From the temple of mighty Zeus to the beautiful pine covered slopes of Filopappos Hill, Athens, Greece offers some of the most beautiful and culturally significant attractions known to man. Journey back in time with this countdown of Athens’ most beautiful and important attractions.
Roman Forum & Tower of the Winds
In the first century AD, the Romans moved Athens’ marketplaces here from the old Agora. Smaller than the original, the marble-pillared courtyard was a grander placed to set up shop, and this became the commercial and administrative centre until the 19th century. Its greatest attraction was the unique and brilliantly designed Tower of the Winds.
Temple of the Olympian Zeus
The majestic temple to the ruler of the pantheon was the largest on mainland Greece. Inside stood two colossal gold and ivory statues: one of the god, and one of the Roman Emperor Hadrian. To thank Hadrian for finishing it, in AD 131 the Athenians built a two-storey arch next to the temple, whose inscription announces Hadrian’s claim to the city.
The temples on the “Sacred Rock” of Athens are considered the most important monuments in the Western world, for they have exerted more influence on our architecture than anything since. The great marble masterpieces were constructed during the late 5th-century BC reign of Pericles, the Golden Age of Athens. Most were temples built to honour Athena, the city’s patron goddess. Still breathtaking for their proportion and scale, both human and majestic, the temples were adorned with magnificent, dramatic sculptures of the gods.
Athens’ ancient marketplace, founded in the 6th century BC, was the heart of the city for 1,200 years. It was the centre for all civic activities, including commerce, philosophy, religion, arts and athletics. This is where Socrates addressed his public, where democracy was born and where St Paul preached. But, unlike the sweltering Acropolis, the grassy Agora is a great place to wander, imagining the lively bustle that once filled this historic centre.
This vast museum gives a panoramic view of Greek history from the Stone Age (7,000 BC) to the 20th century, by way of Classical Greece and the era of the Byzantine and Ottoman empires. Over 20,000 objects are laid out in chronological order in 36 rooms, showing the evolution of Greek painting, sculpture and handicrafts.