A walking trip through the streets of Athens can be a fantastic way to dive into the rich history of this ancient city. Here is a trial that explores some of the most exciting sites in Athens:
Start at Athina Avenue and head towards Monastiraki Street. This lively street is lined with shops and street vendors selling various goods, including souvenirs, clothing, and jewellery.
Take a stroll down the lane and enjoy the sights and sounds of the bustling marketplace. From Monastiraki Street, continue to the Plaka neighbourhood, one of the oldest and most charming neighbourhoods in Athens. The Plaka is known for its narrow, winding streets, picturesque houses, and traditional Greek tavernas. Visit the old house of the Venizelos family, a historic building once the home of the famous Greek politician Eleftherios Venizelos.
From the Plaka, head up to the Anafiotika district, a charming neighbourhood built on the slopes of the Acropolis. Here you can visit some of the most delicious restaurants in Athens, offering traditional Greek cuisine and breathtaking views of the city.
After exploring the Anafiotika district, make your way to the southern slope of the Acropolis, where you can see the ruins of the Odeon of Herodes Atticus and the Theatre of Dionysus.
End your walking trip by visiting the Areopagus and Pnyx Hills, two historic sites located just outside the city centre. The Areopagus Hill was once a seat of the judicial court in ancient Athens and is also associated with the spread of Christianity into Greece. Pnyx Hill was the location of the assembly of the people, where citizens gathered to discuss and vote on important political matters. From these two hills, you will see breathtaking views of the city in the sunset and gain a deeper understanding of its rich history and cultural heritage.
Agios Ioannis, or Saint John, is a Greek Orthodox church in Athens, Greece. It is dedicated to the patron saint of the same name, Saint John the Baptist. The church is known for its traditional architecture and religious significance, attracting locals and tourists alike. St. John the Baptist, also known as John the Forerunner, is not typically associated with trade as a patron. However, he is considered the patron saint of many professions and causes, including shepherds, musicians, converts, and the poor. For this reason, a small old church dedicated to this saint is located on the busiest street in Athens, which used to be Panathenian Road.
A typical grocery store in Athens is a place where consumers can purchase everyday household items such as food, beverages, personal care products, and household cleaning supplies. These stores are commonly found throughout the city and offer a wide range of products at competitive prices. Some popular grocery store chains in Athens include Sklavenitis, AB Vassilopoulos, and My Market. Customers can either shop in-store or order online for home delivery. These stores provide a convenient way for people to stock up on essentials and keep their households running smoothly.
The church of Pantanassa at Monastiraki Square has a renaissance bell tower built at the time of significant Greek renovation that is an iconic feature of the church. The bell tower is a prominent structure seen from various locations in the surrounding area. The sound of the bell ringing can be heard echoing through the streets of the Monastiraki neighbourhood, adding to the character and charm of the area.
The Church of the Pantanassa is dedicated to the Dormition of the Theotokos or the "falling asleep" of the Virgin Mary. The date of construction of the Church of the Pantanassa is not specified. Still, it is believed to have been built in the 10th century as the catholicon of a now-vanished monastery in Monastiraki Square, Athens. The church was known as the "Great Monastery" and later became the name of the whole area, "Monastiraki." The church is located between Athinas and Mitropoleos street, facing the Monastiraki station in central Athens.
Almost the first shop in Pandrossou street market going from Monastiraki square is the cork wooden staff shop. There is no tradition of cork wooden things in Athens. However, cork wood is a material that is often used in various crafts and products, such as coasters, bulletin boards, ornaments, and even jewellery. It is a natural, sustainable, and renewable material, making it a popular choice for eco-friendly products. In Athens, there may be shops or artisan markets where you can find wooden cork products, but I do not have information on a specific tradition of cork wooden things in the city.
On the other hand, there is a tradition of crafting various objects out of olive wood, which is prized for its beauty and durability. Olive wood is known for its unique and intricate grain patterns, ranging from light to dark, and its resistance to rot and decay. This makes it an ideal material for various objects, from kitchen utensils like cutting boards and spoons to decorative items like bowls, vases, and jewellery boxes.
Olive wood has been used in Greece for thousands of years and was even used in ancient times to make weapons, tools, and furniture. Recently, the tradition of olive wood crafting has been passed down from generation to generation. The skilled artisans in Athens are renowned for their intricate and beautiful work.
Many shops in Athens offer a wide range of olive wood products, from hand-carved utensils to intricate jewellery pieces. Whether you're looking for a unique souvenir or a functional household item, you're sure to find something that catches your eye in the olive wood shops of Athens.
Pandrossou street in Athens is a popular shopping destination for jewellery and leather goods. It is known for its variety of shops offering a wide range of jewellery, leather accessories, and other souvenirs. Visitors can find traditional Greek jewellery, such as evil eye charms, meander patterns, and filigree designs, as well as more contemporary pieces. Additionally, some shops sell leather goods, including handbags, wallets, and belts. The street is a great place to find unique gifts and souvenirs to take back home, and many shops offer custom-made items. If you're looking for high-quality jewellery and leather goods, Pandrossou street is worth a visit!
Athena, the Greek goddess of wisdom, war, and crafts, is often depicted wearing a distinctive helmet. In ancient Greek mythology, Athena's helmets were considered symbols of her power and status as a warrior goddess.
One of the most famous stories about Athena's helmets is the tale of the contest between Athena and Poseidon for the patronage of the city of Athens. According to the myth, both gods offered gifts to the people of Athens to win their favour. Poseidon struck the ground with his trident, creating a saltwater spring, while Athena offered an olive tree, a symbol of peace and prosperity. The people of Athens chose Athena's gift, and she became the city's patron goddess.
In another story, Athena is said to have received her signature helmet from the smith god, Hephaestus. The helmet was made of bronze and was said to have been decorated with golden tassels and an emblem of a snake. The helmet was told to make Athena invisible, and it was also said to have magical powers that protected the wearer from harm.
In both mythology and art, Athena's helmets have become symbols of her wisdom, bravery, and power. They are often depicted in classical Greek art, including pottery and sculptures. They remain popular in modern times, appearing in books, movies, and other forms of popular culture.
The owl is a symbol often associated with the Greek goddess Athena, and it has a long history of being connected to the city of Athens.
In Greek mythology, Athena is often depicted with an owl perched on her shoulder or near her. The owl is said to be a symbol of wisdom, and it is often seen as a representation of Athena's wisdom and intelligence. The connection between Athena and the owl can be traced back to ancient times when the Greeks believed that the goddess used the owl as a messenger to communicate with the mortal world.
In Athens, the owl was also seen as a city symbol. The city was named after Athena, and the owl became an emblem on coins, statues, and other art forms. The owl was a symbol of the power and prosperity of Athens, and it was also seen as a protector of the city and its people.
Today, the owl remains an important symbol of Athens and is often used as a representation of the city in tourism and marketing materials. Whether as a symbol of Athena or as a representation of the town itself, the owl continues to be an essential part of the history and culture of Athens.
The Trireme of the Athenian Fleet was a type of ancient Greek warship that was used during the classical period. It was named after its three rows of oars, which allowed the ship to reach high speeds and make quick manoeuvres on the water.
The Trireme was a vital part of the Athenian fleet. It was used in several significant naval battles during the classical period, including the Battle of Eurymedon and Salamis.
The Battle of Eurymedon was a naval battle fought between the forces of Athens and the Persian Empire in 466 BC. The battle took place near the mouth of the Eurymedon River in present-day Turkey and resulted in a decisive victory for the Athenian fleet. The victory at the Battle of Eurymedon solidified Athens' position as a significant naval power in the Aegean. It marked a turning point in the ongoing conflict between Athens and Persia.
The Battle of Salamis was a naval battle fought between the Greek city-states and the Persian Empire in 480 BC. It was a crucial battle in the Persian Wars and took place in the waters off the coast of Salamis, a small island near Athens. The Greek fleet, under the command of Themistocles, defeated the much more extensive Persian fleet, which marked a turning point in the war and ensured the survival of Greek independence and the birth of Western Civilization.
In Athens, the Trireme was seen as a symbol of the city's power and wealth, and it was also used as a tool for propaganda and political manoeuvring. The Trireme was depicted on coins and other forms of art, and it was also used in athletic and religious festivals.
Today, the Trireme of the Athenian Fleet is remembered as one of the most significant warships of ancient Greece. It continues to be studied and celebrated by historians, archaeologists, and enthusiasts of classical history. Whether as a symbol of Athenian power or as a testament to the ingenuity of ancient shipbuilding, the Trireme remains an integral part of the cultural heritage of Athens and Greece.
Red and white ceramics are a distinctive style of pottery produced in ancient Athens. The ceramics were typically made of clay and were decorated with bold, contrasting patterns of red and white. This style of pottery was popular from the 6th to the 4th centuries BCE and was used for various purposes, including serving food and storing liquids.
Red and white ceramics were prized for their beauty and durability and exported throughout the ancient Mediterranean. In Athens, they were often used as grave goods and found in sanctuaries and public buildings.
The most common vessel in the ancient world was the Lekythos, a Greek pottery used for storing oil and other liquids. The lekythos was a tall, narrow vessel with a narrow neck and a handle, and it was typically decorated with scenes from daily life, mythology, or nature.
Lekythoi were produced in a variety of shapes and sizes, and they were used for a range of purposes, including the storage of aromatic oils, cosmetics, and medicines. They were also used in religious rituals and were often placed in graves as offerings to the dead.
Lekythoi were made throughout the ancient Greek world, and they are considered to be some of the finest examples of ancient Greek pottery. The style and decoration of lekythos varied from region to region and period, providing a unique window into the daily life, culture, and beliefs of ancient Greece.
Today, lekythos are highly prized by collectors and museums, and they are considered to be essential artefacts of ancient Greek art and culture. Whether as works of art or as objects of historical significance, lekythos continue to be a necessary part of the cultural heritage of Greece and the ancient world.
Stoa of Nikolas Charagionis is a monument in Athens, Greece. The stoa is a long, covered walkway with columns that served as a public gathering place and marketplace. The Stoa of Nikolas Charagionis was named after a wealthy Athenian merchant who donated funds for its construction.
The Stoa of Nikolas Charagionis is an integral part of the cultural heritage of Athens, and it continues to be a popular tourist destination for those interested in ancient history and archaeology. Whether as a monument to the wealth and generosity of a wealthy Athenian merchant or as a reminder of the rich cultural heritage of Athens, the Stoa of Nikolas Charagionis is a valuable part of the city's history and legacy.
Constantine XI Palaiologos is a historical figure who lived in the Byzantine Empire in the 15th century. He was the last emperor of the Byzantine Empire and is remembered for his bravery and leadership in the face of the Ottoman conquest of Constantinople in 1453.
In Metropolis Square in Athens, there is a statue of Constantine XI Palaiologos, which was erected in the early 20th century. The figure depicts the emperor in full armour, holding a cross and a sword, symbolising his role as both a defender of the faith and a military leader. The statue is a testament to the bravery and dedication of Constantine XI Palaiologos, and it serves as a reminder of the critical role that the Byzantine Empire played in the history of Greece and the wider world.
The statue of Constantine XI Palaiologos in Metropolis Square is an integral part of the cultural heritage of Athens, and it continues to be a popular tourist destination for those interested in history, art, and archaeology. Whether as a monument to the last emperor of the Byzantine Empire or as a symbol of the bravery and determination of the Greek people, the statue of Constantine XI Palaiologos in Metropolis Square is an essential part of the city's history and legacy.
The Cathedral of the Annunciation of Athens is a prominent cathedral located in the heart of Athens, Greece. It is the main cathedral of the Greek Orthodox Church and one of the largest and most important religious buildings in the country.
The cathedral was built in the 19th century and is noted for its mix of architectural styles, including Byzantine, neoclassical, and Gothic elements. The interior of the cathedral is richly decorated with frescoes, icons, and other works of art, and it is a popular destination for tourists and pilgrims.
The Cathedral of the Annunciation is an important religious and cultural center for the Greek Orthodox community in Athens, and it continues to play a central role in the religious life of the city. Whether as a place of worship or as a symbol of the rich cultural heritage of Greece, the Cathedral of the Annunciation is an important part of the history and legacy of Athens.
The name "Plaka" is not well-known, but there are several theories about its origin. Some sources suggest that the term "Plaka" is derived from the Greek word "plateia," which means "square" or "marketplace." This is because Plaka was originally a market area in ancient Athens.
Others believe that the name "Plaka" is derived from the Greek word "places," which means "flat" and refers to the flat terrain of the area.
Regardless of its origin, the name "Plaka" has become synonymous with the historic neighbourhood located in the heart of Athens. The area is known for its narrow, cobbled streets, traditional Greek architecture, and vibrant atmosphere, and it is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the city.
Whether as a place to explore the history and culture of Athens or as a destination for shopping, dining, and entertainment, Plaka remains an essential part of the city's heritage and legacy.
The Venizelos House in Athens is a popular tourist destination and a museum of a wealthy 17th-century nobleman's home. The museum provides a glimpse into the city's medieval past and offers visitors a unique opportunity to experience the lifestyle of the rich during that time. Admission to the museum is free, but visitors are encouraged to leave a donation. The museum is a valuable cultural and historical resource for Athens and provides visitors with an educational and engaging experience.
The Athenian society consisted of several distinct social groups, with the noble class and the archontoloi at the top. This class comprised powerful families, such as the Venizelos family, with roots in the Byzantine aristocracy. They drew their power from exploiting land, trading with Venice, France, and the Balkans, and participating in self-rule institutions. They were also known for their education and wealth.
Other social groups in Athens included the noikokyraioi (middle-class small landholders and merchants), the parties (merchants), and the xotarides (tenant farmers/gardeners living on the outskirts of the city). The elders from the noble class, along with Turkish representatives from the central administration, defended the interests of the Christian population, which was the largest group throughout the Ottoman rule.
Many of the houses of the Athenian noblemen were located near the Agora. They were built in the konaki style, a type of urban mansion typical in Ottoman cities from the mid-17th century. These houses featured a court favouring outdoor life, a high wall for privacy, and flexible furnishings. The Benizelos house, the last surviving konaki in Athens, was built in the mid-18th century, incorporating two older buildings and featuring two courts, a stone-built ground floor, and a timber superstructure.
The konaki style of architecture was adopted by the social elite, including the provincial aristocracy, regardless of local customs or religious or national affiliations. It became a transnational mansion model transferred throughout the Ottoman Empire and a part of local tradition.
The upper floor of the mansion features a wooden roofed loggia, which serves as a semi-enclosed transition space. The rooms of the ones can be accessed through the hayiati, while the more secluded areas were transformed into sitting rooms known as sofas. The loggia provides a comfortable and functional space for residents to relax and connect with the surrounding environment. The use of wood in the roofing and the semi-enclosed design create a warm and inviting atmosphere that contributes to the overall comfort and livability of the mansion.
Who knows, maybe Revoula Venizelos lived here.
Saint Philothei, also known as Revoula Venizelos, was a remarkable figure in her time. Her actions and impact captured the attention of not only her fellow Athenians but also Venice, the Patriarchy, and Sultan Murad III himself. She was one of eight women canonised during the Ottoman occupation and among 167 new martyrs.
Born into one of the oldest noble families of Athens, Philothei inherited extensive property and devoted herself to monasticism after becoming a widow at a young age. She founded the Convent of St. Andrew, which was likely established in 1571 and is now the location of the Archdiocese of Athens. She also installed dependencies in Patesia, Kalogreza, and Kea, as well as hostels and hospitals. Her monastery, with 100 to 150 nuns, provided shelter, food, and care to the poor and weak and offered refuge to enslaved people and unfortunate Muslim women who often converted to Christianity. The response from the Ottoman authorities to this activity resulted in her violent death.
St. Philothei was highly regarded by her fellow Christians, including metropolitan, priests, and noblemen, who supported her when she asked for economic assistance for her monastery from the Doge of Venice in 1583 and also intervened on her behalf to the Patriarchy from 1598 to 1601 to recognise her as a saint. Due to her extensive social, charitable, and spiritual work, she remains an important figure in the history of Athens and the Greek Orthodox Church.
Utility rooms were also used for small-scale winemaking, collecting rainwater, and storing food and supplies. These functional spaces played an essential role in the day-to-day operations of the household and helped to ensure the family had access to the resources it needed to thrive. The wine-making process would have been a time-honoured tradition in many families, and the ability to store and preserve food and water would have been crucial for survival. The utility room was not only a functional space but also a symbol of the household's prosperity and self-sufficiency.
The court is a crucial aspect of the archon-tika mansions of the period. The Benizelos family konaki features two spacious courts, one in the front and one in the back of the house, connected by a narrow passage. These courts are adorned with gardens and fruit trees, adding to the elegance and beauty of the mansion. The presence of two courts in the konaki is a testament to the wealth and status of the family and highlights the importance of outdoor spaces in the design and function of these urban mansions.
As we stroll down Adrianou Street, let's glimpse at Athens' rich historical past.
Athens, during its golden age, was a city-state with the Acropolis at its centre, surrounded by walls that also connected it to the harbours of Piraeus and Phaleron. This city is a timeless symbol of democracy and classical civilisation and continues to inspire historians and artists. Despite the city's destruction by the Heruli in 267 AD, Athens quickly regained its previous size and grandeur by the end of the 4th century. The city, however, lost its old glory when the philosophical schools closed in the 6th century and were transformed into a Christianized provincial centre.
In the 9th century, the city saw a new period of prosperity with the construction of numerous churches, and a new fortification, the Rizokastro, was built around the Acropolis. The town was described as prosperous and populous by the Arab geographer al-Idrisi in 1154 but faced challenges from pestilence, famine, and pirate raids. When the Florentine rulers chose Athens as their residence, they established their palace on the Acropolis. They restored the Orthodox metropolis to the city, leading to a new period of intense construction.
Athens was an important urban centre of the Ottoman Empire, with the Acropolis serving as the entire dwelling of the Ottomans. The city expanded beyond its walls and was home to mosques, hammams, tekkes, churches, monasteries, shops, houses, and fountains. From the second half of the 16th century to the mid-17th century, the city saw a significant increase in population, with the Greeks making up two-thirds of the people. In 1778, the city acquired a new wall, the "Haseki" wall, initiated by the Voevoda (governor) Hatzi Ali Haseki.
The late 18th century saw Athens' economic development and the growth of its urban upper class, with approximately 8,000 to 9,000 residents recorded as living in the city. The Greeks were always the majority and held a superior social status. The town continued to be an important urban centre of Central (Sterea) Greece, with administration buildings, mosques, tekkes, churches, schools, baths, shops, a clock tower, and many mansions visible in its labyrinthine urban fabric.
The 74th Primary School of Athens, also known as the "Kambanis School," is a historical and architectural landmark in the city. Founded in 1875 by the first elected Mayor of Athens, Dimitrios Kallifronas, the school was established after the war of independence against the Turks and is based on the method of inter-teaching. Many famous personalities from Greek political, scientific, and cultural life attended this school, including former Prime Minister X. Zolotas, Professor of Pediatrics N. Matsaniotis, and Senior Judge A. Tsoutsos. In 1977, the building was declared a preservable monument by the Hellenic Ministry of Culture due to its neo-classical architectural style. In 2007, the school celebrated its 130 years of service with a small exhibition of archives, student records, and old photos. Today, the 74th Primary School of Athens continues its long tradition of providing education to its pupils.
At the intersection of Adrianou and Flessa Street, right next to the historic 74th Elementary School, you will find Flaneur, a beautifully designed store located at 1 Flessa Street. Flaneur offers a diverse range of souvenirs and products from Greek and international suppliers, making it a must-visit destination for all your shopping needs.
The most delicious place for traditional cuisine can be found at the Stamatopoulou Palia Plakiotiki Taverna in Athens. The history of this establishment dates back to 1882, when it started as a humble grocery store selling homemade wine. By the 1960s, it had evolved into a traditional taverna.
It is known for serving traditional Greek cuisine, including dishes made with locally sourced ingredients. The tavern has a warm and inviting atmosphere, rustic decor and friendly staff.
It would be best to taste the Dolma - a traditional dish from Ottoman cuisine, now popular in many countries that were once part of the Ottoman Empire. It is made by stuffing vegetables, fruit, offal, or seafood or wrapping fillings in grape, cabbage, or other leaves, known as sarma. Dolma can be served warm or at room temperature and has been a part of Middle Eastern cuisine for centuries. The word "dolma" is of Turkish origin and means "something stuffed." Variations of dolma include fillings of ground meat, rice, and saffron, and different ingredients such as sauteed mint leaves and sweet and sour flavours. In Eastern Europe, Jews prepared stuffed cabbage rolls with kosher meat and rice or barley, while in the Persian Gulf, basmati rice and spices like tomatoes, onions, and cumin are used.
Another must-taste dish is moussaka. Moussaka is a popular dish in Greek cuisine, typically made with layers of sautéed eggplant and seasoned ground beef or lamb, topped with a creamy béchamel sauce and baked in the oven. The dish has its origins in the Ottoman Empire and is similar to other Mediterranean and Middle Eastern dishes like moussaka in the Balkan region and imam bayildi in Turkish cuisine. It is a classic comfort food in Greece and is often served as a main dish, accompanied by a side salad or roasted vegetables. The dish can vary in ingredients and preparation methods, but typically includes a combination of eggplant, meat, tomato sauce, and béchamel sauce. Some recipes also include potatoes or zucchini in place of eggplant, and variations in spices and herbs used in the filling and sauce. Overall, moussaka is a rich and flavorful dish that showcases the flavours and ingredients of Greek cuisine.
Don't forget to ask for local homemade wine and have a good appetite!
Lisiou street is a charming and picturesque street in the historic neighbourhood of Plaka in Athens, Greece. It is known for its beautifully restored mansions, shady alleys, charming cafes, and scenic spots that make for great photo opportunities. Visitors can wander through the narrow streets, admire the traditional Greek architecture, and take in the sights and sounds of this bustling neighbourhood while enjoying a coffee or meal.
Mnisikleous street in the Plaka neighbourhood of Athens is a charming and picturesque street known for its famous "stairs" or "skalakia." With its steep stone steps and unique view of the city, it's a popular spot for visitors looking to take in the local atmosphere and admire the traditional Greek lifestyle. Meanwhile, the Bella Vita style is a philosophy of life that emphasises the enjoyment of life's simple pleasures. Whether it's enjoying a coffee or meal, taking in the sights and sounds of the city, or simply relaxing and savouring the moment, the Bella Vita style is all about living life to the fullest. When combined, Mnisikleous street and the Bella Vita style create a perfect setting for those looking to enjoy the best of Athens, take in the local culture, and live life to the fullest.
The street Prytaneiou is named after the ancient Greek prytaneum, which was an important building in the city-state. Over time, the word's meaning has changed, and today it may refer to an old mansion or residence. The irony is interesting, as the street with updated old mansions is named after a building that was once a centre of political and social life in ancient Greece. This shows how the meanings of words and place names can evolve over time and how they can sometimes have a historical connection to the past.
The Monastery of Agii Anargyri, also known as the Metochion of the Holy Sepulcher, is located on the northern side of the Acropolis hill in Athens, Greece. It is situated at the intersection of Prytaniou and Erechtheos Street and is surrounded by a beautiful garden filled with lemon trees. The single-aisle basilica-type church was built in the 17th century and served as a Catholic nunnery. The church has a rich history, owned by the Athenian Kolokynthi family in the 17th century. The Exarch of the Holy Sepulcher lived in the former monastery cells.
The Holy Fire is brought to this church from Jerusalem, and from here, it is distributed to all the churches in Greece. This tradition has added to the significance and importance of the church. The Holy Saturday noon masses at the metochion constitute a significant event and attract large crowds to receive the Holy Fire and participate in the festivities. The church's location near the Acropolis and its beautiful surrounding garden make it a unique and memorable destination for visitors and worshippers alike.
Prytaneou street offers a unique perspective on the snow-covered Euzonas hills in the western part of Athens. These hills are a popular destination for outdoor activities such as hiking and picnicking. While the hills do not typically receive significant snowfall, they offer scenic views of the surrounding countryside and the city of Athens. But the Barbara hurricane gave it a unique white touch. If you're interested in seeing snow, you can travel to higher elevations in other parts of Greece, such as Mount Parnassus or Mount Olympus, which are known for their snow-covered peaks and ski resorts.
Stratonos is a street in Athens, Greece, known for its graffiti and street art. It is a popular destination for tourists and art lovers to see the diverse and ever-evolving murals and street art that cover the walls of the buildings.
The Gorgon is a popular subject in modern street art, with artists depicting her in various classical and contemporary interpretations. Street artists often use the Gorgon as a symbol of strength, femininity, and defiance or as a metaphor for current social and political issues. The Gorgon in street art continues to be a powerful and inspiring figure, reflecting the diversity and complexity of modern society.
Stratonos is a street in Athens famous for its street art. Anafiotika is a small, picturesque neighbourhood on the slopes of the Acropolis with traditional Greek houses. A walk through Stratonos to Anafiotika offers a unique and charming perspective on Athens.
The Holy Church of St. George of the Rock in the Anafiotika district of Plaka, Athens, is a quaint little church built by builders from the island of Anafi in the early 1840s. It is situated on a rocky spur of the Acropolis and is best viewed from the steps on the left side of the church. The church features a small courtyard and a whitewashed facade that gives it a rural appeal. The church is a single-naved barrel-vaulted structure and is only open on special occasions and the name-day of the church. Although the interior is not remarkable, the church is still an important symbol of Athens' rich religious heritage.
Anafiotika is a small, picturesque neighbourhood located on the slopes of the Acropolis in Athens, Greece. It is known for its traditional Greek architecture, with white-washed houses and narrow, winding streets that give it a rural charm. Anafiotika was initially settled by builders from the island of Anafi, who were brought to Athens by King Othon and his Bavarian court in the early 1840s to build the city. Today, Anafiotika is a popular tourist destination and is considered one of the most charming neighbourhoods in Athens. Visitors come to Anafiotika to enjoy its peaceful atmosphere, scenic views, and unique cultural heritage, making it a must-see for anyone visiting Athens.
According to ancient legend, when Argonauts were caught in a storm, Apollo released a golden arrow from his bow, and when it fell into the sea, a harbour appeared. This allowed the Argonauts to find shelter and survive the storm. This event gave the Greek name "Anafi" to the island and later to the neighbourhood in Athens. The community of Anafiotika, located on the slopes of the Acropolis in Athens, Greece, is known for its traditional Greek architecture, picturesque streets, and charming atmosphere. It is a popular tourist destination that offers a unique glimpse into Athens' cultural heritage.
Walking through the narrow streets of Anafiotika, it may seem like you will inevitably reach a dead end. But do not stop there. These narrow stairways will lead you to a path to the Acropolis. Everyone climbs up there, and everyone comes back down. Explore and enjoy the views.
This quarter of Athens has not yet been gentrified. There are many residential and abandoned houses here. Some are in excellent condition, and some are in poor condition. But sometimes, real gems can be found.
This path leads to the road to the Acropolis. It runs parallel to the Peripatos, and the only thing that separates them is a fence.
Peripatos is a Greek word that refers to a path or a walkway. In ancient Greece, the Peripatos was a covered walkway that surrounded the Academy in Athens and was used by students and philosophers for philosophical discussions and walks. The term has since been used to refer to any pathway or promenade.
The view from Anafiotika towards Mount Lycabettus is a breathtaking sight, with the hill's distinctive shape and the city's historical and modern architecture blending uniquely and harmoniously. Whether viewed during the day or at night, the view of Athens from Anafiotika towards Mount Lycabettus is a must-see for anyone visiting the city.
Mount Lycabettus, a hill in Athens, Greece, is one of the city's most recognisable landmarks. The mountain is located in the centre of Athens and rises to 277 meters above sea level, offering panoramic views of the city and the surrounding countryside. The hill is a popular tourist destination and is also home to the Chapel of St. George, a 19th-century church, and a theatre that hosts concerts and performances. Mount Lycabettus is a symbol of Athens' rich cultural heritage and is a popular spot for hiking, picnicking and enjoying the city's scenic beauty.
The name "Lycabettus" is derived from the Greek word "Lykabettos," which means "the one that is walked upon." The name is thought to refer to the hill's shape, which rises steeply from the city and provides a natural path for those who want to hike to the top and enjoy the scenic views. Another theory is that the name is derived from the Greek word "lykos," meaning "wolf," and was inspired by the shape of the hill, which is said to resemble the back of a reclining wolf.
Right to the mountain you can see the Panathenaic Stadium, also known as the Kallimarmaro. It was originally built in 330 BC and was used for athletic competitions, including the ancient Olympic Games. The stadium was restored in the 19th century and now serves as a venue for modern sporting events and cultural performances.
Right to the stadium the Temple of Zeus is visible thanks to its tall columns. The construction of the temple started in the 5th century BC and was one of the largest temples in the city. Today, only ruins remain, but it remains an important symbol of ancient Greek culture.
From the Holy Church of St. George of the Rock in the Anafiotika district in Athens, you would see the stunning view of Mount Lycabettus. On a clear day, you might be able to see Mount Parnitha, which is a mountain range located northwest of Athens, and Mount Olympus, which is located in northern Greece and is the highest mountain in Greece. Mount Lycabettus is a truly breathtaking sight and a must-see for anyone visiting Athens.
The marble plak commemorates the story of Konstantinos Koukides, who is remembered as a symbol of bravery and resistance against the Nazi occupation of Greece during World War II. On April 27, 1941, German troops entered Athens and demanded that the Greek flag be removed from the Acropolis and replaced with the Nazi flag. However, Koukides, who was guarding the flag, refused to surrender it and instead jumped from the Acropolis wrapped in it, sacrificing himself as a symbol of the resistance struggle. He is remembered as a hero and a symbol of the Greek spirit and resistance against oppression.
The Acropolis of Athens is open to visitors every day except for certain national holidays. During the summer months (April 1st to October 31st), the site is open from 8:00 AM to 8:00 PM, and during the winter months (November 1st to March 31st), it is open from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM.
As of my experience in February 2023, the fee for visiting the Acropolis is 10 euros for adults. This fee gives access to the Acropolis and the theater of Dionysus. Concessions are available for students and seniors. Admission is free for children under 18 years of age and for European Union citizens who are permanent residents of Greece.
The birthplace and development of the ancient theatre, both as an art form and architectural concept, can be traced back to this location. It originated from the temple of Dionysos, with the higher plateau called the orchestra being the final destination of the festive procession in the Great Dionysia and the site for the circular Dionysian dances performed by worshipers wearing animal and satyr masks, singing the Dithyramb to honour the god and accompanied by the sound of the aulos. Thespis, credited as the founder of the first documented tragic play, won first prize in the Dionysia of 534 BC. Later, comedy and satyr plays were added to the theatrical competition.
The first theatre, the place where the spectators sat, was situated on the southern slope of the Athenian Acropolis and was referred to as theatre. The ancient sources mention the ikria, a wooden framework of large posts supporting the seats, and recent archaeological evidence confirms that the first theatre was indeed constructed of wood. The wooden infrastructure of the theatre was renovated and expanded with a stage building added after the mid-5th century BC as part of the Periclean building program that included religious and cultural venues such as the Odeon of Pericles. The Peloponnesian War disrupted work on the first monumental stone theatre but eventually resumed after the mid-4th century BC, mainly due to the fiscal policies of Eubulus and Lycurgus. The design of the new Athenian theatre, centred around the circular orchestra, remained the theatrical archetype to this day and was estimated to have a capacity of between 17,000 and 19,000. As theatre types evolved, so did the stage building, with the P-shaped facade being remodelled and monumentalism during the Roman period with the addition of a second storey. During the reign of the philhellene emperor Hadrian, the theatre was transformed into an impressive structure that hosted celebrations of the emperor as a New Dionysos, adorned with monumental statues of the three genres of Dramatic Poetry and bases for statues of the emperor.
In 267 AD, the theatre suffered extensive damage during the Herulian raids, but some of its former glory was restored when the stage front was repaired and embellished with reliefs depicting scenes from the life of the god. The ban on pagan religion and the construction of the early Christian Basilica in the 6th century AD marked the end of the theatre's role, which was linked to numerous highlights in human cultural history.
The stage building of the ancient Theatre of Dionysos underwent the most alteration over its roughly thousand-year history. In the 5th century BC, a permanent stage building was added to the south of the orchestra, which was the central focus of the theatrical performance. This was due to the development of Tragedy, particularly by the great dramatic poets Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides, and the need for a permanent stage building that could serve the theatrical performance in various ways while improving the acoustics.
After the wooden theatre was renovated and extended, the stage building was ultimately constructed with cheaper materials due to financial problems caused by the Peloponnesian War. However, it had a richly painted façade. In the second half of the 4th century BC, the stage building was rebuilt entirely in stone with a marble façade and two projecting wings with Doric colonnades.
In the Roman period, the stage building underwent substantial alterations. Under Nero, it gained a deep proscenium and rich architectural elements on its façade. Under Hadrian, the stage building was altered in a classicising spirit and adorned with monumental female statues and/or satyrs representing the three genres of dramatic poetry.
After being destroyed by the Heruli in 267 AD, the stage building was signified by the Bema of Phaedrus, which was decorated with curved marble slabs depicting scenes from the life of Dionysos. The construction of the early Christian Basilica at the eastern entrance in the 6th century marked the start of a new era. It brought significant changes to the theatrical installation and operation. In 2003-2005, the scattered architectural members from the stage area were processed and displayed for teaching purposes, and the inside of the building received a new straightforward soil fill. These were the first steps in further studying the monument and showing its stage building, including partial restoration and reintegration of remaining architectural material.
The Stoa of Eumenes is placed between the Theatre of Dionysos and the Odeion of Herodes Atticus, along the Peripatos (the ancient road around the Acropolis). The king of Pergamon, Eumenes II, donated this Stoa to the Athenian city during his sovereignty, which endured from 197 B.C. to 159 B.C. This elongated building, 163.00 m. long and 17.65 m. wide, had two storeys. The ground floor façade was formed from a colonnade of 64 doric columns, while the interior colonnade consisted of 32 columns of ionic order. On the upper storey, the exterior colonnade had the equivalent number of double-semicolumns of lonic order. The interior columns had the relatively rare type of capitals, the Pergamene ones. Nowadays, a visible part of the monument is the north retaining wall, reinforced with buttresses connected by semicircular arches. This wall was constructed to hold the north earth dam in place and to support the Peripatos. Today is also visible: the Krene (spring) included in the north wall, the stylobates of the inner colonnade on the ground floor and the foundation of the exterior colonnade. Besides, a part of the sub-structure of the east wall of the stoa had also survived, in addition to the west wall, which suffered some changes during the Roman period when the Odeion of Herodes Atticus was erected.
The Asclepieion, the sanctuary of the god Asclepios and his daughter Hygieia, the personification of "Health", is located to the west of the Theatre of Dionysos, between the Acropolis and the Peripatos, i.e. the road which used to surround it. The Sanctuary was founded in 420/19 B.C. by an Athenian citizen from the deme of Acharnai named Telemachos. The founding of the Asclepieion is recorded in the Telemachos Monument, a votive stele consisting of a narrow shaft, crowned by two slabs with relief panels, which commemorate the arrival of the god in Athens from the Sanctuary of Epidaurus and present him in his new residence at the sanctuary on the South Slope of the Acropolis. A copy of the Monument of Telemachos is exhibited today in the Doric stoa of the sanctuary.
Entrance from the Peripatos to the two courts of the sanctuary was made through a monumental entrance (propylon), which, according to epigraphic sources, was renovated in Roman times. The eastern court, which was entered through a porch at the western side, included the temple and altar of the god as well as two stoas, the so-called Doric Stoa at the north side and the so-called Roman Stoa at the south side, which was added in the roman period, to accommodate the ever-increasing pilgrims to the sanctuary. The Doric Stoa served as an incubation hall for the visitors to the Asclepieion, who stayed there overnight and were miraculously cured by the god, who appeared in their dreams. The lonic stoa (Katagogion), the most important building of the western court, served as a guest-house and refer- tory for the priests and the visitors to the shrine.
The Temple of Asclepios is a building of the 1st century B.C., with a two-column in antis façade and a small cella, which, according to Pausanias, who visited Athens in the 2nd century A.D., housed the statues of Asklepios and his children. In the 3rd century A.D., it was expanded eastwards to create a four-column façade with a wider pronaos.
The Doric Stoa, a two-storey building with a façade of 17 Doric columns, was built in 300/299 B.C., as epigraphical testimonies attest. The stoa integrated into its eastern part the Sacred Spring, i.e. a small cave with a spring in the Acropolis rock since water has always been a significant element in the cult of Asclepios and into its western part the Sacred Bothros, which functioned as a sacrificial pit. The Sacred Bothros was well-built with polygonal masonry in the mezzanine floor of the stoa. It is dated earlier than the stoa, to the last quarter of the 5th century B.C. In this part of the sanctuary took place the Heroa, i.e. the sacrifices to the chthonian dei- ties and the Heroes.
The lonic Stoa is also dated to the last quarter of the 5th century B.C. It was a one-storey building with four rooms and an arcade with ten ionic columns of excellent quality.
In the 6th century A.D., when Christianity replaced paganism, all the buildings in the Asklepieion were integrated into the complex of a large three-aisled Early Christian basilica. In the Byzantine period (11th and 13th centuries), two smaller, single-aisle churches were erected on the basilica site. The last one probably functioned as the catholicon of a small monastery.
After 2002, the west part of the Doric Stoa's ground floor, the Sacred Bo- throws, and the temple of Asklepios were partly restored.
Peripatos is a Greek term that refers to a type of walk or promenade, typically in a park or garden setting. It originates from ancient Greece, where philosophers and scholars would walk and engage in philosophical discussions while strolling through the gardens. The term was later used in the Hellenistic and Roman periods to describe covered walkways in public spaces, such as in the Lyceum of Athens, where Aristotle taught his pupils.
In modern times, the term peripatus is often used to describe a leisurely walk, especially one that takes place in a park or other scenic area. Peripatos walks can be a way to explore nature, enjoy fresh air, and take a break from the hustle and bustle of daily life. They can also be a form of exercise or a way to reflect and contemplate.
In summary, peripatus refers to a type of walk or promenade with roots in ancient Greece and a tradition of being a place for philosophical discussions and leisurely walks in parks or gardens.
The southern slope of the Acropolis offers many beautiful and historical sights to see, including panoramic views of the city, the Evzone hills, and the Saronic Gulf, as well as cultural and historical sites like the Theatre of Dionysus, the Odeon of Herodes Atticus, and the Areopagus Hill. If you're interested in visiting the Temple of Athena Nike visible above, you can easily reach it by walking up the stairs to the Acropolis plateau and following the signs to the temple.
The Odeon of Herodes Atticus is an ancient theatre located on the southern slope of the Acropolis in Athens, Greece. It was built in the 2nd century AD by the wealthy Athenian philanthropist Herodes Atticus in memory of his wife, Regilla. The Odeon was used for musical and theatrical performances and could seat up to 5,000 spectators.
One of the most notable features of the Odeon of Herodes Atticus is its well-preserved stage, one of the largest in the ancient world. The scene was decorated with elaborate marble sculptures and was surrounded by tiers of seating that provided excellent views of the performances. The theatre was also known for its acoustics, which was designed to amplify the sound of performances and make them audible to every member of the audience.
Over the centuries, the Odeon of Herodes Atticus has played host to some of the most fantastic performers and thinkers of Greece and Rome. It was a popular venue for musical concerts, plays, and lectures and was used by philosophers and orators to address the people of Athens. Some of the most famous personalities who performed or spoke at the Odeon include the philosopher Epictetus, the orator Dio Chrysostom, and the musician and composer Herodes Atticus himself.
Today, the Odeon of Herodes Atticus is one of the most famous and well-preserved ancient theatres in Greece and is a popular tourist destination. It has been restored and renovated several times over the centuries and is used for various cultural events, including concerts, theatre productions, and lectures. The Odeon of Herodes Atticus is a testament to the cultural and intellectual richness of ancient Greece. It symbolises Athens' enduring legacy as a centre of learning, art, and culture.
The Acropolis of Athens, a naturally fortified hill, has been inhabited since the Neolithic era in the 13th century BC. During the Mycenaean period, the mountain was fortified and became the seat of the local ruler in the 6th century BC. As the most important sanctuary of the city, primarily dedicated to the goddess Athena, the Acropolis was adorned with the first monumental temples and other buildings, as well as numerous votive offerings such as marble statues of Korai and horse riders and an abundance of clay and metal vases and figurines. Building construction and votive offerings continued until the Roman period.
The most prominent buildings on the Acropolis today, including the Sacred Rock, the monumental Propylaia, the Parthenon, the Erechtheion, and the Temple of Athena Nike, were erected in the 5th century BC under the leadership of Pericles, the inspired political leader who made Athens a dominant power among the Greeks. These monuments, erected as part of Pericles' building program, perfectly adapt architectural styles to the natural environment and symbolise the political, economic, and artistic peak of Athenian democracy.
The history of the Athenian Acropolis extends beyond antiquity, with its monuments undergoing many transformations over time, including during the prevalence of Christianity, as well as during Frankish and Ottoman rule.
From the Propylaia on the Acropolis in Athens, the Temple of Hephaestus in the Agora as well as the nearby Areopagus Hill are well visible. The Temple of Hephaestus is one of the best-preserved ancient temples in Greece and is located in the heart of the Agora, the ancient marketplace and centre of political and social life in Athens. The Areopagus Hill is located just a short distance from the Agora and is famous for its historical and cultural significance.
It's worth noting that the Propylaia is a must-see for anyone visiting the Acropolis, and offers stunning views of the city and the surrounding countryside.
The Acropolis Ticket Office is where you can purchase tickets to visit the Acropolis in Athens, Greece. The Acropolis is one of the most famous and well-preserved ancient landmarks in the world, and a visit to this historic site is a must for anyone interested in ancient history and culture.
The Ticket Office is located at the entrance to the Acropolis and is open daily (with some exceptions for holidays and special events). Visitors can purchase tickets for a guided tour, or they can buy a general admission ticket and explore the site on their own.
It's important to note that tickets for the Acropolis can get busy, especially during peak tourist season, so it's a good idea to arrive early to avoid long lines. Visitors can also purchase tickets in advance online to save time and ensure entry to the site.
In summary, the Acropolis Ticket Office is the place to purchase tickets for a visit to the Acropolis in Athens. Whether you prefer a guided tour or exploring the site, a visit to the Acropolis is an unforgettable experience and a must-see for anyone interested in ancient history and culture.
The Areopagus Hill in Athens, Greece has a rich history and cultural significance. It was once home to the houses of the Classical era and is associated with the spread of Christianity into Greece. According to tradition, the Apostle Paul converted a number of Athenians by teaching the tenets of the new religion from the summit of the hill. One of the converts was Dionysios the Areopagite, who became the patron saint of the city of Athens and its first bishop. The remains of a church named in his honor can be found on the northern slope of the hill.
The Church of St. Dionysios the Areopagite was a three-aisled basilica with a narthex at the west, a central apse, a diakonikon (the apse terminating the southern aisle), and a prothesis (the apse terminating the northern aisle). Built in the mid-16th century, it was likely destroyed by an earthquake in 1601. The church and its grounds were surrounded to the north and west by the monumental Archbishop's Palace, a two-story complex of rooms that included warehouses, a kitchen, a dining hall, and two winepresses. The palace was built between the mid-16th and end of the 17th century.
The best time to visit the Areopagus Hill in Athens is either at sunset or in the hours before sunset. During this time, the city and its surroundings are bathed in warm, golden light, providing a stunning and picturesque view of the city and its iconic landmarks. Additionally, the soft light at sunset can make the historical sites and ruins of the city look especially beautiful and dramatic.
From the Areopagus Hill in Athens, you can see several iconic landmarks and historical sites, including the Agora, the Temple of Hephaestus, and the Acropolis.
The Agora, located near the base of the Areopagus Hill, was the ancient marketplace and centre of political and social life in Athens. From the Areopagus Hill, you can see the well-preserved ruins of the Agora, including the Temple of Hephaestus, one of the best-preserved ancient temples in Greece.
The Acropolis, located on a hill adjacent to the Areopagus Hill, is one of the most famous and well-preserved ancient landmarks in the world. From the Areopagus Hill, you can see the iconic monuments of the Acropolis, such as the temple of Athena Nika and the Erechtheion, as well as the Propylaia, the monumental entrance to the Acropolis.
The view from Areopagus Hill is breathtaking, offering a panoramic perspective of the city and its surrounding landscapes. You can see the sprawling city of Athens, including its modern skyscrapers and ancient ruins, the Saronic Gulf and the nearby hills and mountains.
From the Areopagus Hill, you can see the Propylaia and the Temple of Athena Nike, two iconic monuments on the Acropolis. The Propylaia is the monumental entrance to the Acropolis, while the Temple of Athena Nike is a small temple dedicated to the goddess Athena, the patron goddess of Athens.
From the summit of the Areopagus Hill, you can see the Propylaia and the Temple of Athena Nike in the distance, surrounded by the city of Athens and the nearby hills and mountains. The view of these ancient monuments from Areopagus Hill offers a unique perspective of the rich history and cultural heritage of Athens.
In particular, the view of the Temple of Athena Nike from the Areopagus Hill highlights the intricate details of the temple's columns and sculptures, as well as its location on the edge of the Acropolis. The view of the Propylaia from the Areopagus Hill provides a glimpse into the grandeur of this monumental entrance to the Acropolis and its role in ancient Athens.
In summary, from the Areopagus Hill, you can see the Propylaia and the Temple of Athena Nike, two iconic monuments on the Acropolis. The view of these ancient monuments from the Areopagus Hill offers a unique and panoramic perspective of the rich history and cultural heritage of Athens.
The path leading to the prison of Socrates is located on Pnyx Hill in Athens. Socrates, the famous philosopher and teacher, was sentenced to death by drinking hemlock in 399 BC for corrupting the youth and impiety. However, the location of his prison is not well documented, and there is no evidence to suggest that it was located on Pnyx Hill.
Pnyx Hill, on the other hand, was an important political and religious site in ancient Athens. It was the location of the assembly of the people, known as the Ecclesia, where citizens gathered to discuss and vote on important political matters. The hill was also used as a venue for religious ceremonies and was considered a sacred site in ancient Athens.
In summary, while the location of Socrates' prison is not well documented, there is no evidence to suggest that it was located on Pnyx Hill in Athens. Pnyx Hill, on the other hand, was an important political and religious site in ancient Athens and was the location of the assembly of the people.