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The Acropolis of Athens





Fast Facts

  • Location: In south Athens
  • Time of Visit:Throughout the year; Closed on Good Friday, Holy Saturday, Easter Sunday, Easter Monday, and 1st May
  • Preferred timings:1st Nov to 31st Mar — 8:30 am to 3:00 pm;
    1st Apr to 31st Oct — 8:00 am to 7:30 pm
  • Admission Fee:Full - € 12, Reduced - € 6,
    Free - journalists, persons under 19, Greece and E.U. University students, Soldiers on duty, tour guides, persons possessing free admission cards, Members of ICOM — ICOMOS
  • How to Reach:By road
  • Nearest Railway Station: Athens
  • Nearest International Airport: Athens Ben Epps Airport
  • Time for sightseeing: 1 day
Every ambitious skyscraper heading for the blue sky in a linear ecstasy of glass and metal owes something to the stone faí§ade of the Greek Parthenon. Le Corbusier, the grand-daddy of modernist architecture, considered the Parthenon as the very epitome of perfection in urban architecture in particular, and all forms of buildings in general. However, it did not take the genius of Le Corbusier to point out the amazing beauty of the geometric perfection of the Parthenon to the world. It was, from the moment of its inception through all ages, a construction revered, valued and worshipped as one of the supreme achievements of the ancient Greek refinement. The Acropolis of Athens has many such building, some religious and others secular, that bear testimony to the supreme height of artistic and architectural height that the early Greeks reached.

Dedicated to Athena, the Acropolis dominates the skyline of Athens and is one of the most easily recognized man made structure on the earth's surface. Take a stroll from the Monastiraki and Plaka sides to the temple through woods and then climb steps. 'Acropolis' or upper city was built as a refuge for local inhabitants during times of invasion. The more important building like the Parthenon and the Temple of Athena were built in the acropolis.

The Parthenon was built by Pericles in the 5th century B.C. as a monument dedicated to the political and cultural achievements of the people of Athens. Supposedly the finest and most magnificent creation of Greek architecture was constructed between 447 and 438 B.C. The columns are built of cylindrical stone blocks one placed over the other. You will be amazed to note that these columns though appearing straight are either curved or tapered.

Lysistrata is another interesting building in Athens Acropolis. In Lysistrata the women of Athens barricaded themselves inside to protest against their men being almost always occupied in constant war with the Spartans. The men thereby being deprived of care, sex, and home cooked food curtailed their war expeditions. The Temple of Athena Nike is synonymous with Acropolis, so impressive is its design and architecture. Designed by Iktinos and Kallikrates this structure was built from 426 to 421 B.C.

Visit the Propylaea on the western side of Acropolis and the Brauronion to its south. Propylaea was completed in 432 B.C. before the Peloponnesian war, while Brauronion was a shrine dedicated to Brauronian Artemis, the protector to be mothers and new mothers. The Pedestal of Agrippa honoring Eumenes II of Pergamon built around 178 B.C., and Chalkotheke used as store house of metal offerings are other remarkable structures.

The Erechtheion erected between 421 and 406 B.C. was dedicated to mythical king Erectheus. Notice the unusual shape of this building. Discover Athena Polias or the 'old temple of Athena' between the Parthenon and Erechtheion. The entire Acropolis was fortified within the Cyclopean wall constructed around 1200 B.C., the remains of which are still seen in the south eastern portion of Propylaea. To enter Acropolis you need to go through the Beule gate built to the west of Propylaea.

You will be surprised to learn that Parthenon was used as a church, a mosque, and then as a gunpowder storage facility by the Turks. A gunpowder explosion in 1687 did considerable damage to this enigmatic structure after which restoration work during the last three decades has helped in preserving this monument.

You cannot miss the Theater of Dionysious, the first theater to be built in stone and home to Euripides, Aristophanes, Sophocles, and Aeschylus. Later the Romans built the theater of 'Herod Atticus' in 2nd century A.D. It is now a venue for internationally acclaimed musical concerts. Yanni and Jethro Tull have performed here. Can there be anything more enthralling and ecstatic than enjoying a Royal Philharmonic Orchestra performing in the Acropolis of Athens!

Related Links :

http://in.youtube.com/watch?v=_88_8r4ZHwY: For a virtual tour to the Athenian Acropolis and views of the major landmarks of the area, watch this video!

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