A History of Lycabettus in 60 Seconds

Photo of Ethel Dilouambaka
16 October 2017

The highest hill of Athens, Lycabettus hill, also known as Lycabettos, Lykabettos or Lykavittos, is a limestone hill in the city standing at 300 meters above sea level. A tourist destination in its own right, the Lycabettus Hill is the highest of Athens’ hills and offers spectacular views over the concrete city, from the northern suburbs to the sea.

Bearing the same name as the neighborhood directly below the eastern side of the hill, Lycabettus hill is another green space in the center of Athens, located near Kolonaki, the posh district of the Greek capital. Covered with pine trees on its base, its two peaks house the 19th century chapel of St. George, as well as a restaurant and an amphitheater where open-air concerts are regularly held.

Easily accessible by foot or via a funicular railway which ascents the hill from a terminus in Aristippou street, in neighboring Kolonaki (with one departure every 30 minutes), Lycabettus appears even in mythology, when goddess Athena dropped a limestone mountain from the Pallene peninsula for the construction of the Acropolis. Its name means the mountain of the wolves.

If you decide to visit it, you will find the chapel of Agios Georgios (or Saint George), a whitewashed church built to replace an older church dedicated to Elijah. The chapel features a small observation platform from which visitors can enjoy 360° views over Athens, all the way to Piraeus and the Saronic Gulf. A favorite place to watch the sun set over the city and color the sky with glorious hues, Lycabettus Hill includes a restaurant and café from which you can enjoy incredible views of the Acropolis in the distance, especially at night, when the Sacred Rock and the numerous Athenian monuments are illuminated.

Located near the car park, the Lycabettus theater is a large open-air amphitheater which can seat about 4000 people. The summer months sees the place used for theater performances and concerts of Greek and international artists.

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