10 Ancient Cities in Greece Steeped in Mythology

There are many ancient cities in Greece. Some of them date back to the Neolithic time as can be found in the archaeological evidence excavated near the town of Dispilio in West Macedonia.

 

Of course, Greece is also home to many tourist attractions and gorgeous ocean-side getaways. Regardless of the accommodations that you choose, don’t overlook the rare gems Greece has to offer.

 

In fact, you can take the ferry when you’re exploring using Bookaway. This gives you the perfect opportunity to enjoy day trips to some of the most exciting historical sites to be found.

 

Greek Ruins, Athens, columns

 

Ancient Cities In Greece

Athens

 

We might as well start off with one of the most famous ancient cities in Greece, Athens. This ancient city, which thrived in the 5th century BCE, boasts several well-known structures dedicated to the gods and goddesses of Greek Mythology. 

 

In addition to the Parthenon, Temple of Olympian Zeus, and Doric Temple of Posiden, you can also visit the remains of Hadrian’s Library.

 

You can also visit the lesser-known sites of Kerameikos, the oldest cemetery in one of the largest districts of ancient Athens, and the ancient training ground of Athenian wrestlers and boxers at the Gymnasium of Lykeion.

 

ancient cities in Greece, Delphi, Greek amphitheater

 

Delphi

 

Delphi, also known as “the navel of the world,” is referenced in Greek mythology as the location of the Delphic Oracle. Its mountainside location in central Greece gives it spectacular views of the surrounding area.

 

This idyllic location also includes the remains of an ancient theater and stadium. Athletic games were held in this stadium every four years and thus are considered the precursor of the modern Olympics.

 

Olympia, Greek ruins

 

Olympia

 

Known as the origin of the Olympic Games, Olympia is full of ancient athletic and game-related sites. The Olympic Games at that time were part of the Panhellenic Games, as were the Pythian Games held in Delphi.

 

Each of the games was played in honor of one of the gods, and Olympia dedicated its games to Zeus. So, it comes as no surprise that Olympia is also home to the Temple of Zeus as well as the Temple of Hera, Zeus’s wife.

 

 

Thebes

 

Also located in central Greece, Thebes is the setting of many myths, including that of Cadmus, Oedipus, Dionysus, and Heracles. 

 

In mythology, Thebes was founded by an ancestor of Oedipus, the king who defeated the Sphinx.

 

In reality, Thebes served as the center of Mycenaen culture and continued to be a valuable location during the Persian and Peloponnesian Wars. 

 

While visiting Thebes, you can see portions of a Mycenaen palace and city conference area, the Dirki Spring, and the Temple of Ismenius Apollo.

 

Santorini Greece, things to do, villas in Mykonos

 

Santorini

 

Santorini is a Greek island in the South Aegean sea. It is also where you can visit the ruins of Akrotiri, an ancient Minoan destroyed by a volcanic eruption sometime between 1620 and 1530 BCE.

 

According to archaeologists, the eruption caused a tsunami that wiped out the Minoan civilization there. As a result, some scholars believe that Akrotiri was the inspiration for the story of Atlantis. 

 

 

Delos

 

Delos is another island in the South Aegean sea and popular location in Greek mythology. It was the birthplace of Apollo and Artemis. 

 

In addition to its mythological importance, Delos was also a major seaport. While visiting Delos, you can see the Terrace of the Lions statues, mosaics, markets, and temples. 

 

ancient cities in Greece, Knossos, Minotaur

 

Knossos

 

Situated near the northern coast of Crete, Knossos is one of the oldest cities in Europe. In fact, it was the center of ancient Minoan Crete and continued to be a politically important area until it was destroyed in 1375.

 

Today, the Knossos palace-complex is associated with the mythological labyrinth due to its multi-storied and elaborate construction. 

 

Take a walk through restored portions of the palace and witness its grandeur along with the remains of palaces it was built upon.

 

 

Mycenae

 

Mycenae was an ancient city in Peloponnese, Greece, and is the source of the name of the Mycenaen period of Greek history. 

 

It shares a mythological history with Knossos since it was home to King Agamemnon, the brother of Knossos’ king and leader of the war against Troy. Mycenae was also the setting for Hercules’ acceptance of the 12 labors.

 

Several archaeological sites can be found there, including the Treasury of Atreus, the tholos tombs, the Lions Gate, and the citadel they surround.

 

Statue of a Spartan Soldier, The 300

 

Sparta

 

Also located in Peloponnese, ancient Sparta has been an area of interest for quite some time, spawning centuries of study and decades of popular fiction. 

 

The home of a legendary warrior society, Sparta is often thought of with admiration for its combined victory against Persia, in part due to the 300 Spartan soldiers who fought to the death to protect the retreating portion of the Greek army.

 

Even in mythology, Sparta is known for war. After all, it was the king of Sparta who instigated the Trojan War. 

 

Not only can you find remnants of a Greek temple and theater there, but you can also explore the ruins of a Roman market place.

 

 

Dion

 

Dion is located in Central Macedonia near the foot of Mount Olympus and was an important religious center in the Hellenistic period. 

 

It has an abundance of archaeological sites, the majority of which are sanctuaries. Of course, many of the sanctuaries are dedicated to Zeus, but one, in particular, was dedicated to Isis, an ancient Egyptian goddess.

 

In addition to its numerous sanctuaries, Dion is also home to elaborate Macedonian tombs, both a Greek and a Roman theater, a Roman Market, and thermal baths.

 

Greece has such a rich history that it’s hard to narrow down which places to include if your travel time is limited.

 

Travel Guide by Dr. Prem Jagyasi can help you save your time while traveling, through a number of articles with valuable travel tips.

 

The good news is that the cities are close enough that it doesn’t take long to get from one to another, especially if you’ve booked transportation in advance.

 

When it comes to which locations to include in your itinerary, do your research and plan ahead. And, if you’ve got an interest in ancient civilizations and mythology, then you should definitely consider visiting some of these ancient cities in Greece.


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