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Photo Essay: Visiting the Acropolis in Athens

Stepping onto my cabin’s balcony with a cup of steaming coffee, I couldn’t believe I was halfway through my Mediterranean cruise. Because I was traveling alone, I had decided to sign up for a Christian cruise and was delighted to have quickly made new friends—going with a group of fellow believers made it easy. We were eager to begin the day’s exploration of one of the most influential cities in the ancient world: Athens, Greece.

On our approach to the Acropolis, we walked uphill on a path worn smooth by the feet of thousands of travelers. Each step brought stunning views of the city below, and we frequently paused to take pictures. I soaked in the breathtaking scene, doing my best to save mental snapshots to remember it forever.

On the way to the Parthenon, we paused to read this bronze plaque commemorating the Apostle Paul’s famous sermon. Acts 17 describes him at this exact rock outcrop, known as Mars Hill, preaching the good news of Jesus to the philosophers of Athens. I thought of his words as I stood and looked at the buildings above us: “The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by human hands” (Acts 17:24). Greek intellectuals may have sneered at him then, but Paul’s message is the one we still remember 2,000 years later.

Exclamations of “Wow!” escaped our lips as we took in the magnificent structure of the Parthenon. I had only seen it in small pictures, and it was far more massive than I had expected. The stark beauty of the limestone—almost white in contrast to the blue sky—captured my attention. 

I’d heard of ancient Greece since I was young, but experiencing it in person exceeded my biggest dreams. The towering gateway of the Propylaea at the entrance of the Acropolis was imposingly stately and the echoes of other travelers bounced off the stone walls in an interesting way.

Standing amid ancient history, I imagined the multitude of people who had lived here thousands of years ago. They had sold their wares in a bustling marketplace and children possibly had played hide-and-seek behind the towering pillars. To date, my connection with this long-lost civilization was only intellectual, from classroom lectures about a world from long ago. Now I was here, where others had stood thousands of generations past. I thanked God for the opportunity to witness this wonder in person. 

Strolling through the Acropolis complex, the little details of this ancient citadel fascinated me. At the center of it all was the incredible Erechtheion complex—a side temple known for its columns carved in the shape of standing women—and of course, the unforgettable Parthenon temple. 

Visiting the Acropolis reminded me of the One who holds my future. “The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God endures forever” (Isaiah 40:8). As affected as I felt by experiencing such an iconic location from history, I was more moved by the realization that the love of God hadn’t crumbled in all those years. It lives strongly in me today! What a message of impact and proof that the things of God are eternal.