UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Greece
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It’s no secret that Greece is a beautiful country, filled with natural beauty, delicious food, and plenty of sites to see. More than that, the Greek civilization was born more than 4,000 years ago leaving behind 18 properties declared as World Heritage Sites by UNESCO for their historical and cultural significance. Here are the six best ones that you can visit while in Greece:
The Acropolis is an ancient fortified citadel that served as the center of ancient Athens. Its few remaining buildings qualify it as a World Heritage Site as defined by UNESCO. Declared in 1987, it’s one of Greece’s most popular attractions.
After its victory over Persia and democracy, Athens was a leader among the ancient city-states of the world. As ideas and inspiration flourished, the Athenian statesman Pericles directed an exceptional group of artists including the sculptor Phidias carved a distinct monument of thought and arts into a rocky hill. The most notable ones are the Parthenon, the Propylaea, the Erechtheon, and the monumental entrance to the Acropolis.
The archeological site of Delphi was declared a World Heritage Site in 1987 because of its cultural significance on Ancient Greece and the rest of the world. To the Ancient Greeks, Delphi was the center of the world. It was the sanctuary where the oracle of Apollo spoke. The religious center signified unity for Greece in the 6th century. Pilgrimages from around the Mediterranean were made to consult the oracle or participate in the Pythian and PanHellenic Games. An onsite museum explains its purpose along with some of the history of Greece.
Olympia is one of the world’s most famous archeological sites and is recognized as the birthplace of the Olympic Games. Declared a World Heritage Site in 1989, it was a religious and athletic center dedicated to Zeus, the King of Gods in the Greek world. Like Delphi, people traveled from all over Greece to participate in what was known then as the PanHellenic Games. Although little remains of the impressive site today, enough can be seen to appreciate Olympia’s cultural and historical significance.
Mycenae and Tiryns
The imposing ruins of Mycenae and Tiryns have been a World Heritage Site since 1999. The cities were two of the most important ones of Mycenean Greece, a period from approximately the 5th to the 12th centuries BC. A few sites, such as the Treasury of Atreus and Lion’s Gate are known for their “example of human creative genius.” The cities were vital to classic Greek culture and are associated with the Iliad and the Odyssey. These Homeric epics have influenced European art and literature for thousands of years.
The tiny island of Delos in the Cyclades archipelago was thought to be sacred in the classical Greek culture. For thousands of years, it was an important religious center and thriving trade port. UNESCO qualified Delos in 1990 as a World Heritage Site for being the presumed birthplace of the Greek god Apollo. Ancient people made pilgrimages from all over Greece to pay homage in Delos.
Medieval City of Rhodes
The medieval city of Rhodes qualified as a World Heritage Site in 1988 for its rich ancient history. The city was occupied and transformed into a fortress by the Order of St John of Jerusalem from 1309 to 1523. It later fell under Turkish and Italian rule. The Upper Town is an ensemble of the Palace of the Grand Masters, the Street of the Knights, and the Great Hospital. The Lower Town has a mix of Gothic architecture, public baths, mosques, and buildings dating from the Ottoman period.
Whether a history buff or lover of Mediterranean holidays, travelers will experience breathtaking beauty and intriguing history in Greece.
This post was written by Greek Boston