Greece’s Hidden Gems: Five Ancient Ruins You’ve Probably Never Heard Of
Greece is sprinkled with ancient ruins and archaeological sites
that you’ll never find in tourist literature. On the hilltops of towns and villages you might find an ancient column sprouting from the grass, miles away from bustling crowds of tourists.
To help you find the best landmarks and heritage sites, read our guide on the top five hidden archaeological gems in Greece and its islands…
1. Asklepion, Kos
Lying off the beaten track for most tourists – even those looking for ancient ruins – Asklepion is perched high above the harbor on the Greek island of Kos
During ancient times, the site served as a sanatorium and it was dedicated to Aesculapius, son of Apollo, protector of health and medicine.
It might be high up, but it’s well worth the climb, with an amazingly well-preserved temple and stunning views of the countryside surrounding it. Plus, thanks to its secluded spot, the ruins allow you to lose yourself in their history.
2. Kerameikos, Athens
One of the least known ruins in Athens
, Kerameikos is an archaeological site that contains the remains an important ancient burial ground as well as a series of famous monuments.
Once home to the city’s potters - hence its name meaning pottery - Kerameikos developed to also become the site of a cemetery. In fact, some of the oldest graves found there date back to as far as the third millennium BC.
The site also contains remnants of the entrance to ancient Athens. Visitors can see the ruins of what was the city wall, including the Sacred Gate and the Dipylon Gate.
3. Ancient Limnaia, Amphilochia
The practically unknown ruins of ancient Limnaia are located on a low hill, overlooking the peaceful Ambracian Gulf above the small town of Amphilochia in northwestern Greece.
The site today is largely abandoned, though it is open for visit via a rough, and very precarious, cement road. The ancient wall is visible all around the small church atop the hill in scattered ruins.
The fortified hill commands the strategic passage that connects Ambracia and Epiros
to ancient Stratos, Agrinion and the rest of Aetolia and Acarnania.
4. Mycenae, Greece
The ancient citadel of Mycenae
is located less than two hours away from Athens, and marks an imposing figure on top of a rocky hill.
The site was the centre of power in the Late Bronze age, and the excavated ruins atop the rocky hill protected the royal families inside their walls.
Legend has it that Mycenae was founded by Perseus, and the entire culture of mainland Greece during the Bronze age was named Mycenaean during the late Helladic period.
5. Ancient Agora, Athens
The Ancient Agora of Athens was a versatile spot – it acted as a market, a meeting place and the social, political and commercial hub of the ancient city.
The site has been destroyed, rebuilt and renovated several times over the centuries, including attacks by the Persians, the Romans and the Herulians.
Despite its turbulent history, the Agora houses several fascinating sites, including the stunning fifth century BC Temple of Hephaestus.
It is also home to the remains of several covered walkways such as the famous Stoa of Zeus where Socrates is said to have debated with other philosophers.
It’s no secret that Greece’s ancient heritage is a significant part of its appeal for many travellers, but even the most knowledgeable history buff can still be surprised.
article by Nikki Allen, writing for Holiday Hypermarket