|he rock of the Acropolis rises up in the middle of the Athenian basin, 156m. above sea level, with a length of 300m. and a width of 150m. The rock of Acropolis, with the ruins of the Parthenon rising above it, is the ultimate archetypal image of the western culture. Its position is of particular strategic importance because of the view it affords of all the surrounding area, all the way to the sea.|
his is the reason it was inhabited even during the prehistoric period. The Pelasgians, fortified this rock with walls made of enormous slabs, up to 6 m. wide, that are known as the Cyclopean or Pelasgian walls.
|These walls protected the king's palace and the houses of his officers. During the early historical period a temple dedicated to Poseidon, and Athena, was erected on the site of the old palace.|
|he temple was destroyed twice and rebuilt both times. In the 6th century BC it was decorated with marvelous works of sculpture. Pausanias informs us about the forms of religious worship that developed on the north side of the sacred rock. |
On the northwest side we find the remains of a spring, which after the Median Wars was fashioned into a building for a fountain. It is known as the Klepsydra and had been used for a water supply since prehistoric times. In front of the Klepsydra was the intersection of the Panathenaic Way and the Peripatos (The Promenade).
The Peripatos went around the Acropolis passing along the slopes of the rock and reaching the Herod Atticaus Odeon. To the east of the Klepsydra were three caves which have been identified as the sanctuaries of Apollo, Pan and the Olympian Zeus. Even further down was a staircase that led to a sanctuary that was dedicated to one of the daughters of king Kekrops. According to Pausanias a path that started there, led to an area that was dedicated to the worship of Aphrodite and Eros.
fter the establishment of the Panathenaia, the Propylaia were built on the West End of the rock along with the Temple of Athena Nike. Many other temples that were built on the Acropolis, were dedicated to gods as well as to heroes and spirits.
There were also a host of votive offerings on the sacred rock. These offerings were dedicated by towns or ordinary citizens.
Of these offerings, the most impressive was the bronze statue of the goddess Athena. The statue was 9 meters high and was dedicated to Athena Promachus (Athena the Champion). It was created by Pheidias as a symbol of the Athenians' victory at the Persians wars.
This statue made a great impression in antiquity and as Pausanias informs us the point of the spear and the crest of the helmet of Athena were visible when one approached, sailing from Sounion.
he monuments we see today are works from the so-called Classical period and it is thought that they were erected since 447 BC up to 405 BC, that is the year when the Erechtheion, the last of the great works was completed.
|The artistic staff that was employed includes the names of the architects Iktinos, Mnisikles and Kallikrates. There is also Pheidias who was a sculptor but had far greater influence. In brief, the monuments of Acropolis contain the most representative examples of the astonishing Attican architecture of the Classical period.|
For an overall image of Acropolis, it's worth paying a visit to the Acropolis Museum, as well as taking the time to explore some of the area to the west of Acropolis and even in the south slope, where a lot of monuments are located.
|If you want to get more information about the most significant sight-seeing in the Acropolis area please click on one of the icons below or choose to proceed by moving back to the previous highlight, the Ancient Monuments of Athens, or onto the next highlight, the National Archaeological Museum of Athens.|
The Ancient monuments
Photos and informations taken from "Athens - Attica"
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