Territory

Wonders of Greece

Meteora, Greece
Meteora / Danel Solabarrieta, Flickr. CC BY-SA 2.0

WorldBlue  Highlights

Greece is one of the few countries in the world where are located centers of ancient civilizations. And not just one – but several. Archaeological and culture monuments there are older than in the remaining part of Europe and, in many cases – in the whole world. The most amazing wonders of Greece are:

  • Temples and other structures built in the times of Ancient Greece. These structures to a large extent have inspired the architecture for many centuries to come, in many cultures and countries around the world.
  • Byzantine churches and monasteries. Byzantine culture in many ways is Greek culture, and at the same time, it is a culture that formed the identity of Christian Europe.
  • Bronze age landmarks. Two great civilizations existed during the Bronze age in Greece: Minoan civilization – the first one in Europe and then Mycenaean civilization. Both have left great and very interesting wonders.

Map with the described wonders

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WorldViolet Top 25 wonders of Greece

Archaeological wonders

Acropolis of Athens

Attica

One of the most important European heritage monuments – the citadel of the city of Athens. Contains ruins of numerous Greek temples that have left a huge impact on world architecture. Most buildings were built in 460 – 430 BC, but the history of the citadel goes back to the Late Bronze Age.

Olympia

West Greece

An ancient sacred city with numerous monumental structures whose ruins are impressive up to this day. Olympic Games took place here every four years from the 8th century BC to the 4th century AD. Here is located the oldest known stadium in the world.

Knossos and Knossos Palace

Crete

Ruins of Europe’s oldest city. It was developed starting from 7000 BC (Neolithic) and was abandoned around 1380 – 1100 BC. The ancient palace was the administrative center of the Minoan Civilization. The construction of the palace started around 1900 BC. In a way, the palace and the settlement of Knossos are one and the same as in the palace lived numerous people besides the rulers and it had some 1,300 rooms, including a theater and numerous storerooms. Some parts of the palace were up to 5 floors high.

Reconstructed interior in Knossos Palace, Greece
Delphi

Central Greece

Ruins of an ancient sacred city, the navel of Gaia (Earth). Inhabited since the Neolithic period, turned into a significant center in 1600 – 1100 BC and flourished in the 6th century BC. Already by 1400 BC or earlier here was an important shrine – oracle. Here, in the Temple of Apollo burned an eternal flame. The site contains the Temple of Apollo – one of the most interesting and significant ancient shrines in the world, the impressive Tholos, theater, and numerous treasuries – votive structures built by other cities of Greece.

Delphi, Greece
Parthenon

Attica

The most famous temple in the Acropolis of Athens, dedicated to the goddess Athena and constructed in 447 – 432 BC. Used also as a treasury. This structure marks the zenith of the development of architecture and arts in Ancient Greece and is one of the most renowned cultural monuments on Earth.

Parthenon, Athens
Mycenae

Peloponnese

One of the major centers of Greek civilization, this city flourished in 1600 – 1100 BC. The Citadel of Mycenae has been built of enormous stone blocks, an interesting feature is the Lion Gate. Important are also the burials in the impressive Grave Circle A and Grave Circle B.

Delos

South Aegean

Ancient and even prehistoric religious center, inhabited since the 3rd millennium BC. According to Greek mythology, this was the birthplace of Apollo and Artemis. Important cult center in 900 BC – 100 AD when the island was “cleaned” of all ancient burials in order to turn it into a shrine. Although it was inhabited, no one was allowed to die or give birth here.

Theater of Dionysus

Attica

The oldest theater in the world. Initially, it was used to honor the god Dionysus. Here could be seated 17,000 spectators while the perfect acoustics allowed performance to be audible to anyone in the theater. The theater was built step by step, most works took place around 390 – 325 BC.

Epidaurus Theater

Peloponnese

One of the most beautiful and most perfect theaters in Ancient Greece, built in the 4th century BC and extended later, in Roman times. The theater has seats for 14,000 people and has exceptional acoustics that allows hearing the sounds from the scene in all the theater.

Epidaurus Theater, Greece
Pavlopetri

Peloponnese

Remnants of very old submerged city – city that went under the sea around 1000 BC. Development of this city started around 2800 BC and after it submerged during an earthquake, it has been well preserved.

Lion Gate, Mycenae

Peloponnese

Main entrance in the major urban center of Bronze Age, built in the 13th century BC. Above these gates is a monumental sculpture with two lions.

Lion Gate in Mycenae, Greece
Temple of Hephaestus

Attica

An ancient temple of Doric order in a very good state. Constructed in 449 – 415 BC. Served as a Greek Orthodox church from the 7th century AD to 1834. The building has inspired the architecture of rather many structures around the world.

Treasury of Atreus

Peloponnese

Enormous tholos – a royal Mycenaean tomb that was constructed around 1250 BC. A notable achievement of ancient engineers is the shaping transport and rising of the lintel stone above the doorway – it weighs 120 tons and is 8.3 m long. The domed room inside is 13.5 m high and 14.5 m wide – the largest domed structure in the world for approximately 1000 years.

Dodona

Epirus

Site of the oldest Hellenic oracle, older than Delphi. It is possible that it was founded in the 2nd millennium BC and was active until 391 – 392 AD. The decisions in this oracle were taken by the rustling of the leaves of oak or beech or rather bronze objects hanging in the branches of these trees. This shrine most likely started as a shrine of the prehistoric Mother Goddess.

Architecture wonders

Great Lavra of Athos

Mount Athos

The most important monastery on the Athos peninsula. Founded in 963 AD, it contains an important libary. The other 19 monasteries of Holy Mount Athos are also very important monuments of history and culture.

Holy Monastery of Rousanou, Meteora

Thessaly

One of the six remaining monasteries of Meteora, built on the top of natural sandstone pillar.

Rousanou Monastery, Meteora (Greece) - one of most impressive Christian monasteries
Mystras

Peloponnese

Historical town, the center of the prosperous Byzantine Despotate of the Morea in the 14th – 15th centuries. Abandoned in the 1830ies but numerous structures have been well preserved or restored. Many buildings are outstanding examples of Byzantine architecture and art, such as Peribleptos Monastery Church (1348 – 1380) with its beautiful frescoes or Brontochion Monastery, Pantanassa Monastery, and many others.

Mystras, Greece
Holy Monastery of Great Meteoron

Thessaly

One of the six remaining monasteries of Meteora, built on the top of natural sandstone pillar.

Holy Monastery of Varlaam, Meteora

Thessaly

One of the six remaining monasteries of Meteora, built on the top of natural sandstone pillar.

Hagios Demetrios

Central Macedonia

An enormous and very old church, constructed in 629 – 634, in the site of earlier churches. Its beautiful mosaics were made around 730. Under the church is crypt – rooms of the baths where, according to a legend, St. Demetrios was martyred in 303. Rebuilt after 1917.

Rhodes city

South Aegean

One of the best-preserved medieval cities in Europe. Although the city contains ruins of Ancient Greek and Roman buildings, the most impressive today are the fortifications and other structures built by Knights Hospitallers in the 14th century.

Monastery of the Holy Trinity, Meteora

Thessaly

One of the six remaining monasteries of Meteora, built on the top of natural sandstone pillar.

Holy Monastery of St. Stephen, Meteora

Thessaly

One of the six remaining monasteries of Meteora, built on the top of natural sandstone pillar.

Holy Monastery of St. Nicholas Anapausas, Meteora

Thessaly

One of the six remaining monasteries of Meteora, built on the top of natural sandstone pillar.

Monemvasia

Peloponnese

Picturesque town perched between the sea and cliff, located on an island. The medieval town still is protected by city walls and a castle towering above it. Numerous historical buildings.

Monemvasia (Greece) and the Mediterranean

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