The Acropolis is the jewel of the Greek capital and one of the most important cultural sites not only in Greece but around the world. This astonishing archaeological site was the cradle of democracy and one of the most important centers of ancient Greece.
The Acropolis is the jewel of the Greek capital and one of the most important cultural sites not only in Greece but around the world. This amazing archaeological site was the cradle of democracy and one of the most important centers of ancient Greece.
For anyone heading to Athens this is a must see and we have put together some interesting facts about the Acropolis that further shed light on a monument that is a universal symbol of civilization and one of the greatest architectural complexes ever. built.
-The term “Acropolis” comes from the Greek words “akron” (which means “the highest point or end” and “polis” (which means “city”). Acropolis can be interpreted as meaning “upper city”, “City on the End,” or “City in the Air.” Greece has many other acropolises, but the term most commonly refers to the Acropolis of Athens.
-The Acropolis suffered extensive damage during the Morean War. The Parthenon was used to store gunpowder during this time and it was hit by a cannonball when the Venetians besieged the area in 1687. The Turks also demolished the temple of Athena Nike to create space for a battery of cannons.
-This temple of Athena was built in 447 BC and completed 9 years later, although it took another 6 years to decorate the structure. It was built during the time when the Athenian Empire was the most powerful.
-The temple was the first on the Acropolis to have a fully Ionic order form. It was dismantled to remove its friezes, which are now on display in the Acropolis Museum. The friezes depict several scenes such as the acts of Hercules and involve various sculptures such as the statue of Moscophoros.
-Christians converted the temples of the Acropolis into churches in the 6th century, with the Parthenon becoming a church dedicated to Panagia (Virgin Mary). It then became known as the Church of Parthenos Maria.
-When the Ottomans conquered the city in the 1460s, the Parthenon was transformed into a mosque.
-The Parthenon is often called “the most perfect building in the world”. Architectural tricks like a slight tilt of the temple’s pedestal corrects the optical impression that the building sags in the middle, and the barrel-shaped curves on the columns counteract the illusion that they are narrowing in the middle. So, in a way, one could say that the perfection of the Parthenon is only achieved by a series of deliberate imperfections.
– The Greek flag flying over the Acropolis has special historical significance. In 1941, two young men shot down the swastika flag that floated there during the Nazi occupation, leaving it empty. Incredibly, they had reached the Acropolis using ancient passages that they had learned from the Greek history books. It was a powerful act of defiance that set the tone for the fierce Greek resistance movement. Today you can see the Greek Presidential Guard, the Evzones, raising and lowering the flag at dawn and dusk on Sunday.
-The Acropolis is one of the earliest known settlements in Greece. Built around the fourth millennium, the Acropolis was an ancient city that still retains much of its classical architecture and original temples, including the Parthenon. The Parthenon was built between 447 and 432 BC as a sacred temple for the goddess Athena, and it is a true wonder to see. The whole complex of statues, temples, pillars and structures is magnificent.
-The Acropolis rises 490 feet above sea level and covers an area of approximately 30,000 square meters.
-The earliest examples of human occupation of the Acropolis belong to the Neolithic phase of the 4th millennium BC, where evidence shows human occupation in caves around Attica.
-Three main structural buildings of the Acropolis are the Parthenon, the Erechteion and the Temple of Athena Nike. The Parthenon, which literally means “the apartment of the virgin”, is dedicated to the goddess Athena, who is also considered the patroness of the city of Athens. The Erection would be located in the holiest corner of the Acropolis hill and was a place where all holy ceremonies related to the goddess Athena and the god Poseidon were held.
-In 1806 Lord Elgin obtained permission from the Ottomans and succeeded in removing some of the marble sculptures that survived the explosion. These are currently kept in the British Museum in London. Greece went to great lengths to try to get the Marbles back.
* All images by Nick Bourdo Photography (Copyright)
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