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Areopagus, Athens

4.5
#2 of 11 in Nature in Attica
Geologic Formation Historic Site
The Areopagus is a prominent rock outcropping located northwest of the Acropolis in Athens, Greece. Its English name is the composite form of the Greek name Areios Pagos, translated "Ares Rock". In classical times, it functioned as the court for trying deliberate homicide. Ares was supposed to have been tried here by the gods for the murder of Poseidon's son Halirrhothius (a typical example of an aetiological myth).HistoryThe origin of its name is not clear. In Ancient Greek, πάγος pagos means "big piece of rock". Areios could have come from Ares or from the Erinyes, as on its foot was erected a temple dedicated to the Erinyes where murderers used to find shelter so as not to face the consequences of their actions. Later, the Romans referred to the rocky hill as "Mars Hill", after Mars, the Roman God of War. Near the Areopagus was also constructed the basilica of Dionysius Areopagites.In pre-classical times (before the 5th century BC), the Areopagus was the council of elders of the city, similar to the Roman Senate. Like the Senate, its membership was restricted to those who had held high public office, in this case that of Archon. In 594 BC, the Areopagus agreed to hand over its functions to Solon for reform. He instituted democratic reforms, reconstituted its membership and returned control to the organization.
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441 reviews
  • In Ancient Greece this was the high court of Athens. In biblical times St. Paul is supposed to have preached here. Today it it is a litter covered, graffiti ridden mess. It is really a shame because i...  more »
  • Included in the 30 euros 7 sites package. They say that Apostle Paul visited this hill before going to Corinth. Can get slippery when rains.  more »
  • A huge rock that you can see clearly from the Parthenon. Apostle Paul was first here until he goes to Corinto. Its incredible being in a place where history were written many centuries ago.  more »

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Where to stay in Athens

If you come to Athens for its ancient history, stay in Plaka, a lively neighborhood located within walking distance of the city's major archaeological sites. Although relatively expensive, hotels in this part of town offer spacious rooms, private swimming pools, and rooftop cocktail bars. For less expensive but equally comfortable lodgings, consider boutique hotels and family-run inns in the quiet residential neighborhoods just a short drive south of Plaka. Good rooms fill up early in the season, so plan ahead and book in advance.
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