The Kerameikos is named after the district of the potters, which in ancient times was located near the city wall on the river Eridanos. The potters (and bronze casters) had a heros as their “guardian god” called Keramos, after whom the district is named.
The city gate (Dipylon)
Athens was protected by a large city wall with 15 city gates. The ‘Dipylon’ (in the northwest of the city) was the most important of these 15 gates. This was the only double gate, while next to it was a second gate, the so-called “Holy Gate”. These gates were imposing and best reinforced of all city gates. The gates lay in the back, so that the enemy had to go through the walls during a storm. The Dipylon also had the largest courtyard compared to other city gates. The courtyard was 22 x 41 meters. The gate was so large and important, among other things, because during the Panathenaic procession for daylight, people gathered at this gate in the Pompeion (the “procession building”). From the Pompeion, the procession, the most important religious festival of ancient Athens, passed via the Panathenaic Way, over the agora, to the Acropolis, where the ancient statue of the goddess Athens was presented with a new peplos.
Image above, the Dipylon and the Holy Gate, drawing from Ancient City, P. Conolly and H. Dodge, Cologne 1998.