Roman agora after excavations

How many excavations take place in Athens?

While walking around Plaka streets, you can easily notice ancient remains, but also monuments, part of larger structures that no longer exist, due to many historical destructions that took place in the city.

Athens excavations started shortly after Greece’s Independence, having as protagonist the archaeologist Kyriakos Pittakis. Pittakis was native Athenian from the area of Psirri and was really interested in preserving Greek cultural heritage. He founded the Athens archaeological society (1833)  and published an archaeological newspaper (1837) all by himself since 1860. From 1837 to 1840, Pittakis supervised the reassembly of the Erehtheio.

During early time excavations, many mistakes were made, such as the destruction of the Frankish tower on Acropolis, in 1874, funded probably by Schliemann. American School of Classical Studies, founded in Athens in 1881. The architect who has signed most of Ancient Athens maps is Ioannis Travlos, who also studied in Princeton and was a student of Pikionis.

Dimitris Pikionis created the pathway somebody walks today in Pnyx and Philopappou hills (1954-1957). George Sotiriou, a bit earlier, excavated in Athens the destroyed Illisos Vasilika in 1919.

In 1925, negotiations started with American Archeological School and the Greek state for excavations in Athens, and at 1931 excavations started in ancient Agora, so the existing Vryssaki neighborhood was demolished.

Today in Athens there are based 17 foreign institutions. Today the main excavation is conducted in Athenian Agora.

Athens stands for Learning

Athens is continually learning and growing  -and we are all doing the same. Even its brand- the owl- connects our thought to learning (since owl can move her head around her body). An emblem that was used thousand of years ago is still being used, this time as a memoir…

So, what had started from Theseus and passed to Solon, gave Cleisthenes

and Themistocles the power to maximise democracy, bringing it through Socrates, Plato, Aristotle and Alexander the Great to the rest of the world. Is democracy still in Athens? Yes it is on the Acropolis and Parthenon and Plaka streets today.

Parthenon is being admired because the ideals of the mankind were managed in order to be depicted in one image: temple of Athena, at her city, Athens.

Why it is so important? Because only one this happened in global history. Mathematics, art, philosophy and aesthetics and wealth gave this result. Today Athens is trying to follow this example. More than 40 museums, 17 foreign archaeological schools, foundations, hills, churches, mountains, archaeological sites and monuments of every historical period, medieval towers, caves, surrounded by sea and special places for children, students, weirdos, everyone!

Plaka, keeping its name from Ottoman period, meaning old town, is waiting for visitors to start their Athens walk from there. Travelling in time was never that accessible.

Besides, this city was, is and will be for everyone. Who can resist satisfying the natural desire of curiosity, learning and experiencing? Nobody, so keep learning.