Did Ancient Greece Have Walls?

Ancient Greece is known for its remarkable architecture, literature, philosophy, and art. However, one question that often arises is whether ancient Greek cities had walls to protect themselves from invasion or other external threats. The answer to this question is not straightforward as it varies depending on the city and the time period.

The Mycenaean Period

During the Mycenaean period (1600 BC-1100 BC), many Greek cities had walls. The most notable example of this is the city of Mycenae, which was surrounded by massive walls made of large stone blocks.

These walls were up to 20 feet thick and 30 feet high in some places. Other examples of walled cities during this period include Tiryns, Athens, and Pylos.

The Classical Period

During the Classical period (5th century BC-4th century BC), the need for walls decreased as Greece saw a shift towards democracy and alliances between city-states. However, some cities such as Athens still had walls for protection against potential invasions from their enemies.


Athens’ Long Walls were a series of fortifications that connected the city to its port at Piraeus. These walls were built in the mid-5th century BC and were over four miles long. They provided a secure connection between Athens and its port which was essential for trade and commerce.


Sparta did not have any walls surrounding its city during this period. Instead, they relied on their military strength and training to protect themselves against external threats.

The Hellenistic Period

During the Hellenistic period (323 BC-31 BC), many Greek cities had walls for protection against invasions from neighboring kingdoms such as Macedonia and Rome.


The city of Rhodes had some of the most impressive walls of this period. The walls were over 40 feet tall, 30 feet thick, and were lined with towers and gates. These walls surrounded the city’s harbor, which was essential for trade and commerce.


The city of Corinth also had impressive walls during this period, which were built to protect the city against invasions from Macedonia. The walls were made of limestone blocks and were over six miles long.


In conclusion, ancient Greek cities did have walls for protection against external threats. The use of these walls varied depending on the time period and the specific city. However, it is clear that many cities recognized the importance of fortifications for protection against invaders.