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The City of Athens
Ancient Athens
Tour of Athens
The Agora of Athens
Temple of Hephaistos
The Akropolis of Athens
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Around the city of Athens

Kerameikos  
Was named after the community of the potters (kerameis) who occupied the whole area along the banks of river Eridanos. The walls of Athens, which were constructed in the 5th century B.C. by Themistocles, divided the area into two sections, the "inner" and "outer" Kerameikos.
The wall had two gates, Dipylon and the Sacred Gate, placed at the outset of the two most important processional roads of Athens, the Panathenaic Way which led to the Acropolis, and the Sacred Way which led to Eleusis.

Outside the city walls, along the sides of both roads lay the official cemetery of the city, which was continuously used from the 9th century B.C. until the late Roman period.

Systematic excavations on the site were begun in 1870 by the Greek Archaeological Society under the direction of St. Koumanoudis, and were continued during the following decades in collaboration with the German archaeologists A.Brueckner and F. Noack. In 1913, the Greek Government entrusted the excavations to the German Archaeological Institute, which is still conducting the investigation of the site. 

Part of the Themistocleian wall
The wall of the city of Athens was constructed in 478 B.C. and crossed the area of Kerameikos in a N-S direction. Dipylon was the greatest and most official gate of the city of Athens, also constructed in 478 B.C. It had two passageways that gave access to an internal courtyard with four towers erected at its corners. From this gate started the procession of the Panathenaea, the most important festival of ancient Athens, following the Panathenaic Way that led up to the Acropolis.

The Pompeion
Spacious building with a peristyle courtyard, used for the preparation of festival processions. In the Pompieion were kept the sacral items used at the Panathenaic procession. Dated to the end of the 5th century B.C.

The Sacred Gate
Was one of the gates of the city wall built by Themistocles in 478 B.C. It allowed the passage of river Eridanos and of the Sacred Way, the processional way that led to Eleusis.
It was protected by two square towers and had a courtyard divided into two parts, one of which was occupied by the bank of the river. Dated to 478 B.C. 

The "Demosion Sema"
The public cemetery of the city, extended just outside the Dipylon gate. The graves were constructed along the sides of the road which became very wide (up to 40 m.) outside the walls. A part of the "Demosion Sema" cemetery has been brought to light in 1997, during a rescue excavation.

The Fountain House
The hypostyle fountain was located on the left side of the entrance of the Dipylon gate and provided a continuous supply of water to the inhabitants of the city and the travelers. It was built in 307-304 B.C. The finds from the excavations of Kerameikos are exhibited in the Museum of Kerameikos and the National Archaeological Museum.

Plato's Academy
Was a suburb of Athens, named after the hero Academos or Academos. The site was continuously inhabited from the prehistoric period until the 6th century A.D.
During the 6th century B.C., one of the three famous Gymnasiums of Athens was founded here. Moreover, it is recorded that Hippias, the son of Peisistratos, built a circuit wall, and Cimon planted the area with trees which were destroyed by Sulla in 86 B.C. In 387 B.C.
Plato founded his philosophical school, which became very famous due to the Neoplatonists, and remained in use until A.D. 526, when it was finally closed down by emperor Justinian.

Sacred House
Building of the Geometric period which comprises seven rectangular rooms on either side of a corridor. The structure presents strong similarity to the sacred house of Eleusis. Sacrificial remains found inside the building bare evidence of intensive religious practice.

Gymnasium
Large rectangular building with an internal peristyle, and rooms on the north side. A smaller room on the interior was used as a palaestra. Dated to the 1st century A.D.

Peristyle building
Large square building with an internal peristyle, identified either as the Palestra or as an annex of the Gymnasium. Dated to the 4th century B.C.

Early Helladic absidal house
It has a vestibule, a central hall and a small auxiliary room, and has been interpreted as the prehistoric residence of the hero Academos.

Olympieion
According to tradition, the establishment of the sanctuary goes back to the time of mythical Deucalion.
The site was inhabited in the prehistoric period and the cult of Zeus is attested in early historic times. In ca. 515 B.C., Peisistratos the Younger, began the construction of a monumental temple which was not finished because of the fall of the tyranny in Athens.

Much later, in 174 B.C., Antiochos IV Epiphanes, the king of Syria, attempted to continue the erection of the temple, which was finally completed by the Roman emperor Hadrian, in A.D. 124/125.
Inside the temple stood a colossal chryselephantine (gold and ivory) statue of Zeus.
The temple was excavated in 1889-86 by E. Penrose, and in 1922 by G. Welter.
The Greek Archaeological Society conducted excavations in the area around the temple, between 1886 and 1907, and work was resumed by Ioannes Travlos in the 1960's. Many parts of the circuit wall of the sanctuary have been rebuilt, imitating the ancient masonry. Sections of the ancient wall have been preserved only at the south-east corner and on the north side.

Temple of Zeus Olympios 
It was tripteral octastyle on the two narrow sides, and dipteral eikosastyle on the long sides, that is, it was surrounded by 104 Corinthian columns in total. Inside the building, along the north and south walls, there was an additional Ionic colonnade.
The temple was built between A.D. 124 and 132.

Temple of Apollo Delphinios
Peripteral Doric temple, dated to 500 B.C.

The Court at the Delphinion
Ancient building with a spacious courtyard and rooms along the north side. Dated to ca. 500 B.C.
Gates of the city wall of Athens, built by Themistocles in 479/78 B.C.
Roman baths, constructed in A.D. 124-132.
Temple of Panhellenic Zeus, built in A.D. 131-132.
Temple of Cronos and Rhea. Small, dipteral temple dated to A.D. 150.
Hadrian's Arch The triumphal arch lies on an ancient street that led from the old city of Athens to the new, Roman section, built by Hadrian.
It was constructed by the Athenians in A.D. 131, in honor of their benefactor emperor.
Two inscriptions are carved on the architrave, one on each side:
the first, on the side towards the Acropolis reads "This is Athens, the ancient city of Theseus"; the second, on the other side, facing the new city reads "This is the city of Hadrian and not of Theseus".
The central arched opening of the monument is supported by pilasters crowned with Corinthian capitals. Similar, but taller pilasters flank the outer corners.
The arch is crowned by a series of Corinthian columns and pilasters, with an Ionic architrave at the ends, and an entablature with a triangular pediment in the middle. The whole monument is made of Pentelic marble.
The triumphal arch lies on an ancient street that led from the old city of Athens to the new, Roman section, built by Hadrian.
It was constructed by the Athenians in A.D. 131, in honor of their benefactor emperor.
Two inscriptions are carved on the architrave, one on each side:
the first, on the side towards the Acropolis reads "This is Athens, the ancient city of Theseus"; the second, on the other side, facing the new city reads "This is the city of Hadrian and not of Theseus".
The central arched opening of the monument is supported by pilasters crowned with Corinthian capitals. Similar, but taller pilasters flank the outer corners.
The arch is crowned by a series of Corinthian columns and pilasters, with an Ionic architrave at the ends, and an entablature with a triangular pediment in the middle. The whole monument is made of Pentelic marble.


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