Irish Language: Athens is not to be mythed

Irish Language Athens not mythed

Christy Evans loves the city many people seem to loathe

Imo thuairim, is cathair iontach í, an Ataen, ach fós, ní maith fórmhór na daoine an Ataen. Luan turasóiri an trácht, an truailliú agus na graffiti. Luan daoine eile na madraí fánaíochta, an pluiméireacht agus teas an tsamhraidh. Tá iontais na hAtaen níos mó ná na fadhbanna seo go léir. Mar sin, cén fáth a bhfuil grá agam don Ataen?

Bhfuel, is suíomh iontach í. Tá sé ag an bhfarraige ach tá sé timpeallaithe ag sléibhte giomaithe ar thrí thaobh. Tá aerfort nua-aimseartha agus bóithre nua den scoth ag an Ataen. Tá músaem ag an aerfort freisin ina bhfuil na rudaí ársa a tháinig aníos le linn a thógála. Tá córas traenach faoi thalamh glan, éifeachtach agus saor ag an Ataen.

Ritheann na traenacha ón aerfort agus ón chathair go díreach chuig an gcé ag an Piraeus. Ón áit sin, freastalaíonn báid fharantóireachta le breis is fiche oileán. Tá cúig mhilliún duine ag an Ataen ina gcónaí i gcomharsanachtaí ansainiúla agus tréithiúla. Tá réimse boutique agus ambasáidí ag Kolonaki. Tá atmaisféar an Mheán-Oirthir ag lánaí agus margaí Monastiraki. Tabharfaidh turas gearrthréimhseach tú chuig bhruachbhaile cois farraige Glyfada.

Tá trá ghainmheach, clubanna oíche agus radhairc álainn mara ann.Tá an Ataen an-tábhachtach do stair na Críostaíochta. Go deimhin, bhí Ataen chomh tábhachtach leis an Róimh sna laethanta sin (Pól ag ceilúradh san Ataen – ‘Achtanna’ 17:16-34).

Ar ndóigh, cuireann an chuid is mó de thurasóirí cuairt ar an Ataen ar na suíomhanna ársa, ach is breá liom an cathair sin dá atmaisféar nua-aimseartha agus beoga. Is é an Ataen i ndáiríre an chathair is fearr san Eoraip. An tseachtain seo chugainn, ba mhaith liom a insint daoibh faoi mainistreacha Meteóra na sléibhte Gréagacha.

Irish Language Athens not mythed


For me, Athens is a great city, perhaps the greatest of them all. And yet, most people I meet don’t seem to like the city.

Tourists mention the traffic, the air pollution and the graffiti. Others mention the extreme summer heat, the packs of roaming dogs and the dodgy plumbing. All of these problems are out-weighed, I would argue, by the wonders of Athens. So, why do I love the city so much? Well, the location is stunning – Athens has the sea on one side and pine-clad mountains on the other. Athens now has a modern airport and a network of excellent new roads.

The airport even has a museum in the departures hall, displaying all the ancient objects excavated during its construction. There’s a clean, cheap and efficient underground train system. Trains run directly from the airport and the city centre to the quayside at Piraeus. From there, ferries serve over twenty Greek islands. Athens has five million people but many neighbourhoods have their own distinct atmosphere. Kolonaki is an up-market area of boutiques and embassies.

By contrast, the crowded markets, Ottoman- era mosques and Turkish baths give Monastiraki a friendly, almost Middle- Eastern feel. A short tram ride from Syntagma Square in the city centre will take you to the plush seaside resort of Glyfada.

There’s a sandy beach, and a wealthy international set party all night like Greece’s economic meltdown never happened. Athens is also very important in the history of Christianity. Indeed, I’d argue that Athens was at least as important as Rome in those early days (see St Paul in ‘Acts’ 17:16 – 34).

Of course, most tourists today visit Athens for the many ancient ruins, but I love the city because of its lively modern atmosphere. Athens really is my favourite European city. Next week, I’d like to tell you why the amazing cliff-top monasteries at Meteóra in Greece are also close to my heart.


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