Tour the Pnyx – Τouch the flame of Hope

The Pnyx and depth of the rock of Acropolis

The Pnyx

With the name Pnyx (ancient Greek the Pnyx, Pnyx or dense) reported the location – the area where synekaleito the Church of the municipality, namely the Assembly of Athens in antiquity, from the 6th century until the end of the fourth century BC. Located in the middle of a direction north and south over the hills west of the Acropolis between the extreme heights of the hill of Nymphs (north side) and musical or Filopappou hill (south end).

From ancient “step” of the sacred space that arguments of great politicians, generals and orators like Themistocles, Pericles, Demosthenes, Aeschines, etc.


The stone trivathmito "Step" in Pnyx

It looks like an extension of the hill of the Muses and a height of 105 meters. From the late sixth century. BC established as a place to meet the Church of the municipality. A landmark of the 5th century. BC, “Mount Dense, determines the function of space, but, the etymology of the adjective Pnyx> dense.

From ancient times was a sacred place dedicated to the ethereal creatures, the nymphs. Curiously, while Christianity supplanted the Olympian gods destroyed the Nymphs, who stayed alive in the traditions of the people. According to legend the Nymphs conquer nature, souls and sometimes their minds of mortals. The ancient “nymfoliptoi” now called “neraidoparmenoi “!…

Initially, the site of amphitheatrical Pnyx met where the Church of the municipality, was oriented towards the Acropolis. In 404-3 BCperhaps because we all admired monuments of the Holy Brachou or watching the market and reflect on the lost profits, as stated in Aristophanes and thus were not listening enough to the speaker, the orientation changed. Furthermore, the semicircular extended level, built retaining wall built and side steps.

At the time of Lycurgus (330-326 BC), the space formed in its current form and some carvings on the rock step, beside which preserved carved niches for offerings to Zeus Most High. It is believed that over the step was the altar of Zeus Agoraios later to Market. Located in the southwest of the location of the sundial Meton.

In the late fourth century. BC activities most undemocratic of the City Church moved to Dionysos Theatre. The hill of the nymphs associated with the nearby hill of the Muses to arm the city’s defensive wall, known as partitions. On the edge of the hill, in antiquity, developed cities of Meliti and abdomen.

History Hill Pnyx

The three major hills of ancient Athens, the Museum of the hill, known today as Philopappou Hill of the Nymphs and Pnyx located west of the Acropolis of Athens. The area is mainly known from the hill Pnyx because there stands the monumental complex of the pool of the Church of the City from the late sixth century. p.Ch.eos the 4th century. BC, spoke of great politicians, orators (Demosthenes, Pericles, Aeschines) and free citizens, and took decisions on major historical events. The range of three hills has a dual nature, as are archaeological and historical sites with ancient remains important, but also greater scope covered by greenery and ideal for walking and recreation. The first evidence related to the range of hills referring to mythology and the link with the victory of Theseus over the Amazons (Plutarch, Theseus 27.1). In the area of ​​the Western Hills was developed by the ancient city of Hollow and southwest of the ancient municipality of Meliti, reaching its peak during the classical era.

Traces of habitation Helladic and Mycenaean located on the east side of the hill, the museum, while the geometric era cemetery occupies the site.

In archaic times the fortification followed the establishment of the Athenian state from the cities of Athens, it appears that the left outside the walls. In the late sixth century. BC, the establishment of the Church of the City the same location, it appears that the area was inhabited systematically. After the Lucerne area of ​​hills included in Themistoclean Wall (early fifth century BC.) And was one of the most densely populated areas of ancient Athens.

In classical times the town of Hollow was one of the busiest of Athens, who acquired great commercial traffic because of him going through major roads through two gates Themistoclean Wall, connecting the region with asty Faliro Piraeus. A typical example of large commercial and highway is known from Herodotus through”Hollow Road.” The district Melite developed into one of the most prestigious neighborhoods, where their homes were important personalities in public life, like Themistocles, Miltiades, Cimon, etc. The important character of the municipality of Meliti due to direct association with areas of Pnyx, ancient market and the Supreme Court and its proximity to the sacred hill of the Acropolis.

The construction of the partitions on the heights of the hills (late 4th century BC.) Decreased the area of ​​the city and led to the gradual abandonment of the western neighborhoods and convert them into cemetery during the Late Hellenistic and Roman times. During the early Christian era until the Ottoman region of hills still remain uninhabited and the area southeast of the monument Filopappos used as a Christian cemetery in the enclosure.

In recent years the site has undergone significant mutations and destructive interference, which altered the character and interrupted the continuity of the hills as a natural – the historic landscape and archaeological site (extensive quarrying, construction of large parts of
the site, construction of the theater Bastia, opening of the St. Paul Street, etc.)

Nymphs Hill

In 1910, the Archaeological Society at Athens excavations conducted at Pnyx during which confirmed the identity of the position with the same location. Between 1930 and 1937 were large-scale excavations at various periods from HA Thompson.The latter worked with Mr. Kourouniotis and then with the R. L.Scranton.

During the 1950 configurations Pikionis Hills walks created by the construction of paved pathways, consisting essentially of ancient paths and viewing flats and rest.

With the works of Unification (1997-2003) was the main goal overall enhancement of the hills in a single archaeological park with the dual status of the historic – archaeological site and the area of ​​natural beauty with environmental value.

Olga Vogiatzoglou – Catherine Crab, archaeologists
Source:, Ministry of Culture website

The current situation 

Pnyx Hill in Athens

A view of the Pnyx, Athens from above. It is also known as the Hill of the Nymphs.

Currently at Filopappou ancient Hollow, etc. Gates are open from where the audience gets free in the archaeological park. The bars that are around, I do not know if the placement is aesthetically better, but they have the necessary role delineation of the site and immediate protection. Please note that everyone is scattered with archaeological findings and specific information – signs led visitors to the prison of Socrates, the tomb of Cimon, the ancient cities of the Hollow, Meliti etc. The abdomen were found in recent excavations, even seeing the auxiliary wooden ramps, excavation ancient tombs. All this means that both this wonderful place to be left permanently open as a park for the public to enjoy other special demarcation and protection.

The Pnyx Hill has a special enclosure with four entrances, one of which is the main walking path right above the church Loumpardiari and the Pavilion of Pikionis. The entrances to the same location are open throughout the day without a ticket for the public and closed at night. Inside the fenced area antistiriktika see the walls and below, near St. Paul, the temple of Pan. Shocking is certainly the place itself has ancient Pnyx purified xechortariastei, has emerged in ancient step that stands the imposing step-freedom, facing the sacred rock of Acropolis. This area, due to its importance should be left free to the public from all over the world, but it needs because of its history, special protection. This protection can be ensured by the position that people generally provide better protection for our ancient. First, because people are impossible to be in constant vigilance in the wilderness there, and then, and above all because the retention of a monument like Pnyx be made by the government responsible to the citizens of yesterday, today and all future generations.


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