The capital of Greece, Athens, is one of the best destinations for your students to learn about ancient Greek history. Believed to be the birthplace of Western civilization and democracy, Athens is the place where many theoretical and intellectual ideas originated.
From magnificent views of the Acropolis to the Ancient Agora, here are the top 5 things you need to add to your must-visit list on a school trip to Athens.
Acropolis of Athens
UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1987, the Acropolis of Athens is a magnificent complex, located on a rocky hill that overlooks the temple of Olympian Zeus, the Olympic Stadium, the Plaka district, and enjoying amazing views of the Aegean Sea, which your students will admire just from this monumental site!
The Acropolis was built in the 5th century BC, following the guidance of sculptor Pheidias and Athenian statesman Pericles and other artists. Many important monuments were built during this time, including the Propylaea, a magnificent gate entrance to the Acropolis, and the first monument your students will see when entering the Acropolis after climbing the hill, as well as the Erechtheon, the Athena Nike Temple, and the Parthenon.
The Acropolis is the most iconic symbol of Athens, an example of excellence of ancient art and architecture also connected to amazing Greek myths and the thoughts of many philosophers such as Socrates or Plato. It is also the place where the values that we know today as democracy and freedom of speech, were thought of.
Make sure your students bring comfortable walking shoes when exploring the Acropolis of Athens, as many of its areas are rocky and difficult to walk but definitely worth seeing!
When visiting the Acropolis, your students should not miss the impressive Parthenon, a Doric-style temple, which is part of the monumental complex of the Acropolis of Athens and one of its main buildings, designed by the architects Kallikrates and Iktinos, and led by Pericles.
The temple name means “the apartment of the Virgin” and is dedicated to the Greek goddess of wisdom, war, literature and art, Athena Parthenos.
This building has been of great importance throughout Greek history as although it was built during the height of the ancient Greek Empire as a religious symbol, the monument then turned into a Byzantine church during the conquest of Greece by the Christian Byzantines. It was then was converted into a mosque by the Ottoman Turks, in the mid-15th century. The Parthenon was severely damaged during a conflict between the Ottoman Empire and the Venetians and it was finally reconstructed several times during the 20th century.
As well as the Acropolis, the Parthenon is considered today a symbol of democracy and Western civilization with many people visiting Athens just to admire this ancient monument. Do no forget to have a look at the finest columns of the Parthenon.
Ancient Agora of Athens
Located beneath the Acropolis, between the neighborhoods of Thissio and Monastiraki, in the heart of Athens, the Agora is an archaeological site where your students will travel back to the “marketplace” of Ancient Greece.
Agora means “place of gathering” and the area was originally used for commercial and political purposes, a place to listen to famous philosophers as well as an assembly and meeting area for Athenians.
In fact here, many political issues and democratic activities were approached, mostly during the 5th century. Some of the most famous politicians of the time argued about their views here, like Pericles or Themistokles, as well as poets such as Euripides, philosophers such as Plato and historians like Thucydides.
While your students walk through the ancient Agora, they will be able to admire the views of the Acropolis, as well as its amazing ruins like the Temple of Hephaestus, the Stoa of Attalos, the Odeon of Agrippa and the Monument of the Eponymous Heroes.
If you visit the Agora at lunch time, you will find many shops and restaurants located just beside, where your students can try the delicious Greek salad, and buy unique handmade souvenirs as well as make friends with street cats and tiny turtles that like walking around the area!
Another must-see during your school trip to Athens are the remains of Hadrian’s Library, in the district of Monastiraki. The site was erected by the Roman Emperor Hadrian in 132 A.D, built as a typical Roman Forum surrounded by 100 impressive columns. At the Eastern side of the library, there were a few rooms that formed the library. The rooms were once a reading and lecture hall, where many papyrus books were stored.
Explore the historic centre of Athens
A beautiful neighbourhood to explore is Plaka, where many restaurants, cafes, jewellery shops and cheerful buildings come together. Some places worth visiting in Plaka are Adrianou Street, as well as Plaka’s archaeological sites such as the Tower of the Winds, which is part of the ancient Roman Agora, as well as the Mosque of Mehmet the Conqueror and the Monument to Lysikratous.
In addition and if you have some time during your school trip to Athens, you can bring your students to the bohemian district of Psiri, one of the oldest areas in Athens, with its many squares and buildings overlooking the magnificent Acropolis, a breath taking view to behold, specially at night time!
We have a fantastic School trip to Athens just for you and your students, find all details at: BEST OF ATHENS SCHOOL TRIP
More travel ideas:
Talk to our travel experts for advice and to start planning your school trip to Athens.Contact Us