The Athens Acropolis




The Parthenon


Propylaea (Entrance)




The Erechtheum


The Caryatids (Priestesses) Detail


The Temple of Athena Nike


The Odeon of Herod Atticus

The Seating Renovated and Still in Use


Lysicrate's Choregic Monument


Sneaking out the back door!


Some Carvings from the Parthenon


Athens Corinth Delphi

Mycenae Epidauros Eleusis





Acropolis means high city, and many ancient Greek cities have these citadels perched on rock outcrops. The acropolis was the centre of power and worship, and it was from this that the words police and politician are derived.


Built in the 5th century BCE, on the Acropolis in Athens, the Parthenon, a temple dedicated to the Greek Goddess Athena, is the most important surviving building of Classical Greece. It was built using the elements of sacred geometry, the Golden Ratio and Golden Rectangle. Designed at the highpoint of Doric architecture, it is regarded the finest ever built, although the nearby Temple of Hephaestus is now the most complete Doric temple.


An earlier temple had been started on the site to celebrate the triumph at the battle of Marathon, however this was destroyed before completion when the Persians sacked the city in 480 BCE.


The Parthenon acted, like many temples, as a treasury for the Delian League's contributions of gold and votive offerings to the Goddess Athena Parthenos who, after a winning a fight with Poseidon, became the patron who gave her name to the city. Poseidon had a temple built near to the sea at Sounion as consolation.


The temple combines Doric and Ionic portions with richly sculptured decorations on the friezes, metopes, and pediments which originally were painted in natural colours. The carvings depicted include mythological battles between the Gods and the Giants, and Athenians against the Amazons. The pediments showed the birth of Athena and her fight with Poseidon.


Lots of the carvings are now missing. Some destroyed whilst others are in the new Athens Acropolis Museum, or scattered in museums around the world.


Although remains have been found on the Acropolis dating back to Neolithic times, what is seen on the "Sacred Rock" today is generally from the 5th century BCE following the end of the Persian wars.


The monumental gateway and guardhouse(Propylaea)  to the Acropolis consists of a central building with a five gate wall, and adjoining wings, to which the Sacred Way led from Eleusis.


Built, on sloping ground, of white marble with friezes of black limestone, the Erechtheion was dedicated to Athena Polias and Poseidon Erechtheus, and was home to a sacred snake fed by the priestesses on honey cakes, and used as an oracle. The temple was also used to house the most sacred holy relics of the city. On its south side is the Porch of the Maidens (caryatids) supporting the ornate frieze.


The temple of Athena Nike (Victory), the earliest Ionic temple on the Acropolis is in a prominent position overlooking the corner of the citadel.


The Odeum of Herodes Atticus was built by him in 161 CE in memory of his wife Aspasia, on the southern slope of the Acropolis. A 5,000 seater venue for music, it was originally roofed, it has recently had the seating refurbished, and is still in use.


With the rise of Xtianity, during the 6th century CE, the Parthenon was converted into a Christian church dedicated to the Virgin Mary, and after the Ottoman conquest, it was again converted this time into a mosque when it had a minaret included.


However in 1687, the ammunition dump, which was stored inside the mosque, exploded during a Venetian bombardment resulting in major structural damage to the Parthenon building and its sculptures.