Under the Stars of Athens

About the route

3-4 hours

An afternoon stroll through the hills of Athens, where travelers will explore the beliefs and ideas of ancient Athenians about their origins. From the epic battles of Poseidon and Athena for the patronage of Athens, to the mythical ancestry of the Athenians from kings who were half men and half snakes, visitors will learn some of the most fascinating myths that have adorned the night sky since the dawn of time.

The western hills of Athens are an expansive archaeological site whose significance is often overlooked, since they stand in the shadow of the Acropolis. The ancient Athenians considered these hills sacred ground and built numerous sanctuaries dedicated to the gods and the Muses. The most exclusive neighborhood of ancient Athens was located nearby, while the main commercial artery that connected the city to the port of Piraeus passed through here. Ancient astronomers used these hills to make groundbreaking observations, while politicians stood before their fellow citizens and debated matters of life and death for the city and its empire.

This exclusive experience will allow participants to visit the National Observatory, an innovative research institution that was established on the Hill of the Nymphs in the early 1840s as the first observatory in the eastern Mediterranean. Here visitors will attend a short presentation on how to “read” ancient myths on the starry sky of Athens. Experts will assist them to examine the heavens and locate the constellations that inspired the ancient Greeks with some of the quintessential stories of their mythological heroes and deities. Participants will have the exciting opportunity of visiting the unique private library of the National Observatory, and enjoy an unforgettable view of Athens at night.