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Destinations

A Guide to 10 Archaeological Sites in Greece

When you visit Greece, it’s highly recommended that you visit the famous wealth of archaeological sites. There aren’t many places in the world where you can witness ruins that are thousands of years old. Let’s take a look at the Top 10 Archaeological sites in Greece so you know where to go.

The Acropolis

This is by far the most popular archaeological site in all of Greece. That has a lot to do with its massive size. It’s so large that it can be seen from almost any point in Athens. Of course, many people also visit The Acropolis, or Sacred Rock, because if its history. It was built in the 5th century BC and it’s dedicated to the Goddess of Wisdom.

Theatre of Herodes Atticus

This archaeological site has a romantic history. Herodus Atticus was a wealthy Roman who lived in Athens in 161 AD, which was during Roman rule. He was a wealthy man, and he wanted to do something in memory of his wife, Regilla. The Theatre of Herodes Atticus isn’t available to the public at all times, only during the Athens Festival, which is known for its performances in theatre, music and dance. The Theatre of Herodes Atticus can hold up to 5,000 people.

Theatre of Herodes Atticus

Theatre of Herodes Atticus as viewed from the Acropolis.

The Kerameikos

What immediately stands out about this archaeological site is that it’s green, this is due to the large amount of grass on the ground. This isn’t something found around most sites. The Kerameikos is a cemetery from 12th century BC. Therefore, it was built during Roman Times. You won’t just find a cemetery if you visit. You will also find a museum with sculptures, figurines and more.

The Ancient Agora

The Ancient Agora was once the centre point of Athens. It’s where the Old Market was held, which was a place for trading, social interaction, administrations and more. It was also a place for people to express their ideas and thoughts, which Socrates and Aristotle did on many occasions. Today, the Museum of Agora is a shell of its former self, but that’s what adds to its allure.

Temple of Olympian Zeus

Construction for the Temple of Olympian Zeus began in 6th Century BC. It took over 700 years to complete construction. Unfortunately, this temple dedicated to the Olympian God has spent more time being destroyed than built. Throughout the past several thousand years, war, storms and politics have all contributed to its demise. Today, only 15 of the 104 original columns remain.

Roman Stadium

This is an interesting site because of its sheer size. It can seat up to 50,000 people. This might seem normal by today’s standards, but to have a stadium of that size built in 4th Century BC, when the population was a fraction of what it is today, is incomprehensible. It was first built to host athletic events, but it was abandoned – no one knows why. Luckily, in 329 BC, the stadium was rebuilt with marble, which has helped its durability. Roman Stadium was used for the first Modern Olympic Games in 1896.

Roman Agora and Tower of the Wind

This site was designed by astronomer Adronicus, and financed by the infamous Julius Caesar in 1st century AD. It was built to represent the God of the Winds. It’s a marble octagon that has been used as a sundial, compass, weather vane and more.

The Library of Hadrian in Athens

This library was built in 132 AD. Unfortunately, it hasn’t withstood the test of time very well in regards to durability. If you want to see it, then it’s recommended you visit soon. It’s being destroyed a little every day. The Library of Hadrian in Athens was built by Roman Emperor Hadrian. At that time, you could find high walls, an inner courtyard, gardens and a pool. Today, you will only find remnants, but it’s definitely worth a visit.

Theatre of Dionysos

The Theatre of Dionysos was built in 6th century BC, making it the oldest theatre in Athens. Only 20 sections of the theatre have been preserved. However, much of the theatre has been renovated. This site used to be used for the Festival of the Great Dionysia. Today, it’s a site that offers controversy, debate, mystery and intrigue.

Arch of Hadrian

This famous arch was originally built to separate the Ancient City of Athens and the New City. It was built by Emperor Hadrian in 132 AD, and it’s made of pentelic marble. Two features make it worth visiting, which are the fully symmetrical design and the inscriptions. The inscriptions aren’t as readable as in the past, but if you look closely, you can make them out.

Some people who visit Greece rent their Greek villas and only go to the beaches and nightclubs. This is often the case for the younger crowd. While this can also be a lot of fun, passing on the opportunity to visit the archaeological sites is a big mistake. After you search for the best villas to rent, be sure to add archaeological sites to your itinerary. Visiting archaeological sites in Greece is something everyone should do at least once in their lifetime. If you want to make the most of your holiday to Greece, be sure to look into Greek villas, which are the best accommodations you will find.

Image credits:

Herodes Atticus: Image Courtesy of Wikimedia: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/a/a9/105-odeon-atenas.jpg