Athens Greece Travel Guide
Acropolis of Athens
Athens Greece
National Museum
The Agora
Benaki Museum
Filopappos Hill
Temple of Zeus
Temple of Poseidon
Syntagma Square
>> TOP 10 Around ATHENS
>> TOP Destinations from ATHENS
Ermou Street
Cape Sounio
Early human occupation

The earliest artifacts date to the Middle Neolithic  era, although there have been documented habitations in Attica  from the Early Neolithic (6th millennium BC ). Once into the Bronze Age , there is little doubt that a Mycenaean  megaron  must have stood on top of the hill, housing the local potentate and his household, guards, the local cult facilities and a number of workshops and ordinary habitations. The compound was surrounded by a thick Cyclopean  circuit wall, possibly between 4.5 m and 6 m in height, consisting of two parapets  built with large stone blocks and cemented with an earth mortar called emplekton. The wall follows typical Mycenaean convention in that its gate was arranged obliquely, with a parapet and tower overhanging the incomers' right-hand side, thus facilitating defence. 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). It was during that time that an earthquake caused a fissure near the northeastern edge, one that ran all the way down to the marl layer and in which water collected. An elaborate set of stairs was built and the well was used as a protected source of drinking water during some portion of the Mycenaean period, as it was invaluable in times of siege.

The Dark Ages

The imagined intact Acropolis  in an 1846 painting by Leo von Klenze
Most of the major temples were rebuilt under the leadership of Pericles  during the Golden Age  of Athens (460-430 BC). Phidias , a great Athenian sculptor, and Ictinus  and Callicrates  two famous architects, were responsible for the reconstruction. During the 5th century BC , the Acropolis gained its final shape. After winning at Eurymedon  in 468 BC ,Cimon  and Themistocles  ordered the reconstruction of southern and northern walls, and Pericles  entrusted the building of the Parthenon to Ictinus and Phidias.

In 437 BC  Mnesicles started building the Propylaea , monumental gates with columns of Penteli  marble , partly built upon the old propylaea of Pisistratus. These colonnades were almost finished in the year 432 BC  and had two wings, the northern one serving as picture gallery. At the same time, south of the propylaea, building of the small Ionic Temple of Athena Nike  commenced. After an interruption caused by the Peloponnesian War , the temple was finished in the time of Nicias ' peace, between 421 BC  and 415 BC.

During the same period the building of the Erechtheum , a combination of sacred precincts including the temples of Athena Polias, Poseidon , Erechtheus , Cecrops , Erse , Pandrosos  and Aglauros, with its so-called the Kore Porch (or Caryatids ' balcony), was begun.

Between the temple of Athena Nike and the Parthenon there was the temenos  of Artemis  Brauronia or Brauroneion , the goddess represented as a bear and worshipped in the deme  of Brauron. The archaic xoanon of the goddess  and a statue made by Praxiteles  in the 4th century BC  were both in the sanctuary.

Behind the Propylaea, Phidias' gigantic bronze statue of Athena Promachos  ("she who fights in the front line"), built between 450 BC  and 448 BC , dominated. The base was 1.50 m high, while the total height of the statue was 9 m. The goddess held a lance whose gilt tip could be seen as a reflection by crews on ships rounding Cape Sounion , and a giant shield on the left side, decorated by Mys  with images of the fight between the Centaurs  and the Lapiths . 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 .

Archaeological remains

The entrance to the Acropolis was a monumental gateway called the Propylaea . To the south of the entrance is the tiny Temple of Athena Nike . A bronze statue of Athena, sculpted by Phidias , originally stood at its center. 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 the also the remains of an outdoor theatre called Theatre of Dionysus . A few hundred metres away, there is the, now partially reconstructed Theatre of Herodes Atticus .
Acropolis Athens
The Acropolis of Athens is the best known acropolis  (high city, The "Sacred Rock") in Greece  and in the world. Although 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.

The Acropolis was formally proclaimed as the pre-eminent monument on the European Cultural Heritage list of monuments on the 26th of March, 2007. The Acropolis is a flat-topped rock which rises 150  (512 ft ) above sea level in the city of Athens , Greece .It was also known as Cecropia, after the legendary serpent -man, Kekrops or Cecrops , the first Athenian king.