In Athens, you could spend a single day or a week touring nothing but historical sites, depending on how much time you want to spend at each site. The Acropolis is an absolute must see but involves some uphill walking and needs time to really be appreciated. Even if you only have half a day, it's definitely worth visiting. The Parthenon, dedicated to the goddess of wisdom Athena, is still considered sacred ground and a magnificent example of ancient Greek architecture and geometry. Just under the sacred rock you can visit the theatre of Dionysus, where the residents of Athens watched the latest plays by their renowned dramatists. The ruins of an ancient temple of Dionysus are situated in front of the theatre, which obtained its final form at the end of the 4th century B.C.
Acropolis — Photo courtesy of Nelly Paraskevopoulou
From there it’s just a short walk to the temple of Hephaestus in Thission, a magnificent and impressive monument built in Doric style and dedicated to the ancient Greek god of fire. The Ancient Agora, with the renowned Attalus Stoa and the Roman Forum which are both close by, played an important part in everyday life in ancient Athens, situated in pleasing natural surroundings. Across the road is the Kerameikos cemetery with its atmosphere of peace in the midst of a busy city.
Roman Forum — Photo courtesy of Nelly Paraskevopoulou
Walking east from the Acropolis, you reach the Temple of Olympius Zeus, dedicated to the father of the gods and Hadrian’s Arch, a major landmark built by the great Roman emperor. If you prefer to walk through the streets of Plaka, you will pass Lysicrates monument with its characteristic sculpture and continue through this picturesque neighborhood until you reach the Tower of the Winds just next to the Roman Forum.
The history of Athens also includes the Byzantine period, and several very old churches remain from this period today. Kapnikarea on Ermou street, set amid modern shopping mall,s is an interesting example from the 11th century.
A historical itinerary would not be complete without visiting the most important museums, which offer a comprehensive look at Greek history after having seen the monuments. The Acropolis Museum is an experience in itself, the National Archeological Museum contains treasures from all over Greece and the Byzantine Museum offers a panorama of the Byzantine period. Valuable finds are guarded in the museums and have been studied and cataloged by archeologists. A historical itinerary reveals many aspects of life in ancient Greece, religion, art, sports, wars and also everyday life and customs.