Eternal Greece Ltd

Underground Athens by Athens Underground: Sections Through Soil and History, plus Kerameikos

Ancient treasures such as houses, streets, sanctuaries, cisterns, workshops and aqueducts, as well as more than 50,000 ancient artifacts lie underground...

Introduction

Athens and it illustrious monuments attract millions of visitors every year; few visitors however are aware that treasures also lie underground, as this is a very ancient city; some of these treasures are on display at a number of Athens Metro (subway) stations, as the works to create the subway network were combined with meticulous and painstaking archeological excavations. The resulting findings exposed through the sections of hospitable Athenian soil include ancient houses, streets, sanctuaries, cisterns, workshops and aqueducts, as well as more than 50,000 ancient artifacts.

A large part of the findings is exhibited in six Athens Metro stations, thus affording the latter the rare dual function of being modern constructions full of movement and technology whilst also serving as museum and stratigraphic sections of their particular localities.

This novel and delightful half-day tour focuses on the exhibits of three modern Athens Metro stations, in combination with an illuminating visit to the open-air archaeological site of Kerameikos and Agora.

The programme is led by a licensed archaeologist-guide, lasts approximately four hours and thirty minutes and is offered round the year.

Duration (approximate)

4 hours and 30 minutes

Schedule

Due to the closing times of Kerameikos archaeological site as well as to make the best use of daylight, we have two versions of this tour, namely one for the summer period opening times and the other for the winter period, as follows:

Winter schedule: (November-April):
Kerameikos archaeological site (12:00 hrs start) – Monastiraki metro station – Syntagma metro station – Acropolis metro station (18:30 hrs end).

Summer schedule: (May-October):
Acropolis metro station (15:30 hrs start) – Syntagma metro station – Monastiraki metro station – Kerameikos archaeological site (20:00 hrs end).

Points of Interest and programme highlights

Monastiraki metro station: Of particular interest to archaeology buffs will be an underground exhibition showing a portion of the course of Eridanos, a stream repeatedly mentioned in accounts of ancient Athens and which flowed from Lycabettus hill, through the Agora of ancient Athens to the archaeological site of Kerameikos. The stream’s bed was covered with earth for the most part since antiquity, only to be revealed during the Athens Metro excavations.

Syntagma metro station: Excavations here during the construction of the station revealed a sculpture workshop dating from the Classic Era, a Roman bath complex, a cemetery dating back to the sub-Mycenaean and the Byzantine times, a section of the Peisistratian Aqueduct, the ancient road leading from the gates of the walls of Athens to the municipalities of Messogaia and the bed of Eridanos stream.

Acropolis metro station: The first level of the station houses copies of sculptures of the Parthenon, along with findings from the excavations at the station, including items from the daily lives of ancient Athenians as well as artifacts of public life, spanning in all from the 17th century BC to the 12th century AD. A stratigraphic section of and ancient road is exhibited in the second level, whilst in the third level and along the train platforms for a length of 25 m (82 ft) there are replicas of the Parthenon zophoros, the originals of which are in the British Museum.

Kerameikos archaeological site: Kerameikos (meaning ‘the place of the ceramics’) was the main area of production of the famed pottery of Attica. As the region was crossed by a stream and was prone to frequent flooding, Kerameikos was not suitable as a settlement and gradually became a place of burial, becoming in the end the most important necropolis of ancient Athens.

At Kerameikos our licensed archaeologist-guide will be enlightening us about the findings housed in its little museum as well as about the functions of this very important part of ancient Athens.

Meeting points and times

The below two meeting points have been selected conveniently to cover most central Athens hotels, both by foot and via the nearby metro stations:

(A) Winter schedule (November-April):
At 11:45 just outside Monastiraki metro station.

(B) Summer schedule (May-October):
At 15:15 hrs just outside Acropoli metro station.

Please note that all times and durations are indicative and may vary.

Drop off points

(A) Winter schedule:
The tour ends at Acropoli metro station.

(B) Summer schedule:
The tour ends at Monastiraki metro station.

Are you more independent-minded?
This programme is also available in a self-drive version!
Find out more on Self-Drive Tours

Winter schedule

Summer schedule

Included

  • Licensed archeologist-guide throughout the tour
  • Museum and metro tickets

Not Included

  • Gratuities (optional)
  • Refreshments

Testimonials

  • We travelled through the Peloponnese with the Fortress Study Group on a 10 day tour organized by Eternal Greece Ltd. We visited a mix of sites from classical and pre-history, through Venetian and Ottoman times. This mix gave us a picture of the breadth of Greek history instead of just a single slice of time which we much appreciated. We had an excellent archaeologist guide and an excellent driver.

    Eric Cauchi, the proprietor of Eternal Greece, travelled with us as the tour director and trouble-shooter in chief. His own passion for archaeology and for his country added to the trip experience. The hotels he booked for us were excellent, all very clean and comfortable, with friendly staff and most on the sea with beautiful views. The restaurants he selected for our meals served delicious traditional Greek food family style, far superior to what one might expect for a group meal.

    Having never been to Greece before, we came into Athens 4 days early. We had many pre-trip questions which Eric always answered very promptly. He assisted us with several aspects of our planning before we set foot in Greece. He booked an Athens hotel in an excellent location for us and arranged airport transports which worked perfectly. When we decided to do a day-trip to Delphi and asked if he could recommend some companies for us to contact, he responded with the name and cost of a group tour company with pros/cons and the offer of arranging a private driver and guide for us with pros/cons. He also offered to, and subsequently did, email the rest of the group participants to see if anyone might be interested in sharing the private tour to bring down the costs. The driver and guide Eric arranged were very professional, tailored the day to our interests, and made the day a wonderful memory for us.

    When, as part of our planning, we decided that we might like to use our free time on the last evening of the Peloponnese tour to see an additional site some distance away from our hotel on our own, we emailed Eric to enquire as to whether time-wise this might be feasible and if we would have trouble finding a taxi to take us and wait. Eric advised that renting a car would be better. We expressed concern about finding a car rental place that would be open till 9:00 p.m. on a Sunday evening. Eric responded within hours with contact information for a rental location around the corner from our hotel that would be open till 9 p.m.

    Eric’s level of service was superb. We would travel again on a trip arranged by Eternal Greece and we definitely recommend Eternal Greece.

    Summerclouds053117
  • Dear Eric,

    Thank you so much for all the work you put in to organise such a wonderful trip. The time has flown and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I hope to come across Eternal Greece again.

    Pamela M.
  • Dear Eric,

    Hope I am not disturbing you from your well-deserved slumbers, but just to thank you so much for organising an excellent programme for the FSG and looking after everyone so well.

    I hope our paths meet again some time.

    Richard A.
  • Dear Eric, it was a pleasure meeting you and Ken and of course Romylos and Argyris. In the rather hurried disembarkation from the bus on Monday I did not have the opportunity to thank you properly for organising such an excellent tour. The sites were well chosen and I think we all understood that on some occasions long coach journeys were unavoidable but worth it. This was my first visit to Greece and I thoroughly enjoyed every bit of it.

    I hope we have the opportunity to meet again.

    Bill C.
  • Thank you for a splendid tour. It was more “archaeological” than our usual tours, but the sites themselves and the mythology that went with them made for a great few days.

    I hope that FSG and yourself can organize another tour of Greece in the near future. In fact I look forward to the possibility.

    Martyn G.