Marathon Tourist Attractions
Marathon Lake Alexander BaxevanisMarathon ("field of fennel") lies on the east coast of Attica, in an area in which a whole series of holiday resorts have developed in recent years, extending from Schiniás by way of Paralía Marathónas (Marathon Beach) and Néa Makrí to Ayios Andréas and Máti.
Marathon was celebrated in antiquity as the place where Theseus killed the bull of Marathon and the scene of the first great battle between Greeks and Persians in 490 B.C. In this battle the Athenians, supported by a contingent from Plataiai, defeated the numerically much superior army of the Persian Empire.Ten years later the Persians launched a further attack, but were again defeated at Salamis (480 B.C.) and Plataiai (479 B.C.). It was the birthplace of Herodes Atticus (A.D. 101-177), famous in his day as a rhetor but better known for his munificence in financing such buildings as the Odeion and Stadion in Athens, the Stadion at Delphi and the Nymphaeum at Olympia.Apart from the present-day village, the name of Marathon is associated with two ancient sites, the Soros (burial mound) of the Athenians and the Soros of the Plataeans at Vranás, and with the modern reservoir (Lake Marathon). The village lies 5km/3 mi from the coast on the road which runs north to Grammatikó.Bus services from Athens. Local boats from Rafína to the islands of Euboea, Ándros, Tínos and Kéa.The extensive beaches south of Marathon offer excellent bathing and recreational facilities.
The reservoir known as Lake Marathon lies 8km/5mi west of the village of that name on the road to Ayios Stéfanos. It was formed by the construction in 1926-31 of a dam 285m/310yd long and 72m/235ft high. Set amid extensive pine forests, it is the main source of Athens' water supply. (Bathing and boating prohibited.)
Village (Burial Mound)
The large modern village of Marathon (Marathónas) lies near the east coast of Attica, 5km/3mi north of the battlefield of Marathon, on which is the 12m/40ft high burial mound (sorós) raised over the remains of the 192 Athenians who fell in the battle. At the foot of the mound is a replica of the funerary stele of Aristion (ca. 510 B.C.; original in National Archeological Museum, Athens). From the top of the mound there is a view of the battlefield, with the wide arc of the bay in which the Persians landed to the northeast and the site of the Athenian camp to the west, at the foot of Mt Agrielíki.3km/2mi north of the burial mound on the road to the village of Marathónas a side road goes off on the left to the hamlet of Vranás, with the burial mound of the Plataeans, a prehistoric necropolis (under a protective roof) and a museum.
Burial Mound of the Plataeans
3km/2mi north of the Athenian burial mound at Marathón, the "Plataean Road" (Leofóros Plateion) turns west off the road to the village of Marathón and in 2.5km/1.5mi reaches the little hamlet of Vranás. To the left (signposted), surrounded by trees, is the burial mound (excavated 1970) of the Plataeans who fell in the battle. It has a diameter of 40m/130ft and stands 4m/123ft high. A dromos leads into the mound (now closed), in which the remains of 11 of the 20 or so Plataeans who fell have been left.In the interior, which is electrically lighted, can be seen the tomb of an officer named Archias (on right) and that of a 14 year-old boy, whose remains are partly covered by a large pottery vessel.
At the end of the hamlet of Vranás at Marathon can be seen a large barn-like structure erected over the site of a cemetery of the Middle and Later Helladic periods (2000-1100 B.C.). Adjoining it is the Marathon Museum, opened in 1975, which has a fine collection of local finds, arranged in chronological order in five rooms (going in an anti-clockwise direction).Entrance hall: Map of the area; copies of a Persian helmet and of the "Ephebe of Marathon" (original in National Archeological Museum, Athens).Rooms A and B: neolithic and early Helladic pottery (4000-2000 B.C.), mainly from the Cave of Pan and the Tsepi necropolis; middle and late Helladic material (2000-1100 B.C.) from Vranás; geometric pottery from Marathon.Room C: Finds from the Athenian and Plataean burial mounds; terracotta figurines from the Cave of Pan (sixth-fifth century B.C.). Room D: Funerary relief of a young man with a child and a dog (ca. 350 B.C.) and other funerary reliefs.Room east: Over-life-size male figure in Egyptian-influenced style (A.D. second century); female statue (Isis?) ; child's tomb; portrait busts; glass.On the hillside west of Vranás is the little nunnery of Ayios Yeóryios.
Address: 114 Plataion St, 19007 Marathon, Greece
Tomb & Archeological Museum
The Marathon Archeological Museum displays items from the Cave of Pan, the Battle of Marathon, and other sites in the Marathon area.
Address: 114 Plataion St, 19007 Marathon, Greece