Entrances - Exits
– Anthoupoli: 05:37
Elliniko: 05:38/ 05:44*
– Anthoupoli: 00:18 / 01:25**
– Elliniko: 00:24 / 01:31**
*Valid only on Saturdays & Sundays
**Valid only Friday and Saturday nights
Points of Interest
This is a residential area, which extends from Dionysiou Areopagitou St to the foot of Philopappou Hill. The neoclassical houses, as well as newer constructions (such as buildings dating to the interwar period) are quite charming. Makrigianni is one of the city’s most elegant neighbourhoods. Stroll around Mitsaion St, Parthenonos St, Webster St, Cavalloti St, Kallisperi St, R. Gali St, Mouson St to get an idea of the area’s style and flair.
A 3-kilometre pedestrian zone has been created along some of Athens’ central streets (Vas. Olgas St, D. Areopagitou St, Ap. Pavlou St, Adrianou St. and a section of Ermou St) and it leads to the archaeological sites of the city (archaeological park), which are famous the world over. The area has been rid of all the city’s noisy activities as it was reshaped to a large extent, from Dionysiou Areopagitou St (opposite Hadrian’s Arch) up to the intersection of Ermou St and Peiraios St (Kerameikos area) to offer visitors a view of the ancient urban landscape. This tour of the sights will surely be a memorable one for you.
Dionysiou Aeropagitou St provides a fine view of the southern slope of the Acropolis Rock, where the Parthenon and some of the city’s most significant monuments are located. Most of the buildings along the street were constructed in the late 19th and early 20th century in the neoclassical or modernist style, which reflects the bourgeois trend, fashionable at that time.
The Acropolis - called the Sacred Rock - is the symbol of Athens across the ages, one that links the ancient Greek civilisation to the modern city. The monuments on the Rock date back to the prehistoric era and early historical times, and their grandeur and beauty attract Greek and foreign visitors around the year. A visit to the Acropolis is an experience not to be missed.
Climbing the rock is definitely worth the effort. You will be rewarded with fantastic views on the top. The first monument you’ll see is the Propylaea (the Entrance Gate). Walk towards the famous Parthenon; you will be impressed by the harmony of the edifice. Its imposing columns are slightly tilted mid-high, giving the impression that they are about to yield under the weight of the roof. None of the structure’s lines are upright, so, in perspective, you’ll have the optical illusion of the columns curving in the middle. The view from the temple of Athena Nike [Victory] is quite amazing, too. The Erechtheion is a temple constructed according to the ancient Athenian standards. However, it bears no likeness to a typical Athenian temple of the time. It is an asymmetrical structure, built on two levels, with two balconies, which are very different from one another. The small balcony on the south side is the famous one, on account of the six Caryatids [statues of maidens] that support the roof. The differences between the sections of the temple may be due to the fact that each part was dedicated to a different god. The eastern section was dedicated to Athena Poliada, and the western section to Poseidon Erechtheus.
The Acropolis Museum.
This is one of the most impressive modern buildings in Athens. It was designed by architects B. Tschumi and M. Fotiadis, and construction was completed in 2007. It is situated 300 m. away from the Acropolis Rock, covering a total area of 21,000 sq.m, and the interior display area is 14,000 sq.m. It is made of steel, glass and concrete, and it makes efficient use of natural light so that its 4,000 exhibits are properly displayed. The top floor (The Parthenon room) has the dimensions and the direction of the Parthenon and it has been arranged so that the visitors have straight eye contact with the monument. The surrounding area, visible from the glass floor of the ground level, is an open-air museum / excavation site. The Museum main entrance is on Dionysiou Areopagitou St. and the imposing Weiller building stands in the museum’s exterior space. It was named after W. Von Weiller, the German architect who built it, and it combines the Byzantine style masonry with neoclassical decorative patterns. Initially, it was used as a military hospital and later as a police station. Since 1987, it has housed the “Acropolis Research Centre''.
The Olympieion includes the sanctuary of Olympian Zeus, Roman baths, houses dating to the ancient Greek classical period as well as a section of the ancient city walls. According to the ancient Greek geographer Pausanias, the temple of Olympian Zeus was founded by Deukalionas, a mythical ancestor of the Greeks. Circa 515 BC, Peisistratos the Younger (an Athenian Tyrant) began construction works on the old temple, to change it into a more impressive newer one. However, tyranny was abolished in Athens, and the works halted. The building of the new temple was later assigned to the Roman architect Decimus Cossutius by the king of Syria Antiochus IV, Epiphanes. Antiochus died in 163 BC and the construction of the temple stopped once again. At that point, the structure lacked a roof and pediments. The temple was completed in 131 AD by the Roman Emperor Hadrian, and it is one of the largest in the ancient world. It was designed in the Corinthian architectural order (110m in length and approximately 44m in width); there are three rows of eight columns at the narrow sides and two rows of twenty columns at the long sides. Inside the temple there was a gold and ivory statue of Zeus which has not survived.
The surviving section of the Ilissos river valley (right behind the temple of Olympian Zeus) is worth a visit. The Ilissos river was believed to be the sacred river of the Muses [deities of the Arts]. You will see the scattered ruins of ancient sanctuaries in the area, right next to the rock of the Kallirroi spring, and the church of Agia Fotini, which was built in 1872 on the site of an older temple, on the foundations of the sanctuary of goddess Ekati. In the vicinity, you will also see monuments of the ancient Greek Classical, the Roman, and the Byzantine Period, such as the Temple of Apollo Delfinios, the Temple of Cronus and Rhea, the workshops in the Byzantine quarter, and the Basilica of Leonidis.
After the construction of the temple of Zeus, the Athenians built an arch on the northwestern perimeter of the temple in 131 AD, to honour the Emperor Hadrian. The monument is 18m tall and 13m wide while the arch, which was built of Pentelic marble [top quality marble from Mt Penteli, Attica], bears two inscriptions on the architrave over the arch. The inscription which faces the Acropolis and the old town (west side) reads: “This is Athens, the city of Theseus.” The other inscription on the side that faces the sanctuary and the extension of Athens constructed by Hadrian, (east side) reads: “This is the city of Hadrian, not Theseus.”
Enter the archaeological site by the southern slope of the Acropolis (entrance at Dionysiou Areopagitou St), and head upwards. On your right you will see the Theatre of Dionysus, the oldest theatre of the known ancient world. This theatre’s auditorium and proscenium were initially made of wood. Fifth century BC famous Greek playwrights, such as Aeschylus, Aristophanes, Euripides, and Sophocles watched their plays being performed for the first time on this stage. During the 4th century BC the theatre was rebuilt using marble, and sections of the stone auditorium have survived to the present day. According to experts, the theatre seated 17,000. On the slope overlooking the theatre, you will see the Monument of Thrasyllus (319 BC) and two Corinthian - style columns carved on the rock. The monuments were sponsored by wealthy Athenians.
The next monument you will see is the Stoa of Eumenes, which was built by the King of Pergamum, Eumenes II in the 2nd century BC. The archway provided shelter to theatregoers against bad weather or the strong sun. Continue further up, and you will see the ruins of Asklepieion (a type of ancient hospital), which was built in 429 BC following the plague, which decimated the Athenian population.
The Odeion of Herodes Atticus was built in 161 AD by the wealthy Herodes Tiberius Claudius Atticus, a teacher and philosopher, who had inherited a considerable fortune from his father. When his wife Regilla died, Herodes Atticus built the sheltered Odeion where musical performances would be held in her memory. Later, a variety of other cultural events were also held there. Today, the 5,000-seat theatre is a summer venue for performances, as part of the Athens Epidaurus Festival. The best time to enjoy your visit to this monument is during the morning light hours, as part of your walk towards the Acropolis.
The Areopagus is the oldest court of law in the world, and an institution held in high regard by the ancient Athenians. This was also the seat of the first aristocratic assembly of Athens. However, it gradually lost its political status, and from the second half of the 5th c. BC, it operated solely as a court of law, where mostly homicide cases were tried. As described in the tragedy ‘Oresteia’, this was the location of Orestes’ trial for the murder of his mother Clytemnaestra, and her lover Aegisthus. This was also the place where the Apostle Paul preached to the Athenians in 51 AD; there is a bronze plaque on the base of the rock, which testifies to the event.
You will enjoy visiting this hill any time of the year, as this place is nothing short of interesting: It is a green area to go for a stroll, and you will pass by monuments such as the location believed to have been Socrates’ prison, the Kimoneia Tomb, the ancient Koilis Way, which was a bustling commercial street, lined with shops and houses, the Mousaiou Sanctuary, and the Philopappou Monument. Last but not least, one of the greatest pros of this location is that it offers amazing views of the Acropolis, and the Parthenon in particular.
The Philopappou Monument, which was built by the Athenians in the 2nd century AD, to honour Julius Antiochus Philoppapus, the great benefactor of the city of Athens, who was the exiled ruler of ancient Kommagini (a part of present-day Syria). He became an Athenian citizen and held public and religious offices.
Greek architect D. Pikionis designed the area from Propylaea, Acropolis all the way to Philopappou Hill as a single architectural zone. He built cobbled ways which lead to the monuments, the church of St. Demetrius Loubardiaris and the nearby café. The entire area is inscribed on UNESCO’s World Heritage Site List as part of the Acropolis, Athens entry.