Just a five-minute stroll northwest of the Acropolis – and separated from it by a stream – you´ll find a lesser known landmark of Greece´s capital, whose name translates as the Hill of Ares (the classical Greek god of war): pagos for great mass of rock, and areios meaning Ares. Indeed located in a rocky area of the city, and 115 metres (377 feet up), the Areopagus was once home to ancient Athens’ governing and judicial councils, dating as far back as the 8th century BCE. The ancient forum here was also the site of a famous sermon by Paul the Apostle in 49 CE (there´s a bronze plaque here inscribed with the words of the sermon – in Greek, of course).
There´s just bare rock here today, but it’s without a doubt one of the city’s most beautiful viewpoints, offering visitors an impressive panorama of the Acropolis (though not directly of the Parthenon) and the cityscape beyond, with the sea in the background – especially impressive as the sun sets.
How to Get Here
As it´s located near the Acropolis and the Ancient Agora (once the centre of the Athens´ political and social activity, with streets lined with the remains of temples, porticoes, and other monuments and structures), combining the visit to both sites is easy via bus, tram, and Metro (Lines 1 or 3 to the Monastiraki station, then a seven-minute walk). Then there are a pair staircases leading up to the rock itself. Another historic site nearby is the neo-Renaissance-style Cathedral Basilica of St. Dionysius the Areopagite, the main Roman Catholic church of Athens, inaugurated in 1865.
(Also, here´s a little tip: be sure to visit wearing comfortable, flat-soled, and non-slip footwear, as the terrain is a bit steep and strewn with slippery stones, as well as a hat and/or sunscreen, because there´s little or no shade up here.)
When to Get Here
Actually, you can access the site 24 hours a day, and there´s no admission. The view is especially inspiring around sunset, and after dark you can of course see the lights of Athens. If you want more background, the Areopagus is often included in guided tours of ancient Athens.
So go ahead – experience this and the myriad other wonders of an important cradle of Western civilisation by booking a flight on Iberia!
photo | davidf