Greece is a country rich in history, culture and natural beauty. It is home to 18 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, which are places of outstanding universal value to humanity. These sites showcase the achievements of ancient civilizations, the diversity of religious traditions, and the stunning landscapes of the Mediterranean region. Whether you are interested in archaeology, architecture, art, or spirituality, you will find something to inspire you in Greece.
In this blog post, we will explore some of the best UNESCO World Heritage Sites that are located in Greece and why they are important. We will also give you some tips on how to plan your trip and what to expect when you visit these amazing places.
Acropolis of Athens
The Acropolis of Athens is the most iconic symbol of Greece and one of the most famous monuments in the world. It stands on a steep hill overlooking the city and consists of several ancient buildings that date back to the 5th century BCE. The most prominent one is the Parthenon, a temple dedicated to Athena, the patron goddess of Athens. The Acropolis also includes the Erechtheion, a complex of shrines and porches; the Propylaea, a monumental gateway; and the Temple of Athena Nike, a small temple celebrating victory.
The Acropolis is a masterpiece of classical architecture and art, reflecting the ideals of democracy, philosophy and humanism that flourished in Athens during its golden age. It is also a testimony to the cultural and political influence of Athens in the ancient world. The Acropolis has been inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List since 1987 for its cultural significance and its exceptional aesthetic value.
If you want to visit the Acropolis, you should book your tickets online in advance to avoid long queues. You can also join a guided tour or rent an audio guide to learn more about the history and meaning of the monuments. The best time to visit is early in the morning or late in the afternoon, when the crowds are smaller and the light is softer. You should also wear comfortable shoes and bring water, sunscreen and a hat, as there is not much shade on the site.
Archaeological Site of Delphi
Delphi is another must-see destination for anyone interested in ancient Greek culture and mythology. It is located at the foot of Mount Parnassus, in a scenic valley surrounded by olive trees and cypress trees. Delphi was considered by the Greeks to be the center of the world and the place where heaven and earth met. It was also the site of the Temple of Apollo, a Panhellenic sanctuary where people from all over Greece came to consult the oracle, a priestess who delivered cryptic messages from the god.
The archaeological site of Delphi preserves the remains of various buildings that were part of the religious complex, such as the theater, the stadium, the treasury houses, and the altar of Apollo. It also features a museum that displays some of the most exquisite examples of ancient Greek sculpture, such as the bronze Charioteer of Delphi and the marble Sphinx of Naxos.
Delphi was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1987 for its cultural and natural importance. It is regarded as a unique testimony to the ancient civilization that developed around the oracle phenomenon. It is also recognized as a landscape of great beauty that harmonizes with
the sacred character of the place.
To visit Delphi, you can either drive from Athens (about 2 hours) or take a bus or a train. You can also join an organized tour that includes transportation and entrance fees. You should plan to spend at least half a day exploring the site and the museum. You should also dress appropriately for walking on uneven terrain and for changing weather conditions.
Mount Athos is a unique and fascinating place that combines natural beauty and spiritual heritage. It is a narrow peninsula that extends into the Aegean Sea and rises to a height of 2033 meters. It is also known as the Holy Mountain, as it is the home of 20 Orthodox monasteries and hundreds of monks who live in seclusion and follow a strict ascetic lifestyle. Mount Athos is the only place in the world where the Byzantine monastic tradition has been preserved uninterrupted for over a thousand years.
Mount Athos was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1988 as a mixed site, meaning that it has both cultural and natural value. It is considered to be an outstanding example of Orthodox monasticism and art, as well as a remarkable habitat for rare flora and fauna. It is also respected as a place of pilgrimage and prayer for millions of Orthodox Christians around the world.
To visit Mount Athos, you need to obtain a special permit from the Holy Community of Mount Athos, which limits the number of visitors per day and requires them to be male and over 18 years old. You also need to book your accommodation in advance at one of the monasteries or guesthouses. You can reach Mount Athos by boat from the nearby towns of Ouranoupolis or Ierissos. You can also take a cruise around the peninsula to admire the scenery and the architecture of the monasteries from the sea.
Other UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Greece
These are just some of the best UNESCO World Heritage Sites that are located in Greece and why they are important. There are many more to discover, such as:
- The Temple of Apollo Epicurius at Bassae, a remarkable example of classical temple design and decoration.
- The Archaeological Site of Olympia, the birthplace of the Olympic Games and a major sanctuary of Zeus.
- The Medieval City of Rhodes, a fortified town that reflects the influence of various cultures and civilizations.
- The Meteora, a complex of monasteries perched on spectacular rock formations.
- The Sanctuary of Asklepios at Epidaurus, a healing center dedicated to the god of medicine and a masterpiece of ancient theater.
- The Archaeological Site of Mystras, a fortified city that was the last stronghold of Byzantine culture.
- The Island of Patmos, where Saint John wrote the Book of Revelation in a cave.
You can find more information about these and other UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Greece on the official website:
Greece is a country that offers a wealth of cultural and natural attractions for travelers who want to experience its history, beauty and spirituality. By visiting its UNESCO World Heritage Sites, you can immerse yourself in the legacy of ancient civilizations, admire the achievements of art and architecture, and connect with the sacred dimension of life. Whether you choose to visit one or more of these sites, you will surely have an unforgettable journey that will enrich your mind and soul.