Filopappos hill and Socrates’ prison in Athens

I'll start by saying that Dionysiou Areopagitou makes me happy every time I visit. This street is right in the heart of Athens’ most iconic site, the Acropolis and its surrounding series of parks, and it is always a good choice when you want to have a walk and enjoy Athens at lower decibel rates. From the top of this road, which is often busy with travellers, tourists, and locals lining up for museums tickets, taking pictures, or simply walking, you can head down towards Thissio and the Ancient Agorà, go up to the Parthenon, or simply continue straight and climb up to Filopappos Hill and Socrates’ Prison.

The way towards the top of the hill is indeed beautiful because it runs right inside the park; a series of thick, low olive trees and bushes limits the marbled-paved street, which first leads up to the Church of Agios Dimitrios Loumbardiaris, then splits up in to paths, one leading to the Pnyx (another outstanding location as well as an archaeological site) and one continuing  its way to the monument in honor of Dionysiou Areopagitou, a Roman consul and administrator, at the summit. 

Picture credits © Wikimedia/Dimitrios Brousovan

Filopappos Hill sits at 147 meters high so it is not that much of an effort to get to the top but it could get tiring because of the steepness and the conditions of some paths, so you can take your time and take a detour towards what is believed to be Socrates' prison, a location which today looks unimpressive but that has a profound meaning. Socrates questioned values of the Ancient Athenian society (the value of beauty, especially), ended up in prison, and was then forced to kill himself by drinking poison, becoming an icon and a founding father of free thinking and philosophy. I think this makes it a good place to go and pay some well-deserved respect while also catching your breath.

As you close in on the top of the hill, the view becomes increasingly more outstanding. The Parthenon shows up at your side in all its massiveness and importance while a splendid view of the Athenian skyline opens up right in front, becoming even more impressive at the top, when the sea joins in in the picture. 

Picture credits © Wikimedia/George E. Koronaios

Filopappos Hill and Socrates prison are always open and free and certainly worth visiting during the day, better in the morning hours or at evening time, with a nice sunset lightly colouring the sky, but I wouldn’t tell you to go during the nights; lights are poor and the park is quiet big.

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