The Acropolis Peripatos Walk
In the vicinity of the NW side of the Acropolis rock it met Panathenaeon Street, while on the South side it coexisted, as it does today, with the second level of the Theater of Dionyssos, through which it lead to the Asclepieion towards the West.
The Peripatos Walk could begin at the Beulé Gate west of the Propylaia, from which one could follow the little path that goes towards the north slope. The approach is fairly difficult and the remains limited. On the north side of the Acropolis a series of caves in the rock is noteworthy. Here were the earliest dwellings of prehistoric times. With the passage of time the caves became cult places dedicated to the twelve gods or to lesser local divinities with their shrines around the main cult of Athena, patron goddess of the city, at the top of the Sacred Rock.
As the name peripatos implies (walking around), its course was ideally suited for leisurely walks, offering spectacular views of the surrounding areas. As one approaches the South Side of the Acropolis, we can see a sign carved on the rock known as the "Peripatos Inscription" (second half of the 4th c. B.C.) according to which the length of the road was 5 stadia and 18 Greek feet or 900-1,100 meters approximately.
The Klepsydra is a spring located at the intersection of the Panathenaic Way with the Peripatos. The only means of approach was by a stairway that begins behind the Agrippa Monument at the Propylaia. Water was now drawn from a well over which was a vaulted roof. Klepsydra continued in use during Byzantine times and the Frankish domination.
The Sanctuary of Zeus Olympios or Astrapaios, from the Greek word for lightning. The rectangular cutting visible today in front of the entrance to the sanctuary, may have been for the altar where offerings were made to the god. According to tradition, it was here that the Pythaïstai stood to watch Mt. Parnes for the lightning signal to begin their sacred mission to Delphi.
The Sanctuary of Pan and the Nymphs is a series of little caves, all dedicated to the cult of Pan and the Nymphs. There are three such niche-like openings, three little caves that held, perhaps, the cult statue of the god and dedications to Pan and the Nymphs. The cult of Pan himself appeared in Attica after the victory of the Greeks at Marathon (490 B.C.) in which the horned, goat-bodied god was thought to have played an important part. The ancient Greeks believed that Pan’s wild shouts wrought havoc and fear or –as the name Pan suggests– panic among the Persians, thus contributing to their defeat.
The Sanctuary of Aphrodite and Eros is the last sanctuary on the north slope. It is connected with the cult of the goddess of beauty and her winged son. A pathway leads from the cave with the Mycenaean spring to this point here, in the middle of the north side, directly below the northeast corner of the Erechtheion. Niches cut in the rock and many votive offerings showed this place to be the Sanctuary of Aphrodite and Eros. We will not attempt here to stick to the historic Peripatos walk but rather to imagine how it would feel to do the same walk in the streets as they have formed through the ages to what they are today. We shall begin at the Visitor Center, located on Areopagitou pedestrian street, at the intersection of Areopagitou, Vyronos and Thrassyllou Streets and walk uphill.
|Secret Acropolis |
A Private Tour
Join us for this Secret Acropolis Tour and get an intriguing insight into a secret side of the Acropolis Hill, away from the usual tourist trail. Enter the secret pathways of history, to sneak a look at the hidden parts of the time trail laid on the sacred rock since almost 3,500 BC. Dig deep into the history layers and unravel the unexpected and the unseen. Brace yourself and give into an unforgettable journey!