The Lyceum of Aristotle was a very important philosophical school in our history, a public space where that knowledge was taught that (thanks to people like this classical philosopher) has lasted until today.
Sadly very few people visit the archaeological site of the Lykeion during their stay in Athens… However, and if you allow me, dear traveler and/or curious person, with this article I want to convey the importance of this school and why you should visit it.
Let’s get to it!
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Foundation of Aristotle’s Lyceum
Aristotle arrived in Athens in 335 B.C.E., with the aim of creating a school where he could also continue his education.
It is worth mentioning that the philosopher had previously known the academy of the city of Assos, at the time governed by Xenocrates, a place where he did not decide to continue his studies; Aristotle preferred to follow a more empirical naturalistic line, something he would not have achieved under the tutelage of the aforementioned director.
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Thanks to his personal fortune and some other help, Aristotle finally founded his school in the gardens dedicated to the god Apollo, in the future Hellenic capital. A place that was already being used for public meetings and teachings of the sophists.
The Lyceum had a gymnasium, a portico (where the peripatetics walked) and gardens. Let us remember that Aristotle was a Metecus (foreigner) and NOT a full Athenian citizen, so he could not own property in the city. Even so, Aristotle also managed to found the largest library of the time.
Finally add that Aristotle taught at the Lyceum for 12 years of his life. And what we now call philosophical schools, are in essence the first universities of which we have evidence in the region. It was important to mention this to understand the relevance of the Lykeion in our history.
Characteristics of the archaeological site
Returning to the present day, the archaeological site of the Lyceum of Aristotle is a 48 x 50 meter area where athletes trained in different types of wrestling.
Although its foundations date back to the 4th century B.C., the building has been repaired many times during almost 7 centuries since its construction.
The Lykeion had an inner courtyard surrounded by 3 porticoes on its sides, through which different rooms were accessed. In antiquity, the school of Aristotle also had a cistern, where the athletes took cold baths, later to be replaced by a baths.
What did athletes have to do with a philosophical school?
It turns out that gymnasiums were super important in Ancient Greece, as physical exercise and body care was closely related to education. Even today, in modern Greek, the word “gumnásion” is used to refer to high schools.
Admission to the archaeological site of the Lykeion costs 4 euros in high season (1 April – 31 October) and 2 euros in low season (1 November – 31 March).
There are also reduced prices (to 50%) for retirees and students from outside the EU, while entrance to the Lykeion is ALWAYS free for Europeans under 25 years of age.
Free admission days for the general public
If your stay in Athens coincides with any of these days, take advantage!
- 6th of March
- 18th of April
- 18th of May
- Last weekend of September
- 28th of October
- First Sunday of every month in between the 1st of Nove,ber and 31st of March
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Holidays in the archaeological site
The archaeological site will be closed on these days of the year:
- 1st of January
- 25th of March
- 1st of May
- Easter Sunday
- 25th of December
- 26th of December
keion Opening Hours
The opening hours are from 8:00-17:00
Where is the Lyceum of Aristotle?
Luckily for us, the Lyceum of Aristotle is located in the center of Athens, conveniently accessible on foot. However, it is also close to Syntagma and Evangelismos metro stations.