Kerameikos Ancient Cemetery, Athens

Kerameikos Ancient Cemetery, Athens

The Kerameikos site, encompassing the primary cemetery of ancient Athens along with a substantial section of the ancient wall, offers a captivating and peaceful retreat. Often overlooked by tourists, it exudes a sense of oasis with the lush Iridhanós channel meandering from east to west, speckled with water lilies. Upon entering, to the right, you'll come across the stream and a double line of the city wall. Two roads pierced the city's fortifications, and excavations have revealed the gates that served as their entry points into the city.

The grand Dipylon Gate was the busiest entrance in ancient Athens, marking the arrival point for the road from Pireás, Eleusis, and the north. In contrast, the Sacred Gate was a ceremonial entrance through which the “Ierá Odhós” or Sacred Way entered the city – it was used for the Eleusinian and Panathenaic processions.

Branching off to the left from the Sacred Way, the Street of the Tombs cuts through the cemetery. Alongside it, many commemorative monuments have been unearthed, with their stones either restored or replaced with replicas. The flat vertical stelae were the main funerary monuments of the Classical world, while the sarcophagi you may encounter are from later Hellenistic or Roman periods. Notable among them is the Memorial of Dexileos, honoring the 20-year-old son of Lysanias of Thorikos, who lost his life in action at Corinth in 394 BC. Nearby, you'll find the Monument of Dionysios of Kollytos, shaped like a pillar stele supporting a bull carved from Pentelic marble.

The site's new museum is a delightful marble-floored space showcasing discoveries from the site and related artifacts, with a particular emphasis on stelae and grave markers. Additionally, it houses poignant funerary offerings, such as toys from child burials, gold jewelry, and an array of exquisite small objects. The ceramics on display are particularly impressive, including beautiful dishes with horse motifs on their lids from the early 8th century BC and stunning 5th-century-BC black-and-red figure pottery.

Access is part of the Acropolis multi-site ticket, which is highly recommended for exploring Athens' historical treasures.

Why You Should Visit:
A unique blend of ruins and memorials, archaeology and classical sculpture, making it an appealing site for a wide range of interests. Despite this, it tends to be less crowded than some of the city's more famous attractions. The vast, green surroundings make it easy to forget you're in the heart of a large city. Plus, you can visit at any time of day, as there is plenty of shade if needed.

Tip:
Climb the hill near the entrance to enjoy a panoramic view of the entire cemetery, along with a small church.

Want to visit this sight? Check out these Self-Guided Walking Tours in Athens. Alternatively, you can download the mobile app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" from Apple App Store or Google Play Store. The app turns your mobile device to a personal tour guide and it works offline, so no data plan is needed when traveling abroad.

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Kerameikos Ancient Cemetery on Map

Sight Name: Kerameikos Ancient Cemetery
Sight Location: Athens, Greece (See walking tours in Athens)
Sight Type: Attraction/Landmark
Guide(s) Containing This Sight:

Walking Tours in Athens, Greece

Create Your Own Walk in Athens

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Athens Introduction Walking Tour

Athens Introduction Walking Tour

Athens is one of the oldest European cities, widely regarded as the birthplace of Western Civilization. Its history begins in the Neolithic period between 4th and 3rd millennium BC. The first settlement on the site of Athens was situated on the rock of Acropolis which means “high city” in Greek.

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Tour Duration: 3 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.2 Km or 2.6 Miles
Walking Around the National Garden

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Travel Distance: 3.4 Km or 2.1 Miles
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Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.2 Km or 1.4 Miles
Walking Tour Around the Legendary Acropolis

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Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.0 Km or 0.6 Miles
Plaka Attractions Walking Tour

Plaka Attractions Walking Tour

In the shadow of the Acropolis stands Plaka, the most picturesque and oldest district of Athens, with continuous habitation from antiquity until today. The “neighborhood of the Gods”, as it is called, is like a romantic, atmospheric trip to old Athens adorned with antiquities, historic 19th-century buildings, museums and Byzantine churches.

From the vibrant Syntagma Square walking down...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.6 Km or 2.2 Miles

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