How did a 19th century traveler felt?
A modern traveler can not easily feel what happened 200 years ago. Greek rebels- not Greece yet- yield their War of Independence in 1821, against the Ottoman Empire. After a decade of hostilities, newborn Greece was made, with support from European powers. The first capitals were Nafplio and Aegina, but romanticism and idealism imposed the village around Acropolis hill to become the new capital.
Athens, a dream among wonderful ruins, as was described in a phrase of the French landscape painter, sculptor, architect, archaeologist Louis-François Cassas.
European were shocked from the images of Greeks under Muslim occupation and atrocities during several rebellions. Of course, some of them did not really care and tried to gain huge profits out of antiquity trade.
One famous traveler to Athens on March 27th 1841 was Hans Christian Andersen, who celebrated his 36th birthday. Here are some notes from his letters regarding Athens and Acropolis:
Other monuments that attracted Europeans’ eyes was Hadrian’s Gate and Olympian Zeus Temple. Of course Ottoman period also included Ottoman education taking place at Medreses. The Tower of Winds was also conserved since it was a dervish gathering point for prayers.
Foreign archeological institutions based in Greece have conducted a lot of research for all these monuments. Their building are located in Kolonaki area, 10 minutes walking from Plaka. They were built on land provided by church, especially Moni Petraki.