Athens Pnyx Hill

Location: Thissio

Pnyx Hill in Athens: Located about 500m to the west of the Acropolis, the Pnyx is a rocky hill surrounded by parks. It has a special place in world history as one of the most important historic sites. Artificially carved out of the hillside is a stone platform or Bema (which literally means step in Greek), with stone steps leading up to it.

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Pnyx is the place where the Athenians used to gather to talk on political issues and to take decisions on the future of their town. This was the first form of democracy in the world. It was the first time when all the citizens of a town, male citizens actually, were declared equal and had the right to vote and take part in decision-making. The Athenians believed that this task was very important to leave it to one person, the king or a governor, as was usually the case. This process was evolved as centuries went by and we have been led today to the present democratic forms.

It is believed that the Pnyx was founded in the 5th century B.C. It passed three construction periods. At first, the Pnyx was a plain, natural area with a retaining wall to the north. Then, a semi-circular retaining wall was built and two staircases were leading to the Bema, where the orators could speak. The area also had 500 wooden seats for the Councilmen elected by the Assembly. The third reformation of the Pnyx was based on the same design but was on a larger scale. In the first century B.C., the Pnyx started to decline because Athens was getting bigger and it was difficult for many citizens to come to the Pnyx. The new Assembly of the Athenians was gathered in the theatre of Dionysos.

It is said that the Pnyx could accommodate 20,000 citizens, although a minimum of 6,000 Athenians was necessary in order for a discussion to start. The Assembly was usually gathered once every nine days to discuss on political, social and war issues.

Excavations on the Pnyx started in about 1910 by the Greek Archaeological Society. Other excavations were conducted in the 1930s by H.A. Thompson. Apart from the platform of the Pnyx, other ancient remains were also found, such as two large stoae, built to shelter people in case of bad weather, the altar of Zeus Agoraios and the sanctuary of Zeus Hypsistos.

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How to get there

There are many ways to reach the Pnyx Hill, from any location in Athens.

Tours: Discover the Pnyx Hill with an organized tour, starting from 35 euros.

Private transfers: We recommend using an online pre-booked Athens transfer service, which provides transfer by taxi, minibus or private VIP car and arranging a pickup directly from the port, airport or your hotel. Alternatively, there’s the option of arranging a pickup by a local driver directly at the following numbers: 0030 693 881 8288, 0030 694 597 2090, 0030 690 943 9292 or book your taxi online.

On foot: As the Pnyx Hill is located in a central area of Athens, it can be easily reached on foot from Acropolis metro station, in approximately 20 minutes.

By metro: The closest metro stations are “Acropolis” and “Syngrou Fix” on line 2. Note that the Pnyx Hill is located within a 20-minute walking distance from the metro. Get a map of the metro here.

By bus/trolleybus: The closest bus stop is “Apheteria” of the bus line 230. The Pnyx Hill is located within an 8-minute walking distance from the bus stop. Check the routes and the official timetables on OASA Telematics.

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