You may not be aware of some hidden gems in Athens and Attica, or you may have only heard their names but never seen them for yourself. One such place is the Cave of Athens, also known as the prison of Socrates. Many people doubt and deny that this cave was the actual place where Socrates was imprisoned, but the name has stuck. It is an ancient structure on Filopappou Hill in Athens with its own fascinating story. It is worth discovering the unique and mysterious places of Attica.
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The cave of Athens was called the prison of Socrates
The place where the prison of Socrates is said to be was named so because many people believed that the ancient philosopher was once locked up there. This belief has been challenged and disputed by others. However, some supporters of this idea have some evidence that could theoretically back up this claim. What is it?
Firstly, the fact that the prison was probably built in the mid-5th century BC and its location was such that it supposedly faced a main road. Secondly, written records mention that it was in a hollow of the ground and had baths. These features were present in this cave and they match the descriptions of the prison from Platonic dialogues.
The dialogues between Crito and Phaedon give more information about Socrates’ imprisonment, the location where it happened, and his execution. However, the truth about the link between this cave and the prison of Socrates is uncertain. And this is not the only cave in Attica that has this name. Another cave in Filopappou shares the same name. It is a cave in the grove across from the scenic church of Loubardiaris and just before the path that leads you to the top of the hill and the monument of Philopappos. This is the hidden story of the man who named the hill of Philopappos.
And these two are again not unique. The fact that there are many caves in Attica was the opportunity to claim this fact. It is not a small thing to know that next to you may have been the prison of such a philosopher.
The Prison of Socrates and Other Tales of Athens
Athens is a city that showcases its ancient heritage. It mixes cultures from different eras that blend well with each other. You can see it in buildings, attractions, and monuments. Monuments built from ancient Greece to the present. They all have something to share with you. If you are willing to learn about them and explore them. The prison of Socrates is one of them, but not the only one.
During World War II, the cave was sealed with a concrete wall to protect the antiquities of the National Archaeological Museum. A stroll through the streets of Athens will make you rethink what you know. Like the 1,000-year-old church in the heart of Athens that you may have missed. Or the abandoned house with the “clay woman” in Athens, in Plaka. Grab a map, take a walk, look at the buildings and you will see history unfold before you.
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