Hundreds of locals and visitors avail themselves of sunny days to walk along the pedestrian street of Dionysiou Areopagitou at the bottom of the Acropolis, passing emblematic archaeological sites and museums, but also keeping an eye on the neoclassical and modern architecture that flanks the left-hand side of the promenade as you head toward Thisseio. The building at number 17 is an exquisite example of art deco style, designed in 1930 by Vassilis Kouremenos, which, since 1988, has been classified as a protected work of art.
Particularly noteworthy is the oft-overlooked artistry of the celebrated architect and academic Dimitris Pikionis who, in the 1950s, landscaped the entire site around the Acropolis and the Philopappos Hill. Listed for preservation by UNESCO, this extensive project incorporated paved streets and footpaths, resting and viewing areas, as well as two important buildings: the cafe (which has remained shut over the last few years) and the Church of Dimitrios Loumbardiaris.
At the point where the promenade bends rightward into Apostolou Pavlou Street, you will see one of the main entrances to Philopappos Hill – a 70-hectare tree- and shrub-covered expanse, with scattered ancient ruins, which is home to some 130 species of birds. If you bring sandwiches and drinks, you can enjoy a picnic on one of the hill’s many wooden tables, or at the panoramic site of the ancient popular assembly (ekklesia).
TIRED OF WALKING?
Get around on a 4-seat or 2-seat bike. The rental rates for one hour are 16 and 10 euros respectively; and for half an hour, 11 and 17 euros. The bikes are equipped with electric motors in case you get tired.
Open daily: 10.30 a.m. – 9 p.m. • Dionysiou Areopagitou & Hadjichristou
• Tel.: (+30) 210.922.7722, (+30) 6948.469.749
ATHENS SEGWAY TOURS
The standard 2-hour tour takes you around the Acropolis and the National Garden for 59 euros per person. The “Ultimate Acropolis Tour” includes a visit to the archaeological sites of central Athens and a guided tour of the Acropolis on foot. It lasts 3 hrs 30 mins and costs 97 euros.
• 7 Aeschinou & Frynichou
• Tel.: (+30) 210.322.2500
SANCTUARY AND THEATER OF DIONYSUS
The plays of the great Greek dramatists (Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides, Aristophanes) were first performed here. The theater in the Sanctuary of Dionysus Eleuthereus initially consisted only of the orchestra: a flat, circular area for dancing. In the 5th century BC, a permanent stone structure with a few “thrones” for VIPs was added, but many of the seats, the stage and the stage building were still wood.
SANCTUARY OF ASCLEPIUS
Asclepius was the god of medicinal healing and his sanctuaries were basically hospitals. The Asclepeion of Athens consisted of a temple with an altar and three galleries, one of which housed the patients who believed the god would visit them in their dreams with the power to heal even the deadliest of diseases. The sanctuary was destroyed by invaders in AD 267.
THE STOA OF EUMENES
To the west of the Theater of Dionysus was a stoa (collonaded walkway), probably a donation by the King of Pergamon, Eumenes II (197-159 BC). Theater-goers could take shelter there from sun or rain. Archaeologists have discovered this was the Acropolis area where races originally were held for the Panatheniac Games, before the festival’s athletic contests were moved to the Panathenaic Stadium.
DIONYSUS ARCAEOLOGICAL SITE
Dionysiou Areopagitou & Thrasylou
• Tel.: (+30) 210.322.4625
• Open daily: 8 a.m. – 8 p.m.