Philopappos Hill and Monument, Athens
My friend and I decided to visit Philopappou Hill (also spelled Filopappou Hill) after reading all of the wonderful reviews on this website and on other travel websites. While Philopappou Hill does offer some of the best views of the Acropolis and Athens, the trees and shrubbery also offer the perfect coverage and opportunity for robbery.
If you decide to visit this area, please be extra vigilant and go with a very large group. My friend and I made the hike up the hill by ourselves. While enjoying the spectacular views we were mugged by a guy wielding about a 7 inch knife. He stole everything we had of value (cameras, mobile phones, money). The mugging happened during mid-morning in February 2015.
Muggings on this hill seem to be a growing issue and the police and tourist hut seemed to be aware of the issue. Despite this awareness, they had done nothing at the base of the hill to warn visitors of this potential risk. There are other reports/reviews of muggings on other travel websites...those stories can be read by doing a simple Google search using the keywords "mugging Filopappos Hill". If we had known about the high risk of being mugged at this attraction before our trip, we would have avoided it because the traumatic experience of being mugged at knife-point was not worth it.
As you’ll enjoy the view from Acropolis you will notice at South West of the Acropolis the greenery Mouses Hill that many also call it Philopappos hill because of the monument on the top. Gaios Julios Antiochos Epiphanes Philopappos was the exiled prince of Commagene, grandson of the greek king Antiochos IV of Commagene and the greek queen Iotapa. He loved the city and beca,e a citizen.
The Philopappos monument (pics 1-2) was erected by his sister at 116A.D. after Philopapos’ death and in fact it’s the tomb of him. Its dimensions are 9.80mx9.30mx3.08m but only one of the four sides survived through time. I still don’t understand why the Athenians allowed him to be buried there, right opposite the Acropolis rock. From what I know the ancient tradition didn’t allow burials within the Acropolis walls or at the sacred surrounded hills but this one happened during the roman occupation. Ok, it was in honor of him as a great benefactor of Athens but it sounds strange for me though because if he was such a great benefactor what can we say about Pericles etc From architectural point of view it’s a sign of a declinibg ancient art, especially if you combare it with the master pieces of Acropolis.
The hill is a peaceful place with only a few visitors, most of them locals with their dogs. The interesting thing is that the hill was probably overpopulated in ancient times as there are signs of human activity on every point (including carves, carvings and findings from excavations in the area). Worth to walk there, on the way up check the Prison of Socrates but also the Kimoneian tombs (carved in the rock, for Cimon, statesman/general and son of Miltiades). Just below the Philopappos monument is the Heroon of Mousaios(pic 3), dedicated to the legendary ancient poet that lived and sung his hymns there (hence the name of the hill although some claim it has to do with the Muses (goddesses of the inspiraction of literature, science and the arts in the greek mythology).
Last but not least this is a great spot for some amazing panoramic pictures over the city, of the Acropolis of course (pic 4) but also don’t miss the back side looking south down to Argosaronic Bay! (pic 5)
This lies just west of the Acropolis. It’s a big contrast. Covered in pine trees and other vegetation, compared with barren rock.
The guide book listed quite a few things worth seeing, but I skipped most.
I did go for Socrates’ “Prison”. A glorified cave where the philosopher was kept while under sentence of death. Since he was the father of democracy, and right here is the cradle of democracy, it was a “must see”.
I also went to the top of the hill. It’s not tough in December, but only for the dedicated in the summer, I’d imagine. You do get spectacular views all over the city, as far as the sea. Especially good is the view of the Acropolis. The Filopappos Monument at the top was nothing to get excited about.
My last stop was the Agios Demetrious Loumbardiaris church. Tiny and delightful. I’m not sure how old it is (must do some research) but it was around in 1648 at the time of Ottoman attacks.
Entry is free.
Philopappou Hill is located across from the Acropolis, to the southwest.
It offers magnificent views of the whole city, and also serenity and tranquility with hardly any tourist in sight.
I climbed Philopappou Hill on a June afternoon; the weather was not too hot, and walking up the trails and steps amongst pine groves was a pleasure.
At the bottom of the hill you can see the so-called 'Prison of Sokrates', which is an ancient cave dwelling; legend has it that Sokrates was imprisoned here.
At the summit there are the remains of the 2nd century AD Monument of Philopappos, a powerful Roman consul. Part of the frieze still remains.
No doubt, the best Philopappou Hill can offer are the sweeping views from the top. The Acropolis is clearly seen, and Lykavitos Hill appears in the distance behind it; the New Acropolis Museum, the National Gardens, the suburbs of Athens all the way to Piraeus and the Saronic Gulf, this panorama is just wonderful. Sitting at the top, admiring the view, with no sound except a bird here and there, feeling the gentle breeze on my face, was a real pleasure.
I guess my video conveys the messaage better than a thousand words:
One note about the trails: they are not marked, and there are many of them all around the slopes of the hill, but if you keep climbing uphill you will get to the top with any trail, and the same goes for the way down.
To walk up the entire hill to reach the monument will take approximately 20 minutes of good exercise, but once up there, the view is magnificent! The Acropolis and the sprawling city all around you, the panoramic view is lovely! Halfway up, there is flat landing and cool, shady areas for you to stretch out on a bench and read a book. It's a wonderful way to relax-- how often can one relax with a view of 5000 years of history? :D
For the history buffs or plain curious: Philopappos Hill was named after Prince Gaius Julius Antiochus Philopappos of Commagene. This kingdom in Upper Syria was overthrownby Romans in 72 AD and the prince was exiled to Athens to become the benefactor of the city. He spent several years (between 114 AD and 116 AD) building his own monument on this very hill. The monument, which can still be seen today, is made of Pentelic marble and shows Prince Philopappos himself alongside some of his ancestors. You can't miss it!
I must admit that I have no idea what the name of this church is. I've been there three times already, and each time I seem to forget to write down the name, since I'm sure that it is written on the small information placard at the entrance (albeit in Greek). This is a pretty little church that is noteworthy for a number of reasons. First, it is on Philipappou Hill, and thus forms part of the entire network of sites on the hill. The second is that it is a partially wooden church, which actually seems to be rare in Athens (not the whole structure, just part of it) - and illogical, given the city's propensity to burst in flames during the summer heat. Finally, this 15th or 16th century church, which has beautiful icons inside, still bears the scars of Nazi gun fire that hit it during the Second World War. In all, it's a quiet and pretty stop on your tour of the entire Acropolis complex and, if you're lucky (I was on my first trip there), you'll stumble on a wedding.
The Philopappos Monument is the tomb of a member of the royal family of a small Hellenistic kingdom in southeastern Turkey and northern Syria. The Roman emperor Vespasian annexed the kingdom to the Roman Empire and the royal family was sent into exile. Philopappos lived in Athens and became an Athenian citizen.
Since the Athenians allowed him to be buried in this very elaborate mausoleum right opposite the Acropolis because he was an important benefactor of the ancient city of Athens.
You may watch my high resolution photo of Athens on the Google Earth according to the following coordinates 37º 58' 16.38" N 23º 43' 9.98" E or on my Google Earth Panoramio Filopapou Hill.
A quiet, pine tree filled place to take a moderate hike and climb up to a fantastic view of the city. The monument dates to the second century. We ended our time in Athens here and I thought it was a perfect place to do so.
Up here on Pholopappos hill, or, "The hill of the Muses" (love that name!!!) you get your own, free view of Athens, from the sea to the other hills. Marvellous! Acropolis is at its best here, at least until they finish the museum, far from the bigger crowds. Of course there are other tourists, but they all were cool, and we took each others photos. it is quite a climb, but well worth it, the view is amazing!
There is a lot to see here apart from the view: a monument of Gaios Julios Antiochos Epiphanes Philopappos, that is also his tomb, built by the Romans in 114-116 AD, the Byzantine Church Agios Dimitrios and, maybe coolest of all, the hill of the Pnyx, where democracy is said to be born!!!! Until we find a better way we must celebrate its birth! Ironically, when talking of democracy, the hill also holds a cave where it is said that Socrates was jailed, having said too much about the Athenians of the time´s sense of justice...
I also like the "wild" part of the hill, with bushes and natural paths. In our stroll we met a lot of Athenians walking their dogs, a live turtle and a live flasher, smiling happily at us while, yeah... So, maybe this isn´t the place to walk alone...
To me, this place is of greatest interest, as it was from this spot the Venician army attacked the Acropolis during their siege of Athens in 1687. The Parthenon was used as a powder magazine by the Ottomans and on September 26 1687, one of captain-general Francesco Morosini's cannon-balls hit right on target... More on this on my coming tip on Acropolis...
This is where a monument to the Roman consul Gaius Julius Antiochus Philopappos, a benefactor of Athens, was erected in 115 A.D. Thus the name of the hill.
According to a myth, 9 muses used to live here, so the hill’s also known as the Hill of the Muses.
The small chapel of Agios Dimitrios, containing some fine frescoes, can be found there as well.
Its true, the Philipappou Hill is nowhere near as spectacular as the Acropolis - the single funerary monument at the top of the Hill cannot even be compared to the Parthenon - but it does provide a quiet alternative if you want to take pictures of the city. The monument was erected between 114 and 116 CE in honour of Julius Antiochus Philipappos and is still in fairly good shape - you can clearly make out the decoration on the monument itself. More importantly, however, the hill has a clear view of the city below and is usually fairly quiet, allowing you the chance to contemplate the city, which is more than you can do amongst the crowds at the Acropolis.
I decided to break down the tips on Philopappos hill into two tips because finding the monument on the top is only part of the pleasure of this hill. The hill itself allows you one of the best views of the Acropolis from anywhere in the city. I took these pictures from the hill. Its a beautiful walk to the top. I did not read a lot about this hill in any of the guide books and only found it because it was close to my hotel. There were no crowds on the paths. The tourists are all over on the Acropolis. There were a few people walking their dogs and just a couple of tourists on the afternoon I climbed the hill. There is no admission charge to enter the park. However it does look like the park is closed and not open to the public when you approach it. There was rope across the path looking like you should not enter. But it is open to the public and well worth a few minutes just for the view of the city and the Acropolis alone.
If you tired, and need to escape go to this hill and get in touch with the Muses. Its a great break from the crowds.
Just behind my hotel was Philappapous Hill or The Hill of the Muses. There are trails leading up to the top of the hill where you will find a large monument to the memory of the roman consul Gaius Julius Antiochus Philopappos. Like most things in Athens its quite old. It was erected in 115 AD.
The Hill of the Muses name comes from mythology. It was believed this hill was the home to 9 muses. There are beautiful trails leading up to the top of hill. Most are line with pine trees, so unlike other hills in Athens there is shade available to protect you from the sun. There are no roads so walking is the only way to reach the top of the hill.
This very atttractive little church is tucked away across the road from the Acropolis on the road up to the Monument of Gaius Ioulius Antiochus on Philopappou Hill. The story is told that one Easter when the church was crowded, a Turkish pasha who hated Christians trained a gun in the fortress (as the acropolis was then) on the church. He fired and the gun blew up, leaving the church miraculously unharmed. Ever since this has been the church of the cannon. It shows signs of being partially constructed from older building remnants, which is not uncommon amongst the older churchs of the city. Aside from being pleasant in itself, this church is also a great place to see a wedding or baptism as its location and charm makes it very popular. As with almost all orthodox churchs in Greece, the inside of the church is very small and so most guests mill about in the attached yard and listen to the loudspeakers.
This picture was taken on a cold winter's day in January 2006, when the light was perfect. 4pm, when they were throwing people off the monument; early winter hours, guards anxious to find their ways down the winding paths of Plaka, on their way to a warm dish of hot Athenian food? We were the last to linger; waiting for the perfect light...the sliver of light that was slipping through the cloud as it sank into the the shining waters on the horizon. The sea looked like a mirror, reflecting the 'old' new sunlight as it flooded the Earth once again; The light shone on this sacred ancient monument. Captured on a digital space; transferred to the internet grid; viewed by anonymous virtual tourist for unmeasurable light years away. The epitomy of Athens, the old mingled with the new; forever changing; forever the same. Save the Earth for these precious visions. Respect our heritage and those who strived to create a lasting beauty. Join the Quest for Peace on this Earth. Rebuild the fallen monuments and make our unity as 'one' nation of 'human beings' forever lasting.
Terrorism tears apart our 'hearts' and leaves only tears.