About Syntagma Metro Station
In the very heart of Athens, Greece, Syntagma Metro Station is both one of the city’s busiest stations and a museum. Dating from the 1990s, when Athens was building its new metro for the 2004 Olympics, the station contains numerous artefacts dating from Classical times – including skeletons – excavated on the site as the station was being built.
Syntagma Metro Station history
Athens was first inhabited around the 11th and 7th millennia BC and by 1400 BC had become an important hub of Mycenaean civilisation, the Acropolis a major Mycenaean fortress site. Later, Iron Age burial sites such as Syntagma were richly decorated, demonstrating that from 900 BC Athens remained a site of trade and prosperity. Through the 6th to the 3rd century BC during the Golden Age of Athenian democracy, and into the Roman period, was allowed to thrive as a free city.
Syntagma Metro Station opened in 2000 after years of collaborative work between archaeologists and metro engineers to prepare a subway network before Athens hosted the 2004 Olympic Games – much like their ancient forebears. The station was not only Athens’ first subway stop, but also the largest excavation in the city’s history. Archaeologists uncovered between 30,000 and 50,000 artefacts.
The stop was built to serve the Hellenic Parliament in Syntagma Square. However, during the ancient period the area would have been situated outside of the city walls. As a result, the location was perfect for a cemetery – the ancients forbidding the burial of the dead inside the city limits. The site was used as a burial place from the 11th century BC and therefore the modern station was built an area to exhibit the findings that included grave goods as well as ancient Greek plumbing.
Syntagma Metro Station today
Today, catch a ride along subway lines 2 or 3, or simply enter from Syntagma Square, to visit the museum within this bustling station. Behind a glass wall you can clearly see an archaeological cross-section of the city’s history, beginning with the Byzantine period, through the Roman, ancient Greek and finally prehistoric era.
The passageways of the metro station display signage explaining and showcasing the ancient findings. Plus, when the summer heat of Athens is too much the subway station’s subterranean air conditioning provides a cool oasis.
Getting to Syntagma Metro Station
As mentioned, located in the heart of the city along Lines 2 and 3, Syntagma Metro Station is best found travelling along Athens’ subway. If using buses, the station is also a stop along routes 227, 230, 790, 856, A2, A3 and X7. You could also get the trolleybuses 1, 2, 4, 5, 11, 12 or 15.
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