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UNESCO heritage sites in Greece
Written by Sarika on August 8, 2021 Share on

10 UNESCO World Heritage Sites to Explore in Greece

Greece is a Southeastern European country that is a cluster of thousands of islands in the Ionian and Aegean seas. There are many things that still bring laurels to the country. The birth of democracy and ancient and western civilizations is what Greece is famous for. Greece is home to many historical churches, temples, castles, beaches, art and culture, magnificent monuments and the Olympic Games. There are plenty of archaeological and heritage sites in Greece that have been recognized by UNESCO. Let us dig in and know more about the authenticity and tradition of the country.

10 UNESCO World Heritage Sites to explore in Greece

  1. Acropolis of Athens
  2. Archaeological site of Olympia
  3. The Medieval city of Rhodes
  4. The Old town of Corfu
  5. Temple of Apollo Epicurius at Bassae of Phigaleia
  6. Delos, South Aegean
  7. Archeaological site of Delphi in Central Greece
  8. Meteora
  9. Archeological site of Mystras
  10. Byzantine monastery of Daphni

1. Acropolis of Athens

Acropolis of Athens, Heritage sites in Greece
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The Acropolis of Athens is a city or a site that is located on a flat rocky area above the city of Athena. People who lived here worshipped Athena- the goddess of Athens. This site contains several archaeological and ancient remains and is rich in historical significance. The word Acropolis is derived from the two Greek words called Akron (means “extremity”) and polis (means “city”). It is also home to the most famous Greek temple called the Parthenon. Some of the artefacts that are found here date back to the Neolithic and early Neolithic eras. And then, there are also documents and some proofs for the early settlement and human culture to be developed in the 4th Millennium BC.

These buildings were initially planned and constructed by Pericles around 495-429 BC in the 5th Millennium. It is one of the most famous UNESCO recognized heritage sites in Greece. You can find the remains and artefacts from the Hellenistic, Roman, Latin, Ottoman, and Byzantine periods.

How old is the Acropolis?

The Acropolis is over 2460 years old.

2. Archaeological site of Olympia

Archeological site of Olympia, Heritage sites in Greece
Image Credits- Unsplash

The City of Olympia is famous for its rich culture and history. The very first Olympics was hosted in this city. The ruins of many athletic training centres, stadiums, and some temples built in dedication to the Greek gods Zeus and Hera talk more than words do. The human settlements date back to 1500 BC and have been occupied since then. The very first evidence of a building built on this site dates back to 600 BC. The classical period of this site was from the 5th and 4th centuries BC, marking the golden age of the site where many public baths and temples for the God Zeus were built.

The Romans and many other people captured the site and ruled it in the following years. They also made several changes and modifications to the site of Olympia during their reign. It still stands tall as one of the most important cultural and archaeological sites in Greece. After several renovations and changes, the town now has a train station and called the Modern Olympia.

3. The Medieval city of Rhodes, Heritage sites in Greece

Medieval city of Rhodes heritage sites n Greece
Image Credits- Unsplash

From 1309 to 1523, Rhodes was the largest island of the Dodecanese which was occupied by the Knights of St John of Jerusalem who had just lost to Palestine. After their loss, it later came under the control of the Turkish and Italians. The town of Rhodes contain buildings with Gothic architecture coexisting with several public baths, mosques, the Great Hospital, and the Street of the Knights. The Frankish and Ottoman buildings are solid proof for the architectural ensemble of military hospitals and human settlements of the Gothic period. After the Italians left the city of Rhodes in 1912, the Greek government is protecting the site under the provisions of Archaelogical Law. It is a feast to our eyes to see such cultural integrity and know more about the prehistoric settlements on earth!

4. The Old Town of Corfu

Old Town of Corfu, Heritage sites in Greece
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The Old Town of Corfu on Corfu island is one of the most culture-rich heritage sites in Greece. It is located in a very strategic position acting as the entrance to the Adriatic Sea. The ancient settlements and roots date back to the 8th century. And then, renowned Venetian engineers have designed and built the 3 major forts in the town. The major purpose of these forts was trading from the Republic of Venice against the Ottoman clan. The sites and buildings were rebuilt several times in the late 19th century while the town was under British rule. These forts and heritage sites of Old Town Corfu hold high integrity, tradition, and authenticity.

5. Temple of Apollo Epicurius at Bassae of Phigaleia

The Temple of Apollo Epicurius at Basse is a very important site in Greece. It holds dedication to the Sun God and the God of Healing. The Greek God Apollo is believed to be the God of Harmony, healing, peace, and light. This historical site is located at the elevation of the Kotylion Mountains in the Arcadian mountain ranges. This temple is home to the oldest ever Corinthian Capital found built with mind-boggling Archaic style with Doric style architectural features. This temple became an attraction in the 18th century and still stands gracefully.

6. Delos, South Aegean, Heritage sites in Greece

Delos is now a very beautiful island that is a favourite spot for tourists. But, did you know that Delos was a major port and a religious centre since the 1st millennium BC? Firstly, it is an archaeological site near the Cyclades archipelago near Mykonos. And also, Greek mythology strongly believes this place is the birthplace of the famous Greek Gods Apollo and Artemis. Delos is the most sacred island among other famous islands. You can also see the ancient remains that include an amphitheatre, Doric temples, Mosaic houses and Terraces with fierce Lion statues. The archaeological museum in Delos exhibits the ancient statues excavated from the heritage site.

7. Archeaological site of Delphi in Central Greece

Delphi in Greece
Image Credits- Unsplash

Delphi is one of the most significant sites in Central Greece. According to Greek mythology, Delphi is where the lord Apollo spoke. The beautiful landscapes, rustic remains, public baths, and majestic mountains add more ethnicity to the site. The two eagles released by God Zeus meet at Delphi and that is why this city is the eyes of the world according to ancient Greek mythology. There are also many restaurants and museums near the archaeological site of Delphi.

8. Meteora, Heritage sites in Greece

meteora heritage sites in Greece
Image Credits- Unsplash

Meteora is a site with beautiful formations of rocks and ancient monasteries. Meteora is home to the original 24 Eastern Orthodox monasteries out of which only 6 are in existence now. The significance of this site is the natural formation of hills like rounded pillars, caves, and structures. The inhabitance of this place date back to at least 50,000 and 5000 years ago. But, the oldest known structure is the rock blocking the entrance of the Theopetra cave. It dates back to 23,000 years ago.

The six famous monasteries here are the Monastery of Great Meteoron, Monastery of Varlaam, Monastery of Rousanou, Monastery of St. Nicholas Anapausas, Monastery of St. Stephen, and Monastery of the Holy Trinity.

9. Archaeological site of Mystras

The archaeological site of Mystras is a site near a hillside fortress in Peloponnese. In 1249, the Prince of Achaia built this fortress. The site of Mystras is famous for Byzantine churches, historical museums, monuments, and traditional architecture. According to Greek mythology, Mystras means a fortified town. It is home to many artefacts and historical inscriptions, scripting codes, reliefs depicting Alexander the Great and Jesus Christ sitting on a Throne. It is one of the most history-rich places in Greece and holds a special place among the list of UNESCO world heritage sites in Greece.

Also read- Best nightclubs in Greece

10. Byzantine monastery of Daphni

The Byzantines are very famous and significant in the ancient Greek mythologies. The Byzantine monastery of Daphni or Dafni was built during the eleventh century and is one of the famous sites in Hosios. It is located in the Northwest of Central Athens near a forest of the same name. The monasteries are famous for their ancient Cloisonne style exterior and architecture. The Cloisonne style or architecture is installing rectangular blocks of rocks, separated by bricks on all four sides. And also, it is famous for its castles with a basilica in the middle, royal mosaic, grand organs, and ancient scripts.

Also, read- Best places to visit in Greece in 2021

Greece is not only home to fancy islands, lively nightlife, fancy beaches, and restaurants, but also, home to exciting mythologies, churches, archaeological excavation sites and temples. On your next visit to Greece, do not forget to visit as many as possible UNESCO sites on the list!

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