Ancient Greek Sites

Temple of Athena Nike

The Temple of Athena Nike on the Acropolis of Athens was named after the Greek goddess. Built around 420 BCE, the temple is the earliest fully Ionic temple on the Acropolis. It was a prominent position on a steep bastion at the south west corner of the Acropolis to the right of the entrance, the Propylaea. In contrast to the Acropolis proper, a walled sanctuary entered through the Propylaea, the Victory Sanctuary w ...
Founded: 420 BCE | Location: Athens, Greece

Temple of Rome and Augustus

The temple of Rome and Augustus was erected in the late first century BC. Several architectural elements of the building were found east of the Parthenon and many more were brought here after their discovery elsewhere. Nearby are the irregular tufa foundations (approximately 10.50x13 metres) of a building generally considered to be the Roman temple. Another theory, however, based on the construction technique of these fou ...
Founded: 100-0 BCE | Location: Athens, Greece

Asclepeion

To the west of the Dionysos theatre and quite close to the cliff of the Acropolis lies the Asklepieion, the sanctuary of the healing god Asklepios dated to 420 BC. Functioning pretty much as hospitals, the asklepieia were of immense importance in ancient Greece, the most popular being the Asklepieion of Epidaurus. Besides the usual facilities for sheltering the pilgrims, the core structures of the Athenian complex we ...
Founded: 420 BCE | Location: Athens, Greece

Temple of Olympian Zeus

The Temple of Olympian Zeus is a former colossal temple at the centre Athens. It was dedicated to Olympian Zeus, a name originating from his position as head of the Olympian gods. Construction began in the 6th century BC (around 520 BC) during the rule of the Athenian tyrants, who envisaged building the greatest temple in the ancient world, but it was not completed until the reign of the Roman Emperor Hadrian in t ...
Founded: 520 BC | Location: Athens, Greece

Temple of Hephaestus

The Temple of Hephaestus is a well-preserved Greek temple located at the north-west side of the Agora of Athens; it remains standing largely as built. It was dedicated to Hephaestus, the ancient god of fire and Athena, goddess of pottery and crafts. According to the archeologists, the temple was built around 450 BCE. at the western edge of the city, on top of Agoreos Koronos hill, and it is a classical example of Dor ...
Founded: 450 BCE | Location: Athens, Greece

Agora of Athens

The Ancient Agora of Classical Athens is the best-known example of an ancient Greek agora (central public space in ancient Greek city-states), located to the northwest of the Acropolis and bounded on the south by the hill of the Areopagus and on the west by the hill known as the Agoraios Kolonos, also called Market Hill. The Agora"s initial use was for a commercial, assembly, or residential gathering pla ...
Founded: 5th century BCE | Location: Athens, Greece

Kerameikos

Kerameikos was the potters" quarter of the city, from which the English word 'ceramic' is derived, and was also the site of an important cemetery and numerous funerary sculptures erected along the road out of the city towards Eleusis. The earliest tombs at the Kerameikos date from the Early Bronze Age (2700-2000 BC), and the cemetery appears to have continuously expanded from the sub-Mycenaean period (110 ...
Founded: 2700 BCE | Location: Athens, Greece

Philopappos Monument

The Philopappos Monument is an ancient Greek mausoleum and monument dedicated to Gaius Julius Antiochus Epiphanes Philopappos or Philopappus, (65–116 AD), a prince from the Kingdom of Commagene. It is located on Mouseion Hill in Athens, southwest of the Acropolis. The monument was built on the same site where Musaios or Musaeus, a 6th-century BC priestly poet and mystical seer, was held to have been buried ...
Founded: c. 116 AD | Location: Athens, Greece

Eleusinion Sanctuary

Eleusinion was the place where all sacred objects associated with the Eleusinian Mysteries were kept between ceremonies. It was located at the base of the Acropolis. The temple was built around 490-480 BCE and it"s size was around 11 x 18m.
Founded: 490-480 BCE | Location: Athens, Greece

Pnyx

The Pnyx is a hill in central Athens. Beginning as early as 507 BC, the Athenians gathered on the Pnyx to host their popular assemblies, thus making the hill one of the earliest and most important sites in the creation of democracy. Pnyx is a small, rocky hill surrounded by parkland, with a large flat platform of eroded stone set into its side, and by steps carved on its slope. It was the meeting place of one of the ...
Founded: 570 BCE | Location: Athens, Greece

Stoa of Attalos

The Stoa of Attalos was a covered walkway or portico in the Agora of Athens. It was built by and named after King Attalos II of Pergamon, who ruled between 159 BC and 138 BC. The current building was reconstructed in 1952–1956 by American architects along with the Greek architect Ioannis Travlos and the Greek Civil Engineer Yeoryios Biris. Typical of the Hellenistic age, the stoa was more elaborate and larger th ...
Founded: 159 BCE (1952-1956) | Location: Athens, Greece

Panathenaic Stadium

The Panathenaic Stadium or Kallimarmaro is a multi-purpose stadium in Athens. One of the main historic attractions of Athens, it is the only stadium in the world built entirely of marble. A stadium was built on the site of a simple racecourse by the Athenian statesman Lykourgos c. 330 BC, primarily for the Panathenaic Games. It was rebuilt in marble by Herodes Atticus, an Athenian Roman senator, by 144 AD and ...
Founded: 144 AD | Location: Athens, Greece

Cumae

Cumae was an ancient city of Magna Graecia on the coast of the Tyrrhenian Sea. Founded by settlers from Euboea in the 8th century BC, Cumae was the first Greek colony on the mainland of Italy and the seat of the Cumaean Sibyl. It spread its influence throughout the area over the 7th and 6th centuries BC, gaining sway over Puteoli and Misenum and, thereafter, founding Neapolis (Naples) in 470 BC. The Greek pe ...
Founded: 8th century BCE | Location: Bacoli, Italy

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Royal Palace of Aranjuez

Palacio Real de Aranjuez is a former Spanish royal residence. It was established around the time Philip II of Spain moved the capital from Toledo to Madrid. Aranjuez became one of four seasonal seats of government, occupied during the springtime (from about holy week). Thereafter, the court moved successively to Rascafría, El Escorial and wintered in Madrid. Aranjuez Cultural Landscape is an UNESCO World Heritage Site.

After the Christian conquest, Aranjuez was owned by the Order of Santiago and a palace was built for its Grand Masters where the Royal Palace stands today. When the Catholic Monarchs assumed the office of Grand Master of the Order of Santiago, Aranjuez became part of the Royal estate. This fertile land, located between the Tajo and Jarama Rivers, was converted into the Spanish monarchy's most lavish country retreat: during Spain's Golden Age, Aranjuez became a symbol for the perfection of nature by mortal hands, as El Escorial was for art.

Such excellence was based on strong Renaissance foundations, as Charles V envisaged this inherited estate as a large Italian-inspired villa, a desire continued by Philip II who appointed Juan Bautista de Toledo to design leafy avenues that ran through the gardens and farming land. A series of dams was constructed in the 16th century to control the course of the Tajo River and create a network of irrigation canals.

The splendour of the estate was only enhanced by the Bourbon monarchs, who would spend the whole spring, from Easter to July, at the Palace. Phillip V added new gardens and Ferdinand VI designed a new system of tree-lined streets and created a small village within the estate, which was further developed by Charles III and Charles IV. As Ferdinand VII and Isabella II continued to visit Aranjuez during the spring, the splendour of this site was maintained until 1870.

The Royal Palace, built by Phillip II on the site of the old palace of the Grand Masters of Santiago, was designed by the architect Juan Bautista de Toledo –under whom construction began in 1564– and later Juan Herrera, who only managed to finish half the project. Although glimpses of the original layout still remain, the building itself is more characteristic of the classicism favoured by the Hapsburg monarchs, with alternating white stone and brick. The original design was continued by Phillip V in 1715 but not finished until 1752 under Ferdinand VI. The rectangular layout that Juan Bautista de Toledo had planned, and that took two centuries to complete, was only maintained for 20 years, since in 1775 Charles III added two wings onto the Palace.

Real Casa del Labrador

As the Prince of Asturias, Charles IV was a frequent visitor to the pier pavilions built by Ferdinand VI and grew up playing in the Prince’s Garden. When he became King, he decided to build a new country house at the far end of these gardens, known as the Casa del Labrador (the labourer's house) due to its modest exterior that was designed to heavily contrast the magnificent internal decor. It was built by chief architect Juan de Villanueva and his pupil Isidro González Velázquez, who designed some of the interior spaces. These rooms, developed in various stages until 1808, are the greatest example of the lavish interior decor favoured by this monarch in his palaces and country retreats. Highlights at this Site include the combination of different types of art and the luxurious textiles, in particular the silks from Lyon, as well as wealth of original works on the main floor, where Ferdinand VII added various paintings and landscapes by Brambilla.

King's Garden, the Island Garden, Parterre Garden and the Prince's Garden

Phillip II, a great lover of gardens, paid special attention to this feature of the Aranjuez Palace: during his reign, he maintained both the Island Garden, designed by the architect Juan Bautista de Toledo, and the King's Garden, immediately adjacent to the Palace and whose current layout was designed by Philip IV. The majority of the fountains on this island were commissioned by Phillip IV, while the Bourbons added other features such as the Charles III benches.

Phillip V made two French-style additions to the existing gardens: the Parterre Garden in front of the palace and the extension at the far end of the Island Garden, known as the Little Island, where he installed the Tritons Fountain that was later moved to the Campo del Moro park by Isabella II.

The Prince's Garden owes its name and creation to the son and heir of Charles III who, in the 1770s, began to use Ferdinand VI's old pier for his own enjoyment. He also created a landscaped garden in the Anglo-French style that was in fashion at the time and which was directly influenced by Marie Antoinette's gardens at the Petit Trianon. Both Juan de Villanueva and Pablo Boutelou collaborated in the design of this garden.