Top 5 Athens Historic Landmarks

The very common questions for everybody is visiting Athens are “Where to go” and “What to see”, undoubtfully, there are so many common answers for them. As it is so easy to do these questions, the answers are very complicated. Much depends on a number of factors such as:

  • How long do you intend to stay in Athens?
  • What season of the year are you gonna be there?
  • Are you travelling with children or alone?
  • Is it a cultural, historical or a simple visit?
  • Or maybe is all the above?

It is obvious that, only you, can answer these questions. However, there is no way to give you the perfect answer to the question “What to visit in Athens” but we can point you the top 5 historical landmarks of the city, that you “must” see.

Ancient Greeks aimed at harmony between all aspects of life, religion, art, sports, entertainment, knowledge and always honored their heroes.

The Acropolis, is the most famous of historic sites in Greece and worldwide, is the symbol and the outstanding landmark of the city. The temple of Olympian Zeus, with the large surrounding area and the more recent Romans Emperor Hadrians 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 and the Theatre of Dionysus was the place where all the ancient dramas were applauded by the public in those times.

Theatre of Dionysus

The theater of Dionysus is located on the south side of the Acropolis was the center of theatrical performances were held in ancient Athens.  Celebrations dedicated to Dionysus -protector god of wine and scenic art- called “Great Dionysia” and were celebrated in late March or early April. There, all Athenian citizens attended theatrical competitions which had been financially sponsored by affluent citizens.The plays of Aeschylus, Sophocles, Eurypides and other famous writers were first played in this theatre. 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.

theatre of dionysus

The Ancient Agora

Ancient Agora of Athens is the open space located northwest of the Acropolis. In ancient times it was an administrative, philosophical, educational, social, cultural and especially the economical downtown. Ancient Agora crossed by the Panathenean street which was passed by the great procession during the celebrations dedicated to Athena, protector goddess of  the city.  The Ancient Agora, includes a complex structure of buildings and temples, such as the temple of god Hephaestus, the Vouleftirion, the Tholos, where the great politicians of the city met to discuss matters of Athenian democracy, and where the weights and the 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.

ancient agora and acropolis

Hadrian’s Arch

Hadrian’s Arch is located in the northwest side of  the temple of Zeus, was built in 131-132 A.D. by the Athenians as a triumphal arch in honor of the great Roman Emperor Hadrian, benefactor of the city.  It was built on an ancient road that linked the city with the Holy Parilisia and constituted a milestone between the old and new city. The temple was manufactured from the famous marble of mount Penteli and still maintains all of its ancient glory.

Arch_of_Hadrian_Athens

The temple of Olympian Zeus

The Temple of Olympian Zeus or Olympieio is an important temple in the center of Athens. Although the construction began in the 6th century BC, was not completed, till the years of the Roman Emperor Hadrian in the 2nd century AD . It was the largest temple in Greece during the Hellenistic and Roman times. The temple is dedicated to the father of all the ancient Greek gods, Zeus.

olympian zeus temple

 

Acropolis

The Acropolis is not only the emblem of the city but also the most important ancient monument in the western world. The earliest finds, date back to Neolithic era (3500 BC).  The area is a complex of temples built on a high rock structure, symbol of the Golden Age of Pericles. The main temple “Parthenon”, dedicated to the goddess of wisdom Athena – also protector goddess of the city- . The Acropolis rock is still considered as sacred ground and the Parthenon as a magnificent example of ancient Greek architecture and geometry. Through the centuries, the Acropolis and the temples of the ancient gods had a very stormy history. Some of them were transformed into Christian churches, the Holly rock was used as a fortress by the Turks and in the 19th century a large part of the Parthenon marbles were taken to Great Britain where they still remain. In fact, the Acropolis remains the most outstanding historic site in Athens.

Exterior of the Propylaea and the Parthenon

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