Ancient Greece at its Best
Acropolis in Greek means "The Sacred Rock, the high city". All around the world the Acropolis of Athens is known as 'The Acropolis'. There are many Acropolises in Greece but the Acropolis of Athens is the best known.
The Acropolis is primarily dedicated to the Goddess Athena. But humans from the prehistoric era have populated the Acropolis and the caves around it. Situated in the middle of Athens, many myths, festivals and important events are connected to the sacred Acropolis.
The greatest and finest sanctuary of ancient Athens, dedicated primarily to its patron, the goddess Athena, dominates the centre of the modern city from the rocky crag known as the Acropolis. The most celebrated myths of ancient Athens, its greatest religious festivals, earliest cults and several decisive events in the city's history are all connected to this sacred precinct.
The monuments of the Acropolis stand in harmony with their natural setting. These unique masterpieces of ancient architecture combine different orders and styles
of Classical art in a most innovative manner and have influenced art and culture for many centuries.
The Acropolis of the fifth century BC is the most accurate reflection of the splendour, power and wealth of Athens at its greatest peak, the golden age of Perikles
The Acropolis echoes the grandeur and the power of the Athenian empire.
The Acropolis of Athens and its monuments are universal symbols of the classical spirit and civilization and form the greatest architectural and artistic complex bequeathed by Greek Antiquity to the world.
In the second half of the fifth century BC, Athens, following the victory against the Persians and the establishment of democracy, took a leading position amongst the other city-states of the ancient world.
In the age that followed, as thought and art flourished, an exceptional group of artists put into effect the ambitious plans of Athenian statesman Pericles and, under the inspired guidance of the sculptor Pheidias, transformed the rocky hill into a unique monument of thou
ght and the arts.
The most important monuments were built during that time: the Parthenon, built by Ictinus, the Erechtheon, the Propylaea, the monumental entrance to the Acropolis, designed by Mnesicles and the small temple Athena Nike.
Built of limestone it is based on the Attica plateau and includes the Likavitos hill, the Philopappos hill, the hill of the Nymphs, and the Pnyx. The Acropolis is also known as the Cecropia, after a mythological half serpent-man Cecrops who is considered the first Athenian King.
With a height of about 70 meters and 300 meters long, it is 150 meters wide. Many human inhabitants have made constructions here since the Mycenaean era resulting in the flat top table of the Acropolis. As there was spring water and caves in abundance, the place was perfect for human habitation.
In the Mycenaean Era, during the 13th century a well-built wall was constructed around the hill of Acropolis where the king resided and he controlled the small settlements around the fortress.
These walls that were created by the Mycenaean kings were around eight meters high and constructed their palaces inside these walls. These walls consisted of two barricades.
The walls are built in a typical Mycenaean style consisting of a wall, barricade and a tower on right hand side for defence. Today very little remains of these walls and palaces.
The entrance to the Acropolis was a monumental gateway called the Propylaea. To the south of the entrance is the tiny Temple of Athena Nike. A bronze statue of Athena, sculpted by Phidias, originally stood at its centre.
At the centre of the Acropolis is the Parthenon or Temple of Athena Parthenos (Athena the Virgin). East of the entrance and north of the Parthenon is the temple known as the Erechtheum.
South of the platform that forms the top of the Acropolis there are also the remains of an outdoor theatre called Theatre of Dionysus. A few hundred metres away, there is the now partially reconstructed Theatre of Herodes Atticus.
All the valuable ancient artifacts are situated in the Acropolis Museum, which resides on the southern slope of the same rock, 280 metres from the Parthenon.