Pnyx Hill in Athens: Located about 500 meters 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 ancient sites. Artificially carved out of the hillside is a stone platform or Vima (which means step in Greek), with stone steps leading up to it.
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The Pnyx is the place where the Athenians used to gather to discuss political issues and make decisions on the future of their town. This was the first form of democracy in the world; 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. This process evolved as centuries went by, leading to the present democratic forms of today.
It is believed that the Pnyx was founded in the 5th century BC and underwent three construction periods.
Initially, the Pnyx was a plain, natural area with a retaining wall to the north. During the first phase (around 500 BC) the Vima was situated north of the hollow and the audience faced the Propylaea, the Areopagus Hill and the Ancient Agora.
During the second phase (around 400 BC), the Vima was moved to the southwest. In addition, a semi-circular retaining wall and two staircases were built. The area also had 500 wooden seats for the councilmen elected by the Ecclesia (Assembly).
Lastly, during the third phase (around 350 BC), a new wall with a stepped entrance was built in the center, gifting the site a wider area. Opposite the entrance, the new Vima was carved into a rock.
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 Ecclesia was usually gathered once every nine days to discuss political, social and war issues.
However, in the first century BC, Pnyx started to decline because Athens was getting bigger and it was difficult for many citizens to come to Pnyx. The new Ecclesia of the Athenians was gathered in the theatre of Dionysos.
Excavations on the Pnyx started in about 1910 by the Greek Archaeological Society. Other excavations were conducted in the 1930s by Homer A. Thompson, a Canadian archaeologist.
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.
Nowadays, the hill is ideal for a walk or a picnic, as the area is mostly covered in greenery.
How to get there
There are many ways to reach Pnyx Hill from any location in Athens.
Private transfers: We recommend using an online pre-booked 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) 18288, (0030) 18222, (0030) 18180. You can also book your taxi online.
On foot: As Pnyx Hill is located in a central area of Athens, it can be easily reached on foot from Akropoli Metro Station in approximately 20 minutes.
By metro: The closest metro stations are Akropoli (Red Line) and Syngrou Fix (Red Line). Note that 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 "Akropoli" (Bus line 230). Pnyx Hill is located within an 8-minute walking distance from the bus stop. Check the routes and the official timetables on OASA Telematics.