Acropolis of Athens (World Heritage)

By | August 9, 2021

According to thesciencetutor, the Acropolis is one of the outstanding building and temple complexes of classical Greek architecture as well as of European cultural history. The buildings of the Acropolis include the Parthenon, the Propylaea, the Erechtheion and the Temple of Nikes. They illustrate the outstanding position of Athens in classical antiquity, which exerted a great influence on the architecture and cultural history of the West.

Acropolis of Athens: facts

Official title: Acropolis of Athens
Cultural monument: on the “sacred rock” of the Parthenon, once the repository of the statue of Athena made of gold and ivory and adorned with sculpted scenes of the Trojan War, the Erechtheion, dedicated to the main deities Athena and Poseidon, the Propylaea and the Temple of Niket in honor of Athena Nike
Continent: Europe
Country: Greece, Attica
Location: Athens
Appointment: 1987
Meaning: one of the most important masterpieces of classical Greece

Acropolis of Athens: history

650-480 BC Chr. demonstrably on the Acropolis worship of the goddess Athena
447-432 BC Chr. Construction of the Parthenon in the »Doric style« with an Ionic frieze
437-432 BC Chr. Construction of the Propylaea
432 BC Chr. Completion of the sculptural decoration at the Parthenon
431-404 BC Chr. Peloponnesian war between Sparta and Athens and partial destruction of Athens
421-406 BC Chr. Construction of the Erechtheion and the Temple of Nikes
395-1205 Byzantine period and remodeling of temples into Christian churches
1456-1831 Turkish rule over Greece, conversion of the Parthenon into a mosque and the Erechtheion into the harem of the Pasha
1687 Siege of the Acropolis by the Venetian fleet, partial destruction of the Parthenon by bombardment
1834 Athens becomes the capital of the Greek kingdom
1837 first excavations
1885-90 systematic studies of the Acropolis
1998-2010 Reconstruction of the Nike temple

Masterpieces from classical antiquity

For thousands of years people, gods and mythical heroes have shared the rocky limestone plateau in southern Athens. Until recently, the buildings on the rock fell victim to destruction again and again, and new things were created on the remains of the past. However, the Acropolis always remained a place of cultic veneration; so also in the fifth century BC, in classical Athens, when those great works of art were created under Pericles, which today are generally regarded as the high points of the Greek classical period. The partially preserved three temples, the Parthenon, the Erechtheion and the Niketempel, as well as a magnificent gate building, the Propylaea, are able to cast a spell on visitors. After the victory over the Persians, in a time of peace.

The focus was and is on the Parthenon Temple, dedicated to the goddess Athena, a symbol of masterful Greek architecture par excellence to this day. In the distance it appears light, almost a little floating; mighty and impressive, you stand at the foot of its Doric rows of columns. Its special aesthetic effect is due to the many details that result in the harmonious unity of the building. His architects Iktinos and Kallikrates, while enforcing the laws of geometry, avoided rigidity and uniformity; the steps to the temple describe a barely perceptible arch, the corner pillars have a larger diameter than the others, each pillar has a slight swelling apart from its tapering towards the top in the middle – optical corrections.

The remains of the frieze that once encompassed all four sides of the temple represent the Panathenaic procession, a procession that went up to the Acropolis every four years. The figures and animals of the frieze – works by the most famous Greek sculptor Phidias and his workshop, most of which are exhibited today in the British Museum in London – seem to be almost detaching from their stone background. Like all sculptural work on the Parthenon, they served to depict the legendary history of Athens. With pride and admiration in equal measure, the Athenians would have moved on the Acropolis at that time, the widely visible symbol of their power and their self-confidence. Between Parthenon and Propylaea, the newly created entrance to the Acropolis, In antiquity, there was also a huge bronze figure of Athena, which was probably recognizable from a great distance. Like the monumental figure of Athena made of gold and ivory inside the Parthenon, it was lost. The cult building of the Erechtheion, also built at the time of Pericles, contains a jewel of the Ionic style with its north hall. The so-called Korenhalle, in which instead of pillars, six girl figures (caryatids) carry the heavy weight of the stone roof on their heads, achieved fame above all. The small temple of Athena Nike, built on a bastion next to the Propylaea, shows – and this is a deviation from the usual ancient canon of images – no mythological figures, but depictions of battles between Greeks and Persians.

Acropolis of Athens