Athens Walking Tours

The Golden Age

The Glory of Athens Walking Seminar

8 hours

Classical Athens was a powerful city-state. A centre for the arts, learning and philosophy, home of Plato’s Academy and Aristotle’s Lyceum, it is widely referred to as the cradle of Western civilization and the birthplace of democracy, largely due to the impact of its cultural and political achievements during the 5th and 4th centuries BC in later centuries on the rest of the then known European continent.

This tour explores Athens during the “Golden Age” of the 5th century BCE, when the polis was at the apex of its wealth and power. The scope of the tour is broad, as we shall consider the political and military events of the era alongside its cultural, social and artistic developments. You will learn about Ancient Greek Culture, you will find out about Greek religion, architecture, sculpture, drama, philosophy and sports.

With this tour, you will explore several sites in Ancient Athens. At each stop, you’ll learn more about Greek culture.



Architecture and Sculptures (The Parthenon and the Acropolis Museum)

Temples are good examples of the Greek’s talent for architecture. The Greeks built their temples as beautiful dwelling places for the gods and goddesses rather than as places to worship. Religious ceremonies were conducted outside. The Temples show the importance of balance and order in the Greek’s idea of beauty.

The statue of Athenain the Parthenon was a wonderful example of another important Greek art : Sculpture. Sculptors in Athens often set up a workshop near the site where the finished statue would go. Sculptor apprentices first made a life-size clay model supported by wooden or metal frames. The general outline of the statue was then roughed out in Marble. A master sculptor added details and finishing touches.

Greek Statues were colorful. Metalworkers attached any bronze pieces that went with the statue, like spears and shields. Painters applied wax and bright colors to the statue’s hair, lips, clothes and headdress. Creating life like statues was one of the great achievements of Greek sculptors.

Drama (Theater of Dionysos)

In addition to architecture and sculpture, the ancient Greeks excelled in drama, the art of the theater.

The Athenians had excellent entertainment during the golden age. They didn’t have computers, televisions or iPods like we do today but they had theater and actors. The actors wore masks and performed in a Greek theater which was a semicircle, sort of like half a football stadium. In the theater the people sat in different sections based on their social class. In the front there were high government officials and judges and commoners sat from the middle to back of the theater.

There were 3 different kinds of plays: comedies, tragedies, and satyr plays. Tragedies often had strong themes where the main character often went through a main plot such as defying the gods or battling for power. Comedies often had a lighter atmosphere where political jokes, comments, and clowning around were often. Satyr plays often had the theme of teasing the tragic theme. In the play the actors dressed as satyrs a mythical creature.

Law (Pnyx)

The Greeks had a well-established legal system. In the days before the Greeks invented their alphabet, they handed down their laws by oral tradition. This meant that officials and their assistants had to memorize entire legal codes. However, by 600BC writing had spread throughout the Greek world, and laws were written down for easy reference.

The main lawmaking body of the Athenian democracy was the Citizens Assembly, which was open to all adult male citizens. A smaller executive  body, the council of 500, was responsible for proposing laws and for voting on important political issues.

In Ancient Athens there were no lawyers. Each citizen argued his own case. Large juries- numbering anywhere from 201 to 2,501 members- heard the cases. The jury used small tokens to cast their innocent or guilty verdicts. Since there were no judges in the Athenian courtroom, the jury was responsible for interpreting the law and for deciding on a verdict.

At this site all the great political struggles of Athens of the “Golden Age” were fought out. Pericles, Aristides and Alcibiades spoke here, within sight of the Parthenon, temple of Athena. Here Demosthenes delivered his vilifications of Philip of Macedon, the famous Philippics.

Philosophy, Commerce, Trades and Sports (Ancient Agora)

Like other Greeks, Athenians loved to talk and argue. In the sheltered spaces on the side of the Agora, men gathered to discuss the world around them. They talked about nature, trading ideas about what the natural world was made of and how it worked. They also talked about things they couldn’t see, such as the meaning of life, justice, truth, and beauty. They called this kind of thinking philosophy, which means “the love of wisdom).

The Agora, or marketplace, was the center of Athenian life during much of its Golden Age. Reconstructed after the end of the Persian Wars in 479 B.C.E., the Agora contained temples, government buildings, and several columned buildings called stoas. On the walls of the most beautiful stoas, artists depicted various historical events, such as the Battle of Marathon, and religious scenes.

On any given day the entire Agora was bustling with noisy activity. In the large, open center, merchants sold their wares – haggling with customers over the prices for everything from food, clothes, and animals to pottery, chariots, and furniture. Public officials regularly patrolled the farm stalls and craft displays to check the quality of the goods. Any merchant found to be selling inferior merchandise was fined. Beautiful public buildings and temples lined two sides of the Agora. Citizens used public buildings to debate and vote on important political issues.

The Agora also served as a place for recreation. In the afternoons, men often visited the outdoor sports complex, or gymnasium, to exercise. The gymnasium consisted of a running track, a wrestling court, fields for throwing javelin, or light spear, and discus, or flat circular plate, over long distances. There were also rooms for changing and oiling down the body. In the evenings men remained in the Agora to socialize. One popular gathering place for men was the barber shop. Greek men went there for the latest hair styles, and to pick up the latest news and gossip circulating through the busy city.

Alternative Tour Options:
There are so many other things to see in this area. Keep in mind that your driver is at your disposal, so if you would like to adjust the proposed itinerary at all, just let him know!


  • UP TO 6 PEOPLE: € 350
  • UP TO 10 PEOPLE: € 400
  • UP TO 12 PEOPLE: € 450

More Info

More Info


  • Admission tickets: Not included in the prices
  • Days of Operation: Every day except on Mondays. Please email us for availability.
  • The New Acropolis Museum is closed on Mondays.
  • Photography is permitted throughout the tour except for the Gallery of the Slopes of the Acropolis and the Archaic Gallery at the New Acropolis Museum.

Special Instructions

  • Comfortable clothing and sensible, flat-soled walking shoes are recommended. Sun glasses and sun screen are suggested.
  • Walking: Difficult. To climb up to the Acropolis, guests must be able to walk over paved, inclined paths, some with steps, then climb a series of steps to reach the Propylea. The walking surfaces on top of the Acropolis are uneven.


  • It’s always a great idea to bring a bottle of water and sunscreen with you because in the warmer months it becomes quite hot and sunny.
  • Ahat to protect your head and shade your face is also recommended when spending a significant amount of time in the sun.
  • Thearea around the Acropolis Hill can become quite crowded, especially during the peak travel months, so be aware of your surroundings and keep your belongings close to you.
  • Do not accept ‘gifts’ from street vendors approaching tourists. They may offer you roses, but if choose you accept, you will be expected to pay or give a tip for them.
  • Please be patient when you ascend the Acropolis and Pnyx Hill. You will be rewarded by the spectacular view at the top.