Athens, Greece

A propylaea means an monumental gateway in ancient Greek architecture. Entrance into the Acropolis was controlled by the Propylaea. Though it was not built as a fortified structure, it was important that people not ritually clean be denied access to the sanctuary. It was one of several public works commissioned by the Athenian leader Pericles in order to rebuild the Acropolis hill at the conclusion of the Persian Wars. Pericles appointed his friend Phidias as the supervisor and lead architect of this massive project, which Pericles allegedly financed with funds appropriated from the treasury of the Delian League. According to Plutarch, the Propylaea was designed by the architect Mnesicles, about whom nothing else is known. Construction began in 437 BC and was terminated in 432, when the building was still unfinished.

The Propylaea survived intact through the Greek, Roman and Byzantine periods. During the period of the Duchy of Athens, it served as the palace of the Acciaioli family, who ruled the duchy from 1388 to 1458. It was severely damaged by an explosion of a powder magazine in 1656, foreshadowing the even more grievous damage to the Parthenon from a similar cause in 1687. A Frankish tower, erected on the south wing, was pulled down in 1874.

The core is the central building, which presents a standard six-columned Doric façade both on the West to those entering the Acropolis and on the east to those departing. The columns echo the proportions of the columns of the Parthenon.

The Greek Revival Brandenburg Gate of Berlin and the Propylaea in Munich both evoke the central portion of the Athens propylaea.



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Acropolis, Athens, Greece
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Founded: 437 BC
Category: Prehistoric and archaeological sites in Greece


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User Reviews

Trang Nguyen (2 years ago)
This is the main gate entrance for the Acropolis area and its slope. Spectacular bird-eye view of Athen from here. We came early in the morning after they just opened at 8am and was able to watch the army team get down from the Acropolis too.
Georges Younes (2 years ago)
You've climbed the hill all the way to the top and you're dying of anticipation to enter the Acropolis. Here is this monumental entrance, one that you will remember for years to come. More steps to climb, way too many people making their way up, blocking access and not allowing you to take a decent photo, but it's all part of the experience. Take your time. If you don't live in Athens, how many times will you see the Acropolis? Propylaea is the best entrance to the complex. It might be the most difficult one to get to because of the steep climb uphill, but once you've set eyes on those monumental columns, you know that you've made the right decision to take the hard way up to the Acropolis.
Heather Raposa (2 years ago)
What can I say... speechless! To be so close to the sacred olive tree (not original people so don't ask if still same tree planted centuries ago, its not!!) that is in the very middle of the mythical battlefield between Posiden and Athena, historian fantasy come true. Epic site to see. The "sisters" are replicas on the temple, for the originals 5 out of 6 are in the Acropolis Museum just across the pedestrian walkway follow the signs. The 6th can be found in the British Museum, originally chipped away and stolen from the temple by Thomas Bruce, Lord Elgin along with some of the frieze along the top of the Parthenon. Free entry Nov 1 to March 31st on Sundays only!! Get there very early before the ticket office opens line forms quick on those days.. by 9am on free Sundays plan on waiting up to 20 mins at the back entrance longer at the main
Ryan Gurney (2 years ago)
Absolutely beautiful ancient architecture with the designs and artwork still visible after 2,400 years! I recommend wearing solid shoes when walking around the Acropolis.
Flet (2 years ago)
Acropolis is definitely a must see historic location and there is no need to further discuss thid. However, I would not recommend doing it during summertime. Athens is very hot, so the humidity and the heat can be overwhelming for some people. Also, if you decide to visit Athens in summer, I strongly recommend wearing a lot of SPF and sun protection. Have water with you at all times! Plus tip: buy tickets beforehand, otherwise you may spend precious time waiting in lines.
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