Filopappou Hill

Also called the Hill of the Muses, Filopappou Hill – along with the Hills of the Pnyx and Nymphs – was, according to Plutarch, where Theseus and the Amazons did battle. Today the pine-clad slopes are a relaxing place for a stroll, plus an excellent vantage point for photographing the Acropolis. There are also a few notable ruins.

Church of Agios Dimitrios Loumbardiaris

At the foot of Filopappou Hill, this 16th-century church may not be the oldest in Athens, but it is certainly one of the loveliest, with a heavy timber roof, marble floors and a permanent scent of incense. A great 1732 fresco of St Dimitrios, astride his horse in a pose copied from ancient images of Alexander the Great, adorns the interior. The churchyard, with its wooden gate and bells, conjures Japan – a touch by modernist architect Dimitris Pikionis.

Socrates' Prison

Enter the cover of pines, with doves cooing, and follow the path to this warren of rooms carved into bedrock. It's said to have been the place Socrates was imprisoned prior to his trial in 399 BC. During WWII artefacts from the Acropolis and National Archaeological Museum were hidden here, to protect them from Nazi looting.

Shrine of the Muses & Fortifications

Up the marble-cobbled stairs – another work by architect Pikionis, each stone placed just so – you reach a niche in the bedrock, a shrine dedicated to the goddesses of creative inspiration. Even today, grateful or hopeful artists place offerings on a small stone cairn. Also, ruins of 4th and 5th century BC defensive walls criss-cross the hill.

Monument of Filopappos

The 12m-high marble monument marks the summit of the hill. It was built between AD 114 and 116 in honour of Julius Antiochus Filopappos, a Roman consul and administrator. The top middle niche depicts Filopappos enthroned, the bottom frieze shows him in a chariot with his entourage.

Don't Miss

  • Church of Agios Dimitrios Loumbardiaris
  • Socrates' Prison
  • Shrine of the Muses
  • Monument of Filopappos

Top Tips

  • Small paths weave all over the hill, but the paved path to the top starts near the periptero (kiosk) on Dionysiou Areopagitou.
  • The summit gives one of the best views of the Acropolis and Attica – sunset and evening offer spectacular light.
  • The hilltop above the treeline is exposed: bring sunscreen, a hat and water, and rain gear on wet days.
  • English-language placards placed at major features explain the rich ancient history of the hill.

Take a Break

For refreshment, drop down to the cafes in Thisio, either on the main pedestrian route or back on Iraklidon; Akropol is pleasant and homey. Or have a full meal at a restaurant such as Gevomai kai Magevomai.

Getting There

Metro Thisio (green line) or Akropoli (red line)

Strapline

Ancient history and green space.

POI