search

Athens' Best Historic Sites: Explore the City's Many Famous and Interesting Landmarks



Many volumes have been written by archeologists and historians about the ancient historic sites of Greece and Athens in particular. Researchers from universities all over the world spend much of their time studying various aspects of ancient Greek civilization, based on the many valuable finds carefully guarded in museums. Ancient Greeks aimed at harmony between all aspects of life, religion, art, sports, entertainment, knowledge and always honored their heroes. The Acropolis, probably the most famous of historic sites in Greece and worldwide, is a symbol in itself and an outstanding landmark of the city. The temple of Olympian Zeus, with the large surrounding area and the more recent Romans Emperor Hadrian's Arch on one side, is a tribute to the father of all the ancient gods, Zeus himself.  The ancient Agora  played an important role in everyday life in ancient Athens.  Kerameikos cemetery still maintains an aura of peace and stillness in the midst of the bustling city. Just an hours drive from the center, the Temple of Poseidon at Sounion ancient god of the sea, is a must day trip. Vravrona with the temple dedicated to the goddess Artemis is an enchanting place to visit, Amphiareion sanctuary at Oropos maintains the healing energy for which it was famous in ancient times, at Ancient Nemea, not far from Corinth, the ancient games have been revived, attracting visitors from many countries, the historical church of the Holy Sepulchre in Plaka is the receiving point for the Holy Light of the Resurrection  from Jerusalem every Easter.    

 


Advertisement

Metochion of the Holy Sepulcher
Photo courtesy of Nelly Paraskevopoulou

The Metochion of the Holy Sepulcher in the picturesque district of Anafiotika in Plaka originally opened as a convent in the 17th century and is known also as Agioi Anargyroi Kolokinthi. This single aisle basilica has functioned as an embassy church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem since the 18th century and is a focal point for the Orthodox Easter celebration. On the night of the Holy Resurrection the Holy Light from the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem is received here, attracting many visitors, who wait patiently to light their Easter tapers and follow the ritual of Anastasi, the Holy Resurrection .


9
Outside the City


Sounio with the temple of Poseidon, god of the sea, is on many tourist itineraries, as both the archeological site and the environment are of great beauty. Situated on the south coast of Attica at a distance of about 68 klm, the impressive temple with its outstanding view of the Aegean sea is built in Doric style and the place is ideal for watching the sunset. Further down on the slope is the temple of Athena, goddess of wisdom. In the same area is one of the most ancient and less known ancient theatres, Thoriko, dating back to the 6th century B.C, also worth visiting. Nearby Lavrio is an important port from where shops depart to the islands and the Technological and Cultural Park is an important landmark.


8
Vravrona
Vravrona


Vravrona with the archeological site of the goddess Artemis is on the east coast of Attica, close to the beach resorts of Mati and Loutsa, 39 klm. from Athens. The temple of Artemis is amongst the most ancient in the region, and was renowned in the ancient world for the celebrations in honor of the deity which were held every four years. The most outstanding parts are the loggia with columns in Doric style, the temple of Artemis and the monument of Ifigeneia. In the Archeological Museum close by, visitors can see findings from the Mycenean cemetery, sculptures from the temple and pottery from the wider region, dating back to the Geometric Age.


Advertisement
7
Outside the City
Amphiareion
Photo courtesy of Nelly Paraskevopoulou


The sanctuary of Amphiareion is close to Oropos on the eastern part of Attica, hidden in a ravine, amongst pine trees and rhododendrons. The sanctuary dedicated to the hero Amphiaraos dates back to the 5th century B.C. and was visited by pilgrims who sought answers from the oracle and healing. At a distance of 37 klm. from Athens, the sanctuary is reached driving through small villages and peaceful countryside. The site includes a sacred spring, a temple, as well as a theater and loggia. Religious festivals were held in honor of the hero with athletic games. After visiting the site, drive down to Oropos or Agioi Apostoloi for a wonderful meal of fresh fish.




Ancient Nemea, in the Peloponnese, is a fascinating place to visit, with great archeological interest, famous also for the excellent wine produced from the local vineyards. According to the ancient myth, this is where Hercules slew the ferocious lion of Nemea who was the terror of the area. The Nemean Games, one of the most important festivals of the ancient world, were founded in honor of the tragic death of the young prince Opheltes, killed by a snake. Today the Nemean Games have been revived, attracting many visitors from many countries. The Sixth Nemead will take place on June 10-12 2016. Visit the Archeological Museum, the impressive Sanctuary of Zeus and the famous Stadium. A wine festival is held every year in September, with local produce.


Kerameikos
Photo courtesy of Nelly Paraskevopoulou


The Kerameikos cemetery located at the end of Ermou street, between the districts of Psyrri and Monastiraki, is a suggestive area, where peace reigns, even after so many centuries. This was the most important cemetery of ancient Athens and owes its name to the neighborhood of potters who inhabited the area. This historic site includes part of the Themistoclean Wall and the Sacred Gate. This area was a busy part of ancient Athens, a meeting point of the many roads leading into and out of the city.


Ancient Agora
Photo courtesy of Nelly Paraskevopoulou


The Ancient Agora, with the renowned Attalus Stoa, includes a complex structure of buildings, which in ancient times were used to deposit the state archives amongst other things. Buildings include temples, the Vouleftirion, the Tholos, where the heads of the city met to discuss matters of state, and where weights and measures for commercial use were kept. In Roman times, the temple of Mars was added. The reconstructed Attalus Stoa, built by king Pergamus in the 2nd century B.C. operates as a museum, with the entrance from Adrianou street.


Hadrian's Arch
Photo courtesy of Nelly Paraskevopoulou


Hadrians Arch, on the western side of the temple of Zeus, was built in 131 A.D. by the Athenians as a triumphal arch in honor of the great Roman Emperor Hadrian, benefactor of the city. The famous marble from mount Penteli still maintains some of its ancient glory. The significance of the location in ancient times was the borderline between the ancient town of Athens and the new district , named Adrianopolis or new Athens. A landmark in the area, the Arch stands vigil and retains its magnificence notwithstanding the traffic and pace of life in the busy capital


Temple of Olympian Zeus
Photo courtesy of Nelly Paraskevopoulou


The temple of Olympius Zeus, dedicated to the father of all the ancient Greek gods, is an impressive structure which still exudes power and magnificence. The construction of the temple was concluded by the Roman Emperor Hadrian in the 2nd century A.D. The ruins of the temple of Apollo Delphinius and the gates of the Themistoclean walls can be visited on the same site. An otherworldly feeling of peace always reigns in this area, creating the impression of a time lapse between centuries. Situated between two busy avenues, the area is an oasis of tranquility in the midst of the city


Acropolis
Photo courtesy of Nelly Paraskevopoulou


The Acropolis, considered the emblem of the city of Athens is a complex of temples built on a high rock structure, symbol of the Golden Age of Pericles. The Parthenon, dedicated to the goddess of wisdom Athena is still considered sacred ground and a magnificent example of ancient Greek architecture and geometry. Over the ages, the Acropolis and the temples of the ancient gods had a turbulent history, some were transformed into Christian churches, the rock was used as a fortress by the Turks and in the 19th century a large part of the Parthenon sculptures were taken to Great Britain where they still remain. Bearing a great cultural heritage, the sacred rock remains the most outstanding historic site in Athens and visitors always exclaim on the timeless beauty of this monument.


Map

Meet Nelly Paraskevopoulou

Born and bred in Athens, Nelly went on the move after finishing high school and spending some years working in textiles.  For her, Italy was the next chapter. But, after 12 years, it was back...  More About Nelly

×