City walls of Athens

The fortifications of Classical Athens, including the Themistoclean Wall around the city and the Long Walls

The city of Athens, capital of modern Greece, has had different sets of city walls from the Bronze Age to the early 19th century. The city walls of Athens include:

  • the Mycenaean Cyclopean fortifications of the Acropolis of Athens
  • the Pelasgic wall at the foot of the Acropolis
  • the so-called "Archaic Wall", whose existence and course are debated by scholars[1]
  • the Themistoclean Wall, built in 479 BC, the main city wall during Antiquity, restored and rebuilt several times (under Conon, Demosthenes, Demetrios Poliorketes, etc.)
  • the Long Walls, built in the 460s and 440s BC, connecting Athens with its ports at Piraeus and Phaleron
  • the Protocheisma, a second wall built in front of the Themistoclean Wall in 338 BC as an extra defence against the Macedonians
  • the Diateichisma, built in the 280s BC as a second line of defence against Macedonian-held Piraeus
  • the Valerian Wall, built in c. 260 AD, partly along the lines of older walls, partly as a new fortification, to protect the city against barbarian attacks
  • the Herulian Wall, a much smaller circuit built in c. 280 AD, enclosing the centre of the ancient city following its sack by the Heruli in 267 AD
  • the Rizokastro, built in the 11th/12th century around the Acropolis
  • the Wall of Haseki, constructed in 1778 by the Ottoman governor of Athens, Hadji Ali Haseki


  1. ^ For arguments for and against, cf. Weir 1995 and Papadopoulos 2008 respectively


  • Judeich, Walther (1931). Topographie von Athen (in German) (2nd ed.). Munich: Beck.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
  • Papadopoulos, J. K. (2008). "The Archaic Walls of Athens. Reality or Myth?" (PDF). Opuscula. 1: 31–46. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2017-12-28. Retrieved 2017-12-28.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
  • Theocharaki, Anna Maria (2011). "The Ancient Circuit Wall of Athens: Its Changing Course and the Phases of Construction". Hesperia: The Journal of the American School of Classical Studies at Athens. 80 (1): 71–156. doi:10.2972/hesp.80.1.0071. JSTOR 10.2972/hesp.80.1.0071.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
  • Weir, Robert G. A. (1995). "The Lost Archaic Wall around Athens". Phoenix. 49 (3): 247–258. JSTOR 1192524.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
  • Winter, F. E. (1971). Greek Fortifications. Routledge & Kegan Paul. ISBN 978-0-608154244.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)