Monday, May 13, 2013

Tortoises of Greece

In Ukraine we saw plenty of stray cats and dogs around and in Greece we saw many more. We weren't expecting, however, to see so many tortoises out and about in the city.  Our first sighting was at the Agora near the Acropolis in Athens.  This guy was at the Temple of Hephaestus which is the best preserved ancient temple in all of Athens.

The tortoise's role in Greek mythology is a symbol of silence and also fertility.  In one story the nymph named Chelone was transformed into a tortoise because she refused to attend the wedding of Zeus and Hera.  

This guy was spotted at Kerameikos which is an area of the ancient Greece frequented by prostitutes.  My wife takes me to the darnedest places!

The real tortoise paradise was the National Archaeological Museum.  On the bottom floor there are areas open to the outside and amongst the bushes and trees you will find many tortoises.  

Some were just hanging out with the ruins...

... and sunning themselves.

And the tortoises had free reign of the place.  Here's a video I shot of some of the tortoises we ran into and towards the end you'll see a tortoise that decided to take a short cut through the museum itself.  

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