7 Best Historical Places in Greece
7 Best Historical Places in Greece
Greece is a country rich in history, food, beaches and culture. It can be overwhelming to visit Greece if you do not know where to start. There is so much to explore in this wonderful gem of Europe.
History of Greece is something that sets the country apart from others. With more than 6000 years of history and 1000 archaeological sites, Greece attracts hundreds and thousands of tourists from around the world. In this post, I am gonna tell you about 7 such historical sites you must visit in Greece. These places will keep you in awe with their magnificent architecture and the history attached to them.
So, if you are a history lover, get ready to dive into this amazing pool of history. But before we begin, I would like to know which country you are from and also some historic places in your country.
1. Athens: -
Talking about Greece's history, Athens has to be there on this list. The ancient as well as the modern capital of Greece is full of such historic locations. There are so many places here that I can write a complete new post about them. To name a few, there is the Acropolis, the Parthenon, the temple of Poseidon and Agora.
High on top of the hills, overlooking Athens, stand the proud remnants of four of the most well known ruins preserved from the ancient world. The iconic Parthenon, Proplayia, Erechtheion and the temple of Athena Nike make up the Acropolis of Athens. Enjoy the great marble facades that have stood here for more than two thousand years.
|Acropolis of Athens|
The most famous building in the Acropolis of Athens is the Parthenon. It is one of the most significant structures in the world. Built in 440 BC, the architectural features and size of this ancient temple is a must see.
Talking about Agora, it was an ancient market place of Greece. It was also used for discussing important issues like business, politics and current events.
Next important place is the temple of Olympian Zeus, the largest temple in ancient Greece. With more than hundred columns of which only 15 remain standing now, you can imagine the massive size of the original building. It was dedicated to ancient Greek's most powerful God, Zeus, also known as the King of Gods. Nearby the temple, there is also a small park containing ruins of Themistokles' Wall and the ancient Roman Baths.
Some of the other major sites include the Panathenaic Stadium and the Olympic Stadium, the museums and a number of churches.
2. Olympia: -
You must have guessed from the name itself, why this place is one of the best historic places in Greece. Olympia was the birthplace of Olympic Games which are an important event in today's world.
Olympic Games were started way back in 776 BC to worship the King of Gods - Zeus. The ancient Olympics were held every four years. No wars were allowed to fought during the complete duration of the games. You can still find the ruins of the ancient stadiums used during these games in Olympia.
The Temple of Zeus at Olympia was an ancient temple dedicated to God Zeus. The temple, built in the second quarter of 5th century BC, was the very model of fully developed classical Greek temple of Doric order. Temple housed a Chryselephantine (gold and ivory) statue of Zeus made by Phidius and was considered as one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. The temple was eventually destroyed in 522 and 551 AD and all that remains now are the ruins of this man-made wonder.
It takes you back in time and makes you wonder, how can someone destroy such a magnificent structure.
3. Corinth: -
This city has seen a long history with early settlements dating back to 5000 BC. The city has a number of museums and archaeological sites to visit.
Start with the museums. The Historic-Folklore Museum has exhibits of 3,500 and 18th and 19th century costumes from all over the Greece. Wonderful place to start with, seeing how the ancient Greeks dressed. The other museum is the Ecclesiastical museum that a significant number of ecclesiastical exhibits like manuscripts, high priest vestments, portable icons, gaspels, photographs etc.
Next comes the archaeological site of Ancient Korinthos. There are many ancient ruins that you can see here. There is Pirini Fountain, the temple of Apollo, the foundations of Roman Basilica, the temple of goddess Tyche (Fortune), the ruins of the theater and the Lerna Fountain.
The town of Acrocorinth, at whose foot the ancient wall was built, dates back to 4000 BC. It is considered as the most impressive acropoleis in mainland Greece. The highest peak on the site was home to the Temple of Aphrodite which was converted to a church and then became a mosque. Currently, Acrocorinth is one the most important medieval castle sites in Greece. An archaeological museum operates at the archaeological site with an exhibit of collection dating from Prehistoric Period through to the Roman and Byzantine Period.
The next place to visit is the Corinthian Canal. The idea of canal which connects the Saronic to the Corinthian Gulf was conceived by Periander in 6th century BC; however the canal was finally opened after Greece's independence during the period 1882 - 1893. It has a length of 6,346 meters and is 25 meters wide. In ancient times, slaves used to carry the ships over this narrow piece of land that separated the Adriatic Sea and Aegean Sea.
The other places you can visit in Corinth are Lechaio, Possidonia and Keghrees.
4. Epidaurus: -
Ancient Epidaurus is among the famous archaeological sites in Greece. It was developed around the sanctuary of Esklepius, the healing God.
The archaeological site of Asklipieion in Epidaurus is located 128 km from Athens in Peloponesse, is considered as one of the most important historic places in Greece and was declared by UNESCO as a World Heritage Center. It was the famous Asklipieion in Greece and people from all over Greece and Mediterranean arrived here to be cured. Due to its serene location it was considered as an ideal location for mentally ill patients.
The Ancient Theater of Epidaurus was built in 4th century BC. It was considered as the best theater in the antiquity and it served as an entertaining place. It has a capacity of 14,000 spectators. Every summer, the Athens Epidaurus festival is held in the theater.
Apart from theater, you can also see the remains of some other buildings from the sanctuary. Some of them are the hostel, the Greek baths, the Gymnasium complex, the Stoa of Kotys, the temple of Artemis, the temple of Asclepius, the Tholos, the Abaton and the stadium.
Lastly, there is also a museum operating on the site, which houses many of the findings which discovered here.
5. Meteora: -
Meteora is another UNESCO World Heritage Center and also an important religious center in Greece. The Monasteries of Meteora is the one place that you should never miss on your trip to Greece.
Meterora is also famous for its unique natural beauty. Big rock formations that reach the sky and on top of them you will spot the famous monasteries. During the 11th century, a monastic community of more than 20 monasteries was slowly created in the area. Now only 6 of them have survived and remain open to the public.
Great Meteoron Monastery was founded in 14th century by a monk from Mount Athos. It is the oldest, largest and the tallest (615 meters) of all the surviving monasteries. Inside the church of Transfiguration there are fine icons and frescoes dating from 14th to 16th century. There is also a nice museum open to the public, the kitchen of the monastery, wine cellar and the sacristy where the bones of old residents of the monastery are stacked on shelves.
The Holy Trinity Monastery is widely known from the James Bond film "For your Eyes Only". The monastery was heavily looted during World War II and all its treasures were taken by the Germans.
The other four monasteries are Roussanou Monastery, St Nikolaos Anapafsas Monastery, Varlaam Monastery and St Stephen's Monastery.
There are two ways to reach Meteora; the first is through Kalampaka and the second one is to pass the town of Kalampaka and reach Meteora through the village of Kastraki. The latter one is the most impressive road to take.
The best way to travel would be renting a car and enjoying breathtaking views on this wonderful road trip.
6. Delphi: -
Delphi is another UNESCO World Heritage site in Greece and one of the most famous sanctuaries of antiquity. It was home to the Oracle that was consulted before any important political decisions at the time. Here you can see the ruins of the temple of Apollo that was worshiped onsite, the sanctuary of Athena Pronaia, the theatre, the stadium and the archaeological museum.
The most fascinating story about Delphi is that it was once considered the center of the earth. Legend states that God Zeus sent two eagles flying from opposite ends of the world and their paths crossed over Delphi. It was marked by an "Omphalos" which is a religious stone artifact. It represented the navel or the center of the world. The omphalos can be viewed in the Delphi Museum.
Another interesting site in Delphi is the temple of Apollo. It is said that Apollo defeated a dragon there to protect the navel of the earth. The temple dates back to 4th century BC and has been destroyed and rebuilt on several occasions over the years.
The Delphi Museum is one of the most important museums in Greece. It houses and cares for the finds made in the pan-Hellenic sanctuary in Delphi. Its fourteen rooms on two floors mainly display elements of sculpture, architecture, decorations, precious offerings, facades, metopes, bronze works and other miscellaneous artifacts.
7. Mycenae: -
Ancient Mycenae was the kingdom of Agamemnon and also one of the greatest prehistoric civilizations.
Start off with the most famous place in Mycenae, the Lion's Gate. The entrance to the ancient town of Mycenae with two lions on top of it. It is a massive building, imposing as a fortress of power.
Located at the walking distance from this ancient site, is the treasury of Atreus. When it was discovered, it was already looted centuries ago. Archaeologists believe that this was the Tomb of Agamemnon, the famous king of Mycenae, and the golden treasury has been buried inside along with the king.
Another amazing place to visit in Mycenae is the Graves Gallery. There were six graves containing 19 bodies. Along with this they also found funerary mask of King Agamemnon, Nestor's cup and a real treasury consisting of 14 kg of gold crowns, masks, jewelry etc. All of which can now be admired in the National Museum of Archaeology in Athens.
So what do you think ??? Which place would you like to visit the most ??? Let me know in the comments below.
Also check out my post on 17 Amazing Facts About Greece