Top Tourist Attractions To Complete Your Athens Trip

Top Tourist Attractions To Complete Your Athens Trip

The city of Athens has a magnificent history which dates to more than 3000 years ago. It is a symbol of Western Civilization. The city has a glorious past and flourished during classical antiquity. Athens is a birthplace of some great artists like Socrates, Pericles, and Sophocles. Today, Athens is a modern city with some of the most beautiful tourist attractions.

One of the world’s most breathtaking ancient ruins, the Acropolis, is at Athens. You will also find some truly exceptional museums displaying fascinating artifacts at local sites. The astounding Byzantine churches all around the city and village-like neighborhood at the north of the Acropolis are few hidden gems waiting to get discovered. Just when you think that you have nothing else left to do in Athens, visit the Plaka district’s narrow pedestrian streets. The streets are lined with quaint bougainvillea-draped houses and amazing terrace restaurants.

During the summer season, the city is quite busy and hectic, but you can enjoy good weather during the spring and fall with fewer tourists. Below mentioned are some of the amazing tourist attractions in Athens for sightseeing.

1. The Acropolis

There are very few sights in the world which can be compared to Athens’ Acropolis. The Acropolis was centrally located in the ancient city and still reminds of the glorious ancient Athens. The fortress was used as a protection as it had a hilltop location. The Parthenon temple, a symbolic building, and the largest temple of classical antiquity from 447 BC to 338 BC, perches high on a rocky cliff and keeps an eye over centuries old civilization. The temple has monumental rows of Doric columns and stunning sculptural details which will get you awestruck.

Other highlights of the Acropolis are the Temple of Athena Nike at the entrance and Erechtheion which is complex of ancient sanctuaries built during 421 BC and 395 BC. The most remarkable thing about this complex is the Porch of the Caryatids. It has six statues of maidens in place of Doric columns. Sunset looks amazing for the Acropolis.

You will get the most beautiful view of the Acropolis from the north side of the hill. There are many street side restaurants on Apostolou Pavlou which looks up to the Acropolis. Dining in the rooftop of these restaurants will give you incredible views across the Acropolis and other ruins.

2. Acropolis Museum

Acropolis Museum is the next top attraction to visit at Athens. It has the most valuable collections of ancient Greek art in the world. The former museum was replaced and redesigning of the new facility was completed in 2007 below the Acropolis hilltop. The area of this museum is 25000 square meters and has an exhibition space of 14000 square meters. The layout of this museum is unique and has an ancient Athenian neighborhood. When it is a hot day at Athens, visiting the Acropolis Museum is the best thing to do.

3. National Archaeology Museum

National Archaeology Museum in Athens is the largest archaeological museum in Greece which was founded in the 19th century. It is considered as one of the greatest antiquities’ museums in the world. It is built in an impressive Neoclassical building which has a separate area of 8000 square meters for exhibition. There are five permanent collections and more than 11000 exhibits on display. The museum gives and overview of Greek civilization from prehistoric through classical period to late antiquity.

The findings from the prehistoric settlement at Thera is represented in the Prehistoric Collection. Ancient Greek sculptures and some rare masterpieces from the sixth and fifth century BC can be seen in the Sculpture Collection. Ancient Greek pottery from the 11th century BC to the classical Roman period is showcased in the Vase and Decorative Objects Collections. In the Metallurgy Collection you will find exquisite little statues and figurines which are sculpted from metals.

4. The Plaka And Anafiotika Neighborhoods

The scenic Plaka neighborhood, situated between the northern slopes of the Acropolis and Ermou Street, is a hot spot for tourists. The village ambience of this historic area charms the tourists. Pastel-painted houses, restaurants, and shops are along the narrow pedestrian streets and the cheerful little squares of the Plaka quarter. The 1st century BC Roman Agora and the 2nd century Library of Hadrian are two important archaeological sites to explore on Pepopida street.

When you have visited all the ruins and museums, a leisurely stroll through the beautiful neighborhood of the Plaka is the best thing to do. There are historic churches in the corners like the Metamorfosis Church in the southwest and the Church of Kapnikarea in the north. The Plaka quarter has many authentic Greek restaurants with a roof top setting. In the evening, you will have a delightful experience exploring the medieval streets of Anafiotika. Restaurant Staircase on Mnisikleous Street is quite famous.

5. Ancient Agora: Ruins Of The Marketplace

Agora in Greek means to “gather and orate”. The Ancient Agora was a site where public speaking took place, it was a place of administration and commerce. The civic decision-making group, Agora tou Dimou, met at this location. Many athletic events and theater performances were held here. It was a marketplace and a center for everyday activities. From the north wall of the Acropolis or the road from the Areopagus, you can see a mesmerizing view of the Agora.

Stoa of Attalos was built by King Attalos II and was reconstructed in 1950s. It is considered that Socrates’ trial in 399 BC might have taken place here. It is one of the most striking features of Ancient Agora. Another highlight is the Temple of Hephaistos. This Doric temple was saved from destruction after it got converted into a Christian church. It is one of the best-preserved ancient Greek temples from the 5th century BC.

6. The Roman Agora And Hadrian’s Library

Roman Agora is adjacent to Ancient Agora. Tower of the Winds is one of the highlights of this place. Founded by Emperor Hadrian in 132 AD, the ancient Hadrian’s Library is on the edge of the Roman Agora. Near the site of the library, three churches were built during Byzantine times. One wall of Hadrian’s Library and ruins of the Roman Agora are visible from the streets.

7. Museum Of Cycladic Art

Nicholas and Dolly Goulandris Foundation created the Museum of Cycladic Art in 1986 in the Kolonaki quarter. It is in a sleek modern building with a façade of marbles and glass. The main collection of the museum is a part of Goulandris’ own collection. He is a quite famous patron of the art and cultural life in Athens.

The permanent collection of the museum has more than 3000 objects. The Greek art, ancient art of the Cyclades, and Cypriot art from the 4th century BC to the 6th century BC are a part of these permanent collection. The Stathatos Mansion, an elegant 19th century building, is a place where all the temporary exhibits are held.

8. Olympieion: Temple Of Olympian Zeus

The Temple of Olympian Zeus is dedicated to Zeus and was the largest temple in ancient Greece. Also known as the Olympieion, this temple was a monumental structure during that period. The construction of the temple began at s6th century BC and was completed in 2nd century AD by the Emperor Hadrian. Hadrian’s Arch is in front of the Olympieion at the end of Dionysiou Areopagitou.

The temple had a grand architectural impression. It had more than a hundred marble columns initially which supported the grandiose column. The enormous size of the building can be sensed through the 15 columns which stands now. This massive piece of architecture was a shrine to Zeus, the most powerful Greek god, also known as the King of Gods.

In the north of the Olympieion is a small park which contains the ruins of Themistokles’ wall and the ancient Roman baths. The baths are quite remarkable and a free attraction spot for tourists.

9. Panathenaic Stadium And Olympic Stadium

With a capacity of 60000 spectators, the Panathenaic Stadium is the largest ancient Athens’s buildings. It was constructed in 335 BC during the era of Herodes Atticus. Panathenaic Games were hosted in this stadium where various running competitions were held. Track, 204-meter-long, was designed with four double herms for runners to turn in the races. New marble seating arrangement was done in the stadium by Herodes Atticus in 140 AD.

A replica of the original stadium was built which is visited by tourists. It was rebuilt for the Olympics Games of 1896. This stadium was built same as the Panathenaic Stadium with 47 tiers of seating and a rounded southeast end. Concerts and other events are hosted here during the summer. A nice evening can be spent by attending a show here.

10. Byzantine Museum

Fascinating insights about the Byzantine period of the Greek history can be gained in this interesting museum. The museum stands in a 19th century palace which was originally built for the Duchesse de Plaisance, the wife of Charles-Francois Lebrun of France. Precious collection of Byzantine art is displayed in the museum.

After the Roman Empire fell, the Byzantine Empire inherited the eastern half of it. They ruled from 3rd century to the 15th century, over the land which is now called the Balkans, Greece, and Asia Minor. It was during this period when religious art was highly valued. Artists during that era created masterpieces of detailed, glittering mosaics, and gilded icons.

There are more than 25000 artifacts on display. The museum is a treasure of religious artifacts from Byzantine period as well as from the early Christian, medieval, and post-Byzantine eras. Sculptures, paintings, icons, textiles, and mosaics are a part of the collection. You will enjoy looking at the architectural fragments from early Christian basilicas, Byzantine churches, and the reproduction of a fountain depicted at the Monastery of Dafni. Splendid fragment of a mosaic floor from the fifth century is featured in the museum’s courtyard.

11. Monastiraki And The Flea Market

Jewelry, trinkets, clothing items, and everyday goods, you will find everything in the shops which are lined in the narrow streets of Flea Market in Monastiraki. Tourists get drawn to this area as it has a very unique vibe and is a perfect place to relax at an outdoor patio. There are many restaurants in Monastiraki where you can grab some delicious gyros or any other traditional Greek dish. Monastiraki is a casual place unlike Plaka district which is more upscale.

Monastiraki Square is surrounded by old and new buildings with an open area. Acropolis can be seen from here. Hadrian’s Library is just a small walk away. This is a nice place to wander about.

12. Panaghia Kapnikarea Church

Situated on the busy streets of Ermou, the Panaghia Kapnikarea Church is a pleasant place to visit. The church depicts splendid architectural work from the 11th century Byzantine era, and it contrasts perfectly with the modern architecture that surrounds it. In the 19th century the church was saved from getting demolished by King Ludwig I of Bavaria.

Domed cruciform churches were common when this church was built. During the 12th century, an entrance portico and a narthex featuring four pediments were added to the church to enhance it. The church has painting from the 19th century which were created in iconographic style of the Middle Byzantine period.

13. Changing Of The Guard At Syntagma Square

Changing of the Guard at Syntagma Square is an exciting and memorable experience for many tourists. Hellenic Parliament on Syntagma Square witnesses the Soldiers of the Presidential Guard stand in front of it for 24 hours a day for the entire year. Traditional costumes with pleated skirts, leg tassels, and pompom shoes is worn by the guards.

In front of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier monument, the Changing of the Guards takes place everyday at 11 am. The monument is built for those soldiers who died while fighting for the country. There is a marble relief in the monument which imitates a warrior grave stele of ancient times.

14. Church By The Holy Apostles

This church was built in 10th century and stand above a nymphaion. When the entire quarter of Athens was demolished to excavate the Agora archaeological site, the Church of the Holy Apostles was the only building which was left standing. The ashlar masonry and its ornamental Kufic inscriptions in the exterior is its notable features. Just like any other Byzantine architecture, this church too has a dome which is supported on four columns. It also has the apse and transepts which features semicircular conches.

There are original frescoes in the interior of the dome which depicts Christ Pantocrator, John the Baptist, adorable little cherubim, and archangels. 11th century’s original iconostasis has also been preserved here.

The post Top Tourist Attractions To Complete Your Athens Trip appeared first on Luxury Hotels Guide.

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