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A History of Filopappos in 60 Seconds

Picture of Ethel Dilouambaka
Updated: 16 October 2017
Rising at 147 meters, Filopappos Hill (or Filopappou Hill or the Hill of the Muses) is well known for its majestic views of the Acropolis. Located to the west of the Acropolis, the hill is adjacent to the Pnyx hill, which used to be where ancient Athenians gathered to host their popular assemblies and features the emblematic Monument of Filopappos at its summit.

With pine-covered slopes and a network of paths leading through a series of monuments marking its rich history, Filopappou Hill is charming park open to the public offering several vantage points to admire the Acropolis, but also the southern part of the city all the way to the Saronic Gulf. Home to the Monument of Filoppapos, a monument erected between 114 and 116 AD in honor of Gaius Julius Antiochus Epiphanes Philopappos, a prince from the Kingdom of Commagene, in present day Armenia.

Filopappou Hill is also home to Socrates’ prison, where Socrates was allegedly imprisoned and condemned to death. The hill also houses the picturesque church of Agios Dimitrios Loumbardiaris, a charming Byzantine church that includes refined frescoes. The Dora Stratou Dance Theatre is also located within the park and is the go-to venue if you enjoy traditional folk dances. Performances are held every year from May through September.

Besides being a refreshing green space within the city where joggers and people enjoy walking their dogs, Filopappou Hill is the scene of a lively tradition on the first day of Lent. Every year, hundreds of Athenian families gather on the slopes to fly kites and picnic together. The unique tradition of flying kites is thought to help wash away sins committed during the Carnival season. People say, the higher the kite flies, the more sins are washed.

Easily accessible from the pedestrian street Dionysus Areopagitou which borders the Acropolis site, the Filoppapou Hill offers a relaxing break under the shades of its many trees on a sunny day of sightseeing.