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Areopagus Hill

Also known as the Rock of Ares, this outcrop is famed as the location of Paul's sermon to the Athenians.

TravelCurious Tip

The path to the top of the hill begins at the end of a small road to the east called Theorias, between the Acropolis and the Athens University Museum.

Areopagus Hill, often known simply as “The Areopagus”, is a dramatic rocky outcrop offering spectacular views over the rest of Athens. From here you can admire the bulk of the Acropolis, situated slightly to the south-east, or gaze across in the opposite direction at the ancient agora below you.


Putting God on Trial

No one is exactly sure how the hill got its name, but there are two rather bloody competing theories. The first is that it derives from Ares, the Greek god of war. According to ancient mythology, Ares killed the son of the sea god Poseidon because he was making unwanted advances on Ares’ daughter. Accused of murder, Ares stood trial on Areopagus Hill, but was ultimately acquitted when it was judged that the act was committed in defence. The second theory is that the “Areo” part of the name comes from the Erinyes, otherwise known as the Furies, hellish goddesses of vengeance to whom a shrine was constructed at the foot of the rock.


Spreading the Word

From the 5th century BC, it was used as a court for trying accused murderers, but it is perhaps most famous as the spot where St. Paul delivered his famous “Sermon to an Unknown God” to an assembled Roman crowd in 52 AD. He urged them to dispense with their polytheism, preaching that “God does not live in temples built by hands”. This was enough to convince Dionysus, supposedly the first Athenian Christian, who later went on to become the patron saint of the city.


Nearby Attractions

See all attractions in Athens
Acropolis
An ancient citadel high above the city, this group of stunning ruins are among the most important cultural icons of Western civilisation.
Parthenon
Crowning the Acropolis hill, the sublime marble columns of the Parthenon form the most recognisable monument in Athens.
Propylaea
This stunning monumental gateway leads onto the plateau of the Acropolis.
Temple of Athena Nike
Next to the Propylaea lies the Acropolis' earliest Ionic temple, built for the goddess of victory and restored after its destruction in 1686.
Odeon of Herodes Atticus
Built on the Acropolis' southwest slope in memory of the beloved wife of magnate Atticus, this 2nd century theatre is still used today as a venue for live performances.
Panathenaic Way
It was the road leading from the main gate of Athens up to the Acropolis, built for the great Panathenaia religious festival.

Related Tours

The Greek Essentials - Full Day Highlights of Athens
If you only have a short amount of time in Athens and want to see as much as possible in one day, then this highlight tour is the one for you. On your all-inclusive, private full-day tour of Athens you will:

  • Enjoy personalised attention from your licensed guide on this private tour. 
  • Start the tour with ease and skip the line tickets to the Acropolis. 
  • Admire the Parthenon’s remarkable design, learn about the uses of Acropolis Hill over the centuries, and cross through Acropolis propylaea gate, as the ancients would have done in procession centuries ago.
  • Enjoy a comprehensive tour of Greece's most iconic archaeological site, including the Odeon of Herodes Atticus and the Theatre of Dionysus, where classical works by the most famous Greek poets were first performed in the 5th Century B.C. 
  • Walk through the charming Plaka district, with its famed white staircases, cafes and terraces and see the Lysicrates Monument. 
  • Admire the Tower of the Winds and Roman Agora and marvel at Hadrian's Library.
  • Skip the line into the Greek Agora to explore Ancient Greece's economic and political centre.
  • Admire the Temple of Hephaestus, known to be the best-preserved ancient Greek temple in the world, and is even older than the Parthenon. 
  • See the Stoa of Attalos, the beautifully reconstructed Ancient Greek Portico, once an ancient shopping mall.
  • Enjoy free time for lunch (not included in price) at a place recommended by your guide, which will be off the main tourist drag. 
  • Skip the line and tour the air-conditioned New Acropolis Museum during the heat of the day!
  • See the Parthenon Marbles up close on the Museum's top floor, as you admire breathtaking views over the monument itself.
  • End the tour at the famed Olympic Stadium (Panathenaic Stadium), the only stadium in the world built entirely of marble and home to the first modern games in 1896. 
  • This tour includes the "combo ticket" that will give you skip the line access to the Roman Agora, Kerameikos site & Museum, Lykeion Gymnasium, Hadrian's Library and the Temple of Olympian Zeus during in the 4 days following your tour. 

With your expert guide, you will discover the city’s most important cultural sites, including the colossal remains of the Temple of Zeus and the Acropolis, a UNESCO world heritage site. On the plateau of the Acropolis, you will find the awe-inspiring heights of the Parthenon pillars, gaze on the beautiful female forms of the Caryatid columns, discover some of the earliest theatres known to man and enjoy panoramic views over the city. Y

our guide will explain the central role these monuments, and more, played in classical society and immerse you in the myths and legends of Ancient Greece. You will also wander through the Agora, the heart of classical Athens. Once a bustling marketplace, in these now peaceful ruins you’ll walk in Socrates’ footsteps amongst classic temples and Byzantine churches, learning how Athens became the birthplace of democracy.

On your way to lunch at a place recommended by your local guide, explore bustling Plaka, the oldest district in the city. Sometimes called “the neighbourhood of the gods”, Plaka is known for its winding alleyways and scenic shopping. 

After finishing lunch, escape the heat of the day with a visit to the spectacular (and air-conditioned) New Acropolis Museum. Here you will learn firsthand the artistic wonders that once adorned the monuments of the Acropolis. Finally, you will also visit the stunningly marbled Panathenaic Stadium. Constructed for the first modern Olympic Games in 1896, this immense structure is a strong reminder of the continuing legacy of ancient Athens in the modern day. 
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