The Acropolis of Athens is an ancient citadel located on a rocky outcrop above the city of Athens. It is an iconic sight and one we’ve wanted to bag for years!
It contains the remains of several ancient buildings of great architectural and historical significance, the most famous being the Parthenon.
The entrance to the Acropolis was a monumental gateway known as the Propylaea and this starts to give you a sense of the scale of the architecture within.
But before you get to the gateway there are other sights on the slopes of the Acropolis to explore too including the Odeon of Herodes Atticus.
This is a stone Roman theatre structure on the southwest slope of the Acropolis. The building was completed in AD 161 and then renovated in 1950.
It was built in AD 161 by Herodes Atticus in memory of his wife.
It was originally a steep-sloped theatre with a three-story stone front wall and a wooden roof made of expensive cedar of Lebanon timber. A venue for music concerts it had a capacity of 5,000 and the scale still feels immense.
Once through the immense gateway, one of the first things you’ll spot (apart from the Parthenon obviously) is a small temple with a row of women.
This is the Erechtheion, or Temple of Athena Polias, an ancient Greek Ionic temple-telesterion which was primarily dedicated to the goddess Athena.
The six sculptures are on the Porch of the Maidens (or Caryatid Porch, or Korai Porch).
One of the Caryatid statues was removed and taken to the British Museum, a subject much controversy and part of the Elgin Marbles,
But now we turn our eyes to the main event – The Parthenon.
Built to commemorate the Hellenic victory over Persian Empire invaders during the Greco-Persian Wars. It also served as the city treasury.
Construction started in 447 BC when the Delian League (later to become the Athenian Empire) was at the peak of its power. It was completed in 438 but work on the decoration continued for another six years.
The origin of the word “Parthenon” comes from the Greek word parthénos (παρθένος), meaning “maiden, girl” as well as “virgin, unmarried woman.”
The beating sun is starting to take its toll on my pasty white flesh . . looking a little warm now!
Then we’re heading back out of the Propylaea and off to explore more of the hectic city.
Everywhere you go in Athens you will stumble over some incredible chunk of history including Hadrian’s Arch at the entrance to the Roman Forum.