Ancient Greek Sites

Capo Soprano

Built in 333 BC along Gela"s western coastline at Capo Soprano by the tyrant of Syracuse, Timoleon, Gela"s ancient Greek fortifications are remarkably well preserved, most likely the result of being covered by sand dunes for thousands of years before their discovery in 1948. The 8m-high walls were originally built to prevent huge amounts of sand being blown into the city by the blustery sea wind. Today authoriti ...
Founded: 333 BCE | Location: Gela, Italy

Byllis

Byllis was an ancient city located in the region of Illyria, today in Vlorë, 25 kilometers from the sea in Albania. Dating back to the 4th century BCE, it is one of the most important archeological sites in Albania. The city, although a Greek speaking settlement was located on the territory of the Illyrian tribe of Bylliones. The later were first attested in the mid-4th century BC, in the description of the geographer P ...
Founded: 4th century AD | Location: Vlorë, Albania

Temple of Olympian Zeus

The Temple of Olympian Zeus, the second oldest temple in Syracuse after that of Apollo in Ortigia, rose in the ancient village called Polichne, in a panoramic position, slightly elevated. The Doric building, surrounded by large monolithic columns, appeared really impressive. Today, what is left of the huge building (which measured 20.50 meters x 60) is part of crepidoma and two columns of the south side. From it there ...
Founded: 6th century BCE | Location: Syracuse, Italy

Archaeological Park of Occhiolà

On the three ridges of the hill of Terravecchia it is situated the ancient area of Occhiolà, that developed him along an only principal road axle of medieval origin, it notices a great deal simple structures, typical of a country suburb. On the tall part the imposing castle was found, of which lean traces remain, among which a buttress realized with blocks of square stone. This hilly system that constitutes the greate ...
Founded: 5th century BCE | Location: Grammichele, Italy

Palike

Palike was an ancient city on Sicily. Its archeological site is located in Rocchicella on a spur of basalt in the valley of the Margi river. There are no certain origins to this ancient town. Diodorus Siculus writes that it was founded in 453 BCE by the native Sikel leader Ducetius. It was named after the sanctuary of the Palici nearby. The city was surrounded by strong walls and grew rapidly because of the fertility of i ...
Founded: 453 BCE | Location: Rocchicella, Italy

Adranon

Monte Adranone is a mountain rising 899 metres above sea level in the north of the comune of Sambuca di Sicilia. At the summit of the mountain are the remains of the ancient city of Adranon, one of the more important archaeological sites in Sicily. Adranon was settled at the beginning of the 5th century BC, destroyed during the 3rd century BC, according to data from archaeological excavations. The city is distinct from t ...
Founded: 5th century BCE | Location: Sambuca di Sicilia, Italy

The Macedonian Tomb

The Tomb of Agios Athanasios is located under an enormous tumulus in the area of Thessaloniki, yet only 15 kilometers away from Pella. It has been looted but the small single chamber offers a unique example of richly decorated walls in surprisingly fresh colors. It dates from the last quarter of the fourth century BC, the Alexander-era. Reason enough to stop here for a moment. As customary, the front of the tomb was enti ...
Founded: 4th century BCE | Location: Chalkidona, Greece

Eleutherna

Eleutherna was an ancient city-state in Crete. During the ninth century BCE, in sub-Mycenaean times, in the Geometric Period of the later Greek Dark Ages, Dorians colonized the city on a steep, naturally fortified ridge. The city"s location made it a natural crossroads, as it lay between Cydonia on the northwest coast and Knossos, and between the shore, where it controlled its ports, Stavromenos and Pano ...
Founded: 800-900 BC | Location: Rethymno, Greece

Antigonea

Antigonea was an ancient Greek city in Chaonia, Epirus, and the chief inland city of the ancient Chaonians. It was founded in the 3rd century BC by Pyrrhus of Epirus, who named it after one of his wives, Antigone, daughter of Berenice I and step-daughter of Ptolemy I of Egypt. 'The straits near Antigoneia' were mentioned in 230 BC, when a force of Illyrians under Scerdilaidas passed the city to join an invading ...
Founded: 300-200 BCE | Location: Gjirokaster, Albania

Stari Grad Plain

The Stari Grad Plain of the town of Stari Grad on the island of Hvar is an agricultural landscape that was set up by the ancient Greek colonists in the 4th century BC, and remains in use. The plain is generally still in its original form. The ancient layout has been preserved by careful maintenance of the stone walls over 24 centuries, along with the stone shelters (known locally as trims), and the water collection system ...
Founded: 4th century BCE | Location: Stari Grad, Croatia

Casmenae

Casmenae or Kasmenai was an ancient Greek colony located on the Hyblaean Mountains, founded in 644 BC by the Syracusans at a strategic position for the control of central Sicily. It was also intended as a military forward-position on the Via Selinuntina road that connected Syracuse to Akragas (modern-day Agrigento) - also on that road were Gela and Akrillai to Casmene"s west and Akrai to its east. Destroyed b ...
Founded: 644 BCE | Location: Buscemi, Italy

Colonne di San Basilio

The Colonne di San Basilio (Columns of St Basil) are an ancient Greek structure, which take their name from the mountain of San Basilio where they are located, in the territory of Lentini. The summit of the mountain shows trances of ancient settlement from the prehistoric period, with clear traces of the postholes of a hut, probably belonging to the Casteluccio culture. A little way away is the imposing structure ...
Founded: 5th century BC | Location: Lentini, Italy

Sabucina

The archaeological park of Sabucina contains settlements ranging from the Bronze Age (20th-16th century BC) to the Roman period. The original village has securely pre-Greek origins, it was constructed by the Sicans, who took advantage of the dominant position of the mountain over the Salso river valley. The first phase of the Greek settlement came in the 7th century. The centre consisted of rectangular habitations, wi ...
Founded: 2300 BCE | Location: Caltanissetta, Italy

Mount Bonifato Archaeological site

The Archaeological site of Mount Bonifato is located in Alcamo. According to Licofrone of Alexandria, there was a village called Longuro on Mount Bonifato of Alcamo in ancient times. This settlement had been founded by a colony of Greeks who had escaped from Troy. The archeological site was probably inhabited from the 7th century BCE to the 12th century AD. From the 6th century BCE Mount Bonifato very probably had the st ...
Founded: 7th century BCE | Location: Alcamo, Italy

Hippana

Hippana was an ancient town of Sicily, mentioned by Polybius as being taken by assault by the Romans in the First Punic War, 260 BCE. Diodorus, in relating the events of the same campaign, mentions the capture of a town called 'Sittana', for which we should in all probability read 'Hippana'. It sat astride the main road from Panormus (modern Palermo) to Agrigentum (modern Agrigento) upon Monte dei Cava ...
Founded: 7th century BCE | Location: Prizzi, Italy

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Craigmillar Castle

Craigmillar is one of Scotland’s most perfectly preserved castles. It began as a simple tower-house residence. Gradually, over time, it developed into a complex of structures and spaces, as subsequent owners attempted to improve its comfort and amenity. As a result, there are many nooks and crannies to explore.

The surrounding gardens and parkland were also important. The present-day Craigmillar Castle Park has fascinating reminders of the castle’s days as a rural retreat on the edge of Scotland’s capital city.

At the core lies the original, late-14th-century tower house, among the first of this form of castle built in Scotland. It stands 17m high to the battlements, has walls almost 3m thick, and holds a warren of rooms, including a fine great hall on the first floor.

‘Queen Mary’s Room’, also on the first floor, is where Mary is said to have slept when staying at Craigmillar. However, it is more likely she occupied a multi-roomed apartment elsewhere in the courtyard, probably in the east range.

Sir Simon Preston was a loyal supporter of Queen Mary, whom she appointed as Provost of Edinburgh. In this capacity, he was her host for her first night as a prisoner, at his townhouse in the High Street, on 15 June 1567. She was taken to Lochleven Castle the following day.

The west range was rebuilt after 1660 as a family residence for the Gilmour family.

The 15th-century courtyard wall is well preserved, complete with gunholes shaped like inverted keyholes. Ancillary buildings lie within it, including a private family chapel.