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A visit to the Acropolis

It is the Athens symbol, the sacred rock, the connection between ancient and contemporary civilizations. The monuments that stand today on the Sacred Rock are dated from the prehistoric period up to the ancient times. There is not even one person (Greek or foreign visitor) that does not want to pay due honor to this sacred rock and see its beauty and glory. A visit to Acropolis is an unforgettable experience.

 

Sightseeing in Acropolis:


Propylaea
It is the magnificent entrance that leads to Acropolis and its monuments, part of Pericles construction plan. It was built in the period between 437-432 B.C. by famous Athenian architect Mnisiklis. Before you reach Propylaea you cross Beule Gate which was part of the Romaic fortress of Acropolis. After that you see a 13 m pedestal known as "Agrippas monument" on which Athenians placed the statue of the benefactor of the city Roman Marcus Agrippas in 27 B.C.

 

 

Temple of Athena Nike (Wingless Nike). It was built on the south side of Propylaea approximately in 420 B.C. for the celebration of Greeks’ victory against Persians. The architect of the temple was Kallikrates. This area is unique because of the sanctuary that has been standing here since the prehistoric period. On the left side is Erechthia and in front Parthenon.

Parthenon It is an architectural masterpiece the importance of which can only be understood when you stand in front of it hearing its construction history and secrets. This unique temple was dedicated to Goddess Athena and was built from Pentelic marble. Underneath Parthenon lie the ruins of former Parthenon, an archaic temple which dates back to the 6th century B.C. Iktinos and Kallikrates were the architects of the temple, which was built and decorated in the period between 447-432 B.C. during the Golden Age of Pericles. The Parthenon is a double peripteral Doric temple with 8 columns on each of the short sides and 17 columns on the long ones. The chryselephantine statue of Athena was placed inside the temple. It was created by the famous sculptor Pheidias who also supervised the entire building process. This statue was the final point of the splendid procession Panathinaia, also depicted on the temple frieze.

 

 

The chryselephantine statue of Athena According to mythology, the name of the city is connected to the rivalry between Poseidon and Athena for its protection. Poseidon offered to Athenians a horse, while Athena hit the rock of Acropolis with her spear and offered them the olive tree that grew there. Preferring the olive tree which symbolizes peace and prosperity, Athenians named the city Athens. The inside of the statue, rising up to 12 m in height, was made of wood and all of its naked parts of ivory. Her peplos (tunic) and helmet were covered by sheets of gold which could be removed. The statue, which represented armed goddess Athena that held a 2 meters ivory statue of Niki in her right hand, was lost the first years of Byzantine period. Its existence is known from ancient sources as well as analytical descriptions of traveler Pausanias (2nd century A.D.) Valuable information has also been collected from its several replicas, the most famous of which is Varvakios Athena.

 

Erechtheion Erechtheion was built in the period 420-406 B.C. in the most sacred part of Acropolis: the area where goddess Athena’s sacred symbol, the olive tree, grew. This tree was destroyed afterwards by Persians. According to mythology, the tree blossomed again when Persians were chased out. Caryatids: The statues you see supporting the temple’s south facade of the roof are copies. Five out of six original statues are in the Acropolis Museum and another one in the British Museum.

Pay careful attention to the following: Walking to the top of the sacred rock requires patience and focus. The view from there however will definitely reward you. -Propylaea which welcomes visitors before seeing Parthenon. -The view from Athena Nike temple. –Parthenon columns. Their slight inclination to the centre gives visitors the impression that they can not stand the weight. -Parthenon's harmony. The temple's secret is that none of its lines are completely straight. If you already know this, you will not be deceived by the illusion of its horizontal lines, which in the middle give an impression of a curve. -Erechtheion, a remarkable temple built according to ancient Athenian standards. In reality it looks nothing like a typical Athenian temple. It is built in two levels; it is asymmetric and has two facades that have no resemblance whatsoever. The smaller south facade is the most popular one mainly due to the six Caryatids that support its roof. The dissimilarities of temple's different parts are due to the fact that these parts were dedicated to different gods. The temple's east part was dedicated to Athena Paliada and the west part to Poseidon Erechtheos.

Court of Cassation (Arios Pagos)
It is the most ancient court in the world and was specifically respected place during the ancient times. The first aristocratic Parliament of ancient Athens was located here. Throughout the time this parliament lost its political power and since the second half of the 5th century B.C. it had only judicial power mainly focusing on homicide cases. As described in “Oresteia” this was the court where Orestis went on trial for murdering his mother Clytemnestra and her lover Aegisthos. As the bronze plate on the rock base informs us this was also the place where Athenians first heard Apostle Pavlos preaching in 52 A.D.

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