35 kilometers north of Athens lies the ancient Temple of Artemis at Brauron.
In today’s modern Greek parlance: Vravrona.
Brauron was one of the 12 cities of ancient Attica which made up the
confederation united by Theseus into the Athenian city-state.
It lies in the broad marshy valley formed by the underground river: the
Erasinos and 1.5 km from the Aegean Sea.
This temple was sacred to the Goddess Artemis in her manifestation as
protectress of mothers, mothers to be, and those seeking to become mothers.
Supplicants dedicated offerings to the goddess such as clothing, mirrors and
jewelry hoping to become pregnant and gain easy births or votive offerings
of thanks. Below: left, the Parthenon of the Bear and right: museum funeral
Every 4 years a the Festival of Artemis took place to honor the goddess.
Young Athenian girls, clad in robes of saffron, from 5 to 10 years of age
would perform the ritual bear dance which imitated the movements of a
bear. The exact symbolism of which remains obscure but some believe it has
to due with atonement for the slaying of a bear. Artemis was also the
goddess of the hunt and protectress of animals. Bears were sacred to her.
The site is also associated with Iphigenia, daughter of Agamemnon, a priestess of Artemis. Legend recounts that Iphigenia
introduced the worship of Artemis to Greece upon her return from Tauris with her brother Orestes. They carried with them
The Xoanon, the sacred image of Artemis, which they had stolen from the local Temple in Tauris.
The Tyrant Peisistratos ensured Brauron’s
importance by making the worship of Artemis the
state religion in the 6th century BC.
Initially the rites included the human sacrifice of
a male to but these were moderated in classical
The site was flooded in the 4th century BC and
Archeologists have trouble excavating due to the
sogginess of the soil but on the hill above
remains have been discovered dating to the
middle Helladic period.
Many of the finds are in the Brauron Museum, Tu-
Sun 8:30-3PM. Prehistoric and Mycenaean finds
are exhibited as well. You can stay in the lovely Mare Nostrum Hotel near to Brauron Museum
Getting to Vravrona or to Mare Nostrum by calling us at 00306947681408 email us [email protected] or Book online