Ancient Iera Odos (Sacred Way), Municipalities of Egaleo, Chaidari, Aspropyrgos, Elefsina

Ancient Iera Odos (Sacred Way), Municipalities of Egaleo, Chaidari, Aspropyrgos, Elefsina

Visible parts of the ancient Iera Odos (Sacred Way) at the contemporary Municipalities of West Attica


Ancient Bridge over the Kifissos river (part of ancient Iera Odos), Eleonas Metro Station, Municipality of Egaleo

Excavation in the area of Eleonas Station, where the ancient demos of Lakiades was located, brought to light an impressive discovery: three foundation piers and parts of one of the arches of the ancient stone bridge over the Kifissos (Cephissus) river, mentioned in the ancient literary sources (Aristophanes, Frogs, l. 315).
Due to the construction of the station, the piers were dismantled and rebuilt a few meters from their original position. Other noteworthy discoveries at the site included the ancient riverbed of the Kifissos, architectural remains of workshops, and parts of the ancient Iera Odos (Sacred Way) and its roadside cemetery.

Part of ancient Iera Odos (Sacred Way), Egaleo Metro Station, Estavromenou Square, Municipality of Egaleo

The excavations at Estavromenou Square, Aigaleo, near the homonymous metro station, revealed a section, 27.70 meters long and 5.30-5.90 meters wide, of the ancient Iera Odos (Sacred Street), which runs in an east-west direction, parallel to and at a short distance to the north of modern Iera Odos. Two retaining walls of different sized limestone blocks defined the street on the sides. The walls are very partially preserved because they lay close to the surface. Five successive street layers were identified. The last street layer was hewn on bedrock and shows traces of chariots and carriage wheels. Rock-hewn destroyed graves, because of their proximity to the surface, were identified on either side of the street. The part of the ancient Iera Odos and the adjacent cemetery was revealed during excavations for the extension of Line 3 of the Athens Metro.

Burial monument. Municipality of Chaidari

In the area of Chaidari, at the height of Dromokaitio, there is a visible pedestal of a burial monument that had been established along the ancient Iera Odos.

Sanctuary of Aphrodite at Daphne, Municipality of Chaidari

In the middle of the way to Eleusis, the Iera Odos met the Sanctuary of Aphrodite (today in the area of Chaidari, shortly after the Monastery of Daphni). The sanctuary is well known from a reference by the Greek traveler Pausanias who identified it during his course to Eleusina. The Sanctuary was in use from the classical to the Roman period.  It is an open-air sanctuary, with a small temple, a courtyard, an altar, and a four-sided building, probably the house of the priests. 
A characteristic element of the Sanctuary is the natural rock where niches (cupboards) were carved for the placement of the offerings of the faithful. The offerings were small sculptures depicting the goddess Aphrodite, doves or pomegranates (symbols of worship), or female genitals. The inscriptions both on the offerings and into the niches of the rock, inform us that they were offered mainly by women, however, there are also male names.
Part of the Iera Odos is preserved south of the precinct of the Sanctuary of Aphrodite. It is exactly the point where the street branched off. The northern part was intended only for pedestrians and followed an upward course to the top of the hill of Echos (Kapsalona) and then headed to the small Reito (Lake Koumoundourou).
The southern part, in which traces of grooves can be seen from the passage of chariots and carriages, passed around the hill of Echo and almost parallel to the coast. After the passage of Reita (area of Lake Koumoundourou), the two branches of the road were joined again.

Burial monument. Municipality of Aspropyrgos

In the area of Aspropyrgos, next to the modern National Road, sections of bricks and marble slabs are visible. They come from an ancient burial monument of the family of the Athenian Straton, from the ancient Municipality of Kythadinaion, which would stand along the ancient Iera Odos. The remains of the burial monument were used in medieval times to build a tower, from which the area took its name.

Roman Bridge over the Eleusinian Kifissos (part of ancient Iera Odos), Municipality of Eleusina

About one kilometer east of the entrance to the Sanctuary of Demeter in Eleusis, at the point where the ancient Iera Odos (Sacred Way) met the riverbed of the Eleusinian Kifissos, an ancient bridge is preserved in an impressively fine state. With a total length of 50 meters and width of 5.3 meters was proper consisted of four arched openings, with the two outer arches being narrower than the two inner ones.
The bridge, which is of hard Piraeus limestone, is a superb example of Roman bridge-building. On the basis of written sources, it has been dated to the Hadrianic age and more specifically linked with the year in which the emperor was initiated into the Eleusinian mysteries (125 A.D.).

Part of ancient Iera Odos, Municipality of Eleusina

The ancient Iera Odos led to the Sanctuary of Demeter and Daughter (Kore) in Eleusis crossing the ancient city. A well-preserved section of the ancient road has been unveiled next to the modern Iroon Polytechniou Street.


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