The city of Athens has a history spanning over three thousand years. As you can imagine, the capital of the Hellenic Republic of Greece is the birthplace of countless important figures, revolutionary ideas, legendary stories, and mysteries. Here are some of the most mysterious places in Athens, Greece.
Mysterious Places in Athens
- Ardittos Hill
- Mount Pentelicus
- Davelis’ Cave
- The Dragon Gate
- The Acropolis Hill
Ardittos Hill | Mysterious Greece
Ardittos Hill is located at the heart of Athens, surrounding the Kallimarmaro; the historical Panathenaic Stadium which was built in 330 BC and reconstructed in 144 AD. Adrittos Hill was the area where ancient Athenian judges would take their oath.
The green hill has attracted many curious researchers of the unexplained over the years. It has been observed that the area is oddly quiet. Visitors often report that birds avoid entering the wooded area, which is unusual. Cats, on the other hand, seem to be attracted to this area.
Others say that they feel a strange energy surrounding the hill. Moreover, there are reports of peculiar findings in the area, such as candles, ropes, and remains of ritualistic activities. But why is that?
Ardittos Hill has been considered a sacred place since ancient antiquity. The area houses the temple of Artemis Agrotera, an important Athenian landmark, and the temple place of Fortune Goddess Tyche. But most importantly, it was the location where the Micra or Lesser Eleusinian Mysteries were taking place. These mysteries were a set of secret rituals organized by a cult dedicated to goddesses Demeter and Persephone. If you are interested in learning more about these mysteries, don’t forget to check Helinika’s dedicated video.
It is worth mentioning that a street named Odos Agras, right next to Ardittos Hill, is also the center of various urban legends. The street is known for the house of the Nobel laureate and poet, Giorgos Seferis. But, according to an urban legend, someone who walks on this street might end up walking back in time. Just like the main character in the Woody Allen movie “Midnight in Paris”. Imagine exploring Athens only to come across one of Greece’s most important poets!
Moreover, although Athens has indeed a large amount of stray cats, the street has a… disproportionate amount of felines roaming around. On the street you can also find the so-called “House with the Cats”, which is reportedly always guarded by two cats that stand next to its front door. Witnesses have said that the cats stay so still that they look like statues. Not only that, but the house, which is not clear whether it is inhabited or not, has a sign with the following verse:
“I will not reign, to serve I detest, the cat I remain.”
Mount Pentelicus | Mysterious Greece
Mount Pentelicus or Penteli is one of the mountains of Athens. It is known for its marble, the Pentelicon marble that was used to construct the Acropolis of Athens. The mountain is one of the most mysterious places in Greece since antiquity.
According to some reports, there is a spot on Penteli where drivers experience a weird phenomenon. A street that seems to be going slightly uphill manages to defy gravity. When cars stop there, they start moving on their own. They move upwards – as if gravity is reversed.
Some observers suggest that there is an optical illusion, and that the road actually goes downhill. Others say that there are strong magnetic fields in the area that pull the cars in a seemingly unnatural way.
Mount Pentelicus is also associated with countless urban legends and myths. There are reports of mysterious hitchhikers who disappear in people’s cars. In the past, people have reported UFO sightings while visiting the area.
In the 1990s, Penteli became a feared place after it started attracting groups of devil worshippers. One of this groups, consisting of two young men and a teenage girl, committed a series of sacrificial murders of young women in the area of Pallini, a municipality at the foothills of Mount Pentelicus.
The mountain also has its own “haunted” estate. That is the tower of the Duchess of Plaisance, Sophie de Marbois-Lebrun. The French noblewoman and philhellene, moved to Athens in 1834 and spent the rest of her life in the newly founded Hellenic Republic.
The Duchess reportedly lost her mind after the premature death of her beloved daughter, Eliza. Rumor has it that she turned to spiritualism and later to witchcraft. She wanted to communicate with Eliza and she invited mediums and necromancers to her tower. As a result, the estate is rumored to be “haunted” with countless spirits, including the spirit of Eliza.
But the most mysterious place of Penteli is without the doubt its notorious cave: Davelis’ or Pan’s Cave…
Daveli’s Cave | Mysterious Greece
Although Daveli’s Cave is located on the southwestern side of Mount Pentelicus, it deserves to be examined separately. That is because it sparked people’s curiosity since antiquity.
To begin with, ancient Athenians believed that the chthonic god Pan who resided under the surface of the Earth, was able to visit Athens by exiting this Cave on Mount Pentelicus. Nymphs were also considered to reside next to the cave. After the battle of Marathon, when Pan allegedly helped the Athenians win by causing panic to the Persians, Athenians would enter the Cave to worship Pan.
Over the years, when Greeks left their pagan past behind, chthonic deities were considered demonic. They resided under the surface of the Earth – where hell is located. Byzantine and Ottoman Greeks feared the cave. Farmers and shepherds that passed by Pan’s cave would often run back to their villages in terror, reporting sightings of terrifying monsters that exited the cave. As a result, a small church was built right at the entrance of the cave dedicated to Saint Spyridon and to Saint Nicholas.
The cave is mostly known today as Davelis’ cave, instead of Pan’s cave. That is because the infamous 19th century brigand Christos Natsios or Davelis, used the cave as a hideout. According to some rumors of that time, Davelis had a secret love affair with the previously mentioned Duchess of Plaissance!
Due to its pagan history, new age occultists started visiting the cave to perform rituals. The devil worshippers of Pallini were allegedly frequent visitors of the cave as well. But today, the majority of its visitors are climbers, hikers, and nature lovers.
In the past, cave explorers and hikers have reportedly managed to fully explore its vast tunnel system, which, according to some, could lead someone to the center of Athens. This is no longer possible; the tunnels have been closed down for unspecified reasons.
What makes the history of the cave even more interesting is the fact that it sparked the interest of the government of the United States. During the Cold War, NATO and the US military reportedly explored the cave with the help of the Greek military.
Rumor had it that they wanted to use it for a secret military base, since its tunnels could lead to the sea and therefore would be the perfect location to keep some of their submarines. Others suggested that they wanted to produce or store secret nuclear weapons for a short time period.
Many explorers confirm this scenario, since electronic devices often stop working when entering the cave. Not only that but concrete was used to seal some of the tunnels, as if the military wanted to protect the public from dangerous substances… if not from the monsters that terrified medieval Greeks.
It is worth mentioning that the secret military works at Penteli were reported at the local press at that time. Today, many people have come up with some additional scenarios – some realistic, some less realistic- about what happened at Daveli’s cave in the ‘70s. For example, they suggest that the cave can serve as a portal to other dimensions, hence the appearance of strange beings over the years. A German tv-series called “Dark” has a storyline that bears many similarities to this scenario.
The Dragon Gate | Mysterious Greece
If you have ever read any of the Harry Potter books, then you might remember of the Diagon Alley but also some magical buildings and train platforms that muggles -non wizards- would simply ignore. A strange building like this exists at the heart of Athens.
This is no other than the narrow and tall building at the street Akadimias 58a. The odd structure has an architecture with many gothic references, which is rare to see in Athens. At the same time, despite its appearance, most people ignore it completely while passing by. It looks odd but stays unnoticed at the same time. A surprising fact is that there used to be an iron dragon on top of the main gate for many years, which was removed mysteriously overnight. Nobody really knows who removed the dragon and why.
There are many official and unofficial reports regarding the so-called “house with the dragon gate”. According to some older rumors, the building was used by secret societies, perhaps by the “Free Masons”, for their mysterious meetings.
People who lived in neighboring buildings often said that they would see people dressed in peculiar clothes enter the building. Thanks to its gothic elements and the scary dragon on top of the gate, many people believed that dark rituals were performed there. It didn’t help when some explorers managed to enter the building in the late 20th century, only to find an altar, a small church and religious icons stuffed in there.
It has been recently revealed that it served as an additional entrance (in GR) to the house of the German-born Green-national architect Ernst Ziller. Ziller is the mastermind behind some of the most beautiful and unique houses and mansions of Athens.
His estate located on street Mavromichali 6, is somehow connected to the “house with the dragon gate”. Rumor had it that it was later purchased by the very prominent family of bankers, the Loverdos, to store a secret private collection of ancient and medieval relics.
A few months ago, the Greek newspaper Kathimerini reported that the building has been turned into a Museum with the consent of the Loverdos family. The visitors will be able to see the private collection of relics that is now maintained and stored there, along with the building’s very unique interior.
It is worth mentioning that the fact that the building belonged indeed to Ziller (a prominent architect) and later to Loverdos (a prominent banker), doesn’t mean that it was never used for secret meetings of mysterious people in the past…
The Acropolis of Athens | Mysterious Greece
The Acropolis of Athens is very different from the rest of the previously mentioned areas, since it evokes positive rather negative feelings and emotions. In many ways, it could be described as the opposite of the Hill of Ardittos. It represents light, wisdom, and excellence. A place that fills you in with positive energy. At the same time, it is one of the most mysterious places of Athens, of Greece, and of the world.
The ancient citadel consists of many ancient Greek temples from the 5th Century BC that were dedicated to the Olympian gods. The most prominent of them all is no other than the Parthenon, the temple dedicated to Athena, protector of the great city.
Over one million people from around the world visit the Acropolis of Athens every year. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the greatest symbol of democracy, since it was the great leader Pericles who was behind the great works on the site. Visiting the Acropolis of Athens is not just a cultural trip but perhaps… a trip in time.
Do you have any other mysterious places to add to this list? Feel free to comment down below!