Easily the most famous historic site in Greece is the Acropolis of Athens. This is an ancient citadel perched atop a rocky outcrop above the city of Athens. It is often said that the four pillars on which Western Civilisation is built are Greco-Roman and Judo-Christian pillars. Western democracy traces its origin to here in Athens - seen as the birthplace of democracy.
When exploring the Acropolis, gaze out in wonder at the ancient building all boasting great architectural and historical significance. All built long before Western Europe was anything more than a backwater. The most famous of these buildings is the eye-catching Parthenon. Greece is rich in history and much more than its many Greece Islands boasting some of the best beaches in the world.
About The Acropolis
The coordinated construction on this hill was by Pericles (495-429 BC) when Athens was the most prosperous. Pericles started the construction of some of the site's most famous buildings still standing today. He started the construction after the devastation wrought on Athenians by the Persians (in the war with the famous 300 Spartans). These buildings include the Parthenon, the Propylaea, the Erechtheion, and the Temple of Athena Nike.
- Name: From "Akron" - "Highest Point, Extremity", and "Polis" - "City"
Unfortunately, the mighty Parthenon and other buildings were seriously damaged in the 1687 siege by Venetians in the Morean War. The Parthenon was devasted by the gunpowder being stored in the Parthenon exploding after being hit with a cannonball. But still, they are impressive and one of the best places in the world to see a civilization that stood 2,500 years ago.
The Four Main Buildings of The Acropolis
- Built: 437 to 432 BC (Partially Destroyed In 1656)
The Propylaea was the monument gateway to the Acropolis of Athens. It was constructed of white Pentelic marble and gray Eleusinian marble or limestone. The central building had a standard six-columned Doric facade and it controlled the entrance to the Acropolis.
- Built: 421 to 406 BC
The Erechtheion was also an ancient Greek temple on the northern side of the Acropolis. It was dedicated to both Athena and Poseidon. It is thought that it was a replacement of the Peisitratid temple of Athena Polias that had been destroyed by the Persians.
Temple Of Athena Nike
- Built: Around 420 BC
This great temple was also dedicated to the goddess Athena and Nike and is the earliest fully Ionic temple on the Acropolis. Nike was the goddess of victory in Greek mythology and Athena was represented as being victorious in war. The Athenian citizens worshipped these goddesses in hopes of winning the long Peloponnesian War against the Spartans and their allies (they lost...).
- Built: 447 to 438 BC (Decorations Continued to 432 BC)
- Replica: Nashville Boasts A Full-Sized Parthenon Replica
The most notable of the temples and buildings on the acropolis is the Parthenon - there is actually a full-sized Parthenon replica in Nashville, Tennessee. Also dedicated to the goddess Athena it is regarded as the most important surviving building of Classical Greece. Its decorative sculptures are considered some of the high points of Greek art and are an enduring symbol of Ancient Greece, democracy, and Western civilization.
It was built as a thanksgiving to the gods for their victory over the Persians. It replaced an older temple that the Persians had destroyed. In its life, it has been converted to both a Christian church and a mosque.
Visiting the Acropolis
The official Greek website for the Acropolis has the following information about visiting the Acropolis.
- Price of Admission: Full €20 ($23), Reduced: €10 ($12)
- 5 Day Ticket: €30 ($36)
The tickets are available onsite at the ticketing offices as well as online. For the off-season from November 1st to March 30th, the reduced rate applies to the single-use tickets for all archaeological sites and museums owned by the Greek state.
These tickets are valid for Acropolis of Athens, Ancient Agora of Athens, Ancient Agora of Athens Museum, Archaeological Museum of Kerameikos, Hadrian's Library, Kerameikos, Lykeion Archaeological Site, North slope of the Acropolis, Olympieio, Roman Agora of Athens, and the South Slope of Acropolis.
Like some national parks in the United States, Greece also offers a few free admission days. These are 6th March, 18th April, 18th May, The last weekend of September, 28th October, and every Sunday from November 1st to March 31st.
- Summer Hours: 8:00 am to 6:30 pm (Last Entrance 6 pm)
- Closed: It is Closed On Certain Greek Holidays
For those interested in even deeper Greek history and legends, visit the actual site of Troy in Turkey. If one has an interest in archeology, then one will get lost in Greece, Turkey, and Italy!