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Best view of Athens
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.
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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!
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I guess he had a lot of money...!
As you’ll enjoy the view from Acropolis you will notice at South West of the Acropolis the greenery Philopapos hill and a monument on it. 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.
The monument (pic 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.
I still don’t understand why the Athenians allowed him to be buried there, right opposite the Acropolis rock. 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
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.
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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.
- Historical Travel
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...
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The Hill of the Muses
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.
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A Quiet Alternative
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.
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Athens - View from Hill of the Muses
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.
Athens - Hill of the Muses - Philopappos Hill
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.
Let the Beauty Be Forever Standing!
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.
- Historical Travel
The Hill of the Muses, south-west of the Acropolis and with a view that sweeps from the Salamis Gulf to the Argolic Hills, is now known as Philopappou Hill. From here you are almost at eye-level with the Acropolis and you have a breathtaking view of the Parthenon. Below, the city stretches out for miles around, extending to the mountains of Parnitha and Imittos. The monument in memory of the Roman Gaius Ioulius Antiochus Philopappos, a benefactor of the town, was put on the top of the hill in 115 AD.
Between the Hill of the Muses and Pnyx there was the Koili (cavity), one of the most densely populated areas of Athens. Access the trails and footpaths of Philopappou from Dionysiou Areopagitou Street. Opposite the tea pavilion and the rustic chapel of Agiou Dimitriou, flagstone footpaths lined with wild flowers wind up through the pine groves. Doves coo sleepily in the trees. Philopappou is a place to meditate and contemplate the marvels of this grand old city. The downward trail leads to the Pnyx, the meeting place of the Assembly where such great orators as Demosthenes and Themistocles addressed the citizens of Athens. In the evening, you can come here to watch the spectacular sound and light Show on the Acropolis, which tells the history of the city.
Beside the Pnyx is Mouseion Hill. Themistocles' long wall ran south from here and commanded the road to the port of Piraeus. Opposite the Pnyx is the Hill of the Nymphs, the site of the Observatory.
Philopappos Hill has a monument on top built in 114 dedicated to a Roman administrator, Julius Antiochus Philopappos. You can walk up the path of the 147m hill to the monument.
It was once a defensive fort built by Macedonian general-turned-king Demetrios Poliorketes in 294 BC, and was the location from where the Venetians bombed the Acropolis.
- Historical Travel
Philopappos Hill is one of the few green areas in the city and an ideal place for walking, with magnificent views of the Acropolis and the sea. It is also a favourite promenade place for the Athenians.
The monument of Philopappos is dated to 114-116 A.D. It was erected by the Athenians in honor of the great benefactor of their city, the exiled prince of Commagene, Julius Antiochus Philopappos who settled in Athens, became a citizen and assumed civic and religious offices.
According to Pausanias, the monument was built on the same site where Mousaios was formerly buried and contains the burial chamber.
The north side of the monument, which was visible from the Acropolis, was the facade, and beared lavish architectural decoration. The monument was preserved almost intact as late as the 15th century A.D.
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Athens Travel Guide
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