|Distance from NLH FIX||1.3 km (walking)|
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The Philopappos Hill is the highest of the three hills just west of the Acropolis. It is named after a monument erected at the top of the hill in honor of the Roman senator Philopappos.
Hill of the muses
In antiquity the Philopappos Hill was known as the Mouseion (Hill of the Muses). The Greek believed that the hill was inhabited by the nine muses and that Musaeus, a poet and disciple of Orpheus, was buried here.
The hill has a height of 147 meters (482 ft) and offers spectacular views of the Acropolis. Towards the south you can see as far as the sea.
The Roman consul and senator Gaius Julius Antiochus Epiphanes Philopappos, a powerful aristocrat and friend of the Roman emperor Trajan, admired Greek culture and long lived in Athens. He was seen in Athens as a benefactor, and often sponsored theater plays.
After he died, the Athenians built a marble tomb and monument for the senator. The monument, completed in 119 AD, is twelve meters high and was built at the highest point of the Philopappos Hill.
The Pnyx, a hill just north of the Philopappos, is the birthplace of democracy. This was the place where from 508 BC on (when Athens became a democracy), citizens assembled ten times a year to listen to orators and take political decisions.
From the still visible Bêma – the podium – leaders like Themistocles, Pericles and Demosthenes addressed the crowd, who was seated in a semicircle. Initially the crowd sat on bedrock, but later wooden benches were built. Originally there was seating for 5,000 people, eventually expanded to accommodate a crowd of an estimated 13,500 people. At the end of the fourth century the Pnyx was abandoned when the assembly moved to the even larger Theater of Dionysus.
Hill of the Nymphs
The 103 meter high Hill of the Nymphs, northwest of the Philopappos Hill, was in ancient times the site of a shrine dedicated to the nymphs, hence its name.
In 1842 Baron Sinas financed the construction of the first observatory of Athens, the Asteroskopeion. It was built atop the Hill of the Nymphs by the Danish architect Theophil Hansen who created a neoclassical domed structure with a cross-shaped floorplan.2