5 Stunning Ancient Athens Attractions You Need to See

Photo by: Bigstockphoto
Photo by: Bigstockphoto

Athens is the capital of Greece. For thousands of years, Athens has been the central political, trade and cultural center of the country. It is also the largest city in Greece and is one of the oldest cities in the world. In fact, the earliest human presence recorded in Greece is 11th and 7th millennium BC. That’s why Athens is renowned for its ancient structures, bustling metropolis, and rich history. If you are touring Athens, do not miss any of these fantastic sights:

1. The Acropolis

With the imposing Parthenon temple dominating the landscape, the Acropolis serves as a reminder of Athen’s glory days. The Acropolis was the center of ancient Athens. It served as a fortress that protects the hilly landscapes of the city. The Parthenon is a historic structure that dates back to 447 BC to 338 BC. The structure features stunning rows of Doric columns with ornate stone carvings. Acropolis also features various ruins including the Erechtheion. The Erechtheion is a sanctuary complex that features the famed Porch of the Caryatids.

2. National Archaeology Museum
44 Patission Street, Athens

Touring Athens is like stepping back in time. To get to know the city’s amazing history, we recommend touring the National Archaeology Museum. The National Archaeology Museum is designed to showcase the Greek civilization from prehistory through the classical to late antiquity periods. This 8,000 square meters museum houses over 11,000 exhibits. It features a comprehensive archive of antiques, ancient relics, sculptures, and various artworks from the Neolithic, Cycladic, Mycenaean periods and beyond! Rare masterpieces, including 11th century pottery, classic Roman art pieces, and exquisite figurines are also on display.

3. Agora
24 Andrianou Street, Athens

Another amazing ruin you should see in Athens is the Agora. The Agora is an ancient marketplace. It was the center of everyday life among average Athenians. Agora translates to “gather and orate,” in Greek. Apart from serving as a central trading hub among ancient Athenians, Agora was also a sight for public speaking and athletic events.

From afar, Agora casts an imposing view. We recommend entering the marketplace at the north gate in Adrianoú Street and make your way into the middle of Agora. One of the most curious features of the marketplace is an 18-meter-long Royal Stoa. The Royal Stoa was the seat of the Archon Basileus back when the site was used for cultic functions by early kings. According to historians, the Stoa could be the site where Socrates’ trial was held.

4. Church of the Holy Apostles

Still in Agora, the Church of the Holy Apostles was the only build left from the entire Athenian quarter. Built in 10th century, this well-preserved church features ashlar masonry with ornamental Kufic inscriptions on the façade. The church was built over a sacred spring. The Church of the Holy Apostles also features an impressive dome supported by four columns. Inside the dome are original frescoes that depict Christ Pantocrator, John the Baptist, and the archangels!

5. Temple of Olympian Zeus
City Center near the Athens Gate and Athanasiou Diakou Street, Athens

As the name implies, the Temple of Olympian Zeus was built for Zeus, the supreme god of the ancient Greeks. The Olympeion is the largest temple in ancient Greece, a befitting structure to honor an all-powerful god. Built in the 6th century, the Olympeion features massive marble columns that once supported a magnificent sanctuary. On the north side of the temple is a small park that features the ruins of the Themistokles’ wall and the famed Roman baths.