the profile of the travellers
from a dutch point of view
the power of monuments
idealized landscapes
in search of antiquities
everyday life among ruins
in the service of the divine
athens: a place or an ideal?
ancient vs. contemporary

selected bibliography
links and resources travellers






athens: a place or an ideal?

It were useless to relate the feelings with which we viewed the
grandest and most affecting sight that has been left for modern times
Nicolas Biddle on entering Athens (1806).

A visit of the travellers to Athens, once the city of democracy, the land of Pericles, and home of the Parthenon, was always an experience that evoked extreme emotions both of excitement and joy, as well as of frustration and disappointment.

The history and the classical past of Athens fascinated the travellers, who filled their journals and letters with numerous descriptions and sketches of the ancient city and its ruined buildings, even if in some cases they were no longer visible.

But not all were impressed with Athens and its antiquities. The challenging journeys to get there, the living conditions as well as the ruinous state of some Athenian buildings often frustrated many of the travellers.