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Have you ever been to Athens? Maybe. But have you REALLY been to Athens and explored beyond the famous sights? Sure enough, Athens is one of the greatest ancient cities in the world but it’s also a living city. After you ticked off the must-see sights like the Acropolis and museums – there are hidden gems awaiting for you to discover them.
People say these days, when visiting a famous city: follow the locals. Live like the locals and eat like the locals to truly experience the real vibe of the place. So in this guide we are going to explore 7 cool historical sights of Athens off the beaten path. Whilst booking your luxury suites in Athens – sit down with a coffee or tea and check out these unique places you could visit.
This is a place to visit even if you are just mildly interested in philosophy. Imagine walking in the footsteps of the great ancient philosopher in the spot of his famous school. Imagine having Plato as your teacher! This small, open-air archaeological site may not be as impressive as others, but you’ll definitely feel a thrill knowing you are strolling the same paths as the man who inspired Western philosophy. It was the first ‘university’ of the Western world, where the foundations of Western science and philosophy were laid two-and-a-half millennia ago.
The Antikythera Mechanism
The Antikythera Mechanism is understood as the world’s first analog computer, which was created to accurately calculate the position of the sun, moon, and planets. It was found in a shipwreck in 1901 off the Greek island of Antikythera, giving it its name. Researchers are still making surprising findings about the Antikythera Mechanism. A must-see coolness for everyone interested in technology and science. Visitors can see this wondrous piece of technological history at the National Archaeological Museum.
Caves of Filopappou Hill
This gorgeous green space in the heart of Athens has a rich history for those interested. Not that far from the Acropolis, this is also a great spot to have lunch or dinner at a roof garden in Athens. Layers of history in fact, for a while it’s been thought that Socrates’ prison was part of the carved cave complex – but it proved untrue. But later, during the World War II, the caves got an important mission: it was where the Greek Government hid their treasures from the Nazis, escaping them from the National Archaeological Museum.
This ancient hydrological marvel is now the base of a modern outdoor cinema. Yep! How cool is that? Emperor Hadrian ordered a project to increase the city’s water supply. The aqueduct consisted primarily of an underground channel constructed manually through solid rock. The pipes provided enough water to cover the needs of the area’s residents for over 1,000 years.
The First Cemetery of Athens
Founded in 1837, it is the city’s official and oldest cemetery. Such as, it is the final resting place of popular politicians, artists, musicians, poets, and other prominent figures of modern Greek culture. Great trip to those, who love the eerie beauty of old cemeteries.
Theatre of Dionysus
It is considered to be the world’s oldest theatre. It was home to the annual spring drama festival where the ancient playwrights—among them Sophocles, Euripides, Aeschylus, and Aristophanes—presented their works in competition. The theatre dates back to the sixth century BCE and was uncovered in the late-19th century. The installation of tiered stone seats believed to accommodate 17,000 spectators. Theatre lovers rejoice!
Archaeological Site inside Monastiraki Metro Station
Another quirky site housing ancient ruins after the above mentioned open air cinema: Monastiraki Metro Station. During construction between 1880-1895, extensive archaeological excavations were conducted, revealing a plethora of interesting relics, many of which are still present today. You can find lot’s of other ancient ruins hiding in plain site when you visit Athens – and this is one of them.
Which one would you visit?
Would you like to read more about Greece? Check out this post: Discover Sifnos Island: A Complete Travel Guide