National Geographic : 1956 Jan
o oo STATUTE MIL © National Geographic Map Drawn by John W Lothers and Victor J.Kelley the still magnificent monuments of Greece's storied past. We began, as all travelers must, with the Acropolis (page 39). We climbed the steep steps to stand upon the naked rock, marvel ing at the beauty of the Porch of the Maidens and the incredible grace and symmetry of the soaring Parthenon. The rocky summit was crowded, not with tourists but with Greeks, living and laughing and basking in the warm sun among the symbols of their glorious history.* "We Greeks don't live in the past," said George Galavaris, "but we live with it. There isn't a school child in the country who doesn't know the wonders of the Parthenon-how it looks to be all straight lines and yet has almost no straight lines in it; subtle curves and tilts give the appearance of straightness. Its Doric columns, if extended, would meet 40 Scenes of History and Mythology Mark the Route from Athens to Istanbul at a point about a mile above the earth's surface. This is our heritage and our delight. "Every child knows, too, that the Parthe non was only a setting for Phidias' statue of Athena. What a tragedy it has not survived! "Richard Strauss, the composer, said the Acropolis reminded him of a Beethoven sym phony. No Greek could express it better." Beautiful as the Parthenon is to the eye, it is a problem for the photographer. The limited space on the Acropolis makes it hard to get perspective. We tried an airplane, but our pictures did not suit us. The crumbling Propylaea seemed to offer the only solution. If I could scale its pillars, crawl out across the broken columns, and stand in the center, I might get a proper picture. But the ascent would be difficult, and climbing the monuments is strictly forbidden. Prof. Anastasios K. Orlandos, director of Greece's Division of Antiquities, came to our rescue. "We will make an exception for the Na tional Geographic Society," he said. "You may try the climb-at your own risk." The Perfect Spot Early on a Sunday morning I struggled up the marble columns to the arch. I strapped my cameras around my neck and inched on hands and knees to the highest point. Care fully I stood erect, balancing on "a narrow block of cracked marble. I raised my camera. It was the perfect spot (page 44). * See the National Geographic Society's 356-page book, Everyday Life in Ancient Times, $5 in United States and Possessions, $5.25 elsewhere. Postpaid. In the NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE for March, 1944, see "The Greek Way," by Edith Hamilton, and "Greece-the Birthplace of Science and Free Speech," by Richard Stillwell.