In the spirit of nontraditional monuments, this week we’re featuring the Acropolis of Athens! Located in Athens, Greece this ancient citadel is a cultural landmark that was inhabited as long ago as the 4th millennium BC! The word “Acropolis” comes from the Greek words for “edge” and “city” but this specific acropolis (since there were a ton all over Greece) is and was the most prominent and important. The entire Acropolis is only 3 hectares (.01 square miles, or 300,000 square feet) large, but held many buildings all used for different purposes.
[photo via iWallScreen]
The Acropolis came to be after a Greek victory against the Persians and the following establishment of democracy. These two key historical events allowed Greece to flourish in both architecture and the arts, and soon after Pericles (an Athenian statesman) made plans for an ambitious and elaborate plan. At that time the Acropolic was nothing but a rocky hill and now it holds the famous Parthenon, the Erechtheon, the Propylea, the iconic entrance to Acropolis and a temple to Athena Nike. Some were temples, some were royal palaces, protective walls, but now the Acropolis is a museum as well as an UNESCO site. This is arguably one of the most important records of Ancient Greek history, architecture and art that we still have today.
[photo via WikiCommons]
The Acropolis was a place for culture and religion and gives us a look into the past like no other even though much of the original structures were demolished due to wars and looting. Due to many take overs from various different ruling governments, precious artifacts and pieces of art were taken from the Acropolis and lost forever. The city was used as a church by the Byzantine Empire, a harem and a mosque by the Turks. Most of the damage to the Parthenon was during the siege of the Acropolis by the Venetian armies. The Turks used the Parthenon as a gunpowder story place, and a cannonball hit the building.
[photo via Athens Walking Tours]
Today, we still have awe and admiration for the impressive feats of architecture. We hope you get a chance to visit!