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 5th 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 thought 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.

The Acropolis of Athens is the most striking and complete ancient Greek monumental complex still existing in our times. It is situated on a hill of average height (156m) that rises in the basin of Athens. Its overall dimensions are approximately 170 by 350m. The hill is rocky and steep on all sides except for the western side, and has an extensive, nearly flat top. Strong fortification walls have surrounded the summit of the Acropolis for more than 3,300 years.

The first fortification wall was built during the 13th century BC, and surrounded the residence of the local Mycenaean ruler. In the 8th century BC, the Acropolis gradually acquired a religious character with the establishment of the cult of Athena, the city’s patron goddess. The sanctuary reached its peak in the archaic period (mid-6th century to early 5th century BC).

In the 5th century BC, the Athenians, empowered from their victory over the Persians, carried out an ambitious building programme under the leadership of the great statesman Perikles, comprising a large number of monuments including the Parthenon, the Erechtheion, the Propylaia and the temple of Athena Nike. The monuments were developed by an exceptional group of architects (such as Iktinos, Kallikrates, Mnesikles) and sculptors (such as Pheidias, Alkamenes, Agorakritos), who transformed the rocky hill into a unique complex, which heralded the emergence of classical Greek thought and art.

On this hill were born Democracy, Philosophy, Theatre, Freedom of Expression and Speech, which provide to this day the intellectual and spiritual foundation for the contemporary world and its values.

The Acropolis’ monuments, having survived for almost twenty-five centuries through wars, explosions, bombardments, fires, earthquakes, sackings, interventions and alterations, have adapted to different uses and the civilizations, myths and religions that flourished in Greece through time.

References:

Comments

Your name

Website (optional)



Address

Acropolis, Athens, Greece
See all sites in Athens

Details

Founded: c. 495-429 BC
Category: Prehistoric and archaeological sites in Greece

Rating

4.7/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

James Minnock (5 months ago)
Something you simply must see. The history of the place and the detail in the information provided is top notch, there are now toilets and a water fountain at the top for refreshments. On the way down make sure you go up Mars Hill to get another great view of the Parthenon
eslam mahgoub (5 months ago)
It was easy the walk up. The information signs up there are not super informative but there are tour guides outside the place or maybe bring your own material. The views was amazing.
Matt Orange (5 months ago)
Dreamt of seeing this place as a kid and didn't disappoint. Yes there is scaffolding and a crane up there but it doesn't take away from the amazing sites and the view of Athens is worth the trip up. Would recommend to go before the end of march when it is far less crowded
Joshua Pawloski (5 months ago)
If you love history the. You have found the right place. You can spend a solid week or more exploring ancient history. When you get tired of walking around the dinning is additionally amazing. A little wine makes the experience.
collin mcconkey (6 months ago)
We were surprised at how easy the walk up was. The information signs up there are not super informative so maybe bring your own material to get some more information. The views are amazing and the ancient history is unlike anything else.
Powered by Google

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Sirmione Castle

Sirmione castle was built near the end of the 12th century as part of a defensive network surrounding Verona. The castle was maintained and extended first as part of the Veronese protection against their rivals in Milan and later under the control of the Venetian inland empire. The massive fortress is totally surrounded by water and has an inner porch which houses a Roman and Medieval lapidary. From the drawbridge, a staircase leads to the walkways above the walls, providing a marvellous view of the harbour that once sheltered the Scaliger fleet. The doors were fitted with a variety of locking systems, including a drawbridge for horses, carriages and pedestrians, a metal grate and, more recently, double hinged doors. Venice conquered Sirmione in 1405, immediately adopting provisions to render the fortress even more secure, fortifying its outer walls and widening the harbour.

Thanks to its strategical geographical location as a border outpost, Sirmione became a crucial defence and control garrison for the ruling nobles, retaining this function until the 16th century, when its role was taken up by Peschiera del Garda.