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Odeon of Herodes Atticus

Odeon of Herodes Atticus was made from limestone, raw stones and was lined with marble.

  1. Modern and Contemporary era (1821 - )

    Until the 19th century, only the upper part of the stage's wall and the auditorium stood out because it was covered with soil. It was agricultural land.

    1848 Mid-19th century, excavations began by Kyriakos Pittakis.

    1920 The first concert of the modern era, which was one of the French composer Charles-Camille Saint-Saëns.

    1936 Summer cultural events were established.

    1952 Restoration with Dionysos marble.

    1957 Re-use. It became a venue of cultural events, mainly of the Athens Festival.

  2. Ottoman era (1453- 1821)

  3. Byzantine era (331 AC- 1453)

  4. Roman era (30 BC- 330 AC)

    160 A.D. The construction began after the death of Herodes Atticus' wife, Rigilla and was completed around 173 AD.

    267 A.D. Destroyed by the Heruli.

  5. Hellenistic era (322- 31 BC)

  6. Classical era (478-323 BC)

  7. Archaic era (800-479 BC)

  8. Geometric era (-1100- 800 BC)

  9. Prehistory (-1100 BC)

What I can see

One of the greatest and most luxurious conservatories of antiquity, the third of the ancient city, after those of Pericles and Agrippas, it has a seating capacity of about 5,000 spectators. It was made from limestone, raw stones and was lined with marble, as we can see from the  marble benches of the semicircular auditorium and the orchestra’s marble plates on the floor. It has survived and is maintained in very good condition, partly because of its robust structure but also because following the destruction of Athens in 267 AD by the Heruli, who set fire to the odeon, among many other ancient buildings, it was incorporated in the later defensive wall of the city, which was at the time shrinking and in decline. Today, the auditorium of the odeon has been restored and is mainly used during the summer months for cultural and musical events. Watching a performance in this odeon, under the Parthenon, is a unique and exclusively Athenian experience.


What I can't see

We cannot see its stunning ceiling, constructed by using special innovative construction methods, coming from the bridge industry of that period, and its elaborate decoration. It was the largest and most impressive wooden roof of its time. The huge cedar beams lacked support which makes this configuration a construction achievement of the period. The conservatory was a donation of Herodes in honour of his late wife Rigilla. Herodes was an Athenian citizen and tycoon, so wealthy and powerful that he even gave loans to Roman emperors. His donations adorned many cities with magnificent buildings. The length of the stage’s wall was 90 metres, thus exceeding in size and height (28m.) even the Athens Concert Hall, which is the largest of its kind in modern Greece. This extravagant scale for such a small city in terms of population as was Roman Athens stands in contrast with the moderation of the classical monuments on top of the Acropolis. Another important element of this unique monument was its location. If one thinks about the monuments on the southern slope of the sacred Acropolis rock (the Dionysus Theatre, Odeon of Pericles, Stoa of Eumenes, Odeon of Herodes Atticus) one can understand that this site was the first instance of cluster zoning in the history of urban planning. What we have here is essentially a concentration of buildings of diverse cultural character, in an area specified for exactly this purpose by a State.


Camp J. (2009), Οι αρχαιότητες της Αθήνας και της Αττικής, [The antiquities of Athens and Attica], Athens, Κardamitsas

Travlos J., (1980), Pictorial Dictionary of Ancient Athens, New York: Hacker Art Book

Yohalas T., Kafetzaki Τ., (2013), Αθήνα, Ιχνηλατώντας την πόλη με οδηγό την ιστορία και τη λογοτεχνία [Athens, Tracing the city guided by history and literature], ESTIA Bookstore

Korres Μ., (2014), Η στέγη του Ηρωδείου και άλλες γιγάντιες γεφυρώσεις, [The Herodion’s roof and other gigantic bridgings], Athens: Melissa

Kosma M., (d.u.), Ωδείο Ηρώδου Αττικού, [Odeon of Herodes of Atticus] Odysseus, Ministry of Culture,

Last visit 30/4/2013

Foka Ι., Valavanis P., (1994),Περίπατοι στην Αθήνα και την Αττική, τόποι, θεοί, μνημεία[Strolls in Athens and Attica, places, gods, monuments], Kedros