From the Acropolis to Delphi, Knossos to Thebes, the Historic sites in Greece draw tourists in their hordes every year. Indeed, famed as the home of the magnificent ancient Greek civilisation, this modern nation boasts an incredible wealth of things to see.
Yet, the Historic sites in Greece do not stop at the ancient Greek variety. Roman, Byzantine and medieval sites pepper both the mainland and its many islands, offering a diversity of sightseeing.
Our interactive map and individual links allow you to explore Historic sites in Greece easily and in detail, offering you a fantastic selection. Once you’ve explored the Historic sites in Greece you can use our itinerary planner tool to plan out your trip and then print off a free pocket guidebook. Our database of historic sites is growing all the time, but we may not cover them all. Remember, if you know of other Historic sites in Greece, you can always add them to Trip Historic now by visiting our upload page.
The Acropolis is an incredible monument to the achievements of ancient Greek civilisation and is one of the most recognisable historic sites in Greece, if not the world. Containing a number of ancient structures, most famously the Parthenon, it tops the list for any visit to Athens.
The Acropolis is one of the most recognisable historic sites in the world and remains an inspirational monument to the achievements of Ancient Greek civilisation.
Standing tall above the Greek city of Athens, the Acropolis contains a number of buildings and monuments from Greek Antiquity, including the Parthenon, the Erechtheion, the Propylaia and the temple of Athena Nike.
The majority of sites on the Acropolis were constructed in the 5th Century BC, during the ‘golden age’ of Athens and under the stewardship of Athenian statesman Pericles. After the original site was burned to the ground in 480BC during the Persian Wars, the Athenians set to re-building their city with monuments that would bear testament to the greatness of their state.
The Acropolis continued to be developed throughout the Hellenistic, Macedonian and Roman periods. After the area became Christianised, the Acropolis complex was largely converted for use as a Christian centre, with the Parthenon serving as a Cathedral.
However, by the early middle ages, the Acropolis was more frequently used as a defensive fortification by the various occupiers of the city. During a battle between Venetian and Ottoman forces in 1687, the Parthenon suffered severe damage which was never repaired.
These impressive monuments have largely stood the test of time through invasion, conquest and war and the Acropolis stands as one of the greatest historic destinations in the world.
Today, the Acropolis is an extremely popular historic site and caters for a multitude of tourists every year. The recently opened Acropolis Museum, which lies nearby, contains an amazing array of displays and artefacts from the Acropolis itself.
The Acropolis is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and also features as one of our Top 10 tourist attractions in Greece.
Once an ancient Greek city on the mainland, Epidaurus is now an incredible UNESCO-listed historic site with the ruins of many spas and a beautiful theatre.
Epidaurus was a major city in Ancient Greece famed as a centre for healing. Inhabited since prehistoric times, Epidaurus thrived as a sanctuary devoted to the healing deities including Apollo, Asklepios and Hygeia and contained hundreds of spas, the remains of many of which can be seen today.
The main sanctuary area, called the Asklepieion, contains two such spas where a variety of healing rituals took place, including hypnosis. This was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1988. There is also a shrine to Asklepios and the remains of rooms for patients.
Probably the most impressive of the sites at Epidaurus is the fourth century BC theatre, which was built to accommodate approximately 15,000 people and still extremely well preserved.
Whilst most of the sites at Epidaurus were constructed in the fourth and fifth centuries BC, when the city was at its peak, some of them date back as far as the Mycenaean period and others were also adapted later by the Romans. The theatre is one example of such refurbishments.
Overall, Epidaurus is an absolutely vast, fascinating site set over three levels and offering an insight into Ancient Greek life. There is also a nearby Epidaurus Museum, exhibiting artefacts from its excavation. This impressive site features as one of our Top 10 tourist attractions in Greece.
Of major importance to both the ancient Greeks Romans, Corinth is has some of the best preserved historic sites in Greece and is a popular tourist destination.
Ancient Corinth, the ruins of which can be found in the modern town of Korinthos, was a city of major importance in Ancient Greece and in Ancient Rome. Located in between mainland Greece and the Peloponnese, Corinth was a vital port and a thriving city-state as well as being of religious significance.
Inhabited since the Neolithic period, Corinth grew from the eight century BC under the Ancient Greeks, developing into a centre of trade and a city of great riches. Much of this wealth was accumulated from the seventh century BC under the rule of Periander, who exploited Corinth’s location in the Isthmus of Corinth. By travelling through Corinth, ships could cross quickly between the Gulf of Corinth and the Saronic Gulf, avoiding the need to sail around the coast. Corinth had the diolkos, a ship hauling device which allowed them to do just that. Ship owners were charged for using this device, providing Corinth with an ongoing flow of income.
Corinth became such a powerful city-state that it even established various colonies such as Syracuse and Epidamnus. In 338 BC, following the Peloponnesian War and the subsequent Corinthian War, Corinth was conquered by Philip II of Macedon. Throughout the classical era, Corinth had held regular sporting tournaments known as the Isthmian Games. These were continued under the Macedonians and, in fact, it was at the 336 BC Isthmus Games that Alexander the Great was selected to lead the Macedonians in the war against Persia.
In 146 BC, Corinth suffered partial destruction from the invasion of Roman general Mummius, although it was later rebuilt under Julius Caesar, eventually growing into an even more prosperous Roman city. Corinth’s decline began in 267 AD following the invasion of the Herulians. Over the subsequent years, it would fall into the hands of the Turks, the Knights of Malta, the Venetians and finally the Greeks, each of these conflicts, together with numerous natural disasters, depleting but never entirely destroying the city’s once magnificent sites.
Another interesting aspect of Corinth is its diverse religious history. Dedicated to the Greek deities of Apollo, Octavia and Aphrodite, during Roman times it was also the home of a large Jewish community as well as being visited by the Apostle Paul.
Today, visitors to Corinth can see its many ancient sites, including the fairly well-preserved ruins of the Temple of Apollo, which was built in 550 BC and the remaining columns of the Temple of Octavia. By contrast, only few remnants remain of the former Temple of Aphrodite, once a home of Corinth’s sacred prostitutes. Perhaps what makes Corinth such a fascinating site is that, due to its extensive wealth over the years, this ancient city’s Doric architecture was exceptionally ornate.
Beyond these sacred sites, much of Corinth’s original infrastructure is visible along with many remains from the Roman-era city, including the Theatre and the Peirene Fountain.
Those wanting to learn more about Corinth and see many of the artefacts from its excavation can also visit the Archaeological Museum of Ancient Corinth.
Once the centre of the Mycenaean civilisation, this is now a well-preserved ancient Greek archaeological site in the Peloponnese.
Mycenae is an important archaeological site in Greece which was once the city at the centre of the Mycenaean civilisation of between 1600BC and 1100BC.
Believed to have been inhabited since Neolithic times, Mycenae flourished into a fortified city and was ruled at one time by the famous King Agamemnon.
At its peak, Mycenae was one of the most important Ancient Greek cities and is linked to several works of cultural significance, including the Odyssey and the Iliad. Today, Mycenae contains several well-preserved sites, including the Lion’s Gate and the North Gate, which form parts of its fortified walls and which once stood 18 metres high and 6 to 8 metres thick.
A few other dwellings can also be seen at Mycenae, together with a granary and some guard rooms. Other important structures include Mycenae’s Terraced Palace, which was abandoned in the twelfth century, the religious structures which comprise several shrines and temples and the grave sites, which date back throughout Mycenae’s history.
The most impressive of the burial sites and arguably the most remarkable of Mycenae’s sites is the Tomb of Agamemnon, also known as the Treasury of Atreus. This once elaborate thirteenth century tomb is carved into Mycenae’s hills. This fascinating site also features as one of our top ten tourist attractions of Greece.
Of all the historic sites in Greece, Olympia is renowned as the birthplace of the Olympic Games and is an important World Heritage archaeological site.
Olympia was a vibrant Ancient Greek city. It is believed that the site of Olympia was inhabited from 3000 BC, however it was after the fall of the Mycenaean civilisation that the city began to flourish and, by 900 BC it was already considered an important religious site.
The Olympic Games
In 776 BC the first Olympic Games were held in the city in honour of the Greek deity, Zeus. The games at Olympia were a national event and attracted participants and spectators from around the country, raising Olympia’s status. They would continue until 394 AD when Roman Emperor Theodosius I, seeing them as a "pagan cult", put them to an end.
Over time, the city began to develop and grow. Today the result of this gradual growth can be seen at Olympia through sites such as the Treasuries, the Temple of Hera, both of religious importance and contained in the sacred precinct known as the Altis and the Pelopion, the supposed tomb of the mythical Pelops. These were built in around 600BC.
Even the stadium in which the Olympic Games were played was upgraded, a purpose built area being built in around 560 BC and able to seat approximately 50,000 people. The remains of this impressive stadium are still visible today.
Olympia reached its peak during the classical period and it was at this time that many of the other sites which can be seen there now were built, most notably the Temple of Zeus. This was a vast religious structure the ruins of which were located in the Altis area.
The Temple of Zeus was later entirely destroyed, first by fire and then in an earthquake. Archaeologists were however able to excavate several sculptures and artefacts believed to have originated from the building, which are now on show at the nearby Olympia Archaeological Museum.
Other impressive sites at Olympia were built later during the Hellenistic Period. These include the remains of the fourth century BC Philippeion memorial to the family of Alexander the Great and the Leonidaion. There are also several other impressive sites, many of them built during the Roman period.
Olympia is well signposted, making it easy to tour the site and understand how it might have looked in its heyday. If you want to know more about Olympia, you can visit the Olympia Archaeological Museum.
A site that fuels the imagination, the Vergina Museum is a fascinating underground vault containing the tomb of Philip II of Macedon, father of Alexander the Great. For scholars of history, it's one of the most important historic sites in Greece.
The Vergina Museum in northern Greece contains some of the most astonishing ancient tomb discoveries in history – namely tombs said to be of Philip II of Macedon, father of Alexander the Great, and Alexander IV, the conqueror’s son.
The tombs were discovered by Greek archaeologist Manolis Andronikos in 1977 and, though there has been much debate on the matter, many – including the Greek government – believe it likely that the tombs do in fact belong to these famous historical figures.
In 1993 a set of underground enclosures were built to enclose and protect the tombs and this opened to the public a few years later as the Royal Tombs of Vergina Museum. Externally, the museum is contained within a reconstructed earth mound which covers the site and is similar to what is believed would have originally appeared above the tombs.
The Vergina Museum can be found in the centre of the modern town of Vergina – sometimes spelt Verghina - which was once the ancient Macedonian capital of Aigai.
Visitors descend through the subterranean passageways to enter the museum from where they can explore both the tombs themselves and a number of exhibitions showcasing artefacts from the site and the local area.
Once considered to have been the centre of the Earth, Delphi is among the most iconic historic sites in Greece and home to famed ruins such as the Temple of Apollo.
Delphi is an archaeological site in mainland Greece comprised of the well-preserved ruins of one of the most important cities in Ancient Greece. Archaeologists have found evidence that Delphi was inhabited as early as the Neolithic period and sites dating back to the Mycenaean Civilisation, but it was the Ancient Greek city which developed in Delphi which has left the biggest mark on the area.
Many of the sites at Delphi date back to the fifth century BC, although many have been reconstructed and some altered by the Romans. Many of the buildings also suffered from damage and destruction caused by fires and earthquakes. Nevertheless, walking through Delphi offers a fascinating insight into the lives of its former inhabitants.
Part of what made Delphi such an important city was its mythological and religious status. Ancient Greek mythology states that when the deity Zeus released two eagles to find the centre of the world, they met in Delphi. The name “Delphi” derives from the word “dolphin” as it was believed that this was where Apollo arrived on the back of a dolphin.
Today, Delphi reveals much of its past through incredible ruins, demonstrating a balance between religion, politics and leisure activities, particularly sports. Amongst these are the Temple of Apollo, believed to date back to the fourth century BC and once a central ceremonial site. This temple is believed to have been one of several that were built on the site, the previous ones having been destroyed by fires and earthquakes. This stood next to the Archive of the winners of the Pythian Games which were held at Delphi, burnt down in 373 BC, also known as the Chresmographeion. Other sporting sites, such as the Delphi gymnasium and the stadium are also visible and are very well preserved.
Possibly the best preserved site in Delphi is the fifth century Doric building of the Treasury of the Athenians, which is located along The Sacred Way, a central road of the religious area of the city. The Treasury of the Athenians held the trophies of sporting victories, although its exact purpose is still the subject of debate.
Perhaps Delphi’s most iconic site is the Tholos. Constructed in around 380 BC, this once circular building had six Doric columns, three of which stand today. The Tholos is actually located away from the rest of the main Delphi sites and, again, its exact purpose is unknown. The nearby Delphi Museum explores the history of the archeological site and houses many finds from its excavation. This famous site also features as one of our Top 10 tourist attractions in Greece.
The thriving centre of the ancient Minoan civilisation, Knossos is one of the most famous historic places in Greece.
Knossos or ‘ko-no-so’ was an important ancient site found on the outskirts of the modern city of Heraklion in Crete. It is believed that Knossos was first established a place of settlement in Neolithic times in around 7000 BC and then continuously inhabited until the Ancient Roman period.
Knossos reached its peak in the period from the 19th to the 14th centuries BC, as the capital of the Minoan civillisation. It was at this time that the majority of its incredible buildings, the remains of which can be seen today, were constructed, although it suffered large-scale destruction sometime between 1500 and 450 BC. It was later populated by the Mycenaeans, experienced a resurgence in the Hellenistic period and was occupied by the Romans in 67 BC.
In addition to being a prosperous city, Knossos was also been the setting for many mythical stories, including those of the Minotaur, Ikaros and Daidalos.
Excavated and vastly reconstructed in the nineteenth century by archaeologist Arthur Evans, Knossos has revealed a wealth of ancient treasures, not least of which are its many fascinating ruins. The most famous of these is the Knossos Palace, also known as the Labyrinth for its incredible maze of passageways and rooms.
Believed to date back to 2000 to 1350 BC, Knossos Palace is thought to have been the home of King Minos, an iconic monarch of the island of Crete who legend says was the son of the deities Europa and Zeus. The Palace of Knossos contains a myriad of rooms, including banqueting halls, religious shrines and even a throne room, all centred on a courtyard.
Other important buildings at Knossos include the 14th century BC Royal Villa with its pillar crypt, the Little Palace, believed to date back to the 17th century BC, the ornately decorated House of Frescos and the Villa of Dionysos, a 2nd century BC house from the Roman period.
The drainage system at Knossos is also fascinating in its own right, indicating an incredible level of sophistication.
The great thing about Knossos is that its reconstruction has meant that it's easy to identify the original use of each part of the site. However, it's best to take a guidebook, a map or even a guide if you want a better idea of the site as a whole, particularly as it is indeed a labyrinth. This site also features as one of our top ten tourist attractions of Greece.
The Greek city of Sparta was one of the most famous city-states of the ancient world and is one of the many historic sites in Greece immortalised by Hollywood.
Sparta was one of the most famous city-states of the ancient world and left not only a mark in our historic records, but its very culture at the heart of modern language – the English word 'Spartan' reflecting their very way of life – simple, basic, severe.
Rising to power in the late 7th Century BC, Sparta produced the most powerful land-army of the Hellenic world. Spartan soldiers led the Greek coalition during the Greco-Persian War, becoming legendary in their heroic last stand at Thermopylae and the eventual victory of the Greeks at Plataea.
Sparta’s star continued to rise in the following century, with victory over Athens in the long-running Peloponnesian War and a brief spell of hegemony over all Greece and even parts of Asia Minor.
However, it was their constant military involvements combined with their elitist, purist approach to citizenry which led to their downfall.
Sparta’s conflict with a resurgent Thebes, particularly their defeat at the Battle of Leuctra, crippled Spartan power, a blow from which they never recovered. Their own discriminatory nature left Sparta without the capacity to suffer losses, and therefore one or two severe defeats crippled Sparta’s military manpower.
Sparta did live on as an independent power for the next two centuries, but the city never wielded real power again. Sparta had no part in the conquests of Alexander the Great, and the city was eventually conquered, along with the rest of Greece, by the Romans in the mid-second century BC.
Today, the ruins of ancient Sparta exist on the outskirts of the modern city of Sparti – founded by King Otto of Greece in 1834. A good proportion of the remains you see today are actually from the Roman period and few are well preserved.
Unlike Athens, Spartan culture never led to grand building projects and consequently few historic structures remain. Visitors to Sparta can see the remains of the ancient theatre of Sparta, the nearby Roman shops, the partially-preserved sanctuary of Artemis Orthia, and the site that is said to be the tomb of Spartan King Leonidas.
The Sparta Archeological Museum is also worth a visit and contains artifacts from the various archeological digs.
These are the main remains of what was the city of Rhodes in the Hellenistic period.
The Acropolis of Rhodes is the site of the main remains of what was the city of Rhodes in the Hellenistic period.
Containing several different sites, including temples, monuments and public buildings, the Acropolis of Rhodes represents the main ancient site in the city, dating to mostly the third and second centuries BC.
Amongst the things to see at the Acropolis of Rhodes, there are impressively reconstructed sites such as an odeon and theatre as well as the ruins of the Temple of Apollo.
This diminutive yet important Byzantine church in Athens is known as the little cathedral.
Agios Eleftherios is a very small yet important Byzantine church in Athens set in the shadow of the city’s cathedral.
Built in the twelfth century, Agios Eleftherios was once the main church in Athens. This fact, coupled with the vision of the diminutive church next to the monolith of Athens Cathedral has led to it being known as the "little cathedral" or Mikri Mitropoli. It is also known by the name Panaghia Gorgoepiikoos.
Aigai in northern Greece, was once capital of the Macedonian kingdom and the site where Alexander the Great was proclaimed king. A number of remains of the ancient town can be seen, including the tomb of Alexander’s father
Aigai in northern Greece was once the capital of the Macedonian kingdom and it was here in 336BC that Alexander the Great was proclaimed King of Macedon after the assassination of his father, Philip II.
Though evidence of human occupation of the site stretches back to the 3rd millennium BC, it is thought that it was not until around 1000BC – 700BC that it became an important regional centre. Aigai probably reached its height around 500BC as the Macedonian capital, before being replaced by Pella around 100 years later.
After the death of Alexander, Aigai suffered during the Wars of Alexander's Successors and the city was again damaged during the Roman conquest of the region in 168BC. Aigai survived into the Roman era but gradually declined during the latter Imperial period.
Today, Aigai can be found near the modern town of Vergina and there are a number of interesting sites to explore. Probably the most famous of Aigai’s sites are the royal burial tombs, which are believed to house the tombs of Phillip II and Alexander the Great’s son, Alexander IV. An impressive museum – the Royal Tombs of Vergina Museum - was built to enclose these tombs and visitors can explore this underground experience.
Along with these main tombs are as many as 300 other grave mounds, some dating back to the 11th century BC.
Other important remains at Aigai include the royal palace – which includes impressive mosaics – and the 4th century BC theatre, believed to be the exact site of Philip’s murder. There are also a number of temples near the theatre, including the temple of Eukleia.
Note: At time of writing the royal palace and theatre are closed for excavation work. They are set to reopen in 2014.
Renowned for its incredible frescos, Akrotiri is a beautifully preserved ancient site in Santorini and one of the historic sites in Greece famed for its connection to the Minoans.
Akrotiri is a beautifully preserved ancient site in Santorini, famed for its incredible frescos and its connection with the Minoans.
In fact, Akrotiri was inhabited as early as the 4th millennium BC - some say earlier - during the late Neolithic period. It would then thrive and grow into a larger settlement measuring up to 20 hectares in the next millennium, during the Bronze Age.
Increasingly frequent earthquakes in the area meant that Akrotiri was finally abandoned, some say in the 17th century BC, but it was a volcanic eruption that truly ended the tale of this magnificent place.
Today, the stunning ruins of Akrotiri now stand in testament of the sophisticated urban settlement which once existed there. The buildings are not only multi-storey, many of them contain vivid frescoes of various themes. This excellent state of preservation has drawn parallels with another famously volcanically preserved site, earning it the moniker of the "Minoan Pompeii".
Yet, Akrotiri has another claim to fame. It is generally considered that Akrotiri was linked with Knossos and would have been a Minoan site. However, some have gone further, claiming that it was the lost city of Atlantis. This site also features as one of our Top 10 tourist attractions in Greece.
The Ancient Agora of Athens was a market, a meeting place and the social, political and commercial hub of the ancient city.
The Ancient Agora of Athens was a market, a meeting place and the social, political and commercial hub of the ancient city. Whilst initial developed in the sixth century BC, the Ancient Agora of Athens was destroyed, rebuilt and renovated several times, including attacks by the Persians in 480BC, the Romans and by the Scandinavian tribe known as the Herulians in 267BC.
Despite its turbulent history, the Ancient Agora of Athens houses several fascinating sites, including the stunning fifth century BC Temple of Hephaestus. It is also home to the remains of several covered walkways or "stoas" such as the famous Stoa of Zeus where Socrates is said to have debated and met with other philosophers.
A good way to get your bearings within the Ancient Agora of Athens is to start by visiting the Agora Museum, which offers more information on the site.
large site on northern coats of Crete. Key strategic location results in occupation from early Greek through Roman, early Christian to Ottoman with WW2 machine gun posts. Impossible to provide one picture to show whole site. Would like to split according to place and time.
The archaeological site of Aptera contains an array of interesting Greco-Roman ruins, the highlight of which is probably the remains of the Roman cisterns which originally supplied water to the city’s baths.
Founded around the 7th century BC, Aptera became one of the most important cities of western Crete and grew into a thriving centre for much of the Hellenic and Roman periods. The city continued to be inhabited into the Byzantine age before a combination of natural disaster and external attacks forced its abandonment, which is dated to 823 AD.
Today as well as the impressive Roman cisterns, visitors to Aptera can explore a number of fascinating ruins at the site including Roman baths, villas and an ancient theatre - though this is not currently accessible as it is under excavation and possible restoration (Sept 2013). The archaeological site also includes a small ancient temple most likely dedicated to the goddess Demeter as well as the ruins of early churches. There is a small museum at the site which expands the history of Aptera and is situated within the surviving 12th century monastery.
A WW2 German machine gun post can also be viewed nearby along with a 19th century Turkish castle.
The Arch of Hadrian is a triumphal gateway in Athens built in the 2nd century AD.
The Arch of Hadrian of Athens is a triumphal gateway built in the second century AD (circa 132 AD). This is definitely not the most impressive of ancient gateways, its Pentelic marble now damaged by years of exposure to pollution.
This well-preserved archaeological site houses the ruins of the birthplace of medicine.
Asklepieion, also known as Asclepeion, in Kos was an ancient Greek and Roman sacred centre of healing based on the teachings of Hippocrates.
It seems that there has been a healing sanctuary at the site of Asklepieion since prehistory, but the main ruins today are those of later sanctuaries. The most significant was dedicated to Asklepios, who was a deity of health.
Over time, Asklepieion became increasingly popular and visitors would travels from far and wide to experience its healing properties. Thus, the sanctuary was expanded.
Today, the pretty and relatively well-preserved ruins of Asklepieion are set over three levels and include several temples, some Roman baths, gateways and a banqueting hall.
It is worth noting that this is not the most easily accessible site for people with mobility issues. The terrain is quite steep and there are many stairs to climb.
Athens Cathedral was built over the course of two decades in the 19th century.
Athens Cathedral (Metropolis) was built over the course of two decades in the nineteenth century.
With over 20,000 pieces on display, Athens National Archaeological Museum is one of the most popular historic attractions in Greece.
Athens National Archaeological Museum is the largest museum in Greece, housing over 20,000 exhibits spread over 8,000 square metres of an imposing nineteenth century building.
With permanent exhibitions ranging from the Neolithic era and the Mycenaean era to the Ancient Romans and even the Ancient Egyptians, the Athens National Archaeological Museum’s collection offers a comprehensive insight into the history of Greece throughout the ages, from prehistoric times to the eighteenth century.
Amongst of the most impressive exhibits at the National Archaeological Museum is its collection of Greek sculptures. This vast exhibit includes statues, altars, busts and other pieces from throughout mainland Greece and the Aegean islands. Many of the sculptures are funerary in nature and include sarcophagi and reliefs.
The Neolithic, Mycenaean, Cycladic and Thera exhibits, which make up the National Archaeological Museum’s prehistory collection, encompass everything from tools from 6800 BC to finds from the doomed settlement of Akrotiri in Thera, destroyed by a volcano in the sixteenth century BC. The Mycenaean collection is the largest exhibit at the National Archaeological Museum. This includes excavation finds from Mycenae itself as well as from the settlements of Argolid, Lakonia, Messenia, and Attika.
This museum houses an extensive range of exhibits relating to the history of war.
The Athens War Museum houses an extensive range of exhibits relating to the history of war in Greece as well as some relating to wars in other nations.
From weapons and uniforms to maps and prints, the Athens War Museum covers many time periods, from prehistory to World War II and including an exhibit about Alexander the Great.
The most famous Greek warship, the Averof saw action for over 40 years including during the two world wars.
The Georgios Averof is the most famous of all Greek warships and was in service for over 40 years, including seeing action during both world wars. Today the Averof is home to a maritime and nautical museum in Athens.
Launched in 1911, the warship was built at the Orlando Shipyards in Livorno, Italy and paid for with the help of one of Greece’s most significant benefactors, Georgios Averof – after whom it was named.
Over the following decades, the Averof had a long service history. She saw action in both the first and second World Wars as well as during the two Balkan Wars.
Decommissioned in 1952, the Averof has now been renovated and transformed into the Averof Museum, a naval museum that serves to honour all those who lost their lives at sea fighting for their country. Visitors learn the history of the Hellenic navy and the museum also organises exhibitions and seminars on Greek and international nautical history.
Bassae is an ancient site and home to a famed UNESCO-listed monument to Apollo Epicurius.
Bassae is an ancient site where the Phigaleia built a sanctuary to the cult of Apollo Epicurius. A 5th Century BC magnificent temple in honour of the deity still stand there today. At one time, the Messenians people fled to Bassae, seeking sanctuary there from their war with the Spartans.
The Benaki Museum houses a vast collection of art and artefacts from Greek history, from Hellenic, Roman and Byzantine Greece to the Ottoman age and right up to the present day.
The Benaki Museum in Athens houses over 100,000 artefacts from Greek history and showcases the many eras, civilisations and cultures which have influenced the development of Greece. Spread over a number of locations, the museum ranks among Greece’s foremost cultural institutions.
The main museum is located in the centre of Athens in a neo-Classical mansion which belonged to the Benaki family. This is a fluid, beautifully designed space which incorporates a whole range of Greek art and artefacts, spanning from pre-history right up to the present day.
Among this extensive collection are a wide variety of objects of historical and national importance. Foremost among these is an enormous collection of Greek art and sculpture ranging from Hellenic, Roman and Byzantine Greece to the Ottoman age and right through to modern times. Yet alongside these grand artworks, the museum includes a range of more commonplace items including books, regional costumes, documents and scrolls.
As well as Greek artefacts there are also permanent exhibits focusing on Chinese, Pre-Colombian and Islamic collections, though these areas are not all located in the central museum.
A number of satellite museums operate within the Benaki framework, including a children’s toy museum in Kouloura House, Palaio Faliro, and the Museum of Islamic Art, which is located near the Kerameikos cemetery.
Please note that the opening hours, contact details and entry fees listed here are all for the main museum.
With over 25,000 artefacts of national importance dating from the 3rd to 20th centuries AD, the Byzantine Museum is a popular attraction in Athens.
The Byzantine Museum in Athens contains over 25,000 artefacts of national importance and is a popular attraction for visitors to the Greek capital.
The museum’s vast collection covers the Early Christian, Byzantine, Medieval and post-Byzantine eras. It includes religious artefacts, stunning iconography, sculpture, textiles, paintings, manuscripts, jewels, ceramics and art.
The museum is divided in five main sections: From the ancient world to Byzantium; the Byzantine world; intellectual and artistic activity in the 15th century; from Byzantium to the modern era; Byzantium and modern art.
The artefacts come from all across Greece as well as from nearby regions where Hellenic and Byzantine culture were prominent.
Casa Romana is a 3rd century Ancient Roman villa in Kos.
Casa Romana is a third century Ancient Roman villa in Kos. With its 36 rooms, Casa Romana would certainly have been luxurious. It was also built atop an earlier Hellenistic villa, probably from the first century.
Across from Casa Romana are the ruins of the second century Temple of Dionysus, not too impressive in themselves, but worth seeing in conjunction with the villa.
One of several historic sites in Greece relating to the Knights Hospitaller, the Castle of the Knights in Kos is an impressive ruin.
The Castle of the Knights in Kos, sometimes referred to as Kos Castle, was the one of the fortifications of the Knights Hospitaller. Begun in the fourteenth century, the main purpose of the Castle of the Knights was to defend Kos from the Ottomans.
In 1495, the Castle of the Knights was damaged by an earthquake and then it was restored in the sixteenth century. What remains of the Castle of the Knights today is a great mixture of the different construction periods of the site. Many of its thick walls and imposing towers remain intact and even the some battlements can still be seen.
Delos is the island on which Apollo was said to have been born and an ancient World Heritage site.
Delos is an island and archaeological site which was held sacred by the ancient Greeks as the birthplace of the deity Apollo. It is unclear as to whether his twin sister Artemis was also believed to have been born there. There were temples built in honour of Artemis at Delos, but the legend seems focused on Apollo.
Evidence shows that Delos was inhabited as early as the third millennium BC and, from around the tenth century BC, when it was taken by the Ionian Greeks, it developed into a religious centre as well as a thriving port. A site of pilgrimage for many civilisations, Delos was later ruled by the Athenians, under which the native Delians suffered greatly, being exiled on several occasions.
Delos was considered such a sacred site that it was forbidden to die or to give birth there. Athenian leader Peisistratus is said to have even rid the island of all of its existing graves in the sixth century BC. Later, severely ill people and pregnant women would be removed from the island and taken to nearby Rheneia.
Over the centuries, activity at Delos centred around shrines and temples to Apollo in an area known as the Sanctuary of Apollo. Few of the once many temples in the Sanctuary of Apollo remain intact today, but what there is has been beautifully preserved and reconstructed. Mosaics and statues are dotted around Delos as are the facades of former temples, such as that of Isis.
Some of its most famous statues are those of the Terrace of the Lions. The originals of these are now held at the Delos Archaeological Museum, but the on-site replicas do give an idea of how it once looked. There is also an ancient theatre.
Unfortunately there are few if any English explanatory panels, so it’s a good idea to get a guide to go with you unless you speak French or Greek. Delos has been a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1990.
This interesting museum houses finds from the ancient site of Delos.
The Delos Archaeological Museum contains findings from the UNESCO World Heritage site of Delos. Inhabited since prehistoric times, Delos was an ancient Greek holy site, believed to have been the birthplace of the deity Apollo.
Amongst its collection, the Delos Archaeological Museum houses a range of pottery, funerary artefacts and stelae as well as mosaics and jewellery. One of the most celebrated exhibits at the Delos Archaeological Museum is that of the lion statues from the Terrace of the Lions.
Whilst many of its exhibits relate to the ancient Greek period, the Delos Archaeological Museum has pieces dating as far back as the twenty-fifth century BC, offering an overview of the island since it was first inhabited.
This archaeological museum exhibits artefacts from the ancient Greek city of Delphi.
Delphi Archaeological Museum is an historical museum dedicated to exploring the history and exhibiting artifacts from the nearby archeological site of ancient Delphi.
Delphi was a major city of Ancient Greece and its sites are themselves popular tourist attractions. Amongst its displays, Delphi Archaeological Museum exhibits statues, sculptures and everyday items excavated from Delphi as well as exploring the site’s history.
Dion is an ancient city in Greece which became the religious centre of the Macedonian kingdom and now contains a number of Greek and Roman-era ruins.
Dion is an ancient city in Greece which contains a number of Greek- and Roman-era ruins. Today it operates as an archaeological site and museum.
Very much a place of religious importance, Dion became the religious centre of the Macedonian kingdom in the 5th century BC as well as hosting important games.
In the 4th century BC, Alexander the Great offered sacrifices at the Temple of Olympian Zeus in Dion before setting out on his campaign against the Persian Empire. He later donated a magnificent statue to the temple, portraying his fallen cavalry troops who had died at the Battle of Granicus. Heavily damaged by Aetolian invaders in 219BC, the city was rebuilt and survived into the Roman era – indeed the Emperor Augustus founded a Roman colony here in 31BC.
However, as the Empire weakened the threat of barbarian attack combined with natural disasters and slowly the city was abandoned. Though it survived into Byzantine times, there is no reference to ancient Dion after the 10th century AD.
Today Dion Archaeological Site is located just outside the modern town and contains a number of interesting ruins from the Greek and Roman periods. Chief among these are the many Greek temples, including the large Temple of Zeus as well as temples to Demeter, Isis and Asclepius.
The site also contains the remains of a Hellenistic theatre, a partly-preserved 2nd century AD Roman theatre, ancient baths and the ruins of several ancient villas. A later-Roman church can also be found here, probably dating to the 4th or 5th centuries AD. Among Dion’s other treasures is an extremely well preserved Macedonian tomb.
Dion Archaeology Museum operates at the site and contains a fascinating selection of artefacts found within the ruins.
An archaeological site of great national importance, the Greco-Roman ruins at Eleusis are beautifully preserved and steeped in the richness of Greek mythology.
Eleusis archaeological site contains a range of impressive Greco-Roman ruins, steeped in the richness of Greek mythology.
Surrounded on all sides by a thriving modern industrial town, the site of Eleusis is renowned as the home of the Eleusinian Mysteries, a series of annual initiation ceremonies for the cult of Demeter and Persephone which ranked among the most sacred religious rites of ancient Greece.
The site was also the birthplace of Aeschylus, a playwright (or ‘tragedian’) who is known as the ‘father of tragedy’ and whose plays are still performed and read.
Today, the Eleusis archaeological site houses a number of important ruins including the Sacred Court, a Roman reproduction of Hadrian’s Arch in Athens and the Kallichoron Well, according to the Homeric Hymn, the resting place of Demeter. There is also a museum located on site which gives more detail on the history of Eleusis and provides further explanation on the myths associated with the site.
Gortyna in Crete was the capital of Crete and Cyrene during the Roman era.
Gortyna or “Gortyn” in Crete was an ancient settlement originally founded in approximately 3000 BC, during the Neolithic era. However, it was during the Roman era, from around the first to the fifth centuries AD, that Gortyna flourished, with a population of up to 100,000 people.
During the Roman period, Gortyna was the capital city of Crete and a number of important temples and buildings were built here, the remains of which can still be seen today. The Temple of Pythian Apollo is a particularly notable ruin, whose outline is identifiable as is its stepped altar.
Gortyna’s former prosperity is evident throughout this site, especially in the inscription of its Gortyn Law Code on the Odeon building, dating back to the sixth century BC and which is the longest of its kind.
Gortyna was also an important Christian site. The ruin of the seventh century Basilica of St Titus marks it as such and is a reminder of the rich history of this site. Destroyed by the Saracens in 824 AD, Gortyna is now an archaeological site.
The former headquarters of the Knights Hospitaller of St John, the Grandmasters Palace of Rhodes is one of the most important medieval historic sites in Greece.
The Grandmasters Palace of Rhodes was the palace of the Knights Hospitaller of St John. Dating to the fourteenth century (circa 1309), the Grandmasters Palace would be the base of this famous Christian and military order until Rhodes was captured by the Ottomans in 1522.
Under this empire the Grandmasters Palace served as a fortress, but was devastated in 1856 by an ammunitions explosion. It was the Italians who restored the Grandmaster Palace in 1912.
Today, this medieval castle operates as a museum of works mostly from the early Christian period up to the Ottoman conquest. It is part of the UNESCO World Heritage site of the Medieval City of Rhodes. This site also features as one of our Top 10 tourist attractions in Greece.
Built by the Emperor Hadrian, this ancient library originally housed over 17,000 books, scrolls, documents and papyri. The ruins of the site were opened to the public in 2004.
The ruins of Hadrian’s Library in Athens are all that remain of this important centre of ancient learning, which was built by the Roman Emperor Hadrian between 125 and 132 AD.
Hadrian was a great admirer of Greek culture and constructed a number of significant buildings in Athens, including this grand library. In its heyday, it would have housed over 17,000 books, scrolls, documents and papyri.
Destroyed by the Herulae in 267 AD it was later repaired before being damaged again during the later barbarian invasions. During the Byzantine era a series of churches were built on the site and further renovation was carried out in the Ottoman period. After suffering this continual series of damage, reconstruction and alteration, the site was excavated, studied and opened to the public in 2004.
The most impressive of the ruins are the great Corinthian columns on the well-preserved outer wall, and the impressive portico which served as the entrance to the courtyard.
The neoclassical Parliament building on Syntagma Square the centre of Athens has been the seat of Government since 1935 and was previously the Old Royal Palace built for King Otto.
The Hellenic Parliament is an imposing building located in Syntagma Square in the centre of Athens. Completed in 1843, it was originally the Royal Palace of Greece and was designed by German architect Friedrich von Gärtner for King Otto.
After being damaged in a fire in 1884 and again in 1909, extensive renovation work was necessary to restore the palace but political events and the onset of World War One served to continually delay this work. Upon the transition of Greece from a monarchy to a republic the new Government decided that the palace would henceforth be used to house the Greek Parliament and it was therefore remodelled to suit this new purpose.
Today the Hellenic Parliament is still in use as the centre of government as well as being open for visitors through pre-booked group tours. It remains a fine example of early neoclassicism and in front of the building is the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier which is guarded by Evzones, the Presidential Guard who wear the ‘fustanella’, or traditional full dress uniform.
On the hour you can see the Changing of the Guards which appears like a very slow dance and on Sundays at 11am the ceremony is much more elaborate and includes a marching band.
This archaeological museum tells the story of ancient Crete.
The Heraklion Archaeological Museum is a museum dedicated to Crete’s ancient past, spanning the time from the Neolithic period to the Roman period, being a period of around 5,500 years.
The highlight of the Heraklion Archaeological Museum is possibly its extensive Minoan collection, being one of the most comprehensive in the world and including everything from sarcophagi to wall art. The Minoan culture is specifically attributed to the island of Crete and immediately preceded the Mycenaean period.
Spread over twenty rooms, the Heraklion Archaeological Museum houses a myriad of archaeological artefacts excavated around Crete, including from Knossos.
The Jewish Museum of Thessaloniki tells the story of the city’s Jewish community since the 3rd century BC.
The Jewish Museum of Thessaloniki (Museo Djidio De Salonik) tells the story of the city’s Jewish community since the 3rd century BC.
Established to explore the history and heritage of Sephardic Jews since their arrival following expulsion from Spain in the 15th century, the Jewish Museum of Thessaloniki now has four main themes, expressed in a series of galleries. Each exhibit and collection is made up of a range of artefacts, information, documents and photographs.
One of the main exhibits takes the visitor through Jewish history in Thessaloniki from the 3rd century BC right up to World War II including an exploration of pre-War life - both religious and otherwise - in the city. There is also a gallery dedicated to the old Jewish necropolis, with items and artefacts such as tombstones from the site.
In addition, the Jewish Museum of Thessaloniki has a gallery focused on the Holocaust and its effects on the community within the city.
It’s worth noting that the building of the Jewish Museum of Thessaloniki is part of history itself, being one of the only buildings in the Jewish quarter to have survived a devastating fire in 1917.
Kamiros was an ancient city on the island of Rhodes, the ruins of which include an acropolis.
Kamiros (Kameiros) was an ancient city on the island of Rhodes, the ruins of which include an acropolis. Excavations have revealed a long a diverse history at Kamiros including a temple to Athena dating to the 8th century BC.
Twice destroyed by earthquakes (in 226BC and 142BC), the main remains at Kamiros date to the Hellenistic period, although some Classical elements are also visible. The Hellenistic city was built on three levels with various buildings and monuments including an agora, a Doric fountain house, a reservoir and a stoa.
Located on Rhodes's north-western coast, the other side of the island from the more popular beaches, Kamiros is well worth a visit. It is easily accessible by car and less crowded than the better-known acropolis of Lindos. Unlike Lindos, the ancient city of Kamiros has not been overlaid by a modern town, so its geography remains visible to the visitor.
The acropolis commands fabulous views across the sea to the coast of Turkey, and below it is, reasonably well preserved, the remains of a town with all its ancient conveniences. If you have a car, and are prepared to explore the less touristy side of the island, you will see stunning countryside, including Rhodes's highest mountain, looming at over 1000m, and the Island's own wine producing region, Embonas.
Sitting right in the middle of bustling modern streets, Kapnikarea is a beautiful 11th century Byzantine church in Athens.
Sitting right in the middle of bustling modern streets, Kapnikarea is a beautiful 11th century Byzantine church in Athens.
Built around 1050 AD, the church was constructed atop the remains of an earlier ancient Greek temple, probably dedicated to either Athena or Demeter.
Kapnikarea looks oddly out of place in the middle of a busy thoroughfare however its beauty is in its size. Small but perfectly formed, the Church of Panaghia Kapnikarea is an excellent example of a well preserved Byzantine building. Inside, visitors can also discover the excellent decorative art, particularly the Mosaic of the Madonna and Child.
One of the more hidden historic sites of Greece located in Athens, Kerameikos was the site of an important ancient burial ground.
Kerameikos is an archaeological site in Athens which contains the remains an important ancient burial ground as well as a series of famous monuments.
Once home to the city’s potters - hence its name meaning pottery - Kerameikos developed to also become the site of a cemetery. In fact, some of the oldest graves found at Kerameikos date back to as far as the third millennium BC. It would serve this function for centuries, including under the Romans up to the sixth century AD.
Yet, in addition to the burial aspects of Kerameikos, such as the Street of Tombs where prominent figures were laid to rest, the site also contains remnants of the entrance to ancient Athens. Visitors can see the ruins of what was the city wall, including the Sacred Gate and the Dipylon Gate. It is also where the Panathenaic procession - a great ancient Athenian festival - began its route. The ruins of the staging area for this procession - the Pompeion - can be found at Kerameikos.
To see finds from the site, such as vases, visit the Kerameikos Museum.
This ancient agora contains a series of ruins dating from the 4th century BC to the 6th century AD.
The Kos Ancient Agora contains a series of ruins dating from the fourth century BC to the sixth century AD. Amongst them are a temple, probably dedicated to Hercules, a shrine to Aphrodite and the columns of a stoa or covered walkway dating from the third century BC.
Over time, the Kos Ancient Agora would have been renovated and added to, including by the Romans. One such addition was a fifth century Christian basilica.
The Lappa Fulling Mill is one of few fulling mills to survive, mainly because they were made of wood. This one was discovered only in 1994.
The Lappa Fulling Mill is one of few fulling mills to survive, mainly because they were made of wood. This one was discovered only in 1994.
Fulling is the process which makes loose woven cloth into the smooth, firm fabrics were are familiar with. Fulling mills were among the first mechanical developments. However, as they were made of wood, few survive. This mill dates from the 17th century. It was discovered by chance in 1994. To find it, go to the lower village of Lappa, down to the bottom of the five taverns. Just before you get to the ford on your right is a stone building and the mill is in there.
The atmospheric archaeological site of Lato contains the ruins of the ancient city which once dominated this area.
The archaeological site of Lato in eastern Crete contains the ruins of the ancient city which once dominated this area.
The city was built atop two high hills which dominated the local area and went on to flourish throughout the Hellenic era. Lato was also the birthplace of Nearchos, the admiral of Alexander the Great. By the time of the rise of Rome, the city’s harbour to the east soon came to be of more prominence than the original settlement and slowly the institutions and administrative centre of the settlement were moved there, leaving the original city to slowly decline.
Today the site is quite well preserved and contains the remains of houses, the agora, temples, ancient cisterns, basements, a theatre and latter threshing floor. The site has not been troubled by modern restorations and therefore contrasts very well with more open construction of Knossos and Malia.
An interesting site, Lato is well worth a visit if you’re in the area and also offers excellent views.
Inhabited since the 11th century, the monasteries of Meteora are some of the most visually arresting historical sites in Greece, perched high on its mountains. UNESCO-listed.
Meteora is an incredible set of monasteries each perched high atop Greek mountains in area of extraordinary natural beauty. In fact “Meteora” literally means “suspended in the air”.
The sites on which the Meteora monasteries were built are believed to have first been inhabited by a group of monks who lived their lives in seclusion, in the eleventh century. However, many of the Meteora monasteries seen today date back to the fourteenth, fifteenth and sixteenth centuries.
The most important of the Meteora monasteries is perhaps that of The Holy Monastery of Great Meteoron, built in the mid-fourteenth century and this is now a museum. Other monasteries of Meteora include Agias Triados, Agiou Nikolaou, Varlaam, Agias Varvaras Rousanou and Agiou Stefanou.
When visiting Meteora, it is required that women wear skirts covering their knees and that both men and women cover up generally. This site also features as one of our Top 10 tourist attractions to visit in Greece.
This museum in Thessaloniki explores the history and heritage of the Byzantine era.
The Museum of Byzantine Culture in Thessaloniki in Greece is dedicated to exploring various aspects of the Byzantine period, from its beginnings in the third and fourth centuries AD to its fall to the Ottomans in 1453.
As its name suggests, the Museum of Byzantine Culture explores various social aspects relating to this period including politics, ideology, religion and social structures. From mosaics and icons to ecclesiastic objects and everyday utensils, the Museum of Byzantine Culture displays almost 3,000 artefacts from the Byzantine period throughout its eleven rooms, categorising them and creating a chronological narrative for visitors to follow.
Adopting a multifaceted approach, the Museum of Byzantine Culture combines ancient pieces with multimedia presentations to create a picture of Byzantine life.
An entire city built around a 13th century castle, Mystras is one of the medieval historical sites of Greece.
Mystras or “Morea” sits atop a hill overlooking the city of Sparta. In approximately 1248-1249, William II of Villehardouin, a prince of Achaea who had taken part in the Fourth Crusade, decided to build a stronghold there as a defence from the Byzantines.
Soon after the castle was completed, William was taken prisoner following his defeat at the hands of Byzantine Emperor Michael VIII Palaeologus. From 1262, the citizens of Sparta used the castle at Mystras as a place of shelter, but soon settled there and began building a city around it.
In 1438, Mystras reached its peak, becoming the capital of the Byzantine province of the Despotate of the Morea, a position it held until 1460 when it was captured by the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire, Mohammed II. The Ottomans held on to Mystras for centuries, except for a couple of brief periods when it was captured by the Venetians.
Probably abandoned in 1832, Mystras is today an important archaeological site listed on UNESCO’s World Heritage list. During its time as an active city, many churches, palaces, houses and other structures, including its famous fortress were considered to be some of the best architectural gems of their times, known as the so-called “wonders of Morea'.
What remains at Mystras today is a series of Byzantine churches and a monastery as well as several ruins including the castle, some roads and the fortress walls, all set amidst an incredible landscape. The entrance to the site is particularly well preserved. There is a nearby Mystras Museum housing finds from the site. This site also features as one of our Top 10 tourist attractions to visit in Greece.
The National Historical Museum in Athens covers modern Greek history and folklore between the fifteenth and twentieth centuries.
Considered one of the architectural jewels of Athens, the National Historical Museum is a building of significant national importance and covers Greek history and folklore between the fifteenth and twentieth centuries.
The museum building itself was previously the seat of the Greek Parliament and was used for that purpose until the parliament was relocated to the Old Royal Palace in Syntagma Square in 1935.
Today the National Historical Museum provides a fascinating insight into modern Greek history. Exhibits include arms and armoury, flags, paintings, engravings, prints, architectural drawings, costumes and jewellery, memorabilia, furniture and folk art.
The museum also houses the Library of the Historical and Ethnological Society of Greece, the Historic Documents Archive, the Photography Archive and a Conservation Lab and is also a centre of research for modern Greek history.
Probably one of the more unlikely historic attractions in Greece, this was actually an ancient Roman luxury public lavatory.
The Nymphaeum of Kos was an Ancient Roman building and its name is something of a misnomer.
Called the Nymphaeum because its opulence initially led archaeologists to think it was a sanctuary dedicated to the Nymphs, it has since been determined that this would have been a very luxurious set of lavatories.
Also on this site was the Ancient Roman gymnasium or ’Xysto’, the ruins of which are quite impressive and include several columns, and not far from the Odeon of Kos is also close by.
The Odeon of Kos dates back to the 2nd or 3rd century and would have served as a Roman theatre.
The Odeon of Kos dates back to the second or third century and would have served as a Roman theatre.
Today, several of its original rows remain and it is certainly possible to imagine how the Odeon of Kos would have looked in its heyday.
Beyond the original rows, the Odeon of Kos has also undergone restoration and the site is in excellent condition, even though it is no longer all original. There are also the remains of a Roman gym and bathhouse nearby.
Along with other Roman sites in Kos, such as the Nymphaeum of Kos and the Casa Romana, the Odeon of Kos is well worth a visit when staying on the island.
This is a museum displaying finds from the ancient city of Olympia.
Olympia Archaeological Museum is a museum focused on the Ancient Greek site of Olympia, which is located nearby. A major Greek city and the place of origin of the Olympic Games, Olympia was dedicated to Zeus and has been extensively excavated.
Many of the finds from these excavations are exhibited at the Olympia Archaeological Museum including expansive collections of terracotta and bronze, many mosaics, sculptures and numerous other artifacts from this ancient city. Some of its most treasured items include those from the destroyed Temple of Zeus.
Olympia Archaeological Museum explores the history of the ancient city of Olympia and offers an insight into this fascinating site and the lives of its former inhabitants.
The site of the first modern Olympic games, the 2,300-year-old Panathenaic Stadium in Athens is one of the most significantly important historical sites in all of Greece.
The site of the first modern Olympic games in 1896, the 2,300-year-old Panathenaic Stadium in Athens is one of the most significant historical sites in Greece.
Originally built around 330 BC, the ancient stadium was used to host the Panathenaic games every four years. The stadium was rebuilt in the mid-second century AD by Herodes Atticus, a wealthy Greek-born Roman senator who built a number of grand public buildings in Athens at the time. At this stage the stadium would have been able to accommodate around 50,000 people.
Abandoned through the ages, it was not until the late 19th century that the stadium was excavated and subsequently rebuilt to host the reborn modern Olympics. As well as being a site of great historical importance, the Panathenaic Stadium now hosts modern competitions and famously hosted events at the 2004 games.
Today, the Panathenaic Stadium remains one of Greece’s most significant and popular tourist sites and includes the annual culmination of the Athens marathon. You can even do your morning jogging round the track!
Once the capital of ancient Macedonia and the birthplace of Alexander the Great, Pella may not be one of the best known tourist sites in Greece, but is of great historical importance.
Pella, near a small town in Greece by the same name, is an archaeological site which was once the thriving capital of ancient Macedonia.
Established by King Amyntas III at the end of the fifth, beginning of the fourth century BC, Pella took over this role from the former capital, Aigai.
As well as being a cultural and commercial hub, Pella was also a place of great historical significance, it being the birthplace of Alexander the Great. By the time of its peak, from the late fourth to second century BC, Pella would have been brimming with public, religious and commercial buildings as well as monuments and homes all carefully organised according to Hippodamian urban planning principles.
The Romans captured Pella in around 168 to 167 BC and it was incorporated into the Empire’s third regio. Thus began the decline of Pella’s political importance, quickened by the selection of Thessaloniki as the new capital of Roman Macedonia in 148 BC and finalised by an earthquake which destroyed it in the first century BC.
Whilst excavations have uncovered an archaeological site of over four square kilometers, little of this is open to the public. Nevertheless, visitors can see several sites at Pella, including a series of remains of houses, mostly dating back to the Hellenistic period and the marketplace or "agora". There is also a museum housing artifacts from the site.
Pharsalus Battlefield was the setting for the most decisive battle of Caesar’s civil war and saw the final defeat of Pompey the Great.
Pharsalus Battlefield was the setting for one of the most decisive and important battles of ancient Rome – the defeat of Pompey the Great by Julius Caesar. It was a battle which Caesar won against the odds and it all but confirmed his position as ruler of Rome, a key moment in the transition from Republic to Empire.
The civil war between Caesar and his senatorial enemies had been underway for over a year when this decisive clash took place. Caesar had followed the senatorial armies, led by Pompey, to Greece and had generally come off second best in the sparring which had taken place since crossing the Adriatic. Most notably Caesar had suffered a defeat at the Battle of Dyrrhachium and his forces were slowly being hemmed in and stripped of supplies by the far larger senatorial army.
While Pompey was in favour of starving Caesar out, his compatriots from the senate favoured a decisive engagement and, against his better judgement, Pompey relented. The Battle of Pharsalus took place on the 9th August 48 BC and saw Pompey’s army decisively defeated and routed. Pompey himself fled the battlefield and was later killed when attempting to find sanctuary in Egypt.
The exact location of Pharsalus Battlefield has been the subject of much debate and there is no absolutely definitive setting which is universally accepted. Likewise, today there are no monuments to the battle and there is nothing to see at the most accepted location, marked on the map, which is just outside the modern Greek city of Farsala.
Philippi Battlefield is the location of the Battle of Philippi, where Mark Antony and Octavian defeated the forces of those who had assassinated Julius Caesar.
Philippi Battlefield in modern Greece is the location of one of the most important engagements in Roman history, where Mark Antony and Octavian defeated the forces of those who had assassinated Julius Caesar – notably Marcus Junius Brutus and Gaius Cassius Longinus.
After Caesar’s assassination in 44 BC a short, uneasy truce between those who supported Caesar and those who killed him soon denigrated into open conflict. The forces of the two sides eventually met in Greece near the ancient city of Philippi.
The battle actually took place in two separate engagements, one on October 3rd 42 BC and one on October 23rd. The first engagement saw successes for both sides – though Cassius took his own life believing the battle to be lost. The second engagement was a victory for Antony and Octavian and Brutus also committed suicide in the battle’s aftermath.
Today the battlefield of Philippi is believed to be located outside the modern town of Krinides in north-west Greece. The important archaeological site of Philippoi (Filippoi) is located at the site and contains the impressive remains of the ancient city which thrived here both before and after the battle.
A magnificent mausoleum celebrating the life of one of Athens’ most important benefactors, Julius Antiochus Philopappos, and built by the citizens of the city after his death in 116 AD.
The Philopappos Monument is a magnificent mausoleum celebrating the life of one of Athens’ most important benefactors, Gaius Julius Antiochus Epiphanes Philopappos, and built by the citizens of the city after his death in 116 AD.
When Philopappos died, the citizens of Athens built a spectacular two-storey Pentelic marble mausoleum and monument close to the Acropolis to honour his name. He was the textbook polymath – a massive benefactor to the city of Athens, patron of the arts, a games magistrate and a member of the Roman Senate.
The monument was preserved virtually intact up until at least the late fifteenth century and, though degraded by the years, today visitors can still see elements of the lavish decoration and burial chamber of this famous Athens patron.
This museum displays mostly Classical and Hellenistic as well as some Archaic artefacts.
The Rhodes Archaeological Museum displays mostly Classical and Hellenistic as well as some Archaic artifacts including statues, funereal pieces and decorative items.
The building in which the Rhodes Archaeological Museum is located is also historically important, it being the Great Hospital of the Knights Hospitallers, built between 1440 and 1489. This Christian military order was based in Rhodes at the time and the Great Hospital is part of the city’s UNESCO World Heritage listing.
This Agora of Athens contains some of the city’s ancient Roman ruins.
The Roman Agora of Athens - also known as the Roman Forum of Athens - was founded in the late first century BC / early first century AD and its construction was funded by Julius Caesar and the Emperor Augustus.
Probably the most impressive historic site at the Roman Agora of Athens is what is known as the Tower of the Winds. A clock, weather vane, sundial and compass all in one, this monument is generally thought to date to the first century BC and is very well preserved.
The Roman Agora of Athens is also home to the Gate of Athena Archegetis (circa 11BC) as well as the remains of some ancient public toilets.
Syntagma Metro Station in Athens contains a fascinating selection of ancient artefacts which were uncovered during the station’s construction.
In the very heart of the city opposite the Parliament, Syntagma Metro Station is both a transport hub and museum.
Dating from the 1990s, when Athens was building its new metro for the 2004 Olympics, the station contains numerous artefacts dating from Classical times - including skeletons - excavated on the site as the station was being built.
A great many items are displayed in the station, the highlight being a glass-walled display behind which a number of these objects can be seen.
The ancient Temple of Aphaea on the island of Aegina is one of the most important and picturesque temples in Greece.
The ancient Temple of Aphaea on the island of Aegina is one of the most important and picturesque temples in Greece.
The site itself was the location of an important ancient sanctuary which dates back far into antiquity. The sanctuary was dedicated to the cult of Aphaia, a local deity later assimilated by Athena. Historical records and archaeological excavation have shown that a significant temple structure stood on the site in the 6th century BC and it is believed this earlier incarnation was destroyed by fire in 510 BC.
The Temple of Aphaea ruins we see today date back to the second temple built on the site, which was constructed between 500 BC and 490 BC. Built in the Doric style, it was comprised of twelve columns on each site while the internal temple (cella) had two rows of five columns each.
The importance of the Aphaia sanctuary declined after the Athenians began to dominate Aegina from the middle of the fifth century BC. Some repairs were made to the temple in the fourth century, but by the end of the second century BC the area was largely abandoned.
Today the Temple of Aphaea remains in a picturesque semi-ruinous state and is one of the most important ancient sites on the island.
Among the most interesting features of this ancient Greek temple were the pedimental sculptures, which show elements from history and legend. The east pediment showed elements from the first Trojan War, which was an early expedition by Herakles against the Trojan king Laomedon, and which included Telamon, son of Aiakos - the first king of the island of Aphaea. This expedition is not to be confused with the second Trojan War – the one described by Homer - which is depicted on the west pediment, and in which in which three descendants of Aiakos participated: Ajax, Teukros and Achilles.
As with other famous Greek sculptures, these pediments were removed in the 19th century and are now on display in the Glyptothek museum in Munich, Germany.
The Temple of Aphaea at Aegina is now a popular tourist site and offers a beautiful backdrop for those seeking to take some inspirational photography at a truly idyllic site.
The Temple of Apollo Epicurius at Bassae is often said to be one of the best examples of its kind in the Peloponnese.
The Temple of Apollo Epicurius at Bassae, also known simply at the Temple of Bassae, is not just beautifully preserved, but is often said to be one of the best examples of its kind in the Peloponnese. Built sometimes from the middle to end of the 5th Century (estimates range from 450-400 BC), the magnificent Temple of Apollo Epicurius is the highlight of the site of the former sanctuary of Bassae and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site in its own right.
Set amidst the rocky, mountainous and quite remote location, the Temple of Apollo Epicurius at Bassae is oft praised for its unique blend of styles and has been linked – albeit not confirmed - to the famed architect Ictinos (Iktinos). The entire Temple of Bassae is now in a covered tent-like structure and contains many wonderful architectural features.
A frieze from the Temple of Apollo Epicurius can be found at the British Museum.
The Temple of Hephaestus is an imposing ancient Greek temple in the Athenian Agora.
The Temple of Hephaestus is an imposing ancient Greek temple in the Athenian Agora and site of worship of the Greek deity of fire, blacksmiths and sculpture.
Built in the fifth century BC, the Temple of Hephaestus was later incorporated into the Church of Agios Georgios, this accounting for its excellent state of preservation. This site also features as one of our Top 10 tourist attractions in Greece.
With its vast columns, this is one of the most impressive ancient temples in Greece.
The Temple of Olympian Zeus, also known as the Olympeion is one of the biggest - if not actually the biggest - ancient temples in Greece.
Vast and impressive, the Temple of Olympian Zeus was begun by Peisistratus the Young in the sixth century BC but various events and circumstances meant it took hundreds of years to construct. It was the Roman emperor Hadrian who finally completed it in around 132AD.
The archaeological site of the Temple of Olympian Zeus contains not just the ancient temple but also other ruins. Amongst these are some other ancient temples, the remains of a defensive wall, some Roman baths and even homes.
The Temple of Poseidon of Sounio is a picturesque ruin of a Greek temple dedicated to the deity of the sea.
The Temple of Poseidon of Sounio is a picturesque ruin of a fifth century BC Greek temple dedicated to the deity of the sea.
Dramatically perched on a cliff overlooking the ocean, the Temple of Poseidon of Sounio is now made up of a rectangle of restored large Doric columns.
For truly spectacular views this partially-ruined Greek temple is hard to beat. If you can catch it at sunset, then the scene will be complete. It’s roughly an hour out from Athens and there are several tour operators offering half-day trips.
A comprehensive museum of ancient Greece and general Athenian history, The Acropolis Museum is among the top places to visit in Greece.
The Acropolis Museum is a stunningly located and constructed archaeological museum housing a myriad of Ancient Greek artefacts, particularly those relating to the Acropolis and the Parthenon, both of which can be seen from the museum's top floor panoramic windows.
Housed in an eminently modern building and using multimedia presentations side by side with ancient artefacts, the Acropolis Museum is both fascinating and accessible.
The undoubted highlight of the Acropolis Museum is the top floor where the Parthenon sculptures are beautifully displayed in the order in which they would have graced the original Parthenon.
Pointedly, there are gaps, filled by plaster-cast reproductions, which await the return of the originals - the Elgin Marbles - which are currently found in the British Museum having been brought to England ('stolen' in the view of some) at the end of the 18th Century by Lord Elgin. This site also features as one of our Top 10 tourist attractions in Greece.
Exhibiting finds from the Ancient Agora of Athens, this museum is housed within the reconstructed Stoa of Attalos.
The Agora Museum displays finds and artefacts from the site of the Ancient Agora of Athens. It is also located within the reconstructed ancient building of the Stoa of Attalos.
Originally constructed in the mid-second century BC, the Stoa of Attalos - once a popular shopping precinct and meeting place - is named after the king who built it, Attalos II of Pergamum.
For those visiting the Ancient Agora of Athens, the Agora Museum is a good place to start as it helps you make sense of the ruins with models of how the site would once have looked.
The Amphiareion at Oropos was a sanctuary built in the late 5th century BC dedicated to the mythical deified seer Amphiaraos where pilgrims came from far and wide for his oracular medicinal and psychological healing.
The Amphiareion at Oropos is a ruined 5th century sanctuary in Oropos, around 30 miles north of Athens, the Greek capital city. It was built in the late 5th century BC dedicated to the mythical deified seer Amphiaraos, one of the most noble and well-respected figures in Greek mythology.
Pilgrims came from far and wide for his oracular medicinal and psychological healing, and they had to pay for the privilege (’argyroma’). A 55mm x 15mm x 2mm lead ticket was issued, they had to abstain from wine for three days and food for one, sacrifice a ram on whose skin they would have to sleep and then Amphiaraos would appear in their dreams and let them know how to be cured from their particular ailment or to give them oracle.
Oropos is the most famous of all the sanctuaries dedicated to the worship of Amphiaraos and was built in a shallow, verdant valley close to the village of Kalamos, two miles to the northwest. It flourished for a thousand years.
Somehow, the Amphiareion at Oropos remains relatively unknown, beaten in popularity terms by the Greek heavyweights - the Acropolis, the theatre at Epidaurus and the Mycenae but it’s a stunning site. Today, visitors can see remains of the baths, stoa (covered walkways or porticos), a theatre for around 300 spectators, a 4th century temple and five amazingly well preserved ’proedreia’, or thrones and each one carries the same votive inscription suggesting they were donated by 1st century priest Nikon. There are also domestic structures, a stadium for hosting gymnastics events, a hostel for the pilgrims with 11 rooms and a water clock, also known as a ’clepsydra’.
The Beule Gate was built in the 3rd century AD as part of a defensive wall.
The Beule Gate is one of the first things you see when entering the Acropolis complex and was built in the third century AD as part of a defensive wall.
Discovered in 1852, the Beule Gate was named after archaeologist Ernest Beule.
This monument commemorated first prize in a dramatic performance Lysicrates had sponsored around 335 BCE.
The Choragic Monument of Lysicrates was the first Greek monument built in the Corinthian order.
The frieze decoration depicts the adventure of Dionysos with the pirates, whom he turned into dolphins.
Lysicrates is the man who paid for the monument, which commemorates a chorus that he sponsored who won first place in a competition.
The Choragic Monument of Lysicrates is located on the ancient Street of the Tripods near the Acropolis in Athens (so named for the tripod prizes awarded to choric victories. In 1669 the monument and surrounding area were incorporated into the Capuchin monastery. In the 1820s all of the buildings of the monastery, with the exception of the Choragic Monument, were destroyed by Ottoman forces.
The Erechtheion is a well preserved ancient temple in the Acropolis complex.
The Erechtheion is a well preserved ancient temple within the Acropolis complex where its believed namesake, the legendary Greek king Erechtheus, is thought to have come to worship.
Immersed in myth and legend, the Erechtheion was home to several cults, including those of Poseidon, Athena and, of course, Erechtheus himself.
Completed in around 406BC, the Erechtheion is a distinctive building whose large columns are statues depicting women. These statues are known as Karyatides, derived from the fact that they were inspired by the women of Karyes in Lakonia.
Four of the original six statues are now on display in the adjoining Acropolis Museum having been replaced by copies in the Erechtheion itself. Of the remaining two statues, one is in the British Museum as part of the Elgin Marbles. Only a few fragments of the final statue survive, also displayed in the Acropolis Museum.
The Parthenon is among the most iconic surviving ancient historic sites in Greece site and is a monument to Classical Greek civilisation.
The Parthenon is probably the most famous surviving site from Ancient Greece. Standing at the heart of The Acropolis in the centre of Athens, the Parthenon is a monument to Classical Greek civilisation.
Built during the golden age of Pericles - the famous Athenian statesman - the Parthenon was originally constructed to be a temple to the Ancient Greek goddess Athena.
The Parthenon was built in the mid-fifth Century BC and replaced an earlier construction on the site which had been destroyed during the Persian Wars. Through the centuries, the Parthenon has also been used as a Christian Church and a Muslim Mosque.
The Parthenon was heavily damaged in 1687 during a conflict between the Ottoman Empire and the Venetians. Many of the surviving sculptures from the Parthenon were removed from the site in the early 19th Century by the Earl of Elgin and are now on display in the British Museum.
Today the Parthenon remains on the ‘must-see’ list of most history enthusiasts and is a UNESCO World Heritage site.
An impressive site to visit in central Athens, the Propylaia was the grand entranceway to the Acropolis.
The Propylaia (also spelt Propylaea) was the grand entranceway to the Acropolis. Begun in approximately 437BC under the supervision of the architect Mnesikles, works on the Propylaia continued until 432BC, but were never completed.
Nevertheless, even in its unfinished state, the Propylaia is considered to be of great architectural importance and beauty. It would have been a grand structure, with many external Doric and internal Ionic columns, all built in Pentelic marble.
The Propylaia was fairly well preserved until the seventeenth century, when it was devastated by an explosion. Today, its ruins form a dramatic sight within the Acropolis complex.
This is a cylindrical stone tower, monument and museum in Thessaloniki, capital of the Macedonian region of northern Greece.
The White Tower of Thessaloniki (in greek Lefkos Pyrgos), is a cylindrical stone tower monument and museum in the city of Thessaloniki, capital of the Macedonian region of northern Greece.
The White Tower of Thessaloniki
Constructed by the Ottomans in the 15th Century, it was originally built to help defend the city's harbour and replaced an older Byzantine structure. However, the White Tower of Thessaloniki later gained a far more sinister reputation when it became an infamous prison and the scene of executions during the Ottoman period.
Once Greece gained control of the city, the White Tower of Thessaloniki was substantially remodelled and its exterior whitewashed, hence the name ‘White Tower’. It has since been adopted as the symbol of the city.
The History of Thessaloniki
Thessaloniki itself was founded around 316/315 BC by Cassander, the King of Macedonia. Cassander named the city after his wife, the sister of Alexander the Great. Built in a region rich in productive sources, Thessaloniki was protected by the mountain of Hortiatis, deep in Thermaikos Gulf, which provided ships with safety and open communication to the sea.
Cosmopolitan in antiquity, as shown by the worship of various gods both from Ancient Greece and from abroad, Thessaloniki was first acquainted with Christianity in 50 AD, when St. Paul the Apostle visited it for the first time and taught at a Jewish synagogue.
During the Byzantine era, there were periods when Thessaloniki was the second most important city after Constantinople, the ‘First after the First’, as Byzantine writers called it. During the Ottoman occupation, Thessaloniki retained its importance, being the largest urban centre in the European part of the Ottoman Empire, with a multiracial society.
In 1912 the city was incorporated into the Greek state. Due to its geopolitical location, Thessaloniki has always been a crossroads where people of different religious and cultural origins met and coexisted for long periods of time. However, the city steadily maintained its Greek character, which was enhanced with the settlement of Asian Minor refugees in 1922.
The White Tower of Thessaloniki Museum
The museum that is found within the White Tower presents exhibitions covering the city’s history through time. It is intended to help visitors and residents to get better acquainted with the city, its monuments and its museums.
Visitors can also get great views of the city from the top floor of the White Tower.
The Theatre of Dionysus was one of the most important theatres in Ancient Greece.
The Theatre of Dionysus in Athens was one of the most important theatres in Ancient Greece.
Initially built of timber in the sixth century BC, the Theatre of Dionysus was named in honour of the Greek deity of wine and theatre. It soon became a focal point of Ancient Greek social life, with plays, festivals and competitions all taking place there. In fact, the Theatre of Dionysus played host to masterpieces by some of the most important playwrights of the time, including Sophocles and Euripides.
By 326BC, the Theatre of Dionysus had been expanded and renovated, able to seat up to 17,000 people and with added stone tiers. Some of the seating can still be seen today.
The Theatre of Herodes Atticus is a Roman amphitheatre built in Athens in 161AD.
The Theatre of Herodes Atticus, also known as the Odeon, is a Greco-Roman theatre built in 161 AD.
It is named after an affluent Greek-born Roman senator, Herodes Atticus, who constructed it in commemoration of his wife, Regilia.
Able to seat up to 5,000 people, the Theatre of Herodes Atticus was mostly used for music shows and festivals, a function which the now restored structure still performs today.
Thebes was an ancient Mycenaean and Greek city eventually destroyed by Alexander the Great.
Thebes was a powerful city in Ancient Greece, the few remains of which can now be seen in the modern Greek town of Thiva.
Whilst first occupied in Neolithic times and already thriving in the Helladic period, Thebes reached its peak during the Mycenaean period. The settlement continued to thrive, becoming an important city of Ancient Greece in the fourth century BC. Thebes is the site of numerous Ancient Greek events and myths, including being the birthplace of the Greek god Dionysus and demi-god Hercules. It was also the setting of Sophocles’s tragedy of Oedipus, the legendary King of Thebes who killed his father and married his mother.
The army of Thebes was at one time considered to be the best in Greece and demonstrated its prowess numerous times against that of Sparta. Thebes’s army was vitally important to its power and allowed it to become the ruling city of the Boeotia region.
Thebes began to decline in 338 BC, when it suffered defeat at the hands of the Macedonians in the Battle of Chaeronea. The final blow to the city occurred in 335 BC, when Thebes revolted against Alexander the Great, resulting in its absolute destruction. So great was the damage that Thebes never recovered and very little survives today.
Some ruins which can still be seen are the fortified Mycenaean palace of Kadmos, also known as Cadmea, and the Temple of Apollo Ismenios (found between the Electran Gates and the Aghios Loukas cemetery).
This archaeological museum in Thessaloniki has five main comprehensive exhibits, mostly focused on ancient Macedonia.
Thessaloniki Archaeological Museum takes visitors through the history of Ancient Macedonia, exploring the lives of its citizens, their ideology and their culture from Neolithic times through to the Mycenaean period and the Roman period.
Exhibiting artefacts ranging from daily tools to burial pieces and ideological paraphernalia to gold, the Thessaloniki Archaeological Museum offers an insight into the lives of those who lived in Ancient Macedonia from its creation and throughout its existence.
There are five exhibits in all in the Thessaloniki Archaeological Museum, arranged chronologically and including multimedia presentations and audio guides.