Photographing the Parthenon

I am determined to spite my inclinations and avoid turning this post into an ancient history lesson – give me a slap if I fail and start lecturing.

The Acropolis must be one of the most photographed sites on the planet. It is ranked ‘No. 1’ on the European Cultural Heritage list of monuments.


The collection of 2,500 year old temples and monuments, many of which remain to this day (including the huge and famous Parthenon), are our most tangible link back to one of the greatest ancient civilisations the world ever saw: the Athenian city state. *There. History lesson over in one short(ish) sentence.

There were four obstacles to my chance of producing beautiful photographs of this wonderful place during my visit this weekend:

1) Weather: On my day of sightseeing, it was overcast with the constant threat of rain.

2) People: To be specific, tourists. I can be a grumpy misanthrope when I am out taking photographs (and probably most of the rest of the time as well). I know I was a tourist too, but I just wish everyone else would avoid the most beautiful parts of the world when I happen to be visiting them – I like nothing more than to be completely alone with just my camera and some interesting subject matter (e.g., wildlife, architecture, landscapes etc). But as we all know, ‘I want, doesn’t get’.

3) Scaffolding: I expected some work to be under-way, but oh boy! There is a lot of scaffolding!

4) No time for a night visit: Due to only having a couple of nights in Athens and having a friend’s wedding as my primary reason for being there, I wasn’t able to photograph the Acropolis by night – when most people agree it looks most beautiful all lit up.

Here is how I got on in overcoming those obstacles…


I nipped back for another quick visit on the sunny day I was flying home…

Acropolis sunny

…and, being overcast on the day of my visit gave me an opportunity to exploit my favourite photography conditions: dramatic sky…



The beauty of a wide-angled lens is that you can fit the whole of something in shot whilst still being right up close to cordons and avoiding the crowds…

Parthenon close-up


The restoration work continuing at the site is significant. This is good if we want our grandchildren to see it in good condition, but less good if we don’t like unsightly scaffolding. But, hey! As with the weather, we can (to coin a Buddhist phrase my fiancée is fond of) ‘turn poison into medicine’ and make the scaffolding part of the picture (and the tourists too for that matter)…

Scaffolding and Parthenon

Night time shots

Although I was disappointed not to get join the throngs of tourists snapping the Acropolis at distance by night, at least I have a good reason to return to this beautiful and ancient city in the future.


2 thoughts on “Photographing the Parthenon

  1. KC


    My name is KC Owens, I’m a college student and I love to travel! While cruising the Internet, I found your site and really enjoyed reading your posts. I have been to countries all over Europe with just my backpack and a camera. Since I am a college student and I have significant bills, it can be difficult to find ways to travel the world. However, I have done this several times, with less than ten pounds of luggage and while on a college dime!

    I was hoping that you would allow me to write a post for your site to share my tips and tricks with your readers. I put a lot of time into my traveling, it is my biggest passion and I would love to inspire others by sharing my stories, mistakes and triumphs. I look forward to hearing from you!


    KC Owens

    1. iago80 Post author

      Thanks for your message KC. I am afraid to say I simply use this blog for my own photography and it is certainly not a commercial enterprise in any form. I would encourage you to start your own blog for your travel stories.


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