As one of the oldest cities in the world, Athens boasts a staggering number of ancient monuments from antiquity.
The city is peppered with ancient remains that bear witness to the glory days of Ancient Greece.
Here you can find our list of the 15 most impressive monuments from antiquity in Athens.
Let's dive in!
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The most famous monument of ancient Greece is undoubtedly the Acropolis. The UNESCO World Heritage Site is located on a 156-meter-high rock and is basically a temple precinct. The Athenian Acropolis is also called the cradle of democracy because great philosophers like Socrates once gave their speeches here. Today, as in an open-air museum, you can admire here important ruins such as the Erechtheion or the Temple of Nike, which illustrate the overwhelming architecture of ancient Athens.
At the top of the Acropolis rises the massive Parthenon. Dating back to the 5th century BC, the marble temple was built in honor of Athena and is considered the pinnacle of classical architecture. Even though time has affected the Parthenon, the temple complex has been preserved in large parts and is now one of the most famous landmarks of Greece.
The Olympieion is both one of the largest temples in the Greek area and one of the most important temples of antiquity. It took the Athenians 800 years to complete the Olympieion, which is also called the Temple of Olympian Zeus. Today, not much of the complex remains. 15 majestic columns rise 17 meters into the sky.
If you want to follow in the footsteps of antiquity, the Agora is a must-see. One of the city's top sights, the 2000-year-old marketplace and meeting place of ancient Athens offers a glimpse into the daily life of the time. The place where social life once took place is home to grandiose structures of ancient Athens such as the Temple of Hephaestus and the Stoa of Attalus.
5. Temple of Hephaestus
One of the best preserved monuments from ancient times is the Temple of Hephaestus. It is dedicated to Hephaistos, the god of forging and fire. The marble temple, dating back to the 5th century BC, is decorated with mythological scenes and the deeds of Theseus and Heracles, which can still be admired today.
6. Stoa of Attalos
The Stoa of Attalus, on the east side of the Agora, is a covered portico from antiquity that served as a meeting place and market hall. After it was destroyed, it was rebuilt in the middle of the 20th century, true to the original. Inside is the Museum of the Agora, which houses impressive finds from the area. Some of them date back to the Stone Age.
7. Panathinaiko Stadium
The Panathinaiko Stadium was originally built in the 4th century BC as a venue for festive games, competitions and celebrations. After it was rediscovered during excavation works, the stadium was reconstructed and brought back to life as the venue of the first Olympic Games of modern times in 1896. Today, the Panathinaiko Stadium is open to visitors who wish to feel the spirit of the Panathenaic Games from ancient times and the Olympic Games of modern times.
8. Roman Agora
The Roman Agora was built under the Roman Emperor Augustus as a second market and meeting place to the east of the ancient Agora. Impressive buildings such as an entrance gate, the Tower of the Winds from the 2nd century BC and the 15th century Ottoman Fethije Mosque are also located in the square surrounded by porticoes.
9. Odeon of Herodes Atticus
The Odeon of Herodes Atticus at the foot of the Acropolis is an amazingly well-preserved theater from antiquity. It is still one of the most important stages in Athens for concerts, festivals, operas, ballet performances and ancient Greek tragedies.
Kerameikos, in the neighborhood of the same name, is an important excavation site. Visitors can admire ancient walls, tombs with sculptural works of art, and two city gates. In addition, there is an archaeological museum. There are exhibits from the area, which was the most important cemetery in ancient Athens and the resting place of war heroes and important citizens.
11. Hadrian's Library
Not far from Monastiraki Square rises Hadrian's Library, one of the largest libraries of antiquity. The library complex, donated by the Roman Emperor Hadrian, served as a place of knowledge and culture. It consisted of several lecture halls, side rooms, a library hall, a garden and an odeon. The ruins of Hadrian's Library are still worth seeing today.
12. Philopappos Monument
Perched on the top of Filopappou Hill, the Philopappos Monument dates back to the 1st century A.D. The massive monument was built in honor of the benefactor Julius Antiochus Philopappos. Even though it only partially exists, it is worth visiting the ancient funerary monument. In addition to the elaborate decorations and sculptures of the Philopappos Monument, the view from the 147 m high Filopappou Hill is also inspiring.
13. Dionysus Theater
The Dionysus Theater dates back to the 5th century BC and is considered the birthplace of theater and drama. Although the former theater is marked by the ravages of time, the ruins of the Dionysus Theater transport visitors to a time when famous ancient tragedian poets such as Sophocles and Euripides performed their plays here.
14. Hadrian's Gate
The 18-meter-high Hadrian's Gate at the entrance to the Olympieion is dedicated to the Roman emperor of the same name. The monumental marble gate was completed in 132 AD and combines Roman and Greek elements. The monument of honor became a model for triumphal arches.
15. The Prison of Socrates
Remains from ancient times can also be found on Filopappou Hill. In addition to the aforementioned Philopappos Monument, two rock caves are located here, which have bars and are referred to as the prison of Socrates. Although it is now believed that this is not the real prison of the philosopher, the well-preserved complex of passages and chambers is an interesting ancient site.
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