It’s no secret that Greece is home to a robust collection of monuments and archaeological sites, all of which possess deep cultural significance. Currently, there are 18 different monuments and unique locations in the Mediterranean country that have been granted the title of UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
Read on to learn more about each of these sites:
1. Temple of Apollo Epicurius at Bassae
Located in the Peloponnese peninsula, the Temple of Apollo Epicurius at Bassae is uniquely designed and incredibly well-preserved. It was built somewhere around 450-400 BC, and it features a fascinating combination of Doric, Ionic, and Corinthian architectural elements.
2. Archaeological Site of Delphi
The archaeological site of Delphi is one of the most well-known and important World Heritage sites in all of Greece. Named for the Oracle of Delphi, which was consulted for nearly all political decisions in ancient Greece, this site is home to a variety of structures, including the temple of Apollo, the stadium, and a theater.
The Acropolis of Athens was completed in the 5th century BC. It’s an impressive historical site that is home to four classical Greek masterpieces: the temple of Athena, Erechtheion, the Parthenon, and Propylaea.
The Order of the Knights of Saint John of Jerusalem (also known as the Hospitallers) settled in the Medieval City of Rhodes in 1309 on their way home from Jerusalem. They stayed there until 1523 after enduring six months of attacks from Turkish forces.
5. Paleochristian and Byzantine Monuments of Thessaloniki
The city of Thessaloniki, which was founded in 315 BC, is home to several stunning monuments. It was the launchpad for Christianity’s expansion throughout the area and features several churches, as well as Roman and Byzantine monuments.
6. Sanctuary of Asklepios at Epidaurus
Also located in the Peloponnese peninsula, the sanctuary of Asklepios is considered the birthplace of medicine and is the most highly celebrated healing center of the Ancient Greeks and Romans. It’s also home to several buildings of worship.
Meteora is located in an isolated part of Thessaly. It’s home to stunning sandstone peaks, as well as 24 monasteries, which were established by the monks who settled there in the 11th century.
The monastic state of Mount Athos has been an important Orthodox spiritual center since 1054. It’s home to 20 different monasteries and 1,400 monks. Women, children, and female animals are not allowed to visit.
9. Archaeological Site of Mystras
The Archaeological Site of Mystras is located near Sparta on the northern slopes of Mt. Taygetos. It’s home to a castle that was constructed by Frankish leader William II de Villehardouin in 1249. This site joined UNESCO’s list in 1989.
10. Archaeological Site of Olympia
Found in the western part of the Peloponnese, this archaeological site is one of Greece’s most visited destinations. This site was dedicated to Zeus. It served as a major religious center during ancient times, as well as the home of the Olympic Games.
The sacred island of Delos was known during ancient times as a primary panHellenic sanctuary. According to ancient mythology, it was also the birthplace of the Greek gods Apollo and Artemis.
12. Monasteries of Daphni, Hosios Loukas, and Nea Moni of Chios
The three monasteries (the Monastery of Daphni in Attica, the Monastery of Hosios Loukas near Delphi, Phocida, and Nea Moni on the island of Chios) carry a great amount of historical value and importance. These monasteries feature identical aesthetics, including some of the most stunning marble work you’ve ever seen.
13. Pythagoreion and Heraion of Samos
Samos is a tiny Aegean island that suffered many invasions throughout history. It’s home to the remains of an ancient port known as the Pythageoreion, and an ancient temple, the Heraion. Both of these sites bear signs of invasion that are fascinating to take in today.
14. Archaeological Site of Aigai (Vergina)
The ancient town of Aigai, now known as Vergina, served as the Kingdom of Macedon’s first capital. Its theater was also the site of Philip II’s assassination in 336 BC. This town is home to a series of important archaeological discoveries, from a grand palace to more than 300 tombs.
15. The Historic Centre with the Monastery of Saint-John the Theologian and the Cave of the Apocalypse on the Island of Patmos
The island of Patmos is often referred to as an underrated Greek location. It was the place where St. John the Theologian wrote his Gospel, as well as the Book of Revelation. The island is also home to a monastery, the Cave of the Apocalypse, and several other religious and secular structures.
16. Archaeological Sites of Mycenae and Tiryns
Mycenae and Tiryns are two cities that flourished during the Mycenaean civilization, from the 15th to the 12th centuries, BC. These cities feature several important artifacts and monuments, including the Lion’s Gate and the Treasury of Atreus at Mycenae, both of which have been labeled examples of “human creative genius.”
The Old Town of Corfu is located at the entrance of the Adriatic Sea. It was founded in the 8th century BC and features three forts, which were created by Venetian engineers. This town was able to defend itself against the Ottoman Empire on multiple occasions and has done a great job of continuing to preserve its authenticity to this day.
18. Archaeological Site of Philippi
The most recent addition to the list of UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites, the Archaeological Site of Philippi (now known as Kavala), is located on the road that links the Eastern and Western parts of the country. It was founded in 356 BC and quickly became known as a “small Rome” long before the Roman Empire eventually established itself there in 42 BC.
Experience the History of Greece Today
For those who want to experience a country full of history and culture, Greece is one of the best places to visit. As you plan your trip, keep these UNESCO World Heritage Sites in mind and be sure to include them on your travel itinerary.