Athens, the capital of Greece is famous for being the cradle of democracy and the birthplace of the Olympic Games as well as for its unique and historical architecture. A prominent example of the glorious architecture of ancient Athens can be found in the famous neighborhood of Kerameikos. Kerameikos is also known by its Latin word Ceramicus.
This place was named after “Keramos”, the son of Dionysios and Ariadne and it was commonly used for burials during the twelfth century BC.
The Archaeological site of Kerameikos is one of the most important architectural masterpieces that Athens has to offer.
However, despite its beauty, it’s not one of the most visited places in Athens.
This off-track site is worth the extra effort, given that the limited number of tourists has contributed tremendously to maintaining the site’s peaceful atmosphere.
Archaeological Site of Kerameikos
The name of the area came from the small city square located in inner Kerameikos that used to be a popular hub for the city’s potters and artisans.
Due to the floods in the surrounding area caused by a river that ran through the district’s center which often overflowed, the grounds next to the square were chosen as a burial place by Athenians.
Soon enough, the Archaeological site of Kerameikos became one of the largest and most famous demes of ancient Athens with its cemetery being one of the most sought-after resting locations for upstanding citizens.
Several tombstones and funerary monuments can still be seen in the cemetery today.
Things to do in Kerameikos
Visit Kerameikos Cemetery
The district of Kerameikos is mainly known for the ancient cemetery that was continuously in use from the 9th century BC until Roman times.
It is the main reason why tourists come to visit the place and find solace.
A guided tour of the Archaeological site of Kerameikos is strongly recommended. We suggest you click on this page, scroll down to the sightseeing section, and select the one that is best for you!
Visit Benaki Museum of Islamic Art
The museum holds more than 8,000 impressive artifacts made of all kinds of material including ancient ceramics, gold, metalwork, textiles, and glass.
The collection represents the evolution of Islamic civilization from its very first appearance up to the 19th century.
Visit the Archaeological Site of Kerameikos
At first glance, the site might not seem to hold great touristic value but it was actually one of the most important and celebrated places in the history of the ancient Greek civilization.
The site is located approximately 9m below the current ground level.
The alluvial soil has been removed to reveal one of the main entrances to the city, with a view of the cemetery that lies beyond the city walls.
Here you can stroll along the same paths of the ancient city that people used to walk as early as 2500 years ago.
The restored artifacts in the museum are equally interesting, providing a visual experience of what everyday life in ancient Greece looked like.
Visit the Archaeological Museum of Kerameikos
Kerameikos is home to the popular Kerameikos Archaeological Museum that was inaugurated in 1937 with the purpose of displaying all the rare findings of Kerameikos cemetery.
In its modern halls, visitors can find an amazing collection of statues, urns, and various funerary monuments exhibited in chronological order in four different rooms.
Where Is Kerameikos Located
Nowadays, the Archaeological site of Kerameikos is open to the public. The serene atmosphere of the last resting place of the ancient Greeks can be experienced all throughout the area.
The site is located just at the end of Ermou Street, to the west of Monastiraki Square and opposite the famous Gazi square.
Gazi is the ideal place to relax after spending a long day learning about the history of Kerameikos, featuring numerous restaurants and alfresco cafes.
The weather is usually quite pleasant with temperatures maxing out at 32°C in the summer season and around 10°C in the winter.
However, Kerameikos is known for having high humidity levels and that might be a concern for some.
The closest site to Kerameikos is the Ancient Agora of Athens at 517 meters away.
Some of the most famous places in Athens like Monastiraki (706 m), Hadrian’s Library (801 m), the Roman Agora (869 m), and Kanellopoulos Museum (918 m) can also be found within walking distance of Kerameikos.
The site is open for the public daily except on Mondays and during Greek national holidays. You can visit the place anytime from 8 in the morning and 3 in the afternoon.
However, we strongly recommend visiting the site in the offseason, when the number of visitors falls to a minimum to experience the beauty of the peace it holds, as during the tourism season Kerameikos tends to be quite crowded.
How to Get to Kerameikos
Kerameikos is easily accessible from almost any location in Athens, it is near many recognized sites and can be visited by public transportation.
Other options include minibusses, taxis, which can be arranged to pick you up from the comfort of your home.
Alternatively, you can get to Kerameikos with a short walk from Thissio train station (green line) or the Kerameikos metro station (blue line) at Gazi square. Get a map or ask a local and you will find the way to the site in just a couple of minutes. We suggest you visit our Athens maps page and download for free any Athens map you may need.
The Archaeological site of Kerameikos can be visited through a bus as well, with the closest bus stop being Palaia Agora.
Is Kerameikos the Best Place in Athens?
That might be too much to say for Kerameikos as the site’s history has yet to reveal itself to the fullest extent.
Some things are still very well covered for the tourists to think about what might have happened here in the early civilizations.
Although the markings, the cemetery, the findings that are displayed in the museum, and the remains of the site are beautiful, to say the least, it is arguably not the best place in Athens.
It is definitely worth a visit though if you want to experience its unique mysterious ambiance and get a glimpse of ancient Greece’s erstwhile glory.
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