CERAMIC CEMETERY - KERAMIKOS
Petit Futé's opinion on CERAMIC CEMETERY - KERAMIKOS
This very old cemetery from the 11th century BC bears witness to the evolution of Greek funerary architectural styles. Located on the outskirts of the ancient city, it owes its name to the Greek word for clay(keramos), which was used to make vases and objects that were placed near the deceased. The oldest tombs date from the Bronze Age, but it was in the 7th century BC that the tombs acquired a monumental style. During the Archaic and Classical periods, funerary stelae were erected on the tombs from the underground cumulus clouds. In the 4th century B.C., funerary monuments representing small temples became more and more excessive. Following the decree of Demetrios of Phalerus, in 317 BC, the monuments were replaced by small cylindrical stelae.
Walking around, one can still see the traces of the river Eridanos, which has been flowing since antiquity. The two large avenues that can be seen on the right as you enter are, firstly, the famous Sacred Way, which once a year hosted the procession of the mysteries of Eleusis and which goes from the Acropolis to Eleusinion. It passes through the very impressive Sacred Gate which at the time isolated Athens from the rest of Greece. The two successive ramparts, the wall of Lycurgue and that of Themistocles, can still be seen. The second axis that can be observed is the road to the Academy, a little further on, parallel in the cemetery to the Sacred Way. It starts from the Dipylon, whose gate is surrounded by two fairly well-preserved towers. It was in this temple that there was an altar for Zeus. The Pompeion, a large building visible on the right, conserved and prepared the offerings to Athena - pompe means "procession" in Greek. At the level of the Dipylon, we discover a tumulus, the remains of a 6th century tomb. In the aisle of the tombs, we notice the concession of Lysimachides, with his dog in Hymette marble; the monument of Dionysos Kollythos and his bull in pentelic marble; the concession of the brothers Agathon and Sosikrates, with the splendid bas-relief representing the farewell of Korallion to his wife. Going back to the museum, the concession of Demetria and Pamphile has a beautiful bas-relief of the two sisters. The museum contains some beautiful pieces: the bas-relief of Dexileos, the sphinx from the archaic period, the marble lion and pottery from the excavations of the site, including some moving terracotta toys, placed in the tombs of small children..
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Opening time and information on CERAMIC CEMETERY - KERAMIKOS
Every day from 8am to 8pm in summer. Ticket: 8 € (or 30 € combined with the Acropolis and other sites, valid for 5 days)