Pláka Archaeological Sites, Athens
Tower of the Winds (Creek of Andronicos)
Address: Eolou / Pepopida Street, Greece
Monument of Philopappos (Filopapou Hill)
From Dionysíou Areopagítou Street, at the point where it joins Apostólou Pávlou Street, a road branches off and goes up to a parking place on the far side of the hill. From here a path runs east along the rocky hill to the prominent monument of Philopappos, a prince of Commagene (southeast Anatolia) who was banished to Athens by the Romans and died there in A.D. 116. In gratitude for his munificence the Athenians allowed his ostentatious tomb to be erected on this exceptional site - an honor, it has been remarked, that was not granted even to a man like Pericles in the great days of Athens.On the frieze around the base Philopappos is shown in the guise of a Roman consul, mounted in a chariot and accompanied by lictors. Above this are seated figures of the dead man and (to the left) Antiochos IV, his grandfather.On the way to (or from) this monument of the personality cult under the Roman Empire, there can be seen some remains of the diateichisma, the intermediate wall built in 337 B.C. to shorten the defensive lines between the Long Walls. Here too are various cisterns and rock-cut chambers, one of them traditionally misnamed the Prison of Socrates (now identified to the southwest of the Agora).
Roman Agora and the Library of Hadrian
Address: Eolou / Pepopida Street, Greece
Library of Hadrian
Parallel to the Roman Agora, only 16m/50ft away, is another complex of similar character but different function - the Library of Hadrian, founded by the emperor of that name after A.D. 132. This was a colonnaded court measuring 122 by 82m/400 by 270ft, with exedrae (semicircular recesses) in the external walls.The entrance was on the west side, and part of this, richly decorated with Corinthian columns and a four-column propylon, has been preserved.It faces onto Areos Street, which runs south from Monastiráki Square past the old Sindrivani Mosque (now housing the Museum of Ceramics).The modern entrance to the site is at the east end, in Eólou Street.The central room in the east range of buildings, much of which is still standing, was the actual library, and the niches in which the book rolls were kept can still be recognized.The building as a whole was not designed, like the Roman Agora, for business purposes, and the spacious courtyard was laid out as a garden, with a pool in the middle. The columns and other architectural fragments now to be seen in the courtyard came from the Megáli Panayía church, which was built in the fifth C. on the site of the original pool.
Address: 1 Venizelou, Greece
The Pnyx 110m/361ft is one of the range of three hills - the others being the Hill of the Nymphs and the Hill of the Muses - to the southwest of the Acropolis. After the reform of Kleisthenes (508-507 B.C.) the Ekklesia, the popular assembly of Athens, met here, before moving to the Theater of Dionysos in the fourth century B.C. Here men like Themistocles addressed the people of Athens.There are remains of the rock-cut orators' platform, with the altar of Zeus (ca. 400 B.C.) behind it; the retaining wall (ca. 330 B.C.), built of huge blocks of stone, which supported the semicircular auditorium on the north, and the diateichisma, the wall built in 337 B.C. to shorten the line of the city's defenses. Along the west side are the rows of seating for the spectators of the son et lumière shows which now take place here. Near the Ayios Dimitrios is a pretty woodland cafe.
Hill of the Nymphs
At the western end of the chain of hills which runs southwest of the Acropolis is the Hill of the Nymphs, easily identifiable by the domed Observatory on the summit. It is reached by way of a side street off Apostólou Pávlou Street. The Classical-style Observatory was built by Theophil Hansen in 1843-46 to the design of Schaubert. To the right of the entrance are the remains of the ancient sanctuary of the Nymphs from which the hill takes its name - a levelled rock surface and a dedicatory inscription. This level platform on the highest point of the hill was chosen by Ferdinand Stademann in 1835 as the viewpoint from which to draw his "Panorama of Athens" (republished 1977).To the southeast the Hill of the Nymphs merges into the Pnyx. From both hills there are fine views of Athens.
Hill of the Muses
The Hill of the Muses is part of a chain of low hills to the southwest of the Acropolis, the others being the Pnyx and the Hill of the Nymphs. From the top of the hill (147m /482ft) there is the classic and beautiful view of the Acropolis, with Lykabettos rearing up behind.
Church of St Demetrius
The little church of St Demetrius stands in the gardens on the northeast side of the Hill of the Muses, on the right of the road which runs up to the parking place on the hill. It contains attractive wall paintings. With its large courtyard, this is one of the churches most frequented by the people of Athens on the occasion of church festivals and processions.
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