about acropolis athens

Learn All About the Acropolis of Athens Before Your Visit

The nation of Greece has a very deep-rooted connection with its history. This has been preserved in the form of several iconic monuments and museums across the country. One such is the Acropolis of Athens, one of the foremost specimens of Grecian culture. Built atop a massive hell, the citadel comprises the ruins of several historic buildings including the Parthenon. The Acropolis is also one of the foremost tourist hubs of South-Eastern Europe. If you’re planning a visit, know more about the Acropolis of Athens.

The Acropolis of Athens at a Glance

acropolis history
  • The earliest artifacts can be dated back to the Middle Neolithic era.
  • It is believed that a Mycenaean megaron palace stood here during the late Bronze age.
  • Located at a height of 150 m above sea level, the citadel is spread over 3 hectares, which is approximately the size of four football fields.
  • The hill on top of which the Acropolis is situated is unstable due to the constant shift of tectonic shifts, causing damage to the age-old structures.
  • There are more than 20 points of attraction at the Acropolis, including the Parthenon, and the Temple of Zeus.

A Detailed Look at the Acropolis of Athens

The Acropolis of Athens is said to have stood for millennia and in this time, it has experienced a fair share of history. The structures within the citadel are quite significant chronicles of ancient stories.

acropolis history

Acropolis History

Settlements at the site of the Acropolis of Athens can be traced back to the 4th Century B.C.E. The records are difficult to trace, but most of the current-surviving ruins were built under the reign of politician Pericles. His prominent contributions were the Parthenon, the Propylaea, the Erechtheion, and the Temple of Athena Nike.

The temples of Athena Polias, Poseidon, Cecrops, Herse, Pandrosos, and Aglauros, with its Caryatids' balcony, began around the same period. During the Hellenistic and Roman eras, a lot of the adjoining structures were renovated. The Parthenon was converted into a Church during the Byzantine years. The Latins used the Acropolis of Athens as the main administrative center of Athens. 

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 the Byzantine elements of the Acropolis of Athens were cleared in an attempt to restore the original glory of the stronghold.

acropolis architecture

Acropolis Architecture

Until about the 5th Century B.C.E., the Acropolis of Athens was enclosed by a massive wall, 760 m long, and about 10 m high. A temple to the tutelary deity, Athena Polias, it was built out of Doric limestone inside the citadel between 570-550 B.C.E. The older Parthenon or the Pre-Parthenon was built around 500 B.C.E. using Piraeus limestone. The foundation for this grand structure was 11 meters 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. Phidias' gigantic bronze statue of Athena Promachos was built between 450 and 448 B.C.E. The base of the structure was close to 5 feet while the total structure stood 30 ft tall. 

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.

What to See at the Acropolis of Athens

To this day, historical tourism in Europe always includes the Acropolis of Athens. Several sites within the fortress are of major tourist interest. Here are some of the most popular sites to visit at the Acropolis of Athens.

parthenon athens
Erectheion Athens

Erechtheum

The Erechtheum, also known as the Erechtheion, is located on the north side of the Acropolis of Athens. The temple was dedicated to both Athena and Poseidon. Mnesicles is thought to be the architect of this magnificent structure that was constructed between 421 and 406 B.C.E. Keep an eye out for the six beautiful Caryatids -- female statues placed as supporting structure for the roof.

Temple of Athena Nike
Odeon of Herodes Atticus acropolis

Odeon of Herodes Atticus

On the southwest slope of the Acropolis 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, the theater could accommodate crowds of up to 5000 people. The structure was left in ruins by the Heruli in 267 C.E. Today, it is still used for cultural events in Athens.

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Skip-the-Line Athens Acropolis Museum Tickets with Optional Mobile Audio Guide

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Frequently Asked Questions About the Acropolis of Athens

Q. What is the Acropolis?

A. The Acropolis is an ancient citadel located atop a hill in the city of Athens. It contains the remains of several historic buildings including the Parthenon and the Temple of Athena Nike, among many others.

Q. Is the Acropolis open to the public now?

A. Yes, the Acropolis is open to the public. You can visit the Acropolis by booking your tickets online.

Q. Do I need tickets to enter the the Acropolis?

A. Yes, you will need to book tickets to enter the Acropolis.

Q. Where can I buy tickets for the Acropolis?

A. You can purchase your Acropolis tickets and tours online.

Q. How much does it cost to visit the Acropolis of Athens?

A. Acropolis tickets start from €10.08.

Q. Why is the Acropolis of Athens important?

A. The Acropolis of Athens was used as a home for ancient Greek Kings, a mythical home for Greek Gods, a citadel and so much more over many years. Today, the remains of several buildings and structures can still be found here, holding a lot of historical significance.

Q. Why should I visit the Acropolis of Athens?

A. Visiting the Acropolis will take you back in time. Explore the remains of ancient buildings and structures like the Parthenon and the Temple of Athena Nike, as you dive into the history of ancient Greece.

Q. Is the Acropolis worth visiting?

A. The Acropolis is a world-famous tourist destination that is definitely worth a visit.

Q. When was the Acropolis built?

A. The Acropolis of Athens was built during the 5th century BC, during the second half.

Q. What is the Acropolis used for today?

A. Today, the Acropolis is an important tourist destination, housing the remains of the ancient citadel.

Q. Where is the the Acropolis located?

A. The Acropolis is located on top of a rocky hill above the city of Athens.

Q. What can I see inside the Acropolis?

A. Inside the Acropolis, you can explore the remains of several buildings and structures like the Parthenon, the Erechtheum, the Temple of Athena Nike, the Odeon of Herodes Atticus, and so much more. You can also visit the Acropolis Museum to discover ancient Greek artefacts.

Q. Are guided tours available for the Acropolis?

A. Yes, you can book and Acropolis guided tour online.

Q. How do I skip the lines at the Acropolis?

A. You can avoid waiting in long ticket lines by booking Acropolis skip the line tickets.

Q. What are the timings for the Acropolis?

A. During the summer (April to October), the Acropolis is open from 8 AM to 8 PM and in the winter (November to March), it is open from 8 AM to 5 PM. Last entry is half an hour before closing time.

Q. How much time do you need at the Acropolis?

A. It will take you about 1.5 to 2 hours to completely explore the Acropolis.

Q. Is the Acropolis wheelchair-friendly?

A. Yes, the Acropolis is a wheelchair-friendly attraction, however, certain parts might be uneven and difficult to explore.