Philopappou Hill, Sunday 18 Dec.

On Sunday 18 December the Athens Strollers will take a short 1- 1 ½ hour walk around Philopappou Hill starting at 12:00 noon. The walk will be led by Dorothy and will go on even in light rain. Dorothy’s telephone is 6937470875. Along the walk there are marvelous vistas of the city and the sea. Living in the center, we forget that these virtual oases exist, so come along and enjoy what we sometimes take for granted.

We meet just above the Dionysos (Zonars) Restaurant, near a small church called Agios Dimitrios Loumbardiaris. This is at the entrance to the pedestrian street that will take us up to the top of the hill of Philopappou, past the prison of Socrates, which was carved out of the Philopappou Hill.

At the top is where we will find the monument of Philopappos dated to 114-116 A.D. It was erected by the Athenians in honor of the great benefactor of their city, the exiled prince of Commagene, Julius Antiochus Philopappos, who settled in Athens, became a citizen and assumed civic and religious offices. According to Pausanias, the monument was built on the same site where Mousaios was formerly buried.

We then descend down and around the Dora Stratou theater, and then climb back up to the Pnyx.

The hill of Pnyx is located about 500 meters west of the Acropolis. It is a spacious, semi-circular terrace, artificially leveled out of the rock side, the Vima, with a rostrum for orators. It was here that the early assemblies of the Athenian democracy met. This assembly, the ecclesia, met on the average once every nine days and discussed and voted on items brought to it by the town council, the Vouli. Any citizen could speak to an issue and decisions were made by a vote of the majority present. However, 6.000 citizens (all male) were needed for a quorum and sometimes it was necessary to scour the agora, 400 meters to the northeast, in order to recruit citizens to secure the minimum needed for the quorum.

This area, exhibiting three building phases, was first used in the early fifth century BC and continued in use at least through the fourth century BC. In the first period, the natural hillside was used as the cavea of the theatre. The surface was evened off by quarrying out the hard limestone, while a straight retaining wall was built on the north side. In the second period, the arrangement of the auditorium was very different; a high, semicircular retaining wall was built to the north, supporting an embankment sloping down to the south, that is, in the opposite direction comparing to the first period. The approach was through the two stairways, 3.90 meters wide.

The Pnyx of the third period had exactly the same plan but on a larger scale; the great retaining wall was constructed of large stone blocks quarried from the area, while the new vima was arranged to the south. At some point the ecclesia moved to the more convenient Theatre of Dionysus at the southern foot of the Acropolis. This site is amazing, for a case can be made that this actually was the birthplace of the Athenian democracy, as famous Athenian leaders and orators such as Themistocles, Pericles and Demosthenes addressed the assembly here.

Finally we descend the hill, past the observatory of the University of Athens, holding a star gazing telescope.

After the walk

We end up in the popular area of Thiseio, where we will have a snack to eat or a sip to drink at a previously selected cafe on Iraklidon street, with great views to the Acropolis.

By Car

Probably better to approach from the east, i.e. Syntagma or Singrou and try and find parking around or above the Acropolis Museum, then walk up Dionysiou Areopagitou pedestrian street.

By Metro

Take the Red Line (Ag. Dimitrios-Agios Antonios) and get off at the Acropolis Station which is one stop away from Syntagma and Fix stations. Walk up the pedestrian street of Dionysiou Areopagitou to the meeting point at the top of the hill.

By Train

Take the Green line (Electrico) to Thiseio Station and walk up the pedestrian street Apostolou Pavlou to the meeting point at the top of the hill.

By Tram

Get off at the Fix Station and walk straight up the pedestrian street called Drakou.

Walking time from all Rail stations is only 10-15 minutes maximum.

Click on the link below to see the foot path from the Acropolis Museum to our meeting point.