UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Greece
The UNESCO World Heritage Sites of Greece include Delphi, the site of the legendary Oracle of Delphi. During ancient times, the Oracle was consulted for almost all political decisions. The archaeological site contains a theater, a stadium, and a temple dedicated to Apollo. Also worth visiting is the Acropolis of Athens, completed in the 5th century BC. The Acropolis is home to four classical Greek masterpieces.
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Here is the list of 18 UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Greece:
1. The Acropolis in Athens
The Acropolis is a spectacular site with countless architectural wonders. The Parthenon, built in 427 BC, is one of the best examples of ancient Greek architecture. Its zigzag columns are meant to give the impression of a straight foundation. The central part was once home to a 40 foot statue of Athena.
The Parthenon’s walls are considered unique masterpieces. Some of them depict the battle of Lapith with Centaurs, the victory of the Greeks over the Persians and the victory of Athenians over the Trojans. You can visit the Acropolis anytime between March and May, when the city’s temperature is mild. However, during the summer months, the temperature can hit 40 degrees.
It’s best to visit the Acropolis early in the morning or late in the day, when the crowds are light and the sun’s rays are not yet visible. The Acropolis has UNESCO-protected status since 1987. Before visiting, make sure you read about the history of the site. Don’t miss the grand entrance to the Acropolis, where you can walk along columned walkways and admire the grand marble buildings.
You can also view the port of Piraeus from the Acropolis. Taking a walk through the Acropolis is a great way to learn about the city’s history. You can see the Parthenon, the Theater of Dionysus and the Temple of Asclepius. You can also visit the Acropolis Museum, which houses many ancient Greek statues and legends.
2. The Archaeological Site of Aigai in Greece
The Archaeological Site of Aigai in the country of Macedonia is one of the best known Greek archaeological sites in the region. The site includes the ruins of the sanctuary complex, which was built in the 4th century BC. The complex features the foundations of two temples and an altar.
It also includes evidence of royal offerings to the goddess. It also contains more than 500 tombs, the oldest of which dates from the 11th century BC. The royal necropolis of Aigai was discovered in the 19th century, near the modern name Vergina. The palace and burial ground were decorated with mosaics, and the area was home to more than 300 tumuli.
The ruins are more than a thousand years old, and some of the tumuli date as far back as the 11th century B.C. The area was subsequently conquered by Philip II, who went on to become Alexander the Great. The city’s walls were three meters thick and reinforced with towers. They surrounded the slope where the city’s center was. The walls were constructed from stones brought from Mount Vermion and unbaked mud bricks.
In the 4th century BC, the city had a theater. In fact, King Philip II was murdered in this theater. Vergina was a thriving city in ancient times. The region’s fertile plains and abundant water supply made it a desirable place to build a city. The region’s richness is evident from its name, which means “land of many flocks.”
It was an important residential center in the Iron Age, and excavations have revealed several important settlements in the area. The remains of a large population and rich jewellery prove that the area was a thriving city.
3. The Archaeological Site of Delphi in Greece
The Archaeological Site of Delphi is one of the most important sites in Greece, attracting an enormous number of visitors each year. Its ancient history dates back thousands of years and it was the center of the ancient world, where two eagles were released by Zeus.
The magnificent monumental complex represents a unique combination of man-made environment and pristine natural setting. This fusion between man and nature is what makes this monument so unique, and it has been preserved to the present day. The ancient Greeks left behind an invaluable legacy in this UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The Archaeological Site of Delphi contains many ruins from the ancient classical era, and despite the fact that the French School of Athens removed tons of rubble and destroyed post-classical settlements, the site’s history remains largely intact. These ruins and their associated artifacts provide a window into the early Hellenic society. Delphi is also the home of the Temple of Apollo.
It was first built in the 7th century BC. Later, the temple was destroyed by fire, but was rebuilt in the same Doric column form. An earthquake destroyed the temple again in 373 B.C. and it was reconstructed a third time in 330 B.C. This temple is now a museum where you can view various objects and exhibits related to its history.
You can easily spend a day exploring the archaeological site in Delphi. The city is just a two-hour drive from Athens and is a great place to visit for day trips. However, to truly explore the site and see its treasures, you’ll need to spend a few hours in the city.
4. The Archaeological Site of Mystras in Greece
The Archaeological Site of Mystras is an important historical site in the country of Greece. The city was an important center of power for the Byzantines and was home to many monasteries. The town’s cathedral is considered one of the finest examples of Late Byzantine church architecture.
The cathedral houses frescoes from the 13th to the early 14th centuries. The Archaeological Site of Mystras is located about five kilometers west of Sparta on the slopes of Mount Taygetos. The history of Mystras dates back to the 12th century. Its location in the hills made it a strategically advantageous site.
In the 14th century, the Franks conquered the area and built the principality of Achaia. They built the castle-seat here and soon became an important military town. Mystras is also a great place to visit if you have an interest in Byzantine architecture. It is home to four monasteries, the metropolitan church, the cemetery church of Evangelistria, and numerous chapels.
Because of the preservation of these buildings, they are a valuable resource for studying Byzantine architecture. The churches of Mystras have a mix of Byzantine, Greek, and western influences. This represents the cultural hybridity that was prevalent in the area at that time.
The Archaeological Site of Mystras was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1989. The site was a center of copying manuscripts. The city was also the seat of the last Byzantine emperor.
5. The Archaeological Site of Olympia in Greece
Olympia is an ancient Greek site that hosted the original Olympic Games in the 8th century B.C. The ruins of the city include athletic training areas, a stadium, and temples dedicated to Zeus and Hermes. The Archaeological Museum of Olympia showcases artifacts from the site.
Highlights include a statue of Hermes attributed to Praxiteles. The site is surrounded by a village, which is still a major tourist attraction. The area is full of shops and souvenirs. There are also some excellent restaurants and accommodations. The archaeological site is a popular destination for tourists and is worth the visit despite the small town vibe.
The Archaeological Museum of Olympia houses the findings of excavations conducted in Olympia. The exhibits are arranged chronologically. The Sanctuary of Olympia is located in the region of Ilia (Elis) in the northwestern Peloponnese Peninsula. Its remains date back to the final Neolithic period.
This ancient site is considered one of the most important archaeological sites for studying the roots of western society, with traces of religious, political, and sports traditions. At the Archaeological Site of Olympia, you can also visit Altis, the Sacred Precinct of Zeus. This ancient temple is a 5th-century-BC Doric temple that contained the statue of Pheidias.
It is possible to visit a section of the temple, where a column has been restored, helping you understand its scale. The temple is also home to the base of the goddess Nike. The site is also home to the bouleuterion, which was used for ceremonies and oaths. In addition, the Archaeological Museum of Olympia includes the famous statue of Nike.
6. The Archaeological Site of Philippi in Greece
The Archaeological Site of Philippi is located in the Dodecanese, Greece. Philippi was the home of the first Christian community in Europe. It gained great prestige during the Hellenistic period. Three impressive churches were built in the 4th and 5th centuries AD, the most important being the Octagonal Basilica, a cathedral consecrated to Saint Paul.
The city remained a flourishing city during the Byzantine Empire until the 7th century, when it was almost abandoned. Later, it served as a garrison and was completely abandoned by the Ottomans. The Archaeological Site of Philippi is rich in history and culture.
The site was first occupied by Philip II of Macedon, father of Alexander the Great, and later witnessed the battle that established the Roman Empire. The site was also visited by the Apostle Paul, who established the first Christian community in Europe. Today, the site is part of the UNESCO World Heritage List. Archaeological excavations at Philippi began in 1914.
After the Second World War, the Archaeological Service and the Archaeological Society of Philippi continued the work. The findings from these excavations are preserved in the Archaeological Museum of Philippi. The site was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List in July 2016. The Archaeological Site of Philippi is located in Eastern Macedonia between Kavala and Drama, at the southeast edge of the Drama plain.
The city’s acropolis is perched high above the city on a fortified hill. This fort was used until the conquest by Ottoman Turks in the late 14th century. The site also features sanctuaries of different gods dating back to Roman times. The sanctuaries preserve rock-cut reliefs and inscriptions.
7. The Archaeological Sites of Mycène and Tiryns in Crete
The Archaeological Sites of Mycène and Tiryns in Crete have Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) and are under the jurisdiction of the Hellenic Ministry of Culture. Both sites are under ongoing scientific research and protection.
The restoration projects are undertaken in accordance with international standards and the preservation of the monuments is guaranteed. Tiryns is situated 20 km north of Mycenae and lies on a low hill in the Argolic Gulf. It was occupied by the Mycenaeans as early as seven thousand BC and reached its height between 1400 and 1200 BC.
In mythology, Tiryns was linked to Heracles and was therefore an important centre of the Mycenaean world. Tiryns was devastated by the Mycenaean disaster at the end of the Bronze Age, but the city remained inhabited until the early Archaic period. Excavations in Tiryns began in 1884 and are ongoing.
The site is covered by a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The archaeology of Mycenae and Tiryras consists of the fortified acropolis and surrounding funerary and habitation sites. Most of the visible monuments date to the period of great prosperity from 1350 to 1200 BC. The site also contains the Archaeological Museum, located at the foot of the acropolis.
The Mycenaean Foundation has created an interactive dig simulator, which will help visitors experience how the excavation process is carried out. The simulation will include reconstructions of architectural ruins and archaeological features. Participants will also have the opportunity to view carbonised wood, casts of human skeletons, and other findings from the Mycenaean period.
8. The Archaeological Site of Delos in Greece
Delos is an archaeological site and a religious sanctuary. Its extensive collections of antiquities date back to the Archaic, Classical and Hellenistic periods. It is one of the largest and most extensive insular archaeological sites in the world.
Visiting this archaeological site is not about visiting a museum or a storyteller; it is about experiencing history first-hand. The island of Delos was once one of the most important cosmopolitan centers in the Mediterranean. However, the city fell on hard times after the Romans destroyed it.
This happened several times, with the population eventually dwindling to only a few residents by the third century CE. It was later conquered by the Ottomans and became a pirate stronghold. The ancient ruins were looted for stone and marble. During the Mycenaean period, Delos was considered sacred and attracted a large number of devotees.
After the eighth century BCE, the island began to become a robust commercial center. It claimed to be the birthplace of the god Apollo. Delos retained its religious identity until the Byzantine period, and religious festivals were the island’s economic engine. The wealthiest inhabitants of Delos lived in the Theatre Quarter.
The streets in this part of the town are paved with slate slabs, and the houses are almost five meters high. Some houses even boast pillared courtyards and impressive mosaic floors. One of the larger houses was the House of Dionysus, which would have been two stories high with elegant columns.
9. Medieval City of Rhodes – A UNESCO World Heritage Site
The Medieval City of Rhodes has a rich history. During the Medieval Period, the island was inhabited by Knights of St John of Jerusalem. They built a massive wall to surround the island. The wall runs for four kilometers and is a World Heritage Site.
You can walk it, and learn about its history. In medieval times, Rhodes was an important trading post. Its position as a crossroads between Alexandria and Constantinople made it a strategic point for ships. However, during the early years of the divided Roman Empire, the Isaurians invaded the island and burned it down.
The next century, the Arabs captured Rhodes and took away its historical treasures. Among them were the pieces of the Colossus, which served as a fortress and a palace for the Knights Hospitaller. Lindos, one of the three major towns in ancient Rhodes, was the center of the island’s naval power.
The acropolis, which stands 116 metres above sea level, is surrounded by impressive walls. Lindos village, situated at the foot of the acropolis, is filled with picturesque houses and Byzantine churches. The village is also accessible by a path. You can also climb to the top of the acropolis to admire its ruins and well-preserved walls.
The Medieval City of Rhodes is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is the oldest continuously inhabited medieval city in Europe. The original fourteenth century fortification walls are still encircling the medieval center. They took more than two centuries to build.
10. The Monasteries of Daphni in Greece
The eleventh-century Byzantine Monastery of Daphni is situated in the suburb of Chaidari, near the forest of the same name. It is on the Sacred Way of Eleusis, which passes through the forest. The monastery is surrounded by a laurel grove.
The Daphni Monastery has had a turbulent history spanning a thousand years. It has been used as a Turkish garrison and a lunatic asylum. Lord Elgin stole most of the remnants of the ancient sanctuary dedicated to Apollo, but the Byzantine mosaics have endured the ages.
UNESCO has listed the Monasteries of Daphni as a world heritage site. There are three different monasteries: Hossios Loukas Monastery in Athens, Daphni Monastery in Attica near Athens, and Nea Moni on the island of Chios in the northern Aegean Sea. All three of these sites are well-worth a visit if you’re a fan of Byzantine religious architecture.
Monastery: The Monastery is open to visitors Wednesday to Sunday, between eight and fifteen, and has free entrance. When you visit, you will need to ring the bell in front of the outer gate. The monks who are working on the restoration will welcome you and answer your questions. There are also hiking trails surrounding the monastery, and there’s a cafe outside the gate.
The Monastery contains two beautiful churches. The northern church, dedicated to the Virgin Mary, is a cross-in-square church, and the central church features a marble dome supported by four columns. There are also two-columned narthex and an impressive defending tower. Both churches are surrounded by high stone walls. Constantine Monomachus, a famous Greek king, financed the construction of the monastery.
11. Corfu, Greece – The Old Town
Corfu’s Old Town is steeped in history and romance. The largest street, Moustoxides, is home to the Ionian Parliament, the place where Corfu’s citizens voted to join the rest of Greece in the 19th century, after being a protectorate of Britain for nearly 50 years.
Visitors can wander through the narrow streets of the Old Town of Corfu and learn more about the island’s history and culture. The Old Fortress, a rocky cape on the eastern edge of the Town, is the island’s most important monument. If you want to learn more about this fortress, you can visit its museum.
The Old Town of Corfu is like Venice without the canals. It has a mix of Venetian-style architecture and neo-classical buildings. It has been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is a popular tourist attraction, but it can also be quite touristy. Corfu’s Old Town is one of the most picturesque places in Greece. It has many Venetian buildings, as well as grand royal palaces.
You can explore the city on foot or buy souvenirs from the local markets. The Old Town is also famous for its architecture. Many buildings reflect the island’s rich history, blending the influences of the French, British, and Venetian empires. It is definitely worth a visit.
12. Paleochristian and Byzantine Monuments of Thessaloniki
One of my favorite periods of history is the late antiquity and early Byzantine empire. The change from ancient Rome to the Byzantine empire is epic, and sites like the Pantheon in Rome and Diocletian’s palace in Split demonstrate that change.
Thessaloniki was a part of that transition, and there are plenty of sites from this time period to be seen here. The Paleochristian and Byzantian Monuments of Thessalonika include a variety of public edifices with significant artistic value. In addition to their purely religious purposes, these sites also functioned as centers for arts and culture and participated in the artistic trends of the Byzantine period.
The building was originally a temple, mausoleum, and temple. It was later converted into a Christian church and mosque, and the tall minaret still stands. The building is now a museum and a sanctuary for swifts, and liturgical services are held here a dozen times a year.
However, most visitors come here to admire the early Byzantine golden mosaics that portray the merging of Christian worship and Roman architecture. The Basilica of Agios Dimitrios, which is the oldest church in the city, is another important site to visit. The basilica was built on the site of an older church, and features exquisite iconography. During the early fourth century CE, St Demetrius was the patron saint of Thessaloniki.
13. The Pythagoreon and Heraion of Samos in Greece
In the early 6th century, vases from Samos were among the most important Ionian products. The island was subsequently depopulated and had to serve as a naval base for the Persians, rendering indifferent service to Miletus. Part of Samos’ sixty ships were involved in treachery at Lade.
However, this was not enough to deter the Samians from revolting against the Persians, and a revolt by the Samians against the Persians occurred during the Battle of Mycale in 479 BC. The Samians were then led by the Cymonians, who led an attack on the Persians.
Today, the Pythagoreion and Her Aqueduct are World Heritage Sites, and the archaeological site is home to a variety of ancient structures, including temples. The Pythagoreion was built near the famous mountain of Parnassus, and is a site where the Pythian Games were held.
Samos was inhabited as early as the 3rd millennium BC, and its archaeological sites include the ancient fortified port of Pythagorion, which contains Greek and Roman monuments. The Heraion, meanwhile, is a large temple dedicated to the goddess Hera. The Heraion also includes the temple of Apollo Epicurius, which dates back to the 5th century.
The temple is surrounded by chapels, some of which have beautiful statues. The Heraion was the most important temple in Samos. It was 110 meters long and fifty-five meters wide. Its height was 25 meters. Its interior contained many treasuries, stoas, and votive offerings.
After the Rhoikos temple was destroyed, the Heraion was reconstructed into a larger structure, renamed the “Polycrates Temple.” This new building was named after a famous Samos tyrant and had a floor plan that was more like that of a Greek temple.
14. The Sanctuary of Asklepios at Epidaurus in Greece
The Sanctuary of Asklepios at the ancient Greek town of Epidaurus was a major religious center. It was built around the early 4th century BC. This temple was dedicated to the Greek god Asclepius and was one of his main holy sites.
It was considered to be a rival to the Temples of Zeus and Apollo in Delphi and Olympia. The sanctuary was also a site for religious ceremonies and athletic contests. The open sanctuary was used to hold religious plays and Rhapsodes, and the cult of Asklepios was also known to hold athletic competitions.
A small museum is also housed here, with several relics that help explain the history of the site. Today, the Sanctuary of Asklepios is considered a fine example of ancient Greek architecture, and continues to draw visitors to this ancient city. Today, visitors can visit the site to learn more about the history of medicine and ancient Greek healing cults.
It is a UNESCO World Heritage site, and is a fantastic place to learn more about the history of Greek medicine. The Sanctuary of Asklepios at the ancient Greek city of Epidaurus was dedicated to Asclepius, a god of healing. He was a son of Apollo and was considered to be the protector of human health and happiness. Ascension to the god was carried on even into the classical period, and the sanctuary was soon crowded.
15. The Temple of Apollo Epicurius at Bassae in Greece
The well-preserved Greek temple dates back to 400 BC and offers wonderful views of the surrounding mountains. The site is a popular tourist destination. There is also a museum where you can learn more about Greek mythology. There are guided tours available for visitors of all ages.
The temple is oriented north-south and almost perfectly reflects the heliacal arc, the movement of the sun through the sky each year. The eastern door of the inner sanctum allows the first rays of the sun to reach the central column on the day of the summer solstice, which marks Apollo’s birthday. However, the temple is not completely complete.
This archaeological site in Greece is one of the most important Classical temples and is of great significance. It is one of the most well preserved examples of this type of building. It was built in the 5th century BC and was used in the Hellenistic and Roman periods. It was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1986.
The temple is a well preserved example of fifth-century Greek art. Its architectural details are inspired by the Corinthian capital. Its plaited frieze and abacus were also designed by Cockerell. However, there is no ancient precedent for the plaited decoration.
16. The Historic Centre Chor With the Monastery of Saint John the Theologian
If you are visiting Greece, do not miss a visit to the monastery in Chora. Founded over 900 years ago, the monastery is a treasure trove of Greek art. It has religious frescoes from the 17th and 18th centuries and is surrounded by impressive Byzantine architecture.
You can also see the monks reciting stories from the Apocalypse or Theologian. The monastery is home to a well from which holy water is drawn. It also has a small museum where you can buy wine. The air and nature offer a peaceful environment. The monastery is accessible by bus and taxi from the port of Skala.
The monastic complex contains two churches, the Church of the Theotokos and the Church of St. John and St. George. The latter contains a rich collection of icons and a mosaic floor dating from the 6th century. You can also see a glass casket containing the incorrupt relics of St. John “the new Chozebite.” The monastery is open every day except for Sundays.
Guests of the Monastery of Saint John the Tulpeos should pay a visit to the cave where St. John the Theologian worshipped God. This cave is another must-see attraction in Patmos. Its impressive architecture resembles a Byzantine castle and was built as a fortress. The monastery was founded in 1088 and was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1999.
17. Meteora is a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Greece
The name Meteora means “suspended in the air.” It’s a unique location, consisting of rounded boulders and monolithic pillars. The rock formations, which are thought to have evolved over 60 million years ago, are the result of earth movements.
This movement pushed the seabed upward and created vertical fault lines in the sandstone. Weathering and erosion then shaped the rock into a massive structure. Getting to Meteora is easy, with a 90-minute drive through beautiful scenery. Due to its location in the mountains, it experiences a wide range of climatic conditions, including heavy snowfalls in winter.
Though summer is typically the driest time of year, there are still storms throughout the year. The monasteries in Meteora are UNESCO World Heritage Sites and are one of the most popular tourist destinations in Greece. You’ll find traditional monasteries that have been standing on the cliff for thousands of years. They’re a great place to get spiritual and to take breath-taking pictures.
If you’re looking for an unforgettable experience, you’ll have to make time to visit Meteora. There are many activities to do in the town and around the monasteries. You can visit the Grand Monastery, which has beautiful architecture, as well as the quieter Agios Stefanos monastery. There are also a number of shops, restaurants, and hotels that can help you make the most of your trip to Meteora.
18. Travel to Greece – Mount Athos
Athos is an ancient island, and it has a long and controversial monastic history. The Virgin Mary is said to have landed there on her way to Cyprus, and the first recorded historical reference to Athonite monks was at the council of Empress Theodora in 843. By the seventh century, the island was home to several communities of hermits, known as koinobia.
Athanasios the Athonite, one of Athos’ founders, founded the Meyistis Lavras. The food served on the island is traditionally vegetarian and consists of locally-produced products. Soups, salads, and fruit are typical dishes on the menu. Fish is also served, though vegetarians should not expect to find meat on the menu.
In addition to vegetarian meals, the monastery serves wine, olive oil, and cheese. All choice items are of the highest quality. The region is also famous for its monks, who live an ascetic lifestyle and are not allowed to interact with the outside world. Agio Oros, or Mount Athos, is the monastic center of the Greek Orthodox Church.
This UNESCO World Heritage site has been inhabited since the time of the ancient Greeks. There are about 2,000 monks on the peninsula, and their traditions date back to at least 800 AD. In Greek and other Orthodox languages, Mount Athos is known as “Holy Mountain.” The mountain is a part of the Hellenic Republic, but operates independently from the European Union.