There are several Ancient Greek landmarks which still stand tall in the country, bearing mute testimony to the grandeur and magnificence of a civilization which has contributed richly to every sphere of human development. Each of these ancient Greek landmarks has its own history and heritage which you will be able to see while visiting these landmarks.
Important landmarks in Ancient Greece
Acropolis of Athens
The most well known ancient Greece landmark is the Athenian Acropolis and is also an heritage UNESCO site. It is the best example of the Athenian way of life in fifth century BC. It is regarded as one of the most significant archeological sites of the world. It was actually the citadel of the ancient city of Athens which was even refered to as ‘the Holy Rock’. We find several monuments like the temple dedicated to Zeus and Poseidon, known as the Erechtheion. But the famous of the moonements sis the Parthenon dedicated to Goddess Athena, the Patron goddess of the city.
The Parthenon is a majestic structure which stands in its originality from the original form although with some portions lost to time. The statues of Erechtheion on the other hand have been installed in modern times trying to replicate the original ones with five of the female figures being restored in recent times.
Hills of Athens
Apart from the Acropolis, there are more hills and slopes dotting the city of Athens. The Areopagus is the most popular hill which is located opposite the Acropolis and is the location where the judicial sessions took place in ancient Greece.
Another of the important ancient Greek landmarks is Olympia which is still revered as the home of the ancient Olympic Games which were held here in 776 BC. It includes the building at the west where the legendary sculptor Pheidias worked. Then there are the original stadium and the place where the Olympic races were run.
It was a religious sanctuary dedicated to Zeus and it still consist of the ruins of many structures including a temple of Zeus and also famous Hermes of Praxiteles and a statue of Nike of Paionios.
One of the most visited sites in Greece is Delphi which was the home of the major oracle known as Pythia, that was consulted by people across ancient Greece. Because of this, it commanded a position of power in the country. In later years, Delphi came to be known as an area of neutrality. It became a center of the intercity diplomatic relationship. It includes the treasury of the Athenians and the temple of Apollo.
it was considered to be the center of the world by the ancient Greeks and had been marked by a stone monument called omphalos. It also consists of monuments built by almost every city state showing its importance in Ancient Greek world.
Another important site, known more for its historical relevance rather than archeological ruins is Marathon. It is the site where, in 490 BC, the Greeks, led by Athens soundly defeated the Persians. This gave Athens a great position of power in the country. Today, you can see the small museum and the Athenian Tumulus which was erected to pay respect to the dead.
Mycenae is the seat of King Agamemnon who led the Trojan War. This site is rich in relicts as befits a city which dominated all the other city states surrounding it. The city has very thick walls. The museum holds many rich archeological finds including many grave goods that bear testimony to fine craftsmanship. The gold death masks are especially remarkable.
This site was probably built around 1350 to 1200 BC and reached its peak during the Mycenaean civilization. It was probably used as a military base in southern Greece from which they dominated all of southern Greece, Crete and the Cyclades. It consists of important monuments like the Lion Gate, chamber tombs and also ruins of a palace.
Another of the major ancient Greek landmarks is Pylos. It is a complex of ruins including the earliest bathtub in Greece called the Queens Quarter.
The Palace of Knossos
The palace of Knossos from the ancient city of Crete is another famous historical site located in the modern city of Heraklion. This palace was the heart of the Minion civilization and the city of Knossos was its capital.
The palace we can still see today consists of living spaces which are evidently royal with their beautiful frescoes and mosaics. It consists of toilets, bathrooms and even a drainage system. Public buildings, workshops and cult spaces are present in this area with many store rooms which were used for storing olive oils, grains and wine.
The site was abandoned around 1375 BC before being excavated by a British archaeologist, Arthur Evans in 1900 who also retired many parts of this palace.
Corinth, with its ruin of the vast temple of Apollo, also bears many Roman ruins because of the visit of St. Paul here during the Roman period. However, this temple is probably the first monument in Greece to be built in the Doric style.
Epidaurus was a small city-state in ancient Greece which was located in the Saronic gulf. The site consists of ancient monuments spread over two terraces and is surrounded by beautiful natural landscapes. The ancient theatre of Epidaurus was constructed around the 4th century BC and is considered as one of the architectural masterpieces, even being used today.
It also consists of many great monuments like the sanctuary of Asklepios, the temples of Artemis and the Propylaia which are dedicated to the healing gifts of the Greek world.
The ancient city of Lindos was situated on the island of Rhodes and founded by the Dorians in about 10 to 12th century BC.
The most significant part of the current archaeological site is the Acropolis of Lindos which still stands today and has been used by the Greeks, Romand and even by the ottomans as a naturally fortified citadel. It consists of many ruined ancient buildings like the Temple of Athena Lindia, the Propylaea of the Sanctuary, and the Hellenistic Stoa.
The ancient city of Delos was one of the islands in the middle of the Cyclades group of islands. Today it still boasts of the archaeological remains of the ancient city with its most feature being the Naxian lions.
According to the ancient Greeks, this island was the birthplace of two olympian gods, Apollo and Artemis and it was a religious centre popular among the pilgrims. The guardian lions still present are one of the most iconic Greek monuments which were dedicated to Apollo.
It is located in northern Greece and also was the capital of Macedonia and is mostly known as Aigai. It is where Philip was assassinated. and also contains the grave of Phillip II, the father of Alexander the Great. It is also where Alexander was proclaimed king. This site is known for its many valuable archeological finds including a bust of Alexander which was probably carved during his lifetime.
Their archaeological museum is one of the most important in Greece. It still houses the royal palace and also the tomb of Philip ll.
Sparta is another site, but little survives from the past. The temple of Artemis and the local museum show a glimpse into the Spartan culture.
Finally, Kerameikos is rich in relics of ancient Athens including its most ancient city walls and the double gate. It is also the worlds earliest seat of ceramic pottery.
There are many other ancient Greece landmarks but these ten serve to bring out the richness of an ancient civilization beautifully.