Prehistoric and archaeological sites in Greece

Acropolis

The Acropolis of Athens and its monuments are universal symbols of the classical spirit and civilization and form the greatest architectural and artistic complex bequeathed by Greek Antiquity to the world. In the second half of the 5th century BC, Athens, following the victory against the Persians and the establishment of democracy, took a leading position amongst the other city-states of the ancient world. In the age tha ...
Founded: c. 495-429 BC | Location: Athens, Greece

Erechtheion

The Erechtheion is an ancient Greek temple on the north side of the Acropolis of Athens which was dedicated to both Athena and Poseidon. The temple as seen today was built between 421 and 406 BCE. It may have been built in honor of the legendary king Erechtheus, who is said to have been buried nearby. Erechtheus was mentioned in Homer"s Iliad as a great king and ruler of Athens during the Archaic Period ...
Founded: 421-406 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

Propylaea

A propylaea means an monumental gateway in ancient Greek architecture. Entrance into the Acropolis was controlled by the Propylaea. Though it was not built as a fortified structure, it was important that people not ritually clean be denied access to the sanctuary. It was one of several public works commissioned by the Athenian leader Pericles in order to rebuild the Acropolis hill at the conclusion of the Persian W ...
Founded: 437 BC | 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 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

Odeon of Herodes Atticus

The Odeon of Herodes Atticus is a stone theatre structure located on the southwest slope of the Acropolis of Athens. It was built in 161 AD by the Athenian magnate Herodes Atticus in memory of his wife, Aspasia Annia Regilla. It was originally a steep-sloped theater with a three-story stone front wall and a wooden roof made of expensive cedar of Lebanon timber. It was used as a venue for music concerts with ...
Founded: 161 AD | Location: Athens, Greece

Theatre of Dionysus

The Theatre of Dionysus Eleuthereus is a major theatre in Athens, built at the foot of the Athenian Acropolis. Dedicated to Dionysus, the god of plays and wine, the theatre could seat as many as 17,000 people with excellent acoustics, making it an ideal location for ancient Athens" biggest theatrical celebration, the Dionysia. It was the first theatre ever built, cut into the southern cliff face of the Acro ...
Founded: 6th century BC | Location: Athens, Greece

Hadrian's Library

Hadrian"s Library was created by Roman Emperor Hadrian in AD 132 on the north side of the Acropolis of Athens. The building followed a typical Roman Forum architectural style, having only one entrance with a propylon of Corinthian order, a high surrounding wall with protruding niches (oikoi, exedrae) at its long sides, an inner courtyard surrounded by columns and a decorative oblong pool in the middle.The ...
Founded: 132 AD | 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

Roman Agora

The original Roman Agora was encroached upon and obstructed by a series of Roman buildings, beginning with the imperial family"s gift to the Athenians of a large odeion (concert hall). The Odeon of Agrippa was built by him in around 15 BC, and measured 51.4 by 43.2 metres, rose several stories in height, and – being sited just north of the Middle Stoa – obstructed the old agora. In return for the odeion, the A ...
Founded: 19-11 BC | Location: Athens, Greece

Knossos

Knossos is the largest Bronze Age archaeological site on Crete island and has been called Europe's oldest city. The settlement was established well before 2000 BC and was destroyed, most likely by fire (though some claim a tsunami) around 1700 BC. The Minoan palace is the main site of interest at Knossos, an important city in antiquity, which was inhabited continuously from the Neolithic period until the 5th centur ...
Founded: 2000 BC | Location: Heraklion, Greece

Areopagus

The Areopagus is a prominent rock outcropping located northwest of the Acropolis. In pre-classical times (before the 5th century BC), the Areopagus was the council of elders of the city, similar to the Roman Senate. Like the Senate, its membership was restricted to those who had held high public office, in this case that of Archon. In 594 BC, the Areopagus agreed to hand over its functions to Solon for reform. He in ...
Founded: 6th century BC | 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

Arch of Hadrian

The Arch of Hadrian is a monumental gateway resembling – in some respects – a Roman triumphal arch. It spanned an ancient road from the center of Athens, to the complex of structures on the eastern side of the city that included the Temple of Olympian Zeus. It has been proposed that the arch was built to celebrate the adventus (arrival) of the Roman Emperor Hadrian and to honor him for his many benefactions ...
Founded: 131-132 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

Acropolis of Lindos

Above the modern town of rises the acropolis of Lindos, a natural citadel which was fortified successively by the Greeks, the Romans, the Byzantines, the Knights of St John and the Ottomans. This is the most impressive archaeological site on the island of Rhodes, where the dramatic natural landscape is enhanced by the picturesque quality of the more modern town. Lindos was founded by the Dorians led by the king Tlepolem ...
Founded: 10th century BCE | Location: Lindos, Greece

Temple of Aphrodite

Temple of Aphrodite dates back to the 3rd century BCE, and was built to honor Aphrodite, the mythological Greek goddess of love and beauty. The temple is located in Symi Square, close to the Eleftheria Gate. The once majestic structure is now a pile of ruins surrounded by a small fence. Although you cannot walk through the temple grounds, you can get close enough to study some of the old building blocks and fallen column ...
Founded: 3rd century BCE | Location: Rhodes, Greece

Arch of Galerius and Rotunda

The Arch of Galerius and the Rotunda are neighbouring early 4th-century AD monuments in Thessaloniki. The 4th-century Roman emperor Galerius commissioned these two structures as elements of an imperial precinct linked to his Thessaloniki palace. Archeologists have found substantial remains of the palace to the southwest. These three monumental structures were connected by a road that ran through the arch, which rose abov ...
Founded: 298-306 AD | Location: Thessaloniki, Greece

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Veste Coburg

The Veste Coburg is one of Germany's largest castles. The hill on which the fortress stands was inhabited from the Neolithic to the early Middle Ages according to the results of excavations. The first documentary mention of Coburg occurs in 1056, in a gift by Richeza of Lotharingia. Richeza gave her properties to Anno II, Archbishop of Cologne, to allow the creation of Saalfeld Abbey in 1071. In 1075, a chapel dedicated to Saint Peter and Saint Paul is mentioned on the fortified Coberg. This document also refers to a Vogt named Gerhart, implying that the local possessions of the Saalfeld Benedictines were administered from the hill.

A document signed by Pope Honorius II in 1206 refers to a mons coburg, a hill settlement. In the 13th century, the hill overlooked the town of Trufalistat (Coburg's predecessor) and the important trade route from Nuremberg via Erfurt to Leipzig. A document dated from 1225 uses the term schloss (palace) for the first time. At the time, the town was controlled by the Dukes of Merania. They were followed in 1248 by the Counts of Henneberg who ruled Coburg until 1353, save for a period from 1292-1312, when the House of Ascania was in charge.

In 1353, Coburg fell to Friedrich, Markgraf von Meißen of the House of Wettin. His successor, Friedrich der Streitbare was awarded the status of Elector of Saxony in 1423. As a result of the Hussite Wars the fortifications of the Veste were expanded in 1430.

Early modern times through Thirty Years' War

In 1485, in the Partition of Leipzig, Veste Coburg fell to the Ernestine branch of the family. A year later, Elector Friedrich der Weise and Johann der Beständige took over the rule of Coburg. Johann used the Veste as a residence from 1499. In 1506/07, Lucas Cranach the Elder lived and worked in the Veste. From April to October 1530, during the Diet of Augsburg, Martin Luther sought protection at the Veste, as he was under an Imperial ban at the time. Whilst he stayed at the fortress, Luther continued with his work translating the Bible into German. In 1547, Johann Ernst moved the residence of the ducal family to a more convenient and fashionable location, Ehrenburg Palace in the town centre of Coburg. The Veste now only served as a fortification.

In the further splitting of the Ernestine line, Coburg became the seat of the Herzogtum von Sachsen-Coburg, the Duchy of Saxe-Coburg. The first duke was Johann Casimir (1564-1633), who modernized the fortifications. In 1632, the fortress was unsuccessfully besieged by Imperial and Bavarian forces commanded by Albrecht von Wallenstein for seven days during the Thirty Years' War. Its defence was commanded by Georg Christoph von Taupadel. On 17 March 1635, after a renewed siege of five months' duration, the Veste was handed over to the Imperials under Guillaume de Lamboy.

17th through 19th centuries

From 1638-72, Coburg and the Veste were part of the Duchy of Saxe-Altenburg. In 1672, they passed to the Dukes of Saxe-Gotha and in 1735 it was joined to the Duchy of Saxe-Saalfeld. Following the introduction of Primogeniture by Duke Franz Josias (1697-1764), Coburg went by way of Ernst Friedrich (1724-1800) to Franz (1750-1806), noted art collector, and to Duke Ernst III (1784-1844), who remodeled the castle.

In 1826, the Duchy of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha was created and Ernst now styled himself 'Ernst I'. Military use of the Veste had ceased by 1700 and outer fortifications had been demolished in 1803-38. From 1838-60, Ernst had the run-down fortress converted into a Gothic revival residence. In 1860, use of the Zeughaus as a prison (since 1782) was discontinued. Through a successful policy of political marriages, the House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha established links with several of the major European dynasties, including that of the United Kingdom.

20th century

The dynasty ended with the reign of Herzog Carl Eduard (1884-1954), also known as Charles Edward, Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, a grandson of Queen Victoria, who until 1919 also was the 2nd Duke of Albany in the United Kingdom. Under his rule, many changes made to the Veste in the 19th century were reversed under architect Bodo Ebhardt, with the aim of restoring a more authentic medieval look. Along with the other ruling princes of Germany, Carl Eduard was deposed in the revolution of 1918-1919. After Carl Eduard abdicated in late 1918, the Veste came into possession of the state of Bavaria, but the former duke was allowed to live there until his death. The works of art collected by the family were gifted to the Coburger Landesstiftung, a foundation, which today runs the museum.

In 1945, the Veste was seriously damaged by artillery fire in the final days of World War II. After 1946, renovation works were undertaken by the new owner, the Bayerische Verwaltung der staatlichen Schlösser, Gärten und Seen.

Today

The Veste is open to the public and today houses museums, including a collection art objects and paintings that belonged to the ducal family of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, a large collection of arms and armor, significant examples of early modern coaches and sleighs, and important collections of prints, drawings and coins.