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School Trips to Athens
School Trips to Greece offer a land of mystery where myths about gods, heroic acts, mythical creatures and great philosophers reverberate around historic sites that have stood for four millennia. From Olympia in the west to Mycenae and Delphi, the sheer number of historic sites is astounding.
No visit to Greece is complete without school trips to Athens where you will find a modern and bustling capital with a pervading sense of its classical past as it lives in the shadow of the Acropolis and the mighty Parthenon. Athens has many Classics & Archaeology sites within easy reach such as the Ancient City of Corinth, Ancient Messene and the Delphi Site as well as History & Religious Studies visits such as the Battle of Marathon Site and the Monastery of Ossios Lucas.
Athens was the first nation to host the 1896 International Olympic Games in modern history. You can visit the stadium which can seat up to 90,000 spectators and has been used since in the 2004 Olympic Games.
In complete contrast, school trips to Tolon, a seaside town, offers the quintessential Greek atmosphere set in lush mountain countryside. With such historical wonders, school trips to Athens really do provide an unforgettable experience.
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Reasons to Visit
The Agora was the heart of ancient Athens, the focus of political, commercial, administrative and social activity, the religious and cultural centre and the seat of justice.
Acropolis of Athens
The Acropolis hill, so called the "Sacred Rock" of Athens, is the most important site of the city with four of the greatest masterpieces of classical Greek art – the Parthenon, the Propylaea, the Erechtheion and the Temple of Athena Nike. It has the famous porch of the Caryatids on the south. It combined both Doric and Ionic columns for the first time. The Acropolis Museum houses all the portable objects removed from the site since 1834. At the foot of the Acroplis is The Theatre of Dionysus - considered to be the world's first theratre.
Ancient City of Corinth
The ruins of ancient Corinth are spread out at the foot of the huge rock of Acrocorinth. The monuments are mainly Roman; only a few are Greek. The real focus of the site is a rare survival of the 5th century BC Temple of Apollo. The museum contains mosaic floors, Mycenaean and Corinthian pottery, terra cotta sphinxes, statues of two supernatural beings, relief plaques, the Roman head of the Goddess Tyche and small objects of various kinds.
Ancient Messene was founded in 369BC after the Theban general Epaminondas defeated Sparta at the Battle of Leuctra, freeing the Messenians from almost 350 years of Spartan rule. The highlights of the site are the outcrops of its giant defense walls, towers and gates, including the Arcadia gate at the north end of the site and the sanctuary of Asclepius further south.
The Greek city was at the height of its power from the eighth to the fourth century BC, a period when Sparta structured its society according to the laws of Lycurgus, defeated Athens in the Peloponnesian war and established colonies around the Greek world. The ancient “city” occupied more or less the site of the current town. There are some ruins to be seen north of the city and a small archaeological museum.
Ancient Theatre and Sanctuary of Epidaurus
Epidarus is a major Greek site, visited for its ancient theatre and its sanctuary dedicated to Asclepius. The ancient theatre was built by Polykleitos in the 4th century BC and is known for its extraordinary acoustics. Productions of Classical drama are staged on Friday and Saturday nights from June through until the last week-end in August (performed in modern Greek). The Asklepian sanctuary has ruins of buildings which have identifiable functions. There is also a small museum close to the theatre and a visit here before visiting the sanctuary will help identify some of the former buildings.
Archaeological Museum & Site Argos
Argos dates from the Bronze Age and is believed to be the oldest city in Greece. In the Homeric Age, it was reputedly ruled by the warrior Diomedes. The city subsequently became part of the Mycenaean civilisation. During the reign of King Pheidon (7th century BC), it became the most powerful city-state in the Peloponnese. The large site has the remains of a theatre, odeion and Roman Baths and the modern Archaeological Museum has a collection of Mycenean tomb objects and armour and pottery finds.
Byzantine city of Mystra
Mystras, the 'wonder of the Morea', was built as an amphitheatre around the fortress erected in 1249 by the prince of Achaia, William of Villehardouin. Reconquered by the Byzantines, then occupied by the Turks and the Venetians, the city was abandoned in 1832, leaving only medieval houses, palaces and churches which have superb frescoes. The site comprises three main parts: the Kato Hora (lower town), with the city’s most important churches, the Ano Hora (upper town) and the Kastro (castle).
Citadel of Tiryns
On the edge of the Argolic gulf and close to Nauplion, the Acropolis of Tiryns is set on a rocky hill. The fortress, now over three thousand years old, is impressive and the walls, 750m long and up to 7m thick, are formed with huge Cyclopean stones. Visitors are restricted to exploring certain passages, staircases and the palace.
Delphi site and museum
Delphi known in ancient times as the navel of the world. Pass by CASTALIA SPRING, visit the archaeological site the Temple of Apollo famous for its oracle and the Museum of Delphi, with its spectacular finds which include the bronze Charioteer, the Naxian Sphinx and the Statue of Antinous.
Guided Tour of key classical sites in Athens
A guided tour will offer the opportunity to see all Athens' key classical sites including the Sacred Rock of the Acropolis, the Theatre of Dionysus, the Temple of Olympia Zeus, and the Cemetery of Kerameikos. Nearby is the Tower of the Winds, Hadrian’s Arch and the Roman Forum. An experienced guide will give information on the history of the city and will be able to answer any questions you have.
Museum of Cycladic and Ancient Greek Art
This small, private museum was founded in 1986 to house the collection of Cycladic and Ancient Greek art belonging to Nicholas and Dolly Goulandris. The collection includes objects from the Cycladic civilsation, pre-Minoan Bronze Age and the period from the fall of Mycenae to the beginning of historic times around 700BC as well as a selection of Archaic, Classical and Hellenistic Pottery.
National Archaeological Museum
The National Archaeological Museum is the most important archaeological museum in Greece and one of the richest in the world concerning Cycladic, Minoan, Mycenean and Classical Greek Art. Its collections are representative of all the cultures that flourished in Greece. It contains collections of pre-historic items, sculpture, Pottery and Minor Art, Bronzes and Egyptian Art.
Nestor’s Palace Pylos
Pylos in Messenia, in the western Peloponnese, had a rather brief existence—according to tradition, no more than four kings were its rulers from its founding to its destruction. It was Neleus, the father of Nestor, who built the city, having come from Iolcus when his brother Peleus expelled him, and settled there a mixed population of his own followers. The palace (also known as the palace of Englianos, after the hill on which it stands) was discovered in 1939 and its remains are the best preserved of all the Mycenean royal palaces.
New Acropolis Museum
A marvel of architecture with a full exhibition of the glory of Ancient Athens. Various attractions such as votives, artifacts of every day life, statues from archaic period, Caryatids and of course the Parthenon hall with the metopes, the pediments and the frieze.
Roman Forum & Tower of the Winds
The forum was built by Julius Caesar and Augustus as an extension of the older ancient Greek agora to its west. Its main entrance was through the Gate of Athena Archegetis which consisted of a Doric portico and four columns supporting an entablature and pediment. The best preserved of the ruins is the octagonal structure known as the Tower of the Winds. Designed in the 1st century BC by Andronikos of Kyrrhos, a Syrian astronomer, it served as a compass, sundial, weather vane and water clock.
Sanctuary of Zeus, Stadium and Museum of Olympia
In the 10th century BC, Olympia became a centre for the worship of Zeus. In ancient times the beautiful site was full of wild olive trees, poplars, oaks, pines and plane trees and it was these trees that gave the centre of the sanctuary the name Altis, meaning alsos (grove). The Altis comprised the main religious buildings, temples and votive offerings of the sanctuary. Out of the enclosure were the auxiliary buildings, priests' houses, baths and sports structures built for the Olympic Games, which were held in Olympia every four years beginning in 776 BC. The Archaeological Museum contains some of the finest Classical and Roman sculptures in the country, the most famous of which are the head of Hera and the Hermes of Praxiteles.
Temple of Poseidon Cape Sounion
Cape Sounion is one of the most famous and picturesque places in the region. The cape is located 70km at the southern most point of the Attica peninsula. The Temple of Poseidon, built on a site set back from the sheer cliffs, was built in the time of Pericles as part of a major sanctuary to the sea god.
The Parthenon is a temple of the Greek goddess Athena, whom the people of Athens considered their protector. Its construction began in 447 BC and was completed in 438 BC on the Athenian Acropolis, although decorations of the Parthenon continued until 431 BC. It is the most important surviving building of Classical Greece, generally considered to be the culmination of the development of the Doric order. Its decorative sculptures are considered some of the high points of Greek art. The Parthenon is regarded as an enduring symbol of Ancient Greece and of Athenian democracy and one of the world's greatest cultural monuments.
Theatre and Temple of Apollo
During the Mycenaean period, the female deity of Earth was worshipped in the small settlement of Delphi. The development of the sanctuary and oracle began in the 8th century BC with the establishment of the cult of Apollo. The sanctuary continued to be autonomous after the First Sacred War and increased its panhellenic religious and political influence. It was enlarged and enriched with nice buildings, statues, and other offerings. With the spread of Christianity, the sanctuary lost its religious meaning and was permanently closed down. The site is divided into three parts: the Sacred Precinct, the Marmaria (Sanctuary of Athena with its distinctive Tholos) and the Castalian spring. There is also a museum which contains a rare collection of sculpture and the most famous exhibit is the Charioteer, one of the few surviving bronzes of the 5th century BC.
Tomb of Agamemnon & Citadel Mycenae
Mycenae was one of the greatest cities of the Mycenaean civilization, which dominated the eastern Mediterranean world from the 15th to the 12th century BC and played a vital role in the development of classical Greek culture. The archaeological site was uncovered by the German archeologist Schliemann who believed that there was a factual basis to Homer’s epics. Just further down from the citadel is the Tomb of Agamemnon (or Treasury of Atreus) which was a royal burial chamber and is attributed to Agamemnon
Folklore evening with dinner in a taverna in the Plaka district of Athens, though not exactly a ‘typical Greek evening’, as it is often referred to, it’s sure to create a terrific atmosphere.
Island cruise to Hydra & Spetses
On the gulf of the Saronic bay there are a group of Greek islands known as the Argosonic Islands. You can reach these islands by hydrofoil or ferry boat starting from the port of Pireus. The shortest journeys are to Salamis and Aegina taking between 30-45 minutes and the longest journey is to Spetses which takes 2.5 hours. Hydra is a pretty town of small winding streets, tavernas and shops and donkeys are the only permitted form of transport. Spetses boasts a cosmopolitan atmosphere, lots of natural beauty, picturesque small bays and the main town has a museum.
Museum of Greek Popular Musical Instruments
Located in the rooms of a Neoclassical building the display traces the history and distribution of about 1200 Greek popular musical instruments dating from the 18th century to the present day.
Old Port of Pireus
Pireus has been the port of Athens since Classical times. Lying at the innermost point of the Saronic Gulf, from ancient times to the present, its destiny and function have been determined by location. There is a naval museum and the ruins of the Ancient wall of Themistocles. Beyond the port, the most impressive spots are the hill of Profitis llias and Kastela district.
The Olympic Stadium is situated in central Athens, across the National Gardens and hosted the first Modern Olympic Games in 1896. The stadium can seat up to 90,000 spectators and is sometimes used for major sporting events and concerts. During the 2004 Olympic Games, the events of Archery and the Marathon finish will be hosted there. It is also called Panathinaiko Stadium or Kallimarmaron by the locals, and is located at the same site where the ancient Athenians had a stadium built in 330 BC.
Parliament Building & Changing of the Guard
The Greek parliament presides in the Old Palace which is located in Syntagma square. In earlier times when the country was ruled by monarchs it was the Royal Palace. The palace was originally built as a home for the crown prince in the previous century but is now used by the Greek Parliament. In front of it are goose stepping Evzones in tasselled caps, kilt and woolly leggings changing their guard at intervals in front of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
The pretty district of Plaka is filled with alleys, winding streets and stairs lined with 19th century neo-classical houses and mansions, with beautifully decorated tiled roofs depicting the head of Medusa, goddesses or foliage. This is the old working-class district of Athens but has been carefully renovated and is now one of the more expensive areas to live. It is almost completely pedestrianised and contains the famous flea market around Monastiraki Square, ancient sites and lots of cars, cafes, restaurants and shops.
The highest hill in Athens offers a panoramic view of the city. At the summit is a small 19th century chapel of St. George. You can reach the top either by foot, by car or by a funicular (railway) which can be taken from Kolonaki.
Arios Pagos Hill
The Arios Pagos is the 'Rock of Ares', north-west of the Acropolis, which in classical times functioned as the high Court of Appeal for criminal and civil cases in Athens. Ares was supposed to have been tried here by the gods for the murder of Poseidon's son Alirrothios (a typical example of an aetiological myth). In The Eumenides of Aeschylus (458 BC), the Areopagus is the site of the trial of Orestes for killing his mother (Clytemnestra) and her lover (Aegisthus). This is where the apostle Paul preached to the Athenians.
Georgios Averof, a Greek warship, served as the flagship of the Royal Hellenic Navy during most of the first half of the 20th Century. Although popularly known as a battleship, it is in fact an armored cruiser, and the only such ship still in existence. In 1984, the Navy restored her as a museum, and in the same year she was towed to Faliron Bay, where she is anchored to this day and functioning as a floating museum, seeking to promote the historical consolidation and upkeep of the Greek naval tradition. Free guided tours are provided to visiting schools and on holidays. She is anchored at the Trocadero quay, next to the Faliron Marina and the Resteion swimming pool and park. The ship is regarded as in active service. Every Hellenic Navy ship entering or sailing in Faliron Bay honours the Averof while passing.
The Benaki Museum, established and endowed in 1930 by Antonis Benakis in memory of his father Emmanuel Benakis, is housed in the Benakis family mansion in downtown Athens, Greece. The museum houses Greek works of art from the prehistorical to the modern times, an extensive collection of Asian art, periodic exhibitions and maintains a state-of-the-art restoration and conservation workshop. Although the museum initially housed a collection that included Islamic art, Chinese porcelain and exhibits on toys, its 2000 re-opening led to the creation of satellite museums that focused on specific collections, allowing the main museum to focus on Greek culture over the span of the country's history.
Byzantine & Christian Museum
The Byzantine and Christian Museum, was founded in 1914 and houses more than 25,000 exhibits with rare collections of pictures, scriptures, frescoes, pottery, fabrics, manuscripts and copies of artifacts from the 3rd Century AD to the late medieval era. It is one of the most important museums in the world in Byzantine Art.
Church of Aghia Sofia
Aghia Sofia is an imposing church - there's no doubt about that. It was built in the 8th century and was meant to emulate the church of the same name in Constantinople/Istanbul. Like its namesake, it was converted into a mosque until 1912, when it again became a church. The dome has a spectacular painting of Christ on the interior.
Church of Aghios Demetrios
Aghios Demitrios (Saint Dmitri) was a third century Christian scholar who was martyred by Galerius and whose ghost has apparently appeared at several key battle sites. The significance of Aghios Demitrios has led to the construction of Greece's largest church on his birthplace in Thessaloniki. The church was converted into a mosque by the Turks, who plastered over its interior walls. When these were uncovered after the return of the church to the Greeks, it was discovered that the church also possessed the finest mosaics in Greece. The interior of the church is quite impressive and deserves more than a bit of time.
Fortress of Palamidi
The fortress of Palamidi lies on a high hill and was first fortified by the Venetians during the second Venetian occupation of the area (1686-1715). It is a typical baroque fortress, based on the plans of the engineers Giaxich and Lasalle. In 1715 it was captured by the Turks and remained under their control until 1822, when it was liberated by the Greeks. The most important sites are the castle, the church of St Andrew and the prison of Kolokotronis.
The Kaisariani Monastery or, more formally, the Holy Monastery of Kaisariani is an Eastern Orthodox monastery built on the north side of Mount Hymettus, in East Central Greece. Established in the 11th century and is the most renowned and richest of all monasteries in the area. Its apogee seems to have been between the end of the 12th century and the beginning of the 13th.
Battle of Marathon Site
Marathon is an ancient Greek city-state, a contemporary town in Greece, the site of the battle of Marathon in 490 BC, in which the heavily outnumbered Athenian army defeated the Persians. The tumulus or burial mound (tomb) for the 192 dead Athenian was erected near the battlefield remains a feature of the coastal plain. The Tomb is now marked by a marble memorial stele and surrounded by a small park.
Medieval Fortified Town of Monemvasia
The impressive town of Monemvasia (located 3 and a half hours south of Tolon) was the medieval seaport and commercial centre of the Byzantine Peloponnese. Fortified on all approaches it was the last outpost of the Peloponnese to fall to invaders and was only ever taken through siege. Once through the fortified entrance gate you can view the narrow stone streets and alleyways and distinctively Byzantine churches.
The monasteries of Meteora (Meteora meaning 'rocks in the air') are one of the most spectacular sights in mainland Greece. They are located in the Thessaly region of north central Greece, just to the north of Kalambaka (about 5 hours to the north of Athens). They were made famous by appearances in films such as James Bond’s For Your Eyes Only and today only four monasteries and convents are accessible.
Monastery of Ossios Lucas
This is an 11th century AD Byzantine monastery dedicated to Saint Loukas Steiriotis and is one of the great buildings of medieval Greece. The main structure comprises two domed churches, the larger katholikon and the adjacent chapel of the Theotokos. The monastery is essentially maintained as a museum.
Old Parliament House
The Old Parliament building housed the Greek Parliament between 1875 and 1932. The site was originally occupied by the house of an Athenian magnate, Kontostavlos. After Athens became the capital of Greece in 1833, King Otto selected it as his temporary residence, pending the construction of the Royal Palace (which houses Parliament today). In 1835, a large dance and banquet hall was added to the house, and after the "September 3rd" Uprising, which forced King Otto to grant a constitution, the National Assembly convened here. Today it is the home of the National Historical museum of Greece, housing the collection of the Historical and Ethnological Society of Greece (IEEE), founded in 1882. It is the oldest collection of its kind in Greece. The collection contains historical items concerning the period from the fall of Constantinople to the Ottomans in 1453 to the Second World War, focusing especially in the period of the Greek Revolution and the subsequent establishment of the modern Greek State.
Philippi was established by the king of Macedon, Philip II, in order to take control of the neighbouring gold mines and to establish a garrison at a strategic passage. The site controlled the route between Amphipolis and Neapolis, part of the great royal route which crosses Macedonia from the east to the west and which was reconstructed later by the Roman Empire as the Via Egnatia. In 49 or 50 AD, the city was visited by the apostle Paul during his second missionary journey. According to the book of Acts, he was guided there by a vision of "a man of Macedonia" (Acts 16:9). Accompanied by Silas, Timotheus, and Luke, Paul preached in Philippi. The Jewish community there seems to have been small, but Paul and his friends found Jewish women gathered at a river to the west of the city on the Sabbath. There Paul baptized Lydia, a purple dye merchant, who invited the missionaries to stay at her home (Acts 16:14-15).
Stoa of Attalos
The Stoa of Attalos is recognised as one of the most impressive stoæ in the Athenian Agora. It was built by and named after King Attalos II of Pergamon who ruled between 159 BC and 138 BC. Typical of the Hellenistic age, the stoa was more elaborate and larger than the earlier buildings of ancient Athens. The stoa's dimensions are 115 by 20 metres wide and it is made of Pentelic marble and limestone The Stoa of Attalos houses the Museum of the Ancient Agora. Its exhibits are mostly connected with the Athenian democracy. The collection of the museum includes clay, bronze and glass objects, sculptures, coins and inscriptions from the 7th to the 5th century BC, as well as pottery of the Byzantine period and the Turkish occupation.
Olympias is a reconstruction of an ancient Athenian trireme. She was constructed from 1985 to 1987 by a shipbuilder in Piraeus. She was subject to sea trials in 1987, 1990, 1992 and 1994, but one of the most informative was an exercise in 1987 when crewed by 170 volunteer oarsmen and oarswomen. Olympias achieved a speed of 9 knots (17 km/h) and was able to execute 180 degree turns within one minute, in an arc no wider than two and a half (2.5) ship-lengths. These results, achieved with an inexperienced crew, suggest that the ancient writers were not exaggerating about the capabilities of such vessels. Olympias was transported to Britain in 1993, to take part in events celebrating the 2,500 years since the beginning of democracy. In 2004 Olympias was used to transport the Olympic Flame ceremonially from the port of Keratsini to the main port of Piraeus, as the Olympic Torch Relay entered its final stages in the run-up to the 2004 Summer Olympics opening ceremony. She is now an exhibit in a dry dock in Faliron, Athens, Greece.
The Museum’s mission is the exhibition of war memontoes, the documentation and study of war history as well as the presentation of the stuggles for freedom of the Greek nation from ancient times to the present day. The permanent exhibitions include Antiquity; prehistory of Greece; Byzantine period; period of Frankish rule; the Greek War of Independence; the Balkan Wars; First World War and the historic period of the Greco-Italian War of 1941-1941 and the German invasion.
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