retrospection. (from John L. Stoddard, Glimpses of the world; a portfolio of photographs of the marvelous works of God and man – 1892)



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