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Philopappos and Nymphon Hills

The Philopappos and Nymphon hills are a green archaeological park opposite the Acropolis, ideal for activities and learning.

  1. Modern and Contemporary era (1821 - )

    1916 A battle between Allied troops and Reservists was carried out during the national division, known as the "November fighting".

    1920 Until the 1920s, cannonades were heard on New Year’s day, on March 25 (anniversary of the Greek Revolution) and the king’s birthday.

    1944 In the Greek Civil War’s “Dekemvriana” (December fighting), the British had set up mortars, striking neighbourhoods controlled by ELAS (leftists).

    1954 The overall architectural configuration with cobblestone streets, designed by Dimitris Pikionis, was launched. He used parts of ancient pottery and architectural buildings at several points. The project was completed three years later. He also planned the alteration of the Acropolis hill.

  2. Ottoman era (1453- 1821)

    1687 From here, Morosini bombarded the Acropolis.

  3. Byzantine era (331 AC- 1453)

  4. Roman era (30 BC- 330 AC)

  5. Hellenistic era (322- 31 BC)

    294 BC A small fortress of the Macedonian garrison was built.

  6. Classical era (478-323 BC)

    After the decline of the aristocratic districts of Koile and Melitis, these hills were notorious because in their cavernous recesses, girls and boys offered their bodies for a few obols (money).

  7. Archaic era (800-479 BC)

  8. Geometric era (-1100- 800 BC)

  9. Prehistory (-1100 BC)

What I can see

Visiting the hill is a unique experience. Architecture that combines antiquity with modernism, history, culture and nature is a rare combination of experiences. The Church of Agios Dimitrios Loumbardiaris at the northeast entrance, remains of the fortifications of the ancient city, the Dora Stratou Greek Dances Theatre (900 seats), the Pnyx, the Heptathronon (seven thrones), the National Observatory, the ancient quarters of Meliti (north of the hill) and Koili with its main ancient road, are some of the landmarks.  Furthermore, the foundation of a wall called “Diateichisma” (from the hill’s top to Loumbardiaris and the ridge between Pnyx and the Observatory) stands out. Construction was started by the Athenians in trepidation after the battle of Chaeronea (338 BC), in order to repel the Macedonians. The hill is paradise for walks, maybe even for running and one can as well enjoy the best view of the Acropolis and over a big part of the city.

What I can't see

The name of the Philopappos Hill comes from the eponymous monument at its top. Despite the law forbidding the burial of the dead in the city, the monument of Philopappos is one of the few burial monuments that were allowed to “break” this rule. It is alternatively called Hill of the Muses (also called “Museum” or “Mousaio” by poet Mousaios 5th c. BC) because a temple of the Muses existed in antiquity. Likewise with the hill of the Nymphs. During the Frankish and the Ottoman rule, it was called “Seggio” or “Sentzo” meaning throne, due to the shape of the Philopappos monument. In medieval and Ottoman times, according to Athenian belief, three sisters lived in one of the hill’s caves (which was later quarried): Plague, Cholera and Smallpox, who sowed death in the city. The hill was a common point of command for troops and besiegers of the city (e.g. Mithridates, Sulla, Ottomans, Morosini, revolting Greeks). Today, the hill is a popular spot on Clean Monday, when the Athenians fly their kites and celebrate the so-called “koulouma”.


YohalasT., Kafetzaki Τ., (2013), Αθήνα, Ιχνηλατώντας την πόλη με οδηγό την ιστορία και τη λογοτεχνία [Athens, Tracing thecity guidedby history andliterature], ESTIABookstore

Friends of Acropolis Union, (2004), Αρχαιολογικοί περίπατοι γύρω από την Ακρόπολη [Archaeological walks around the Acropolis], Athens: Friends of Acropolis Union

Plantzos D., (2014), Δυτικές Συνοικίες, [Western Districts], in Lifo, Η Ιστορία μιας πόλης, [The history of a city], v.2 p.p. 100-103

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

Dakoura- Vogiatzoglou O., (2014), West Hills, in Navigating the routes of Art and Culture, Part 1, Athens, Ministry of Culture and Sports, p.p. 34-39