An ancient fortress situated on a rocky projection just above the city called Athens is the Acropolis of Athens. The meaning of the word Acropolis is “highest point”. Acropolis is known as the “Sacred Rock” of Athens having the remains of some huge architectural buildings which were of historic significance. One of the most famous architectural buildings of its times were the “Parthenon”, the temple of “Athena” and the “Erechtheion”. After the destruction of these buildings in the 1687 Morean War the buildings were seized by the Venetians. Later the acropolis claimed the monuments and on 26th of March 2007 the monument was titled as the European Cultural Heritage. There are many Acropolises in Greece where people took shelter during war times but when you will hear the name Acropolis the first thing that will come in your mind will be the Acropolis of Athens. Thus, the Acropolis of Athens was referred as only Acropolis most of the times.
In the eighth century BC, many temples were built on the rocks of the Acropolis which is 156 meter high and most of these were dedicated to their goddess named Athena (patroness of the city). The acropolis is a symbol of classical spirit and civilization of the Greeks. It is one of the greatest artistic structures describing Greek antiquity to the whole world. In the thirteenth century, a royal place was built there by the Mycenaeans. The place was bordered by the fortification wall. The biggest festival of the city, the Panathenaia, was celebrated in those temples of goddess Athena.
After the fall of the Roman Empire (sixth century AD) the Romans were forced to convert their temples into Christian churches. The biggest temple of the city named the Parthenon was committed to the Virgin Mary. In the eleventh century the temple was titled as the city’s cathedral. In 1687, the Parthenon was completely destroyed by the Venetians. Some of the destroyed parts are still visible and some are integrated on the northern wall. When the New Greek state was established in 1822 the preservation of the area became the priority of the state and the focus was shifted towards the care of the temples. Many renovation projects were started in 1975 and many projects are still running to make the place more beautiful. The Erechtheion, the temple of Athena Nike, the Propylaea and the Parthenon are the beautiful temples that still exists. These temples were spectacularly built by the best architects, artists and sculptors of their time. During the Roman Era none building was erected until the starting of the first century BC.
As said before there are many buildings on the Acropolis and Propylaea was among them. The Propylaea was build very gracefully in the fifth century BC and is actually a gateway to the Acropolis. Earlier there was a small entrance (named Propylon) to the Acropolis but after the reign of Peisistratos this small gate was replaced by Propylaea. The huge gateway was a temple like structure which was flanked by two wings. The Doric columns on the building were supported by pediments in the front. There were six columns in the inside and five entrance gates. But the biggest and central gate was 7.5 meters high and 4 meters long. The rectangular shaped north wing was used to exhibit the paintings. The whole area was known as the Pinakotheke. There was a small open gallery in the south wing as the south wing was smaller than the north wing. A long and wide ramp which was of 20 meters joins the Propylaea to the foot of the Acropolis. But the later was replaced by a colossal staircase by the Romans in the 1st century AD. Beule-gate was the new gate built by the French archeologists in the facade of the Propylaea in 267 AD.
The Temple of Athena Nike is devoted to the goddess of Victory. The temple is quite small and was built in 421 BC by Kallikrates (who previously made the Parthenon). The temple includes four 4.66 meters tall columns on the north as well as on the east side. The temple was decorated with some wall paintings depicting the important scenes of the Battle of Plataea. The Greeks defeated the Persians in the Battle of Plataea. The Ottomans destroyed the temple in 1687. Later between 1834 and 1838 the temple was reconstructed with the original materials.
One of the most sacred places of the Acropolis was the Erechtheion. The gods of Athena and Poseidon battled on the grounds of the Erechtheion to conquer the city. A very interesting process was followed. Each god will have its turn to present a gift for the city and the people of the city have to choose the better gift. The temple was named after the great king of Athens. The citizens of both Athena and Poseidon have equal right to visit the temple. It took 15 years to complete the construction of the temple from 421 BC. There are many other places to visit in Athens. These involve the sanctuaries of the Acropolis, the Chalkotheke or Bronze Gallery where the priest offers bronze to Athena, the stoa of Artemis Brauronia and the statues in the Acropolis museum which are created by Pheidias. The whole place of Athens was very historic and was a delight to the eyes of the tourists.