An `acropolis’ is any citadel or complex built on a high hill. The name derives from the Greek words ‘Akro’ which means high or edge and ‘Polis’ meaning city, which is therefore called ‘High City’ or ‘City on the Edge’. The main reason behind building Acropolis is defense. In many parts of the world, acropolis became highly populated in large cities which are now major landmarks in present cities and one of the famous is the Acropolis of Athens, Greece.
The Acropolis of Athens, is the ancient Greek’s complex monumental structure still existing in current times. It is situated on a flat-top hill which is approximately 156m high that rises in the basin of Athens. The hill is rocky and steep on all sides except for the western side, with dimensions approximately 170 by 350m. In the fifth century BC (495 – 429 BC), Pericles coordinated the construction of the site’s most important buildings: The Parthenon, The Erechtheon, The Propylaea and Temple of Athena Nike. For more than 33 centuries, strong walls have surrounded the summit of the Acropolis to defend against invaders.
The Acropolis’ monuments, have survived for almost twenty-five centuries through wars, transformations, natural disasters, civilizations, believes and religions that thrived in Greece through time. Today it attracts millions of tourists every year and is designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987.
The Parthenon is the most important and characteristic monument of the ancient Greek civilization and also an international symbol. It was dedicated to Athena Parthenos, the patron goddess of Athens. An older temple Pre-Parthenon was destroyed in the Persian invasion of 480 BC and replaced with the now existing Parthenon . It was built between 447 and 432 B.C. The construction of the monument was initiated by Perikles, under the supervision of Pheidias, the famous Athenian sculptor.
At the end of the 6th century AD, the Parthenon was converted into a Christian church dedicated to the Virgin Mary. Later, in the early 1460s it was turned into a mosque as a result of Turkish invasion. In 1832, the Greek government gained control of Athens.
The temple was built between 421 and 406 BCE, dedicating it to the legendary Greek hero Erichthonius. The entire temple was erected on a slope with the main structure holding four compartments. The Erechtheion was built entirely of marble with carved doorways and windows and ornated columns.
The propylaea serves as the entrance to the Acropolis. The structure was constructed with white marble and limestone. It consists of a central building that has the gate wall and two wings on the west, one to the north and one to the south.
Temple of Athena Nike
“Nike” refers to victory in Greek, and Athena was worshipped as goddess of victory. The Greeks worshipped Athena to succeed in the War they fought against the Spartans. After the temple was demolished by the Persians in 480BCE, a new temple was built over the remains which was finished around 420BCE. The temple was demolished again in 1686 by the Turks and was reconstructed after the independence of Greece.
The Acropolis Museum is an archaeological museum which showcases the artifacts found on the rock and on the surrounding slopes, from the Greek Bronze Age to Roman and Byzantine Greece. The museum is located by the southeastern slope of the Acropolis hill, at a walking distance from Parthenon. The museum was opened to the public in 2009 displaying around 4,000 artifacts over a 14,000 sq mts area.