The Keramicos – Athens cemetery

The Keramicos was Athens’ cemetery between the 12th century BC and the Roman times. This ancient cemetery was not discovered until beginnings of the decade of 1860 when a street to the Piraeus was being constructed, and since then it has been counted among the most interesting spots in Athens.

The first discovery of the Keramicos was what is known as the Themistokleian Wall, which was built during the 5th century BC with the purpose of providing protection to the path towards the port of the city. The name of this wall, Themistokleian Wall, was given to it due to the fact that it was built by Themistocles.

Besides the Themistokleian Wall, one of the main attractions in The Keramicos, this spot also has two other interesting attractions called the Dipylon Gate and the Sacred Gate. There are important remains from the Dipylon Gate and the Sacred Gate which can be still observed in detail nowadays. It is important to know that the Dipylon Gate was used in order to show where the Panathenaic Way would begin, while the Sacred Gate was the spot in which the initiates to the mysteries of Eleusis would need to pass.

Another interesting part of The Keramicos was the Pompeion. The Pompeion was a spot meant to contain some sacred objects used at the main religious festival in the town, the Panathenaia. This festival had a major relevance to Athens as well as to its citizens, and therefore, the Pompeion would be a very important place as well.

One of the main spots in The Keramicos, if not the most important of all, is what is known as the Street of Tombs. The Street of Tombs used to lead the way to the tombs of the most important people in Athens, and was the path which citizens would walk in order to take them to their funerary monuments.

By meeting The Keramicos, visitors could observe several interesting monuments and walls showing peculiar designs and depictures. Some of these monuments and walls show scenes from mythology, and several of them maintain many of their original characteristics in such a way that meeting them could be like almost going back into ancient Greece.