Kerameikos


 

Kerameikos lies on the north-western outskirts of Athens. It stands out as the ancient city’s most prominent cemetery, in use from the Prehistoric Period down to Late Antiquity and, at the same time, as one of the major centres of pottery production and vase painting in the ancient world.

The site hosts one of the best preserved segments of the ancient fortification wall of Athens, in the course of which two of the most monumental gates had been constructed, the Dipylon, -the largest gate in the ancient Greek world- and the Sacred Gate; they were crossed by equally nodal arteries, the Dromos and the Sacred Way.

Here the Athenian state honoured its Gods with ceremonial processions such as the Panathenaic Pompe or the Iacchus procession of the Eleusinian Mysteries, as well as the dead of wars, who were buried at public expense in the Public Cemetery, known as Demosion Sema. Those were commemorated through funerary games and orations, such as the Epitaphios delivered by Pericles.

The spirit and ideals of ancient Athens and ancient Greece are concentrated in Kerameikos.