Located in the Acropolis area, the Archaia Agora was the heart of ancient Athens, the focus of political, commercial, administrative and social activity, the religious and cultural centre, and the seat of justice.
In the Athenian Agora, one can almost feel the presence of Socrates, philosophizing to the city’s youth in the House of Simon the Shoemaker, or of Thespis, the world’s first award-winning actor who performed along the Agora’s lanes. The temple of Hephaestus and Athena next to it are the best-preserved temples of ancient Greece.
Adjacent to the Zappeion Megaron and next to the Greek parliament, lies the National Garden, an oasis in the city center of Athens. Together with the Zappeion Megaron garden, it covers 24 hectares full of vegetation, rare kinds of plants, saplings, birds. The Garden also encloses some ancient ruins, tambourines and Corinthian capitals of columns, mosaics and other features.
Formerly the “Royal Garden”, it was designed in 1839 by order of Queen Amalia of the Greeks, but was not open to the public until 1923, when it was renamed to “National Garden”.
Henry Miller wrote in 1939: “It remains in my memory like no other park I have known. It is the quintessence of a park, the thing one feels sometimes in looking at a canvas or dreaming of a place one would like to be in and never finds.”
The Temple of Olympian Zeus
The Temple of Olympian Zeus, also known as the Olympieion or Columns of the Olympian Zeus, is a former colossal temple at the center of Athens. It was dedicated to “Olympian” Zeus, a name originating from his position as head of the Olympian gods.
The Panathenaic Stadium or Kallimarmaro (lit. “beautiful marble”), one of the main historic attractions of Athens, is the only stadium in the world built entirely of Marble. As its name proudly proclaims, the Panathenaic Stadium has been the venue for noble competition and fair play of mind and body since antiquity.
The Panathenaic Stadium hosted the opening and closing ceremonies of the first modern Olympic Games in 1896 and was once again used as an Olympic venue in 2004. It is the finishing point for the annual Athens Classic Marathon. It is also the last venue in Greece from where the Olympic flame handover ceremony to the host nation takes place.