Argos is the oldest inhabited town in Europe. The numerous archaeological monuments testify its long history which makes Argos an open air museum. On a walk around the town, the visitor can admire the Ancient Theatre, the Nymphaeum, the Roman Odeon and the ancient Agora with the Palaestra (wrestling school), the Bouleutherion (Council House), the sanctuaries of Venus and Apollo and some ruins of a Neolithic settlement. The passage of the Romans is made evident by the Roman Thermae and the Baths. The sight-seeing is completed, on the Aspis hill, by the sanctuaries of Pythian Apollo and Athena and the remains of the pit graves at the Deirada cemetery.
Argos has been continuously inhabited for the past 5,000 years, making it one of the oldest cities in Europe. The Pelasgians were the first inhabitants of Argos. King Inachus, from Egypt, founded the town. Then his son Phoroneus founded the Phoronean City and the son of Phoroneus, Argus, gave his name to Argos. Nearly all the royal families of ancient Greece were descendants of Inachus. It was from Argos that Hercules started his labors and Perseus his travel to the east. It was here that Danaos lived with his 50 daughters and this is the place exalted by the accomplishments of Diomedes. The town saw its heyday in the 7th century B.C. Great artists were born here (Ageladas, Polykleitos). It was much later that it became the capital of the province of Achaea during the Roman Empire. In the years following it was sacked by the Goths, the Venetians, the Franks and the Slavs, and it flourished during the Byzantine period. The Turks also conquered the town but it was liberated after many battles.
Nymfaion, a spring created in the 2nd century B.C. is located on the foot of Larisa hill. According to research the water supply network of the town started from this location. It is also believed that it was the seat of the ancient court of the town, known as Kriterion.
The Ancient Theatre, dated back to early 3rd century B.C., has a capacity of 13.000-20.000 spectators and is situated in the southwest. This theater replaced an older one built in the nearby area during the 5th century B.C. A great part of it is hewn from the rock. It consists of 83 rows of seats. The orchestra was initially circular. During the Roman period, the emperor, Hadrian remodeled it. It was re-used on the July 15th 1829 during the 4th National Assembly of the modern Greek state.
100 meters away from the Ancient Theater lies the Roman Odeon built during the Roman age over the ruins of the first ancient theater. Its tiers are hewn from the rock. The Ancient Agora stands facing the theater, in the center of the town. In that place stood the “Bouleutherion”, a big room with columns built in 460 B.C., the period of democracy in Argos. Other monuments are the Palaestra (wrestling school), the sanctuary of “Apollo Lyceus”, the sanctuary of Venus and remains of a Neolithic settlement. The men of Argos who fought with Polynices in Thebes, as well as the soldiers who fought in Troy, took their oath in the sanctuaries of the Agora. The invasions of the Goths in 395-396 B.C. destroyed a large part of the Agora monuments. The Roman Thermae and the Baths build in the early 2nd century A.C. are also very important monuments.
We can also find remains of the settlement of Argos on the Aspis Hill which was initially inhabited in 3500 B.C. A very important settlement was founded in the Middle Bronze Age but it was deserted around 1600 B.C in the early Mycenaean period. The numerous pit graves of Deirada cemetery on the foot of the hill point to this important period of the town’s history. During the archaic period, the hill was used as a place of worship in the sanctuaries of Pythian Apollo of Deirada and of Athena.