Philosophy and names of ancient Greek philosophers are usually two of the first things that pop up on anybody’s mind when thinking about Greece and Athens in particular. It shouldn’t be very hard to understand why is that; Greeks thinkers as Aristoteles, Socrates, and Pythagoras are the fathers of ideas, thoughts, and concepts that are at very centre of our World and our societies. These philosophies originated in Athens thousands of years ago thanks also to the creation of schools and academies where young students learned and developed those ideas. Today there is still the possibility to have a glimpse at how these places were and how it felt to be there; the most famous academy, founded by arguably the most popular Greek philosopher, Plato, is, in fact, still accessible.
Do not expect to find the ancient buildings though, as nowadays there are just the ruins of the Plato Academy, but the park were these ruins are and where the whole Academy complex (buildings and gardens) was, still manages to convoy to the visitor a message of reflection. Maybe it is because of the bright colours of the trees or the contrast between modern graffiti art and the ruins, or maybe is just the calm of the park, I can’t say for sure, but the feeling of walking through a key place for our history starts as soon as you walk in.
The site was rediscovered in the last century and thanks to a long work of digging and excavating the ruins showed up to light. Today visitors can visit the archaeological site of the Academy located on either side of the Cratylus street; at either sides of this street are important monuments, like the Sacred House Geometric Era, the Gymnasium (1st century BC – 1st century AD), the Proto-Helladic Vaulted House and the Peristyle Building (4th century BC), which is perhaps the only major building that belonged to the actual Academy of Plato.
To get here take the Metro line number two and get off in Sepolia; the walk you’d have from the stop to the location is a good one too. Sepolia is not known as a touristic neighbourhood but it is possible to see some of the old style Athens building and modern green Greek balconies. So if you are here in Athens try not to skip this, it is a good place to rest from the chaos of the city and to think a little about our good past.
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