The Acropolis | A Testament to Ancient Greek Civilization, its Democracy, Culture, & Architectural Marvels
The Acropolis in Athens, perched on top of a rocky hill, is a breathtaking testament to the architectural brilliance of one of the oldest civilizations in the world. It is a collection of citadels, temples, and monuments, each showcasing a harmonious blend of Doric and Ionic styles. The Parthenon, dedicated to the Goddess Athena, the Erechtheion, the Propylaea, and the Temple of Athena Nike are some of the notable structures inside the Acropolis.
Quick Facts About the Acropolis
Location: Athens 105 58, Greece
Date of Opening: 1833
Timings: 8 AM to 6 PM
Architect: A large number of Athenian architects under the leadership of the great statesman, Perikles
Architectural Style: Doric and Ionic
UNESCO World Heritage Site: 1987
Number of Visitors Per Year: 1 million
Function: Used to serve as the official residence of the royals, a fortress, and a religious center
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Things to See in Acropolis
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
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, it could accommodate crowds of up to 5000 people.
History of Acropolis
- Settlements at the site of the Acropolis can be traced back to the 4th Century B.C.E under the reign of politician Pericles. His prominent contributions were the Parthenon, the Propylaea, the Erechtheion, and the Temple of Athena Nike.
- 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 also 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 Byzantine elements of the Acropolis of Athens were cleared in an attempt to restore the original glory of the stronghold.
Architecture of the Acropolis
Dominating the Athenian skyline, the iconic Acropolis 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 B.C.E., the Acropolis was enclosed by a massive wall, 760 m long, and about 10 m high.
- The older 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.
- 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.
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Frequently Asked Questions About the Acropolis
The Acropolis 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.
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.
The tickets to the Acropolis 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.
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.
You can enjoy priority access to the Acropolis 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.
The Acropolis 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.
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.
The Acropolis archaeological site is situated on top of Acropolis Hill. You may need around 5 to 6 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.
The Acropolis 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.
Most of the iconic structures inside the Acropolis 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.
The Acropolis 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.
The Acropolis was a symbol of Athenian power, wealth, and cultural achievements. It also housed a number of temples and citadels, 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 also held civic and cultural events.
The Acropolis is open from 8 AM to 6 PM throughout the year except for public holidays. It is closed on 1 January, 25 March, 1 May, Easter Sunday, 25, and 26 December. Acropolis timings may also fluctuate on the Friday and Saturday before Greek Orthodox Easter.
The Acropolis is situated in Athens 105,58 in Greece.
You can board any bus between 035, 040, 230, 550, and A2 and get down at Akropolh, a 5-minute walk from the Acropolis site. Or, you can also get on any of these trains- ⊓1A, ⊓3, and ⊓3B, and reach Akropoli, a short while away from the main entrance.
The Acropolis 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 citadels. 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.
If you have an interest in ancient history, archaeology, and ancient civilizations, the Acropolis is a must-visit destination. Visiting the Acropolis 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.