It’s not the honour that you take with you, but the heritage you leave behind”.
Greece has a great history and culture! I know that these are probably not great news, but it’s an irrefutable fact! It’s also a fact that Greece has a great variety of monuments and archaeological sites that are a global cultural heritage. So, it’s not surprising that there are seventeen Greek monuments and sites in the list of UNESCO World Heritage sites. The first Greek entry was in 1986 with the Temple of Apollo Epicurius at Bassae. Since then, 17 more records were followed, the most recent is the Philippi, inscribed in 2016. Let’s take a deep breath and see the complete list:
The whole list of UNESCO World Heritage sites in Greece!! (18)
Acropolis, Athens (1987)
Acropolis includes four of the greatest masterpieces of classical Greek period: the Parthenon, Propylaea, Erechtheion and the temple of Athena Nike, and they can be considered as global symbols of the idea of world heritage.
Archaeological Site of Aigai (Vergina) (1996)
The city of Aigai, the first capital of ancient Kingdom of Macedonia, was discovered in the 19th century near Vergina, in northern Greece. The most important monuments are the Palace and the impressive tombs. One of the royal tombs in the Great Tumulus, was identified as the tomb of Philip II, who as it’s widely known, to whom that watch Hollywood movies(!), is the father of Alexander the Great!
Archaeological Site of Delphi (1987)
The Hellenic Sanctuary of Delphi, which was given the oracle of Apollo, was considered the centre of the world and it was the symbol of unity of the ancient world. Probably we need such kind of symbols nowadays as well…
Archaeological Site of Mystras (1989)
The castle of Mystras was built as a fortress in 1249 by King William, was recovered by the Byzantines and later conquered by the Turks and the Venetians. It was abandoned in 1832, leaving fascinating medieval ruins standing within an exceptionally beautiful location!
Archaeological Site of Olympia (1989)
At 10th century BC, Olympia was the centre of worship of Zeus. Apart from the temples, there are the remains of all the sports facilities built for the Olympics and it is the place where the first Olympic Games took place from 776 BC.
Archaeological Sites of Mycenae and Tiryns (1999)
These two remarkable sites are the impressive monuments of the two largest cities of the Mycenaean civilisation, which dominated the eastern Mediterranean from the 15th to the 12th century BC and played a vital role in the development of classical Greek culture. These two towns are linked to the Homeric epics, the Iliad and the Odyssey and they have influenced European art and literature for more than three thousand years!
Almost all the places in Greece are related to Greek mythology and Delos could not be an exception. According to Greek Mythology, God Apollo was born on this small island in the Cyclades. The archaeological site is exceptionally extensive and rich and gives the feeling of a great Mediterranean port. (photo by Institute for the Study of the Ancient World)
Medieval City of Rhodes (1988)
In 1988 UNESCO declared Rhodes “World Heritage City”, mainly because of the Castle and the medieval city that is built inside. This is one of the largest and best-preserved castles in Europe and of course one of the most beautiful castles in Greece! It took its current form mostly in the period when the knights of the Order of Saint John occupied the island, from 1309 until 1522.
Monasteries of Daphni, Hosios Loukas and Nea Moni of Chios (1990)
The first monastery is located in Athens, the second in Phokida and the third in Chios. The churches are built with large domes which are supported by small arches creating an octagonal space. In the 11th and 12th century the monasteries had colourful marble decoration and mosaics on a gold background, all characteristics of the second Byzantine Period.
The historical centre of Corfu is characterised mainly by two fortresses, one along east side is the Old Fortress, while the other on the west side is the New Fortress. The Old Fort is located on an island and joins the city with a concrete bridge that formerly was wooden. In the past, the two fortresses of Corfu were linked by large walls.
Paleochristian and Byzantine Monuments of Thessalonika (1988)
The monuments that are included in the list are Rotunda, the temple of Acheiropiitos and St. Demetrius, the monastery Latomou, the church of St. Sophia, the Church of Our Lady Chalkeon, the churches of Saint Panteleimon, the Holy Apostles, Saint Nikolaos Orfanos, the St. Catherine and the Almighty Saviour Christ, Vlatadon, the church of Prophet Elias, the Byzantine baths and the walls of Thessaloniki!
Pythagoreion and Heraion of Samos (1992)
Since 3.000 BC, many civilisations have inhabited this small Greek island, which is very close to Asia. The ruins of the Pythagorean, an ancient fortified port with Greek and Roman monuments and an impressive aqueduct and the Heraion, the temple of Hera of Samos, are still accessible.
Sanctuary of Asklepios at Epidaurus (1988)
The main monuments, particularly the theatre which is considered as one of the masterpieces of Greek architecture, are dated from the 4th century.
Temple of Apollo Epicurius at Bassae (1986)
The famous temple dedicated to the god of healing and the sun was built in the 5th century on the steep mountains of Arcadia. It has the oldest Corinthian capital ever found and it combines the Archaic with the Doric rhythm.
The Historic Centre (Chorá) with the Monastery of Saint-John the Theologian and the Cave of the Apocalypse on the Island of Pátmos (1999)
Patmos, in Dodecanese Islands, is known as the island where St. John wrote the Gospel and the Apocalypse. A monastery dedicated to the ‘beloved disciple’ was discovered on the island in the late 10th century. The old settlement in Chora, which is connected with, includes religious and folk buildings.
This the most recent addition to UNESCO World Heritage sites list. The remains of this walled city lie at the foot of an acropolis in north-eastern Greece, on the ancient route linking Europe and Asia, the Via Egnatia. Founded in 356 BC by the Macedonian King Philip II, the city developed as a “small Rome” with the establishment of the Roman Empire in the decades following the Battle of Philippi, in 42 BCE. The vibrant Hellenistic city of Philip II, of which the walls and their gates, the theatre and the funerary heroon (temple) are to be seen, was supplemented with Roman public buildings such as the Forum and a monumental terrace with temples to its north. Later the city became a centre of the Christian faith following the visit of the Apostle Paul in 49-50 CE. The remains of its basilicas constitute an exceptional testimony to the early establishment of Christianity.
Meteora, these stunning and unique rocks, which embrace Kalambaka is the largest monastic city in Greece after Mount Athos! According to geologists, these ”weird” tectonic formations were created 30 million years ago when the sea which covered the area, began to decline. The way that these rocks stand for thousands year creates a magical landscape. This was the reason that led the monks to find the “right” isolated place for their monasteries.
Mount Athos (1988)
The natural beauty of Mouth Athos with the picturesque hills, wild forests, steep cliffs and incredible water is extraordinary. It can be visited only by men who should have received a special pass, which is called “diamonitirion” and it includes twenty monasteries, twelve sketae and its capital in Karyes.
Please check the below map that we made for you with all UNESCO World Heritage sites or simply leave a comment below if you have any question!