Acropolis of Athens

Ruins of iconic 5th-century B.C. temple complex on Athens’ rocky hilltop undergoing restoration. The rocky hill of the Acropolis, which dominates the center of modern Athens, was the greatest and most magnificent temple of the ancient town, dedicated primarily to its patron goddess, Athena. In this sacred space related most important myths of ancient Athens, its greatest religious festivals, old city cults but also some of the key to the history of events. The monuments of the Acropolis, harmoniously combined with the natural environment are unique masterpieces of ancient architecture, expressing innovative styles and trends correlations of classical art and influenced the intellectual and artistic creation for many centuries later. The Acropolis of the fifth century. B.C. is the most accurate reflection of the splendor, power and wealth of Athens at its magalyteris peak, the ‘golden age’ ‘of Pericles.

The hill has already been selected from the Neolithic period (4000 / 3500-3000 BC) as a place for local residents. Residues establishment of the Early and Middle Bronze Age were identified in the Erechtheion area. During the 13th century. BC, the rock teichisthike and was the seat of the local ruler. Parts of this wall, commonly referred to as ‘cyclopean’, preserved in fragments among the later monuments and its course can be established with reasonable accuracy. In the 8th century. B.C. Acropolis was first acquired exclusively sacred character by introducing the worship of Athena Polias. The goddess had its own temple, on the northeast side of the hill. In the middle of the 6th century. BC, the time tyrant of Athens was Pisistratus, the sanctuary enjoyed high prestige. They established the Panathenaic festival, the biggest festival of the Athenians to honor the Goddess and founded the first monumental buildings and temples for worship, including the so-called ‘Old temple’ and Hecatompedon, Parthenon precursor. Then built the temple of Artemis Brauronia and was the first attempt to shape the monumental portico of space. Believers dedicate the shrine numerous and rich offerings, as was the marble daughters and horsemen, bronze and clay statuettes and vases, many of which were accompanied by inscriptions, which attest to the importance that had the cult of Athena during the Archaic period . After the victory against the Persians at Marathon in 490 BC, the Athenians tried to build a much larger church in place of the Parthenon, known as Proparthenon. This temple was never completed, because in 480 BC, the Persians invaded Attica, plundered and burned the Acropolis monuments. After the departure of the enemy, the Athenians buried the sculptures of destroyed churches and many offerings were rescued, filling soil natural cavities and forming in this way artificial terraces in the sanctuary. The Acropolis was fortified with new walls, originally from Themistocles (the north side) and then by Cimon (the south side). Indeed, in the northern part of the wall they incorporated architectural elements of destroyed churches, which seem to date from ancient Agora and the northern side of the city.

In the middle of the 5th century. BC, the time transferred to the Acropolis headquarters of the Athenian League and Athens was the main center of the spiritual world, was implemented by Pericles initiative, a grandiose building program that lasted throughout the second half of the 5th century . B.C. For the execution of many people worked, Athenians and foreigners, free and slave, to wage one drachma. Then they were built, with the supervision of highly qualified artists, architects and sculptors, the most important monuments that the visitor sees today: the Parthenon, the Propylaea, the Erechtheion and the temple of Athena Nike. The temples on the north side and in the center of the rock mainly housed the ancient cults of Athens and the cult of the Olympian gods, while Athena longer worshiped with all the properties associated with the city, as Polias, protector of the city, in Virgo, Pallas Promachos, goddess of war, Ergane, goddess of manual labor, and Nike. After the end of the Peloponnesian War in 404 BC, and by the 1st century. BC, on the sacred rock of the Acropolis not built other important monuments. In 27 BC, in the east of the Parthenon built a small temple dedicated to the Roman Emperor Augustus in Rome. It is significant that, while during the Roman period in other Greek sanctuaries were serious looting and destruction, the Acropolis retained its old glory and continued to seek the rich offerings of the faithful. The last operation in the area was after the raid of Heruli in the 3rd century. AD, when constructed defensive wall with two gates on the west side, of which one, the west, still exists and is known by the name of Beule, named after the French archaeologist who did research in the area in the 19th century .

In subsequent centuries the monuments of the Acropolis suffered severe damage from natural causes or by human intervention. With the advent of Christianity and especially from the 6th century. AD, the monuments were converted into Christian churches. The Parthenon was dedicated to the Virgin Mary, who then called Panagia Athiniotissa, while in the late 11th century was the metropolis of Athens. The Erechtheion was converted into the church of Christ or the Virgin, the temple of Athena Nike in church and the Propylaea in episcopal residence. The rock of the Acropolis was the city fort. During the Frankish period (1204-1456), the Propylaea became the palace of the Frankish rulers, while the Turkish occupation (1456-1833) the Acropolis again became the city fortress, where the Turkish commander lived. In 1687, during the Second Venetian-Turkish war, the hill besieged by Ph. Morosini and on September 26, 1687, one bomb Venetian blew the Parthenon was converted into a powder keg. The next major disaster monuments occurred between the years 1801-1802, with the plunder of the sculptural decoration of the Parthenon by Lord Elgin and the removal of sculptures from the temple of Athena Nike and the Erechtheion. The Acropolis passed definitively under the rule of the Greeks in 1822 and first commandant of Odysseus Androutsos defined.

After liberation, the Acropolis monuments were put under the care of the new Greek state. The first excavations in the rock were made between the years 1835 and 1837. More systematic excavation of the Acropolis took the time from 1885 to 1890 by Panagiotis Kavvadia, while in the early 20th century were the first extensive restoration works of the Law. Balanos. In 1975 established the Acropolis Restoration Commission, which aims to study and conducting large-scale fasteners and restoration works, which continue to this day in cooperation with the Acropolis Restoration of Monuments and A Prehistoric and Classical Antiquities of the Ministry of Culture.


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