Brauron Archaeological Site (Βραυρώνα)



Location: 10 km (6 mi) Northeast of Markopoulo, Attica  Map

Tel. 22990 27020

Site Open:

Open: 8:30am- 3pm Tue- Sun


Description of Brauron Archaeological Site

Brauron is located 10 km (6 mi) Northeast of Markopoulo and 38 km East of Athens in the Attica region of Greece. Brauron site once stood on the shores of the Aegean Sea, but the over time the bay of the sea got silted and now the ancient cite is situated inland.
Brauron Archaeological Site was inhabited since Neolithic times. Local archaeological digs revealed settlement dating back to circa 2000 BC. The city of Brauron flourished during Middle Helladic and early Mycenaean period (2000- 1600 BC). Over time Brauron Archaeological Site became associated with the cult of Greek goddess of Artemis that date back to the 8th century BC. Artemis was fought to help pregnant women in childbirth. Before medical inventions this process was very dangerous and often deadly to a woman and a baby. The holiest place within the sanctuary was the sacred spring of Artemis. Brauron site gave an ancient ritual a name of Brauronia. It was held every four years. A long procession from the Athens marched to Brauron. Young women aged 7 to 10 years old "played the bear" for the Artemis. They were running, dancing and serving the people. Their services became known as arkteia from Greek word "arktos" or "bear". This was a sort of act of passage into puberty, subsequent marriage and childbirth.

According to a legend Iphigeneia, daughter of Agamemnon and Clytemnestra, brought the statue of Artemis and buried within city limits. According to Greek legends the Persian invasion caught the Greeks by surprise, so goddess reached down from mount Olympus and took back her image in marble. Although many historians agree that this legend is just a nice fairy. The actual statue was carried off by the Persian armies to Susa after they burned and destroyed much of the city in 480 BC. Brauron Archaeological Site was subsequently rebuilt. The final blow to Brauron Archaeological Site was dealt by a river Erasinos that flood the region in the 3rd century BC forcing many of its residents to flee to higher grounds. For the next few centuries the site was a source of stones and marble. Only in the 5th century AD Brauron Archaeological Site became partially inhabited. A Christian basilica was added in the 6th century just 500 meters (1/3 mile) West of the sanctuary site.

Currently Brauron archaeological site is still under ground. According to insriptions and historian records the city still has palaestra, gymnasium and other buildings still undiscovered.


Brauron Museum:


Open: 8:30am- 3pm Tue- Sun

Closed: Jan 1, Jan 6, Mar 25, Shrove Monday, Good Friday am, Easter Sunday, Easter Monday, May 1, Dec 25- 26


Mythology and History
According to legend during the Trojan campaign, the goddess Artemis demanded the sacrifice of Iphigenia to let the Mycenaean fleet sail to Troy. At the time of the sacrifice, Artemis saved Iphigenia and transported her to the land of the Bulls on the shores of the Black Sea. Iphigenia returned from there to Greece with the help of her brother Orestes. According to a variation of the myth conveyed by Euripides, Iphigenia on her return arrived in the area of ​​Vravrona and became a priestess of Artemis.

The cult of Artemis in the area of ​​Vravrona seems to have started in the 8th century BC, while the temple was built in the 6th century BC. In the following years there was a significant expansion of the place of worship. This extension of the prehistoric Bravrona took place in the times after the Mycenaean era and probably during the Geometric times. From the ancient writers Herodotus, Euphoria and Nonnus place Vravrona near the sea. Gradually, however, after the Athenian wars with the Macedonians, the area began to decline and seems to have been abandoned in the 2nd century BC, probably after floods. In fact, the traveler Pausanias three centuries later, mentions almost nothing about the area of ​​Vravrona, except the myth mentioned by Euripides about the return of Iphigenia. The last references of the ancient place name "Vravron" are found during the Byzantine times in the grammar Theognostos (9th century AD) and in the dictionary of Souda (10th century AD)

Archaeological site
In 1945 the archaeologist Ioannis Papadimitriou made excavations in the area. Excavations continued during the 1950s and 1960s and uncovered most of the archaeological site. The most important sights of the archeological site are the temple of Artemis, the P-shaped portico, the sacred spring, the bridge over the Erasinos river, the palaestra, the high school etc. The temple of Artemis is a small temple in size, from which mainly its side is preserved. There is doubt as to the shape of its façade, but it is believed to have been six-column; The P-shaped portico surrounded a large courtyard on the side of the temple. Around the gallery there were bases with small statues. There was also a famous statue in the temple, which Xerxes took and transported to Susa.

In 1961, two votive reliefs of the classical period were unveiled in the temple of Brauronia Artemis. One of them shows the goddess accepting the offer of votive offerings from five men. Below the show begins a multi-line inscription with a list of gifts to Artemis. This column, like others, was used in the construction of the cobblestone road north of the temple.

The condition of the archeological site today
For years the church has been handed over to the mercy of the weather, with the result that even with a heavy rain it turns into a lake. These problems arise from the bureaucracy but also from the misunderstanding of the competent bodies to take responsibility for the care of such an important archaeological monument.

The current settlement
Today in the area of ​​Vravrona there is a modern small seaside settlement. The current settlement of Vravrona has 41 inhabitants, according to the 2001 census. It has some taverns and other shops near the beach of Vravrona, which receives many visitors during the summer.

Protected location
Vravrona and its coastal marine zone is a protected habitat of Natura 2000, with code GR3000004, with an area of ​​27.12