Archaeology in Athens & Attica


Like many cities in antiquity, Ancient Athens was surrounded by a wall and featured different gates to access the city. The location of the Acharnian Gate – the gate that leads to the town of Acharnes north of the city – was initially lost in time.
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Welcome to the Parthenon on the Acropolis Hill, one of the world’s most important structures, considered a true symbol of civilization and democracy that has been standing for 2,500 years. Even in the stone age (Neolithic period), millennia before the Parthenon was built, the Acropolis represented a military fortress, thanks to its strategic vantage point over land and sea.
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You can almost picture Pan, the naughty nymph semi-god, running in and out of his little cave, conveniently located on the slopes of the Acropolis Hill within easy reach of all the goddesses and maidens who frequented the area.
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You can almost picture Pan, the naughty nymph semi-god, running in and out of his little cave, conveniently located on the slopes of the Acropolis Hill within easy reach of all the goddesses and maidens who frequented the area.
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You can almost picture Pan, the naughty nymph semi-god, running in and out of his little cave, conveniently located on the slopes of the Acropolis Hill within easy reach of all the goddesses and maidens who frequented the area.
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Founded in the in the 2nd millennium BC, Eleusis was where the Eleusinian mysteries took place, an initiation rite into a mystic order. In antiquity Athenians marched here by foot.
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Welcome to what was once the heart of public life in Classical Athens and where democracy was born, according to historians. The Greek Agora (as opposed to the Roman Agora not far off) was represented by a bustling open square that saw many fine buildings emerge around it, from temples and fountain houses to administrative offices and stoas (covered porticos or walkways for the public).
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Like a Roman triumphal arch and lying just 325 meters (almost 1070 feet) from the Acropolis, this impressive gateway once lay over an ancient road and was most probably built to celebrate the arrival of Roman Emperor Hadrian to Athens.
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Kerameikos – the combined ancient ceramic quarter and necropolis – might not be as famous as the Acropolis and Agora, but it is well worth a visit.
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The remains of a Neolithic settlement have been found on the hill of Kolona just one kilometer northwest of Aegina Town.
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Here’s an ancient architectural marvel dating from 335 BC that was replicated many times in British and French gardens over the last few centuries, with renditions reaching the US and Australia as well. The Lysicrates Monument in the Plaka area was commissioned by Lysicrates, a rich patron of artistic performances, to honor a prize-winning performance that he had sponsored.
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The word ‘ode’ gives us the term Odeon – Odeum in Latin – which represents a collection of buildings built for musical performances or poetry competitions.
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Imagine a 2,000 year old stadium that could hold 50,000 people, representing a true architectural marvel for its time.
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A young monument on Ancient Greek standards that’s just 19 centuries old, Monument was built in 116 AD on a hill to commemorate Gaius Julius Antiochus Epiphanes Philopappus,
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While not much remains of the structures that were once there, the Pnyx is one of the most significant sites of Classical Greece for what it stands for.
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Around the time of Christ, the new Roman Agora established itself as the center of activity in Roman-controlled Athens, especially since the Ancient Greek Agora had long become a historic relic by then.
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Here’s an excellent reminder of the level of knowledge and education that existed some 2000 years ago. Hadrian’s Library, built in 132 AD, was a repository for rolls of papyrus – the equivalent of books then – and state archives.
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You wouldn’t suspect that the lush, serene national gardens of Syntagma (which were the Royal Gardens of King Otto and Queen Amalia a few decades back) were the site of sophisticated Roman Bathhouse. When works on a ventilation shaft for the Athens metro in the 1990s revealed these important finds, the shaft was moved to another location and the baths were excavated to reveal part of their now faded glory.
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You wouldn’t suspect that the lush, serene national gardens of Syntagma (which were the Royal Gardens of King Otto and Queen Amalia a few decades back) were the site of sophisticated Roman Bathhouse. When works on a ventilation shaft for the Athens metro in the 1990s revealed these important finds, the shaft was moved to another location and the baths were excavated to reveal part of their now faded glory.
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Below one of the busiest squares in Athens today, Monastiraki Square, lies a fascinating discovery that came to light only a couple of decades ago.
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This is older than the acropolis dating from the 6th century BC, built under Hippias and Hipparchos. It remained unfinished until the Emperor Hadrian completed it some 700 years later in 131 AD. The original was huge, boasting 104 columns of which only 15 remain today.
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The evocative ruins of this Temple to Zeus lie on top of Mt. Ellanio (also locally known as Oros). The mythical King of Aegina, Aiokos, appealed to the God to send rain during a long drought on the island.
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This magnificent Doric temple lies just 2 kilometers east of Mesagros on a hill overlooking the turquoise waters of the sea. Impressively 24 of its 34 columns remain, making it one of the best preserved ancient sanctuaries in all of Greece.
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The remains of this 6th century sanctuary lie atop the hill of Kolona. It only contains one column, which gives the entire site its name (kolona means column in Greek).
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Right in front of the attractive neoclassical National Bank of Greece building, this site which lies just beyond the ancient city walls reveals three streets and a cemetery dating from the 9th century BC until the third century AD.
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One of the less known gods of mythology, Amphiaraos was a deity of healing. He emerged from a spring near the temple on the Northern border of Attica. This is also an ancient Doric temple that fits 3000 people dating from the 4th century BC. Other ruins in the area are from the 6th century BC.
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Agora means market, and this was the heart of Ancient Athens, a political, commercial and religious centre that reflected Athenian democracy at its best. Religious festivals, theatre and athletic contests took place here too. The place remained in use for almost 800 years.
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The Ancient Agora's Stoa of Attalos is the only renovated building from antiquity and hosts a museum full of interesting antiquities. In antiquity it was a commercial, cultural, political and religious centre. The whole area featured many public buildings and was a social area gathering place for Athenians.
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The battle of Marathon is where the outnumbered Greeks won the Persian invaders in 490 BC. Near the field lies the monument and tomb of the 192 Athenian soldiers who were killed in battle. On the other side of the road 5km away is the grave of the Plataians, also allies of the Athenians in battle.
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Known for its port area and fort in antiquity, the area hosts two temples dedicated to Nemesis and to Themis, both goddesses of justice. The remains of a fort, funerary monuments, walls, theatre and homes are still apparent. Local finds include statues of Artemis and Pan. Enjoy the great sea views too.
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You wouldn’t suspect that the lush, serene national gardens of Syntagma (which were the Royal Gardens of King Otto and Queen Amalia a few decades back) were the site of sophisticated Roman Bathhouse.
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On the slopes of the Acropolis lie the the Sancutary of Dionysus Eleuthereus and theatre, among the most ancient in the world. It featured plays from Euripides, Sophocles, Aeschylus and more. Nearby is the Odeion of Herod Atticus, another theatre used today for events.
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This is where ancient Greeks worshipped Poseidon, god of the sea. Fifteen of the temple's 34 columns still remain. It was built in the Golden Age of Pericles on the ruins of another temple. A smaller temple of Athena lies 400 meters away, built around 600-550 BC.
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Archaeologists thought that Thisseus was buried here, but turns out it was Hephaestus. This is actually Athens' best preserved temple and worth a visit, along with the nearby Stoa of Attalos and the museum. The temple was built in 460-415 BC. It once held statues of Athena and Hephaestus.
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Lying within the Roman Agora, this monument is also known as the horlogeion, meaning water clock. Most believe the octagonal structure depicting the 'winds' in amazing detail was built as a sundial. There used to be a mechanism inside to operate the water clock.
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Known in antiquity as Brauron, it was dedicated to hunter goddess Artemis and ancient festivals took place there for girls. The sanctuary is still preserved with a colonnade. A small museum features exhibits from the region.
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