Acropolis of Athens

The Acropolis of Athens is an ancient citadel located on a rocky outcrop above the city of Athens and contains the remains of several ancient buildings of great architectural and historic significance, the most famous being the Parthenon. The word acropolis is from the Greek words ἄκρον (akron, "highest point, extremity") and πόλις (polis, "city").[1] Although the term acropolis is generic and there are many other acropoleis in Greece, the significance of the Acropolis of Athens is such that it is commonly known as "The Acropolis" without qualification. During ancient times it was known also more properly as Cecropia, after the legendary serpent-man, Cecrops, the supposed first Athenian king.

While there is evidence that the hill was inhabited as far back as the fourth millennium BC, it was Pericles (c. 495–429 BC) in the fifth century BC who coordinated the construction of the site's most important present remains including the Parthenon, the Propylaia, the Erechtheion and the Temple of Athena Nike.[2][3] The Parthenon and the other buildings were damaged seriously during the 1687 siege by the Venetians during the Morean War when gunpowder being stored in the Parthenon was hit by a cannonball and exploded.[4]

Acropolis, Athens
UNESCO World Heritage Site
The Acropolis of Athens viewed from the Hill of the Muses (14220794964)
The Acropolis of Athens, seen from the Hill of the Muses
LocationAthens, Attica, Greece
CriteriaCultural: i, ii, iii, iv, vi
Inscription1987 (11th Session)
Area3.04 ha
Buffer zone116.71 ha
Coordinates37°58′15″N 23°43′34″E / 37.97083°N 23.72611°ECoordinates: 37°58′15″N 23°43′34″E / 37.97083°N 23.72611°E
Acropolis of Athens is located in Greece
Acropolis of Athens
Location of Athens in Greece


The Acropolis of Athens as seen from Mount Lycabettus
The wooded Hill of the Nymphs is half-visible on its right, and Philopappos Hill on the left, immediately behind. The Philopappos Monument stands where, in the distant background, the coast of Peloponnese meet the waters of the Saronic Gulf.

Early settlement

The Acropolis is located on a flattish-topped rock that rises 150 m (490 ft) above sea level in the city of Athens, with a surface area of about 3 hectares (7.4 acres). While the earliest artifacts date to the Middle Neolithic era, there have been documented habitations in Attica from the Early Neolithic period (6th millennium BC).

Elephant or Hippopotamus Tooth Warrior Head Wearing Boar Tusk Helmets (3404330867)
Warrior wearing a boar tusk helmet, from a Mycenaean chamber tomb in the Acropolis of Athens, 14th–13th century BC.

There is little doubt that a Mycenaean megaron palace stood upon the hill during the late Bronze Age. Nothing of this megaron survives except, probably, a single limestone column-base and pieces of several sandstone steps.[5] Soon after the palace was constructed, a Cyclopean massive circuit wall was built, 760 meters long, up to 10 meters high, and ranging from 3.5 to 6 meters thick. This wall would serve as the main defense for the acropolis until the 5th century.[6] The wall consisted of two parapets built with large stone blocks and cemented with an earth mortar called emplekton (Greek: ἔμπλεκτον).[7] The wall uses typical Mycenaean conventions in that it followed the natural contour of the terrain and its gate, which was towards the south, was arranged obliquely, with a parapet and tower overhanging the incomers' right-hand side, thus facilitating defense. There were two lesser approaches up the hill on its north side, consisting of steep, narrow flights of steps cut in the rock. Homer is assumed to refer to this fortification when he mentions the "strong-built House of Erechtheus" (Odyssey 7.81). At some time before the 13th century BC, an earthquake caused a fissure near the northeastern edge of the Acropolis. This fissure extended some 35 meters to a bed of soft marl in which a well was dug.[8] An elaborate set of stairs was built and the well served as an invaluable, protected source of drinking water during times of siege for some portion of the Mycenaean period.[9]

Archaic Acropolis

Primitive Acropolis with the Pelargicon
Primitive Acropolis with the Pelargicon and the Old Temple of Athena.
Aufriß des alten Athena-Tempels
Proposed elevation of the Old Temple of Athena. Built around 525 BC, it stood between the Parthenon and the Erechtheum. Fragments of the sculptures in its pediments are in the Acropolis Museum.

Not much is known about the architectural appearance of the Acropolis until the Archaic era. During the 7th and the 6th centuries BC, the site was controlled by Kylon during the failed Kylonian revolt,[10] and twice by Peisistratos; each of these were attempts directed at seizing political power by coups d'état. Apart from the Hekatompedon mentioned later, Peisistratos also built an entry gate or Propylaea.[11] Nevertheless, it seems that a nine-gate wall, the Enneapylon,[12] had been built around the biggest water spring, the Clepsydra, at the northwestern foot.

A temple to Athena Polias, the tutelary deity of the city, was erected between 570–550 BC. This Doric limestone building, from which many relics survive, is referred to as the Hekatompedon (Greek for "hundred–footed"), Ur-Parthenon (German for "original Parthenon" or "primitive Parthenon"), H–Architecture or Bluebeard temple, after the pedimental three-bodied man-serpent sculpture, whose beards were painted dark blue. Whether this temple replaced an older one, or just a sacred precinct or altar, is not known. Probably, the Hekatompedon was built where the Parthenon now stands.[13]

Between 529–520 BC yet another temple was built by the Peisistratids, the Old Temple of Athena, usually referred to as the Arkhaios Neōs (ἀρχαῖος νεώς, "ancient temple"). This temple of Athena Polias was built upon the Dörpfeld foundations,[14] between the Erechtheion and the still-standing Parthenon. Arkhaios Neōs was destroyed as part of the Achaemenid destruction of Athens during the Second Persian invasion of Greece during 480–479 BC; however, the temple was probably reconstructed during 454 BC, since the treasury of the Delian League was transferred in its opisthodomos. The temple may have been burnt down during 406/405 BC as Xenophon mentions that the old temple of Athena was set afire. Pausanias does not mention it in his 2nd century AD Description of Greece.[15]

Around 500 BC the Hekatompedon was dismantled to make place for a new grander building, the "Older Parthenon" (often referred to as the Pre-Parthenon, "early Parthenon"). For this reason, Athenians decided to stop the construction of the Olympieion temple which was connoted with the tyrant Peisistratos and his sons and, instead, used the Piraeus limestone destined for the Olympieion to build the Older Parthenon. In order to accommodate the new temple, the south part of the summit was cleared, made level by adding some 8,000 two-ton blocks of limestone, a foundation 11 m (36 ft) deep at some points, and the rest was filled with soil kept in place by the retaining wall. However, after the victorious Battle of Marathon in 490 BC, the plan was revised and marble was used instead. The limestone phase of the building is referred to as Pre-Parthenon I and the marble phase as Pre-Parthenon II. In 485 BC, construction stalled to save resources as Xerxes became king of Persia and war seemed imminent.[16] The Older Parthenon was still under construction when the Persians indeed invaded and sacked the city in 480 BC. The building was burned and looted, along with the Ancient Temple and practically everything else on the rock.[17][18] After the Persian crisis had subsided, the Athenians incorporated many architectural parts of the unfinished temple (unfluted column drums, triglyphs, metopes, etc.) into the newly built northern curtain wall of the Acropolis, where they served as a prominent "war memorial" and can still be seen today. The devastated site was cleared of debris. Statuary, cult objects, religious offerings and unsalvageable architectural members were buried ceremoniously in several deeply dug pits on the hill, serving conveniently as a fill for the artificial plateau created around the classic Parthenon. This "Persian debris" is the richest archaeological deposit excavated on the Acropolis by 1890.[19]

The Periclean building program

After winning at Eurymedon during 468 BC, Cimon and Themistocles ordered the reconstruction of the southern and northern walls of the Acropolis. Most of the major temples, including the Parthenon, were rebuilt by order of Pericles during the so-called Golden Age of Athens (460–430 BC). Phidias, an Athenian sculptor, and Ictinus and Callicrates, two famous architects, were responsible for the reconstruction.[20]

During 437 BC, Mnesicles started building the Propylaea, a monumental gate at the western end of the Acropolis with Doric columns of Pentelic marble, built partly upon the old propylaea of Peisistratos.[21] These colonnades were almost finished during 432 BC and had two wings, the northern one decorated with paintings by Polygnotus.[22] About the same time, south of the Propylaea, building started on the small Ionic Temple of Athena Nike in Pentelic marble with tetrastyle porches, preserving the essentials of Greek temple design. After an interruption caused by the Peloponnesian War, the temple was finished during the time of Nicias' peace, between 421 BC and 409 BC.[23]

Construction of the elegant temple of Erechtheion in Pentelic marble (421–406 BC) was in accordance with a complex plan which took account of the extremely uneven ground and the need to circumvent several shrines in the area. The entrance, facing east, is lined with six Ionic columns. Unusually, the temple has two porches, one on the northwest corner borne by Ionic columns, the other, to the southwest, supported by huge female figures or Caryatids. The eastern part of the temple was dedicated to Athena Polias, while the western part, serving the cult of the archaic king Poseidon-Erechtheus, housed the altars of Hephaestus and Voutos, brother of Erechtheus. Little is known about the original plan of the interior which was destroyed by fire during the first century BC and has been rebuilt several times.[24][25]

During the same period, a combination of sacred precincts including the temples of Athena Polias, Poseidon, Erechtheus, Cecrops, Herse, Pandrosos and Aglauros, with its Kore Porch (Porch of the Maidens) or Caryatids' balcony was begun.[26] Between the temple of Athena Nike and the Parthenon, there was the Sanctuary of Artemis Brauronia (or the Brauroneion), the goddess represented as a bear and worshipped in the deme of Brauron. According to Pausanias, a wooden statue or xoanon of the goddess and a statue of Artemis made by Praxiteles during the 4th century BC were both in the sanctuary.[27]

Behind the Propylaea, Phidias' gigantic bronze statue of Athena Promachos ("Athena who fights in the front line"), built between 450 BC and 448 BC, dominated. The base was 1.50 m (4 ft 11 in) high, while the total height of the statue was 9 m (30 ft). The goddess held a lance the gilt tip of which could be seen as a reflection by crews on ships rounding Cape Sounion, and a giant shield on the left side, decorated by Mys (artist)Mys with images of the fight between the Centaurs and the Lapiths.[28] Other monuments that have left almost nothing visible to the present day are the Chalkotheke, the Pandroseion, Pandion's sanctuary, Athena's altar, Zeus Polieus's sanctuary and, from Roman times, the circular temple of Augustus and Rome.[29]

Hellenistic and Roman period

Acropolis 3D.stl
3-D model of the Acropolis in 165 AD (click to rotate)

During the Hellenistic and Roman periods, many of the existing buildings in the area of the Acropolis were repaired, due to damage from age, and occasionally, war.[30] Monuments to foreign kings were erected, notably those of the Attalid kings of Pergamon Attalos II (in front of the NW corner of the Parthenon), and Eumenes II, in front of the Propylaia. These were rededicated during the early Roman Empire to Augustus or Claudius (uncertain), and Agrippa, respectively.[31] Eumenes was also responsible for constructing a stoa on the South slope, not unlike that of Attalos in the Agora below.[32]

During the Julio-Claudian period, the Temple of Rome and Augustus, a small, round edifice, about 23 meters from the Parthenon, was to be the last significant ancient construction on the summit of the rock.[33] Around the same time, on the North slope, in a cave next to the one dedicated to Pan since the classical period, a sanctuary was founded where the archons dedicated to Apollo on assuming office.[34] During 161 AD, on the South slope, the Roman Herodes Atticus built his grand amphitheatre or Odeon. It was destroyed by the invading Herulians a century later but was reconstructed during the 1950s.[35]

During the 3rd century, under threat from a Herulian invasion, repairs were made to the Acropolis walls, and the "Beulé Gate" was constructed to restrict entrance in front of the Propylaia, thus returning the Acropolis to use as a fortress.[30]

Byzantine, Latin and Ottoman period

Venetian siege of Acropolis
Depiction of the Venetian siege of the Acropolis of Athens during 1687.

During the Byzantine period, the Parthenon was used as a church, dedicated to the Virgin Mary.[36] During the Latin Duchy of Athens, the Acropolis functioned as the city's administrative center, with the Parthenon as its cathedral, and the Propylaia as part of the Ducal Palace.[37] A large tower was added, the "Frankopyrgos", demolished during the 19th century.[38]

After the Ottoman conquest of Greece, the Parthenon was used as the garrison headquarters of the Turkish army,[39] and the Erechtheum was turned into the Governor's private Harem. The buildings of the Acropolis suffered significant damage during the 1687 siege by the Venetians in the Morean War. The Parthenon, which was being used as a gunpowder magazine, was hit by artillery shot and damaged severely.[40]

Akropolis by Leo von Klenze
Idealized reconstruction of the Acropolis and Areios Pagos in Athens, Leo von Klenze, 1846.

During subsequent years, the Acropolis was a site of bustling human activity with many Byzantine, Frankish, and Ottoman structures. The dominant feature during the Ottoman period was a mosque inside the Parthenon, complete with a minaret.

The Acropolis was besieged thrice during the Greek War of Independence (two sieges from the Greeks in 1821–1822 and one from the Ottomans in 1826–1827. A new bulwark named after Odysseas Androutsos was built by the Greeks between 1822 and 1825 to protect the recently rediscovered Klepsydra spring which became the sole fresh water supply of the fortress.

After the independence, most features that dated from the Byzantine, Frankish and Ottoman periods were cleared from the site in an attempt to restore the monument to its original form, "cleansed" of all later additions.[41]

Archaeological remains

Athen Akropolis (18512008726)
Remains of the Theatre of Dionysus as of 2007

The entrance to the Acropolis was a monumental gateway termed the Propylaea. To the south of the entrance is the tiny Temple of Athena Nike. 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 the ancient, though often remodelled, Theatre of Dionysus. A few hundred metres away, there is the now partially reconstructed Odeon of Herodes Atticus.[42]

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.[43]

Site plan

Site plan of the Acropolis at Athens showing the major archaeological remains

  1. Parthenon
  2. Old Temple of Athena
  3. Erechtheum
  4. Statue of Athena Promachos
  5. Propylaea
  6. Temple of Athena Nike
  7. Eleusinion
  8. Sanctuary of Artemis Brauronia or Brauroneion
  9. Chalkotheke
  10. Pandroseion
  11. Arrephorion
  12. Altar of Athena
  13. Sanctuary of Zeus Polieus
  14. Sanctuary of Pandion
  15. Odeon of Herodes Atticus
  16. Stoa of Eumenes
  17. Sanctuary of Asclepius or Asclepieion
  18. Theatre of Dionysus Eleuthereus
  19. Odeon of Pericles
  20. Temenos of Dionysus Eleuthereus
  21. Aglaureion

The Acropolis Restoration Project

Acropolis under construction 2014
View east toward the Acropolis under construction during summer 2014.

The Project began during 1975 but as of 2017 it has almost ground to a halt. The goal of the restoration was to reverse the decay of centuries of attrition, pollution, destruction stemming from military use, and misguided past restorations. The project included collection and identification of all stone fragments, even small ones, from the Acropolis and its slopes and the attempt was made to restore as much as possible using reassembled original material (anastylosis), with new marble from Mount Penteli used sparingly. All restoration was made using titanium dowels and is designed to be completely reversible, in case future experts decide to change things. A combination of cutting-edge modern technology and extensive research and reinvention of ancient techniques were used.[44]

The Parthenon colonnades, largely destroyed by Venetian bombardment during the 17th century, were restored, with many wrongly assembled columns now properly placed. The roof and floor of the Propylaea were partly restored, with sections of the roof made of new marble and decorated with blue and gold inserts, as in the original.[44] Restoration of the Temple of Athena Nike was completed in 2010.[45]

A total of 2,675 tons of architectural members were restored, with 686 stones reassembled from fragments of the originals, 905 patched with new marble, and 186 parts made entirely of new marble. A total of 530 cubic meters of new Pentelic marble were used.[46]

Cultural significance

Every four years, the Athenians had a festival called the Panathenaea that rivaled the Olympic Games in popularity. During the festival, a procession (believed to be depicted on the Parthenon frieze) traveled through the city via the Panathenaic Way and culminated on the Acropolis. There, a new robe of woven wool (peplos) was placed on either the statue of Athena Polias in the Erechtheum (during a regular Panathenaea) or on the statue of Athena Parthenos in the Parthenon (during the Great Panathenaea, held every four years).[47]

Within the later tradition of Western Civilization and classical revival, the Acropolis, from at least the mid-18th century on, has often been invoked as a key symbol of the Greek legacy and of the glories of Classical Greece.


The Acropolis is a klippe consisting of two lithostratiagraphic units, the Athens schist and the overlying Acropolis limestone. The Athens schist is a soft reddish rock dating from the upper Cretaceous. The original sediments were deposited in a river delta approximately 70 million years ago. The Acropolis limestone dates from the upper Jurassic period, predating the underlying Athens schist by 30 million years. The Acropolis limestone was thrust over the Athens schist by compressional tectonic forces, forming a nappe or overthrust sheet. Erosion of the limestone nappe led to the eventual detachment of the Acropolis, forming the present day feature. Many of the hills in the Athens region were formed by the erosion of the same nappe as the Acropolis. These include the hills of Lykabettos, Areopagus, and Mouseion .[48] The marble utilized to construct the buildings of the Acropolis was sourced from the quarries of Mount Pentelicus, a mountain to the northeast of the city.[49]

See also


  1. ^ acro-. (n.d.). In Greek, Acropolis means "Highest City". The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition. Retrieved September 29, 2008, from website: Quote: "[From Greek akros, extreme; see ak- in Indo-European roots.]"
  2. ^ Hurwit 2000, p. 87
  3. ^ "History", Odysseus. Retrieved 2 December 2012.
  4. ^ Nicholas Reeves and Dyfri Williams, "The Parthenon in Ruins" Archived 2009-08-06 at the Wayback Machine, British Museum Magazine 57 (spring/summer 2007), pp. 36–38. Retrieved 2 December 2012.
  5. ^ Castleden, Rodney (2005). Mycenaeans. Routledge. pp. 64–. ISBN 978-1-134-22782-2.
  6. ^ Hurwit 2000, pp. 74–75.
  7. ^ ἔμπλεκτος, Henry George Liddell, Robert Scott, A Greek-English Lexicon, on Perseus Digital Library
  8. ^ Hurwit 2000, p. 78.
  9. ^ "The springs and fountains of the Acropolis hill" Archived 2013-07-28 at the Wayback Machine, Hydria Project. Retrieved 2 December 2012.
  10. ^ Pomeroy, Sarah B. (1999). Ancient Greece: A Political, Social, and Cultural History. Oxford University Press. pp. 163–. ISBN 978-0-19-509742-9.
  11. ^ Starr, Chester G. "Peisistratos". Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved 2 December 2012.
  12. ^ "Acropolis fortification wall", Odysseus. Retrieved 2 December 2012.
  13. ^ Hurwit 2000, p. 111.
  14. ^ Hurwit 2000, p. 121.
  15. ^ ‹See Tfd›(in Greek) [1], Retrieved 5 June 2012
  16. ^ Manolis Korres, Topographic Issues of the Acropolis, Archaeology of the City of Athens; Retrieved 7 June 2012
  17. ^ "Athens, Pre-Parthenon (Building)", Perseus Digital Library. Retrieved 3 December 2012.
  18. ^ Dörpfeld, W: Der aeltere Parthenon, Ath. Mitt, XVII, 1892, pp. 158–189. ‹See Tfd›(in German)
  19. ^ Kavvadias, Panagiotis, Kawerau, Georg: Die Ausgrabung der Akropolis vom Jahre 1885 bis zum Jahre 1890, Athens, 1906 ‹See Tfd›(in German)
  20. ^ "Ictinus and Callicrates with Phidias", Architecture Week. Retrieved 3 December 2012.
  21. ^ "Mnesicles". Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved 6 December 2012.
  22. ^ McCulloch, John Ramsay (1841). A Dictionary, Geographical, Statistical, and Historical: Of the Various Countries, Places and Principal Natural Objects in the World. Longman, Orme, Brown, Green and Longmans. pp. 205–.
  23. ^ Mark, Ira S. (1993). The Sanctuary of Athena Nike in Athens: Architectural Stages and Chronology. ASCSA. pp. 72–. ISBN 978-0-87661-526-3.
  24. ^ Thomas Sakoulas, "Erechtheion", Retrieved 7 December 2012.
  25. ^ Venieri, "Erechtheion", Odysseus. Retrieved 7 December 2012.
  26. ^ "The Acropolis of Athens" Archived 2012-04-02 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved 9 February 2013.
  27. ^ "The Sanctuary of Artemis Brauronia", Acropolis Museum. Retrieved 9 February 2013.
  28. ^ Mikalson, Jon D. (2011). Ancient Greek Religion. John Wiley & Sons. pp. 73–. ISBN 978-1-4443-5819-3. Retrieved 9 February 2013.
  29. ^ Brouskarē, Maria S. (1997). The monuments of the Acropolis. Ministry of Culture, Archeological Receipts Fund. pp. 56–57. ISBN 978-960-214-158-8. Retrieved 9 February 2013.
  30. ^ a b Travlos, John, Pictorial Dictionary of Ancient Athens, London: Thames and Hudson, 1971. p. 54.
  31. ^ Hurwit 2000 p. 278
  32. ^ "The Stoa of Eumenes", The Acropolis of Athens. Greek Thesaurus. Retrieved 9 February 2013.
  33. ^ Hurwit 2000, p. 279.
  34. ^ Nulton, Peter, The Sanctuary of Apollo Hypoakraios and Imperial Athens, Archaeologia Transatlantica XXI, 2003.
  35. ^ Steves, Rick (2011). Rick Steves' Greece: Athens & the Peloponnese. Avalon Travel. pp. 115–. ISBN 978-1-61238-060-5. Retrieved 9 February 2013.
  36. ^ "The Partenon", Ancient Greece. Retrieved 9 February 2013.
  37. ^ Melton, J. Gordon; Baumann, Martin (21 September 2010). Religions of the World, Second Edition: A Comprehensive Encyclopedia of Beliefs and Practices. ABC-CLIO. pp. 233–. ISBN 978-1-59884-204-3.
  38. ^ Neils, Jenifer (5 September 2005). The Parthenon: From Antiquity to the Present. Cambridge University Press. pp. 346–. ISBN 978-0-521-82093-6.
  39. ^ Hellenistic ministry of culture History of the Acropolis of Athens
  40. ^ "Acropolis, Athens: Long description", UNESCO. Retrieved 9 February 2013.
  41. ^ Nicholas Reeves and Dyfri Williams, "The Parthenon in Ruins" Archived 2009-08-06 at the Wayback Machine, British Museum Magazine, No. 57, 2007, pp. 36–38. Retrieved 9 February 2013.
  42. ^ Hadingham, Evan (February 2008). "Unlocking Mysteries of the Parthenon". Smithsonian.
  43. ^ "The Acropolis Museum". Retrieved 9 February 2013.
  44. ^ a b Fani Mallouchou-Tufano, "The Restoration of the Athenian Acropolis" Archived 2012-12-02 at the Wayback Machine, University of Michigan. Retrieved 9 February 2013.
  45. ^ "2010–2011, The progress of restoration on the Acropolis", The Acropolis Restoration News, July 2011. Retrieved 9 February 2013.
  46. ^ "Acropolis Restoration Project-Lecture by Maria Ioannidou, Director, Acropolis Restoration Service", Columbia University. Retrieved 9 February 2013.
  47. ^ "Panathenaic Festical". Archived from the original on 2012-04-27.
  48. ^ Regueiro y González-Barros, Manuel; Stamatakis, Michael; Laskaridis, Konstantinos (2014-11-30). "The geology of the Acropolis (Athens, Greece)". European Geologist. 38: 45–52.
  49. ^ "Material: Pentelic Marble". Art of Making. Retrieved 2018-12-13.


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External links


An acropolis (Ancient Greek: ἀκρόπολις, akropolis; from akros (άκρος) or akron (άκρον), "highest, topmost, outermost" and polis (πόλις), "city"; plural in English: acropoles, acropoleis or acropolises) was in ancient Greece a settlement, especially a citadel, built upon an area of elevated ground—frequently a hill with precipitous sides, chosen for purposes of defense. Acropoleis became the nuclei of large cities of classical antiquity, such as ancient Athens, and for this reason they are sometimes prominent landmarks in modern cities with ancient pasts, such as modern Athens. Perhaps the most famous acropolis is the Acropolis of Athens, located on a rocky outcrop above the city of Athens and containing the Parthenon.

Acropolis International Basketball Tournament

The Acropolis International Basketball Tournament (also known as the Acropolis of Athens Basketball Tournament and the Acropolis Basketball Cup) (Greek: Τουρνουά Ακρόπολις) is an international basketball competition that is played between national teams, which has been held almost every year since 1986, and takes place in Athens, Greece, during the summer. It takes place before the big official FIBA tournaments like the EuroBasket, the FIBA World Cup, and the Summer Olympic Games. The tournament is named after the world-famous Acropolis of Athens. The competition is played under FIBA rules.

The tournament is organized by the Hellenic Basketball Federation, and it is sponsored by Eurobank. It is one of the best-known non-FIBA organized international friendly basketball competitions that is competed between national teams.


The Aglaureion was a shrine to Aglauros on the Acropolis of Athens.

Altar of Athena Polias

The Altar of Athena Polias was a former structure on the Acropolis of Athens dedicated to the goddess Athena.The altar's foundations were laid in 525 B.C. by the sons of the Athenian dictator Peisistratus, but may have overlaid an earlier temple constructed between 599 and 550. The altar itself stood within a narrow temple atop a marble pediment depicting battles between gods and giants. Images of Athena are shown as dominant and victorious within the armies of the gods.


In Greek mythology, Apheleia (Ἀφέλεια) was the spirit and personification of ease, simplicity and primitivity in the good sense, "the good old days". According to Eustathius, she had an altar at the Acropolis of Athens and was honored as a nurse of Athena.


Callicrates (; Greek: Καλλικράτης, Callicrátēs) was an ancient Greek architect active in the middle of the fifth century BC. He and Ictinus were architects of the Parthenon (Plutarch, Pericles, 13). An inscription identifies him as the architect of "the Temple of Nike" in the Sanctuary of Athena Nike on the Acropolis (IG I3 35). The temple in question is either the amphiprostyle Temple of Athena Nike now visible on the site or a small-scale predecessor (naiskos) whose remains were found in the later temple's foundations. An inscription identifies Callicrates as one of the architects of the Classical circuit wall of the Acropolis (IG I3 45), and Plutarch further states (loc. cit.) that he contracted to build the Middle of three amazing walls linking Athens and Piraeus.


A caryatid ( KARR-ee-AT-id; Greek: Καρυάτις, plural: Καρυάτιδες) is a sculpted female figure serving as an architectural support taking the place of a column or a pillar supporting an entablature on her head. The Greek term karyatides literally means "maidens of Karyai", an ancient town of Peloponnese. Karyai had a temple dedicated to the goddess Artemis in her aspect of Artemis Karyatis: "As Karyatis she rejoiced in the dances of the nut-tree village of Karyai, those Karyatides, who in their ecstatic round-dance carried on their heads baskets of live reeds, as if they were dancing plants".An atlas or telamon is a male version of a caryatid, i.e. a sculpted male statue serving as an architectural support of a column.


The Erechtheion or Erechtheum (; Ancient Greek: Ἐρέχθειον, Greek: Ερέχθειο) is an ancient Greek temple on the north side of the Acropolis of Athens in Greece which was dedicated to both Athena and Poseidon.

Frankish Tower (Acropolis of Athens)

The Frankish Tower was a medieval tower built on the Acropolis of Athens by the Franks as part of the palace of the Dukes of Athens. It was demolished by the Greek authorities in 1874, on the initiative and with funding from Heinrich Schliemann.

Odeon of Herodes Atticus

The Odeon of Herodes Atticus (also called Herodeion or Herodion) is a stone theatre structure located on the southwest slope of the Acropolis of Athens, Greece. The building was completed in 161 AD and then renovated in 1950.

Old Acropolis Museum

The Old Acropolis Museum (Greek: (Παλαιό) Μουσείο Ακρόπολης (Palaio) Mouseio Akropolis) was an archaeological museum located in Athens, Greece on the archeological site of Acropolis. It is built in a niche at the eastern edge of the rock and most of it lies beneath the level of the hilltop, making it largely invisible. It was considered one of the major archaeological museums in Athens. Due to its limited size, the Greek government decided in the late 1980s to build a new museum. The New Acropolis Museum is now built at the foot of the Acropolis. In June 2007 the old museum closed its doors so that its antiquities could be moved to their new home, which opened on 20 June 2009.


The Pandroseion (pronounced: panδrosion, Greek: Πανδρόσειον) was a sanctuary dedicated to Pandrosus, one of the daughters of Cecrops I, the first king of Attica Greece, located on the Acropolis of Athens. It occupied the space adjacent to the Erechtheum and the old Temple of Athena Polias.

The sanctuary was a walled trapezoidal courtyard containing the altar of Zeus Herkeios (protector of the hearth, of the courtyard) under the sacred Olive Tree planted by Athena. At the west was an entrance stoa from the propylea. In the northeast corner was an elaborate entrance into the north porch and the entire Etrechtheion complex. At the east, there was also a small opening through which the Thalassa of Poseidon could be viewed. The south-east corner gave access to what some thought was the tomb of Cecrops. The sanctuary also contained the sacred olive tree which was presented by Athena to the city of Athens, after her victory over Poseidon in the contest for the land of Attica.

Pelasgic wall

The Pelasgic wall or Pelasgian fortress or Enneapylon (nine-gated) was a monument supposed to have been built by the Pelasgians, after levelling the summit of the rock on the Acropolis of Athens. Thucydides and Aristophanes call it "Pelargikon", "Stork wall or place". "Pelargikon" refers to the line of walls at the western foot of the Acropolis. During the time of Thucydides, the wall was said to have stood several meters high with a large, visible fragment at 6 meters broad located on to the south of the present Propylaea and close to the earlier gateway. Today, the beveling can be seen but the foundation of the wall lies below the level of the present hill.

The Parian Chronicle mentions that the Athenians expelled the Peisistratids from the "Pelasgikon teichos". Herodotus relates that before the expulsion of the Pelasgians from Attica, the land under Hymettus had been given to them as a dwelling-place in reward for the wall that had once been built around the Acropolis.

Said to have been built by the Pelasgians, there are some remains of this wall still evident in modern Athens. The wall was believed to be 6 meters thick according to archaeological remains of the site.


The Perserschutt, a German term meaning "Persian debris", or "Persian rubble", refers to the bulk of architectural and votive sculptures that were damaged by the invading Persian army of Xerxes I on the Acropolis of Athens in 480 BC, in the Destruction of Athens during the Second Persian invasion of Greece.

Sanctuary of Pandion

The Sanctuary of Pandion is the name sometimes given to the remains of a building located in the south-east corner of the Acropolis of Athens. Its foundations were found during the excavations for the construction of the Old Acropolis Museum (1865-1874).The 40m by 17m rectangular open-air building, dating to the later fifth-century, was divided into two nearly equal parts by a wall. It faced west-northwest and was entered through a projecting portico on the western side.The name stems from the presumption that this was the location of the heroon ("hero shrine") of Pandion, the eponymous hero of the Attic tribe Pandionis (usually assumed to be one of the two legendary kings of Athens, Pandion I or Pandion II), which was known to be located somewhere on the Acropolis.

Sanctuary of Zeus Polieus

The Sanctuary of Zeus Polieus was a walled open-air sanctuary dedicated to Zeus Polieus (city protector) around 500 BC on the Acropolis of Athens, sited to the Erechtheion's east. None of its foundations have been discovered and its trapezoid plan and many entrances have been worked out from rock cuttings on the acropolis. The eastern area of the sanctuary is thought to have housed the oxen for the annual Bouphonia or ox-sacrificing. Its main entrance had a pediment.

Siege of the Acropolis (1826–27)

The Siege of the Acropolis in 1826–1827 during the Greek War of Independence involved the siege of the Acropolis of Athens, the last fortress still held by the Greek rebels in Central Greece, by the forces of the Ottoman Empire.

Following the fall of Missolonghi in western Greece, Athens and the Acropolis remained the only strongholds in Greek hands in mainland Greece outside the Peloponnese. Consequently, after his victory at Missolonghi, the Ottoman commander-in-chief, Reşid Mehmed Pasha, turned against Athens. The siege began in August 1826, and followed closely the experience of Missolonghi: the Ottomans set up a very close blockade and bombarded the hill, while the besieged harassed them with frequent night sorties and mining, utilizing the expertise of Konstantinos Chormivitis, who had already distinguished himself in Missolonghi. The Beleaguered Greeks were resupplied and reinforced by small detachments sent through the Ottoman lines by the main Greek army, under Georgios Karaiskakis, which had established itself around Eleusis, Piraeus and Phaleron to the south of Athens. The Greeks launched various attacks against the Ottoman army's rear and its supply lines, most notably the victory at the Battle of Arachova in November ; this strategy was altered in favour of direct attacks on the Ottoman army, resulting in the Battle of Kamatero in February. The command was transferred from Karaiskakis to the British general Richard Church in April.

The Ottoman victory at Phaleron (Analatos) on 24 April (Julian) 1827 ended any possibility for relief, and the Acropolis garrison surrendered a month later.

Stoa of Eumenes

The Stoa of Eumenes is a stoa on the acropolis of Athens, sited between the Odeion of Herodes Atticus and the Theater of Dionysos. It was built against the slope of the hill (meaning it needed a retaining wall supported by piers and round arches. It is named after its builder, Eumenes II of Pergamum (whose brother Attalus II of Pergamum built the Stoa of Attalus in Athens's agora, probably commissioning it from the same architect). It was two-storied, 46m longer than the Stoa of Attalus and unlike it had no rooms behind its two-aisle hall, meaning it was designed for promenading rather than business. Originally marble-faced, its arcades were built into the 1060 Byzantine defensive wall and are still visible. It had Doric columns externally, Ionic columns on the ground-floor interior and Pergemene-type capitals on the top floor interior. In front of the Stoa are the foundations of the 320BC Monument of Nikias.

Temple of Athena Nike

The Temple of Athena Nike (Greek: Ναός Αθηνάς Νίκης, Naós Athinás Níkis) is a temple on the Acropolis of Athens, dedicated to the goddess Athena Nike. Built around 420 BC, the temple is the earliest fully Ionic temple on the Acropolis. It has a prominent position on a steep bastion at the south west corner of the Acropolis to the right of the entrance, the Propylaea. In contrast to the Acropolis proper, a walled sanctuary entered through the Propylaea, the Victory Sanctuary was open, entered from the Propylaea's southwest wing and from a narrow stair on the north. The sheer walls of its bastion were protected on the north, west, and south by the Nike Parapet, named for its frieze of Nikai celebrating victory and sacrificing to their patroness, Athena Nike.

Nike means "victory" in Greek, and Athena was worshipped in this form, representative of being victorious in war. The citizens worshipped the goddess in hopes of a successful outcome in the long Peloponnesian War fought against the Spartans and their allies.


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