The Acropolis of Athens is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a symbol of Greece’s culture and history. It is home to the Parthenon, Erechtheum and the Temple of Athena Nike. With a history of more than 2,500 years, the Acropolis is one of the most important sites in the world.
The Mycenean Acropolis of Athens is a world famous site. It is an ancient citadel that has been surrounded by fortification walls for over 3,300 years. Among the buildings on the Acropolis is the Parthenon.
Located on a rocky outcrop, the Acropolis is about 150 metres (490 feet) high. Its overall size is 170 by 350 metres. During its existence, the site has been fortified twice.
The first fortification wall was constructed in the 13th century BC. Then, the area was largely destroyed during the Persian Wars in 479 BC. Later, in the twelfth century BCE, new areas began to become important. This was the final stage of the collapse of the Mycenaean world.
The archaeological remains on and around the Acropolis are evidence of the metal exploitation that was occurring at this time. These materials were likely to have attracted the attention of the major Mycenaean powers.
Athens was a prosperous city during this time. However, it was not as centralized as other parts of Mainland Greece. Several coastal settlements flourished until the twelfth century.
In the late thirteenth century BCE, a political and economic crisis began to affect Mycenaean Greece. As a result, it became difficult for distant centers to exploit the resources of Attica.
The Mycenaean economy, which was based on large palatial complexes, collapsed. The decline of the palatial economy led to the decentralization of power in mainland Greece. Unlike a centralized polity, the lack of bureaucratic administration meant that classification as a state was impossible.
To prevent erosion, rock bolts have been installed on the Acropolis. Retaining walls have also been put up. The site is protected by legislative decrees.
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The Parthenon is one of the most important monuments to be built in Ancient Greece. It’s located on the Acropolis in Athens. This temple is dedicated to Athena, the goddess of wisdom and war.
Before it was destroyed by the Turkish Empire, the Parthenon served as a place of worship for Greeks. In the 5th century, early Christians added a bell tower to its west side.
The construction of the Parthenon began in 447 B.C. and took about nine years to complete. During that time, sculpting was completed. Some of the statues depicted the birth of Athena. Others depicted the battle between the gods and giants.
The Parthenon’s frieze is decorated with 160 m of sculpture. On each side of the building, hand carved figures and animals are depicted. These subjects reflect the turbulent history of Athens.
The east pediment shows the birth of Athena. Another section of the pediment shows her preparing to give birth. Throughout the frieze, there are repeated gestures of hand to head.
The west pediment also has a horseman. He raises his hand to his head and looks back at his companion.
The statue of Athena was made of gold and ivory. She stood approximately 12 metres high. Her helmet had a sphinx on the top.
The Parthenon also had an Ionic frieze on all four sides. This frieze was carved using a bas-relief technique, meaning that the sculptures are raised from the background.
Although the Parthenon is one of the most well-known temples in the world, it has endured many tragedies. When the Greeks first became independent from the Turks, the Parthenon Hill was used as a fortress. Later, it was converted into a mosque.
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The Erechtheum is a Greek temple that is located on the Acropolis of Athens. It is dedicated to the Greek god of the sea, Poseidon. The building is a remarkably luxurious Ionic temple.
The Erechtheum is considered to be one of the most famous and important ancient buildings in Athens. It was built between 421 and 406 B.C., and served as a shrine for Athena Polias, Hephaistos, Boutos and other gods.
The Erechtheum is composed of Pentelic marble, which is celebrated for its pure white appearance. This type of marble is also said to contain traces of iron.
The structure of the Erechtheum was designed in order to accommodate the site’s uneven ground. The plan also had to accommodate a well containing salt water. An olive tree given to the people of Athens by Athena was also incorporated into the complex.
As with many of the other buildings on the Acropolis, the structure of the Erechtheum was not without controversy. Despite its high-profile status, it has suffered major damage and misuse throughout the years.
In the 7th century, the temple was converted into a Christian basilica, and its interior plan was overhauled. This led to a major rebuilding phase. Some of the building’s interior walls were removed.
The Erechtheum is known for its unusual plan, which allows for the entrance to the building to be flanked by a pair of porches. These porches are supported by tall Ionic columns.
The porches have a contrapposto theme, where maidens representing the columns are sculpted. This design was inspired by the statues of Korai that stood on the south porch.
Other features of the Erechtheum include its entablature, which is covered with egg-and-leaf ornaments. Braidings on the temple’s walls are decorated with coloured glass.
Temple of Athena Nike
The Temple of Athena Nike was an Ionic temple dedicated to the goddess Athena. It was constructed around 420 BC and located in the Acropolis in Athens. Located on the southwest edge of the Acropolis, it is the smallest temple on the plateau.
Originally, the temple was built in the Ionic order and used Pentelic marble. It was built with a stone parapet and carved reliefs. One of the most famous reliefs is that of Nike adjusting her sandals. This relief is found in the Acropolis Museum.
The temple had four columns on either side, each with spirals in front. They also had colonnaded porticos at the front and rear facades.
The Temple of Athena Nike was designed by the Greek architect Kallikrates. He was the same architect who built the Parthenon. During construction, the temple was closed to tourists. Although it was finished in 420 BCE, it was later destroyed during the Roman Empire’s repression of pagans.
After the Persian Wars, the temple was rebuilt and was completed during the High Classical Period. It was also named Apteros Nike. Interestingly, it is one of the few buildings at the Acropolis that survived.
Although the temple is small, it is an important symbol of victory. In fact, the temple has the distinction of being the earliest Ionic structure on the Acropolis.
The Temple of Athena Nike is a small, elegant structure. It was built in Ionic order and is made from white Pentelic marble. However, the sculptural decoration is stunning. The temple is decorated with an Ionic frieze, which depicts battles between Greeks and Persians.
The Athena Nike temple was an important part of worship. It was built on the site of a smaller earlier temple, which was destroyed during the Persian Wars.
The Acropolis of Athens is one of the most popular archaeological sites in the world. Thousands of tourists visit the site each day during peak periods. Its steep slopes make it a challenge for people with mobility problems. But it has been improving its accessibility for disabled visitors in recent years.
Last year, the Acropolis installed a concrete path to assist wheelchair users. This was a huge improvement over the old freight elevator that took disabled visitors to the top. However, this was not without controversy.
The new pathway features a grey concrete track with a synthetic membrane to protect the ancient stones. It is almost four metres wide.
Another innovation is the slope lift, which is a cutting-edge technology that can carry two wheelchairs at a time. While the lift is not available for visitors right now, it is expected to arrive in December 2020.
The new facility also features an elevator on the north face of the hill. These have been installed to accommodate the growing number of visitors.
In addition, the site has been revamped with a number of other features. This includes the braille tactile signage that was previously mentioned.
Other improvements include the creation of new paths for wheelchair and mobility impaired visitors. Previously, most people were able to view the monuments by wandering along uneven stone paths.
One of the best features is the fact that a modern lift has been installed to help transport individuals with mobility difficulties to the top of the site. This will make the Acropolis of Athens a more accessible attraction for everyone.
The Acropolis is not the only place in Greece that has been improved for the handicapped. Public transportation and taxis are also wheelchair-friendly.