Acropolis & Parthenon

Acropolis & Parthenon

Worldwide, the Acropolis is the symbol of Athens. Atop the Sacred Rock of Athens, during the Golden Age of Pericles, the Ancient Greeks decided to convey their culture – which was at its peak at the time.

Building a collection of temples and monuments, visible from almost anywhere in the city, they succeeded in the most perfect way possible to leave a legacy that today is officially recognized by Unesco as worldwide.

Archaeological findings give evidence that there was life at the Acropolis from as early as the Neolithic Era – whether that meant it was used for sacrificial ceremonies or the use of the space for dwelling, or both.

Specifically, the Acropolis was inhabited until the end of the 6th Century B.C., when a divination from the Oracle of Delphi in 510 B.C. named the Sacred Rock as a place of worship.

According to the legend, after her duel with the God Poseidon, the Goddess Athena was chosen by the residents of the Acropolis as the protector of their city and, thus dedicated many splendid gifts to her. Inscriptions that accompanied such gifts like crockery vessels, bronze statuettes or marble maidens give proof to the adoration of Athena from the archaic period (650-480 B.C.).

Before the Golden Age of Athens, temples were already built on the sacred location of the Acropolis, but war with the Persians in 480 B.C. brought about the destruction of many of these. It was then that Pericles put into effect his ambitious plan to rebuild Athens, assigning to various architects the construction of worshipping temples.

The fact that those temples, which were erected in the 5th and 4th Centuries B.C., belonged to a single program of reconstruction, made the architectural growth of Athens quite unique.

During the period of 450-330 B.C., three very significant temples came into existence – the Parthenon, the Erechtheio and the Temple of Athena Nike (also called Temple of Nike Aptera). The three were dedicated to Athena.

However, the managing architects did not have complete freedom – since building on the foundations of previous temples, they had to take into account the relative placement of the new structures.