Where in the bible?
About 3,000 years ago, the Greeks ruled the world, and that history looms large in Athens. Visitors could travel across the city exploring one archaeological site after another.
Monuments stand next to modern life in the thriving Greek capital. The aroma of spiced lamb often drifts through busy local markets on cobblestone streets.
As the birthplace of democracy, theater and the Olympics, Athens’ historic contributions remain relevant today. Stops at the Acropolis, the Temple of Zeus and the Theatre of Dionysus paint a picture of the city at the height of its prominence. To understand the importance of the city’s archaeological sites, groups can opt for guided tours that explain the wider context behind the various ruins.
Church groups can also discover the city’s strong Christian ties. The apostle Paul visited Athens and declared the city full of idols. The book of Acts discusses his time preaching the good news there.
The seeds St. Paul planted became the start of Christianity in Europe. Religious groups can follow in Paul’s footsteps at Mars Hill and other biblical sites.
The Byzantine period also made a lasting mark on the city. Byzantine churches, architecture and art illustrate the Christian fervor of the time. Groups can admire the heavenly Byzantine interiors of the Church of Panagia Kapnikarea, the Church of Panagia Pantanassa and the Church of the Holy Apostles.
Top Attractions for Church Groups
• Acropolis — The Acropolis overlooks Athens from atop a rocky outcrop. The ancient citadel contains several iconic historic buildings, such as the Parthenon. Only a short walk away stands the Acropolis Museum. Inside, 4,000 priceless finds from the Acropolis monuments present a fuller picture of what the religious center looked like in ancient times.
• Mars Hill — When St. Paul delivered his famous speech about the identity of the “Unknown God,” he stood on Mars Hill, also known as Areopagus. The marble hill contains a bronze plaque with the text of St. Paul’s sermon.
• Byzantine and Christian Museum — More than 25,000 exhibits hold rare collections of art, scriptures and artifacts from the third century to the late Middle Ages. The museum contains an impressive Byzantine art collection.
• Ancient Agora — Athens’ original political center, Agora once hosted celebrated thinkers like Socrates and St. Paul. Groups can explore the site’s Temple of Hephaistos and the Byzantine Church of the Holy Apostles.
• Church of Panagia Kapnikarea — The Greek Orthodox church is one of the oldest in Athens. Built in the 11th century, the Byzantine church is dedicated to Mary.
Must- Have Experiences
Must-Do: Shop at the Agora-Athens Central Market for a lively experience full of enticing sights and smells.
Must-Taste: Sample some authentic Greek tzatziki. The flavor accompanies most local meals as a favored dip or sauce.
Bring it Home: Shop for hand-painted Byzantine icons.
Photo Op: Lycabettus Hill stands above the city with 360-degree views of the sprawling city. Visitors can sip drinks from one of the hill’s open cafes and take in the hill’s panoramas.