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Aristotle’s Lyceum opens to the public

A brand new place for strolling and relaxing in the heart of town is what you’ll find in an archaeological site nestled in a wonderful park in Athens. Aristotle’s Lyceum (Peripatetic School) used to be one of the three oldest gymnasia in ancient Athens, the other two being Plato’s Academy and Kynosarges. It is located right in the heart of the Greek capital, circumscribed by Vas. Sofias Ave., Vas. Konstantinou Ave. and Rigillis St., among three beautiful and imposing buildings: the Byzantine and Christian Museum, the Sarogleio Building (Armed Forces Officers Club) and the Athens Conservatoire.

Visit the 11,500 m2 area and walk amidst peaceful surroundings filled with fragrant plants such as rosemary, lavender, oregano, thyme, olive trees and pomegranate trees. There are signs posted along remaining parts of the gymnasium’s palaestra dated to the Roman times. You will see two hypocaust chambers [ancient heating system], a shaft and a well, the baths, the Ephebeum - Teaching Room, the Conisterium (where athletes powdered their bodies with dust or sand), the Elaeothesium (where athletes anointed their bodies with oil) and the Library – Reading Room.

There are benches placed at various locations where you can sit back and relax or read a book. Visit also the 130-seat belvedere where the terrain’s grade offers a fine panoramic view.

Aristotle [384 – 322 BC] founded his Peripatetic School in 335 BC in a green area between Rivers Iridanos and Ilissos, outside the city walls, off Diocharous Gate, next to a copse where the temples of Lykeios Apollo and Hercules Pagratis used to be. The School’s structure followed the standards of Plato’s Academy: lessons for advanced students would take place in the morning (the early morning walk), whereas for beginners classes were scheduled for late afternoon / early evening (the evening walk). 

Philosophy was taught in the morning classes and rhetoric was taught in the early evening classes, out in the open. Athenian men and youths would practice in the Lyceum as part of their military service to the state. 

The eminent philosopher who was also a master in many other disciplines taught here until 323 BC. He was known for his realistic way of thinking, he supported the study of knowledge for the sake of knowledge and he created a universal system which was aimed at analysing the world through comprehensive views of great clarity.

 


Useful Information

The Lyceum of Aristotle will be open daily from 8am to 8pm and is expected to operate on weekends as well. Entrance is free of charge.You can access the archaeological site / park from Rigillis St.; later there will be another point of entrance next to Sarogleio Building (Armed Forces Officers Club) on Vas. Sofias Ave.

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