History Trip

Dion, The town of waters

Η αρχαία πόλη των Μακεδόνων

Surrounded by an idyllic landscape, the ancient city is located under the shadow of Mount Olympus and constitutes the most beautiful archaeological park in Greece.

Discover the mystical atmosphere of the verdant landscape with the watery wonderland, surrounding the significant archaeological site: Dion, the sacred city of ancient Macedonians and its countless treasures.


Just a few kilometers away from the Thermaic Gulf, the ancient Macedonians built this city to honour Olympian Zeus. The city was inhabited from the 5th century BC until the 5th century AD; it experienced glorious times, then abandonment, until it was discovered in the early 19th century. Even though the city was relatively small, Roman historian Titus Livius writes about its many structures and statues with admiration. Dion became the religious centre of Macedonia and the place where Zeus and the Olympian gods were worshipped. According to the tradition, Dion is also linked to the burial ground of Orpheus. It was here that king Archelaus I of Macedonia (413-399 BC) held 9-day festivals in honor of Zeus and the Muses, introducing theatrical competitions and the “Olympian Games of Dion”. It was here that Philip II celebrated the seizure of Olynthos; where Alexander the Great offered sacrifices before he began his campaign against the Persians; and where he later dedicated the work of Lysippus: twenty-five bronze equestrians commemorating his companions who fell at the battle of the Granicus.


The theatre of Dion is located to the right of the archaeological site's entrance. Today, it hosts the Olympus Festival every summer. The pond and springs of the river Vaphyras, which stretches across the region, are an indication that the Muses were worshipped here.


The Sanctuary of Demetra is one of the oldest sacred sites and was used from the late 6th century BC to the 4th century BC. Sister of Zeus and protector of agriculture and fertility, the goddess was worshipped in two small temples – the head of her statue was recovered from the foundations of one of them; while an inscription referring to the name of Demetra was also discovered. The excavations brought various findings to light, most of which date back to the 5th century BC. The sanctuary is surrounded by a courtyard, as only the initiated had access to the rituals performed at the temple. 


The sanctuary of Zeus Hypsistos, built during the Roman Period, is located to the east and was dedicated to the “Most Holy” of the gods. Inscriptions referring to important state affairs such as peace treaties, honorary decrees, etc. were discovered at the sanctuary. The place was of particular importance for the Macedonians, and the outdoor area was adorned with statues of the kings of Macedonia.


A pontoon bridge leads to the highlight attraction of the site: the sanctuary of goddess Isis Lochia, which is almost submerged in water. The sanctuary, which was found intact, was initially dedicated to Artemis and Eileithyia, the goddess of childbirth. The archaeological findings include also sacred artifacts dedicated to the Egyptian gods Isis, Serapis and Anubis – Isis was worshipped in Greece long before the Hellenistic Period. Other gods were also worshipped at the temple, such as Poseidon and Aphrodite – on the site you’ll see a copy of her statue, since the original one is exhibited in the museum.


The Hellenistic Theatre is located to the west of the sanctuaries' site, from which only the hollow (koilon) is preserved, built with big bricks. To the southeast, you’ll see the Roman Theatre that was erected in the 2nd century AD.


The city provided several facilities in order to accommodate pilgrims. The most impressive one is a complex of public and thermal baths that cover an area of more than 4,000 sqm. The luxurious facilities had a heated area for warm baths, a pool for cold baths, changing rooms, subsidiary areas, etc. They were equipped with an underground heating system and sewage system as well. The statues of Asclepius are evidence that the baths were also used as worship places, related probably to the therapeutic benefits of water.


One of the most significant structures is the Villa of Dionysus. The most impressive room in the building is the squared banqueting hall, the floor of which was adorned with a multicoloured mosaic of scenes from the Dionysian cycle. The theme of the mosaic is the triumph of Dionysus: the god is depicted in a chariot, holding a rhyton and a thyrsus in his raised hands. Next to him stands a Silenus wearing a purple chiton. The chariot is pulled by sea panthers, while two Centaurs hold their reins. The panels that flank the main scene depict theatrical masks. The mosaic has been transferred to a special building, the Archaiothiki, where one can admire it.


The continuing excavations at Dion have as their objective to deepen the research on the history of the ancient Macedonians; and to display the way of life in this sacred city.


Αρχαιολογικός Χώρος Δίον



Opening hours
(From April 1st to October 31st)

Archaeological Site of Dion: Daily 08.00-19.00
Archaeological Museum of Dion: Tuesday-Sunday 08.00-15.00 (closed on Mondays)

Tickets: General admission €8, with discount €4

Archaeological Site of Dion tel.: +30 23510 53206
Archaeological Museum of Dion tel.: +30 23510 53484



From Katerini train station take the train to Litochoro. The duration of the trip does not exceed 10 minutes.

Modifications or cancellations may occur to certain routes following government measures for the protection of public health. You may find more information on our website.



Dion In Numbers

Archaeological findings indicate that Dion was inhabited for over 1,000 years. The city was abandoned in the 5th century BC due to catastrophic earthquakes and natural disasters.


The fortification wall of Dion is 2,550 m long; while the so far discovered fortified city covers an area of 360 acres. The main road crossing the city, from North to South, is 670 m long.


In antiquity, the distance between Dion and the coast was 1.5 km. The city was connected to the sea through the once navigable river Vaphyras.


In 31 BC, Augustus founded a Roman colony at Dion after his victory at the battle of Actium.


1805-1807: The British military man, topographer and traveler W. M. Leake identified the site of the theatre of Dion.


In 1928, started the first excavation on the site that was carried on until 1931. Since 1973 the excavations have continued, bringing to light new findings.