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Tuesday, February 10, 2015


Just behind the National Gardens in Athens city center, a short walk down Rigilis Street from Vassilisis Sofias Avenue, a newly excavated green space offers visitors a chance to stroll in the footsteps of the Peripatetics, the "walking philosophers" of Aristotle's Lyceum.

I first came across this two years ago when I was visiting Athens, but that day the gates were closed and it wasn't until this past September that I was able to go inside and spend a pleasant hour wandering the pathways where once Aristotle lectured.

The pathway circles this green retreat. In the center area are the excavated gymnasium and other former structure that made up the philosopher's school. A meeting place in a grove of trees, it was named "the Lyceum" after its patron Apollo Lyceus ("Apollo in the form of a wolf") It was actually in existence before Aristotle founded the Peripatetic school there in 334/335 BCA and it continued long after Aristotle fled from Athens in 323 BC . It was eventually  sacked by the Roman general Sulla in 86 BCE.

The remains of the Lyceum were discovered back in 1996.  I was aware of the location somewhere 'behind the National Gardens' and often had wondered if they were actually within the gardens.  So now that mystery is solved.  And today you can find it easily (behind the Byzantine museum) and spend a pleasant quiet time meditating or strolling.

I've visited all the places where Athens' famous philosophers frequented.  In the Agora you can find areas where Socrates was known to hang out and not far away from the Agora is the cave that is said to be "Socrates Prison".  You can also take a bus to Plato's Academy, another interesting quiet place where you can wander and contemplate life.

You can read about my walks with the philosophers here in an article that was published in EuropeUpClose

And next time you're in Athens make sure you take time to visit them.


Swathi said...

Nice post.Thanks for sharing this in your blog

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