Athens offers visitors countless attractions and archaeological sites. Ancient temples, museums with international distinctions and monuments of modern civilization testify to the ancient past of Athens and paint the history of the city from the beginning of inhabitation in 5000 BC until its transformation into a modern European capital. A sightseeing tour in Athens is like a journey through time and history.
Athens can be termed as the city of contrasts and visitors have always been new to discover behind tourist showcase. Whether travelling for tourism or for business reasons or if Athens is for you a stop before your final destination in one of the Greek islands , the city can offer you endless suggestions that will make your days and your nights unforgettable .
Here are a few suggestions of what you can see or do in Athens.
The greatest and finest sanctuary of ancient Athens, dedicated primarily to its patron, the goddess Athena, dominates the centre of the modern city from the rocky crag known as the Acropolis. The most celebrated myths of ancient Athens, its greatest religious festivals, earliest cults and several decisive events in the city’s history are all connected to this sacred precinct. The monuments of the Acropolis stand in harmony with their natural setting. These unique masterpieces of ancient architecture combine different orders and styles of Classical art in a most innovative manner and have influenced art and culture for many centuries. The Acropolis of the fifth century BC is the most accurate reflection of the splendour, power and wealth of Athens at its greatest peak, the golden age of Perikles.
The Acropolis Museum, one of the most important in the world, encompasses unique masterpieces, mainly original works of archaic and classical Greek art, directly linked to the sacred rock of the Athenian Acropolis.
Importantly, the gap in the original Acropolis Museum Parthenon sculptures, which are in European museums and university collections (British Museum, the Louvre, etc.). The Acropolis Museum and its activities are inextricably tied to the archaeological site and the restoration work carried out in the monuments of the Acropolis
November 1 – March 31:
- Tuesday to Thursday: 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 pm (Last admission: 4:30 pm)
- Friday: 9:00 am – 10:00 pm (Last admission 9:30 pm)
- Saturday and Sunday: 9:00 a.m. – 8:00 pm (Last admission 7:30 pm)
April 1 – October 31:
- Tuesday to Sunday: 8:00 am – 8:00 pm (Last admission 7:30 pm)
- Friday: 8:00 am – 10:00 pm (Last admission 9:30 pm)
Closed: Mondays and public holidays 1 January, Easter Sunday, May 1, 25 and 26 December
Entrance fee: 5 euro.
The Agora was the heart of ancient Athens, the focus of political, commercial, administrative and social activity, the religious and cultural centre, and the seat of justice.
The site was occupied without interruption in all periods of the city’s history. It was used as a residential and burial area as early as the Late Neolithic period (3000 B.C.). Early in the 6th century, in the time of Solon, the Agora became a public area.
After a series of repairs and remodelling, it reached its final rectangular form in the 2nd century B.C. Extensive building activity occurred after the serious damage made by the Persians in 480/79 B.C., by the Romans in 89 B.C. and by the Herulae in A.D. 267 while, after the Slavic invasion in A.D. 580, It was gradually abandoned. From the Byzantine period until after 1834, when Athens became the capital of the independent Greek state, the Agora was again developed as a residential area.
TEMPLE OF HEPHAESTUS
On top of Agoraios Kolonos hill, which is delimiting the Ancient Agora of Athens to the west, stands the temple of Hephaestus, broadly known as ?Thisio?. It is one of the best preserved ancient temples, partly because it was transformed into a Christian church. According to the traveller and geographer Pausanias (1, 14, 5-6), two deities were jointly worshipped in the temple: god Hephaestus, protector of all metallurgists, and goddess Athena Ergani, protecting all potters and the cottage industries. The identification of this temple as ?Hephaesteion? (location of worship of the god Hephaestus) was ascertained by the excavations and investigations that brought to light metallurgy workshops on the wider area of the hill, thus outshining earlier opinions presuming that Theseus, Hercules or Aris (Mars) were the deities worshipped there. The temple was probably erected between 460 and 420 BC by a yet unknown architect, to whom, however, are attributed other temples of similar structure in the Attica region.
Keramikos is the largest cemetery of ancient Athens. It is the only one that has not been covered by the building of the modern city and offers excellent conditions archaeological research and accessibility to the public. The area includes part of the river Eridanus both sides of which pass through two major routes, part of the fortifications of asty with two monumental gates, as well as numerous monuments residential, worship and burial character dating from prehistoric to Byzantine times.
With its undisputable charm, this area is one of the most frequented by visitors and natives alike. Plaka’s winding pathways carry thousands of years of history. Walk amongst the buildings whose facades are dressed in 19th century neoclassical design and architecture. Dine at one or several of its restaurants. And explore the ancient monuments, contemporary museums and traditional souvenir shops throughout.