1 food (obviously!) 2 the Acropolis of Athens and 3 the Panathenaic Stadium in Athens
Why is this multi-purpose stadium so important? Because it is the site where the great-great-great and several more great granddaddies of the modern Olympic Games took place. These games were the Panathenaic Games held once in every four years. Sound familiar?
To facilitate the games and other events, a wealthy Greek built a race course between two hills. This was sometime in 6th century BC. Presumably with the intention of making the stadium better equipped, the Roman senator Herodes Atticus had the racecourse rebuilt into a stadium with marble seats that could hold around over 50,000. As history unfolded, the stadium fell into disrepair and was buried under the sands of time until 1860 when it was excavated and spruced up to host a version of the Olympic Games. These were the Zappas Olympics, an attempt to revive the ancient Games by Greek businessman Evangelis Zappas. The stadium, meanwhile, was commissioned to be redesigned and rebuilt in Pentelic marble - the rebuilding was to be done on the basis of the original structure based on records from ancient texts. This was then thrown open to the public in 1896. Since then, the Panathenaic Stadium has been used for several games with international participation, including the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens.
History lessons aside, there is a simplicity to the structure of this historical that, in my sister's words, "adds grandiose to the simple splendour of marbles".
In the midst of a bustling city
The Panathenaic stadium is easily accessible, at the corner of a busy intersection yet rather quite inside. Come to think of it, the stadium was actually one of the least crowded among all the places we visited during our trip. Wonder why? Entry to the stadium is by ticket, along with an audio guide that you absolutely MUST take.