Hills are a natural choice as locations for some of the most beautiful structures mankind has ever erected: castles and temples, statues and palaces, lighthouses and crosses – I’m sure you all can think of many stunning examples. Today, in response to Ailsa’s weekly travel theme Hills on her blog Where’s My Backpack, I thought I’d share with you some of the hills I had the good fortune to climb in the Mediterranean. And I chose these particular hills for one reason: what people chose to build on them.
The Old Town of Toledo
The old town of Toledo was built on a hill which is almost fully encircled by the River Tajo. This view shows the Roman bridge across the river with the Alcázar of Toledo topping the crest of the hill. For this view alone, Toledo will always be one of my favourite cities.
The Temple of Poseidon at Cape Sounion
There’s something particularly beautiful about the meeting of hills and the sea and there’s plenty of that kind of landscape in Greece. When it came to choosing locations for their temples, the Ancient Greeks certainly had an eye for beauty, and they built this temple near Athens on the spot where according to the myth King Aegeus threw himself off the cliffs, giving his name to the Aegean Sea.
The Temple of Hephaestus in Athens
Doesn’t look much of a hill this one, but although it’s neither really high, nor particularly steep, you’ll notice climbing it when the summer temperatures soar. Just below the forbidding cliffs of the Acropolis, this Doric temple stands on top of a verdant little hill, overlooking the ancient Agora and beyond it, modern Athens. Easily the best preserved Greek temple I had seen to date (but then I’m still to go to Agrigento in Sicily!).
The Sanctuaries of Apollo and Athena Pronaia at Delphi
I simply couldn’t choose between these two, so you’re getting both. The extensive hillside sanctuary of Delphi boasts several beautiful structures, but these two must be the favourites.
Read more: ⇒ First Impressions of Toledo ⇒ Delphi: Shaping the Future of the Past ⇒ The Arms of Apollo: Apollo vs the Persians. Did the god manage to defend his sanctuary against the invaders? ⇒ Where's My Backpack?: Ailsa's travel blog.