Acropolis of Athens: Explore the birthplace of democracy

The Acropolis is an ancient citadel perched atop the city of Athens. Home to the iconic Parthenon, dedicated to the Greek goddess Athena, Erechtheion, and Propylaea, this archaeological site is the corn...


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Did you know?

Acropolis means ‘high city’ in Greek, and it was not originally built as a tourist attraction, but as a fortified citadel.

The Parthenon, the most iconic structure of the Acropolis, was once transformed into a mosque by the Ottoman Empire during their rule.

The Erechtheion temple on Acropolis is said to have a sacred olive tree that was gifted by the Greek goddess Athena herself.

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What to see at the Acropolis of Athens

Parthenon in Acropolis of Athens
Temple of Athena Nike
Erectheion Athens


The Erechtheum, also known as the Erechtheion, was dedicated to both Athena and Poseidon. The Porch of the Caryatids, with its beautifully sculpted female figures, is a notable feature of the Erechtheum. Its distinctive design combines Ionic and Doric elements and houses multiple shrines.

Odeon of Herodes Atticus acropolis of athens

Odeon of Herodes Atticus

On the southwest slope of the Acropolis of Athens lies the majestic Odeon of Herodes Atticus. This theater was built in 161 C.E. by Herodes Atticus in memory of his wife, Aspasia Annia Regilla. During its 106 years of existence, it could accommodate crowds of up to 5000 people.

History of the Acropolis of Athens

History of the Acropolis of athens
  • Settlements at the site of the Acropolis of Athens can be traced back to the 4th Century BCE under the reign of the politician Pericles. His prominent contributions were the Parthenon, the Propylaea, the Erechtheion, and the Temple of Athena Nike.
  • Many of the adjoining structures were renovated during the Hellenistic and Roman eras. The Parthenon was converted into a church during the Byzantine years. The Latins also used the Acropolis of Athens as the city’s main administrative center. 
  • After the Ottoman conquest, the Erechtheion was converted into the Governor’s private harem, and the Parthenon was used to garrison the Turkish army.
  • Later, the Ottoman, Frankish, and Byzantine elements of the Acropolis of Athens were cleared in an attempt to restore the original glory of the stronghold.

Who built the Acropolis of Athens?

The Acropolis of Athens was built and developed over several centuries. It was initially fortified by the Mycenaeans in the Bronze Age. However, the most significant and iconic structures, including the Parthenon, the Temple of Athena Nike, and the Erechtheum, were built during the Golden Age of Athens in the 5th century BCE. The Acropolis served as the primary political and religious center in ancient Greece.

The construction of these magnificent temples and monuments was carried out under the leadership of Greek politician Pericles by renowned architects and sculptors, such as Ictinus, Callicrates, and Phidias. The vision and efforts of these skilled artisans, along with the support of the Athenian people, led to the creation of one of the most celebrated architectural complexes in history.

Architecture of the Acropolis of Athens

Architecture of the Acropolis

Dominating the city’s skyline, the iconic Acropolis of Athens features a collection of impressive temples and structures.

  • The most renowned temple on the Acropolis, the Parthenon, is a Doric masterpiece. It boasts perfect proportions and a symmetrical design, showcasing the principles of Greek harmony and balance.
  • Until about the 5th Century BCE, the Acropolis was enclosed by a massive wall, 760 metres long and about 10 metres high.
  • The older Parthenon was built around 500 BCE using Piraeus limestone. The foundation for this grand structure was 11 metres deep at places. 
  • The construction of the temple of Erechtheion was planned in Pentelic marble. The complex architecture of the structure required the circumventing of the rock’s terrain and other buildings in the area.
  • Centuries later, during the Julio-Claudian period, a small Temple of Rome and Augustus was built just 23 meters away from the Parthenon. This was the final major addition to the Acropolis of Athens site.

The Acropolis of Athens today: A UNESCO World Heritage Site

Due to its immense historical, cultural, and artistic significance, the Acropolis of Athens was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987. Home to architectural masterpieces such as the Parthenon, it is a symbol of classical Greek civilization, considered the birthplace of democracy, and represents the central role played by Ancient Greece in world history.

For its rich cultural value, including its association with democracy, profound influence on Western architecture, and contribution to classical Greek art, the UNESCO designation is a commitment to protecting and preserving the legacy of this ancient landmark.

Today, the Acropolis of Athens is a cultural and historical icon and one of the most popular tourist attractions in the city.

Frequently Asked Questions about the Acropolis of Athens

What is the Acropolis of Athens?

The Acropolis of Athens is a famous ancient citadel located in Athens. It once played a central role in ancient Greek society, serving as a religious center and a site to display Athenian power. Most temples and structures inside the Acropolis were built in and around the 5th century BCE. The Parthenon, the Temple of Athena Nike, and the Erechtheion are some major attractions within the Acropolis of Athens. 

How do I book tickets to the Acropolis of Athens?

The best way to secure Acropolis tickets is to book them online. Online ticket bookings save time and money and ensure that your spot is reserved upon payment confirmation. No matter how crowded it is on the day of your visit, you can have a hassle-free touring experience at the Acropolis. 

How much do the Acropolis tickets cost?

The tickets to the Acropolis of Athens and the Parthenon with an optional audio guide cost around €22. You can visit some of Athens's most popular archaeological sites, all in one pass, including the Acropolis at around €36. If you book your Acropolis tickets online, you can enjoy almost 12% off on a combo Acropolis and Acropolis Museum ticket at  €47.50. 

Are there guided tours at the Acropolis?

If you are interested in ancient Greek history and culture, you can book Acropolis-guided tours. Ancient Athens guided tours cost around  €74 and they include entry to the Acropolis, Parthenon, and the Acropolis Museum and an expert, English-speaking guide. You can also choose a more private 2-hour guided tour of the Acropolis at  €49. 

How can I skip the line at the Acropolis of Athens?

You can enjoy priority access to the Acropolis of Athens archaeological site if you book Acropolis tickets online. However, you still need to wait at security checkpoints before entering the site. The best way to avoid crowds at the Acropolis is to arrive around and after 1 PM. 

Why is the Acropolis of Athens famous?

The Acropolis of Athens was a major religious, political, and cultural center in ancient Greece. Most of the iconic structures inside the site were built during the Golden Age of Athens. As a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the site represents a tangible link to the past and serves as a testament to the ingenuity and creativity of ancient Greeks. 

What can I see at the Acropolis of Athens?

When exploring the Acropolis, look out for its iconic temples and citadels such as the Parthenon, the Temple of Athena Nike, the Propylaea, the Erechtheion, and others. You can take in the panoramic views, inspect the architectural details, and join guided tours. Take a moment to reflect upon the vastness of the archaeological site, its contributions to the world, and the enduring legacy of the Acropolis. 

How long does it take to explore the Acropolis of Athens?

The Acropolis of Athens archaeological site is situated on top of Acropolis Hill. You may need around 3 to 4 hours to climb up the hill and explore all its attractions. After spending some time inside the Acropolis, you can take a stroll through the Acropolis Museum, filled with artifacts from bygone days. 

Is the Acropolis of Athens accessible by wheelchair?

The Acropolis of Athens offers an accessible route with elevators and ramps at the entrance to help visitors on wheelchairs and strollers reach the top of the site. However, the terrain around the Acropolis is uneven and filled with gravel. Some temples may require visitors to climb up stairs, making it difficult for wheelchair users to access certain sections of the Acropolis. 

Who built the Acropolis of Athens?

Most of the iconic structures inside the Acropolis of Athens were constructed during the 5th century BCE, under the leadership of the statesman Pericles. The architects Ictinus and Callicrates designed the iconic Parthenon. Overall, the Acropolis was a by-product of a collaborative effort involving various skilled architects, sculptors, and laborers who worked under the direction of prominent leaders and rulers of ancient Athens.

When was the Acropolis of Athens built?

The Acropolis of Athens was built over several centuries. Several architects and engineers contributed to its construction. It is said that most of the iconic structures like the Parthenon, the Temple of Athena Nike, and the Erechtheion were built during the Golden Age of Athens, the 5th century BCE. 

What is the main purpose of the Acropolis of Athens?

The Acropolis of Athens was a symbol of Athenian power, wealth, and cultural achievements. It also housed a number of temples and monuments dedicated to the Goddess Athena, the city’s patron deity. Religious ceremonies, rituals, and sacrifices were performed on the site to honor the gods and seek their favor and protection. Due to its sheer size and grandeur, the Acropolis of Athens also held civic and cultural events. 

Whate ate the Acropolis of Athens opening hours?

The Acropolis of Athens is open from 8 AM to 6 PM throughout the year except on public holidays. It is closed on 1 January, 25 March, 1 May, Easter Sunday, and 25 and 26 December. Acropolis timings may also fluctuate on the Friday and Saturday before Greek Orthodox Easter. 

Where is the Acropolis of Athens located?

The Acropolis is situated on a rocky citadel in Athens 105,58 in Greece. 

How can I reach the Acropolis of Athens?

You can use bus routes 035, 040, 230, 550, and A2 and get down at Akropolh stop, which is a 5-minute walk from the Acropolis of Athens site. Alternatively, you can also get on any of the ⊓1A, ⊓3, or ⊓3B trains and reach Akropoli station, which is a short walk away from the main entrance of the site. 

How many entrances does the Acropolis of Athens have?

The Acropolis of Athens has 2 entrances - the Propylaea and the South Slope entrance. The Propylaea is the grand central entrance with a central passage and decorative wings on either side. In ancient times, the Propylaea entrance also served as a security measure, controlling access to the citadel. The South Slope entrance directly leads to the Theatre of Dionysus. It is a lesser-known side entrance that provides access to some parts of the site without descending down the main plateau.

Is the Acropolis of Athens worth visiting?

If you have an interest in ancient history, archaeology, and ancient civilizations, the Acropolis of Athens is a must-visit destination. Visiting this ancient monument allows you to step back in time and experience the rich history and cultural legacy of ancient Athens. The buildings on the Acropolis, particularly the Parthenon, are architectural wonders. They represent the ingenuity and excellence of the ancient Greek architects and laborers who brought these masterpieces to existence.