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Digital Subscriptions > Attitude > 283 > Tales of the unexpected

Tales of the unexpected

ATHENS IS KNOWN FOR BOTH ITS ANCIENT RUINS AND BEING A MODERN CITY. BUT IT ALSO BOASTS A RICH HISTORY OF SAME-SEX LOVE, ACCEPTANCE AND A BIT OF GAY DEBAUCHERY, WRITES JOSEPH KOCHARIAN
ACROPOLIS NOW: Athens’ most famous landmark is set on its highest hill

I found myself, dear reader, in a cruising park in Athens, at 11 o’clock on a Wednesday morning. This is not what I thought the opening sentence of this travel feature would be, but this was indeed our irst port of call on the Same Sex Tales of Athens walking tour.

It’s easy to forget the rich LGBT+ history of Greece’s capital city as you walk through streets crammed with relics from both Greek and Roman times. But this tour, one of the many offered by Big Olive Walks, reveals a city with a history of not just accepting same-sex love but celebrating it.

We spent the day with our guide Nicolas, who took us around crumbling ruins, each one revealing a hidden tale of gay love. A villa with a barely-there mosaic loor turned out to have belonged to Hadrian — yes, the one who built that wall. We heard the tragic story of his lover Antinous, who after a chance meeting with an oracle on a boating excursion up the Nile, tossed himself into the river to save Hadrian (we do not suggest you end your holiday the same way, however much you love your man). And we heard about how Hadrian commissioned a statue of his lover which was replicated so many times it became the second-most popular statue from the era — after those of Alexander the Great (let’s not even start on her!)

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About Attitude

On the cover, Charlie Carver talks exclusively how his dad coming out helped him do the same. Plus, music legend’s Blondie in their only gay magazine interview, Walking Dead actor Tom Payne, queer pop prince Perfume Genius, and the growing divide between LGBT equality in Northern Ireland and Scotland. Also, presenting the world’s top 100 single gay men from the world of entertainment, art, business and politics.