Acropolis and Parthenon
Right after the visit of the Acropolis Museum, I decided to give a go at the entrance of the Acropolis archeological and guess what ? It was free as well ! Thank you, Day of Culture !
So, first of all, a bit of history : Acropolis means the “elevated-polis”, the higher city then, the place where the people find a shelter against an attack. A lot of Greek cities have acropolis, fortified usually. In the case of Athens, the place was a really good one, with this steep hill and the rocky slopes which could withstand any attack from a foreign invader. However, Athens grew so large that the Acropolis was more than that : it was the beating heart of the City, where politics, arts, and religion met and intertwined. So you could find temples, markets, and amphitheaters for spectacles :
This the Theater of Dyonisos (you can see the Acropolis wall on the top right hand corner of the pic). It is just a remnant of what it was because in Antiquity it could host as much as 17 000 people (they say) ! it was built in the Vth Century BC.
A little after, mounting to the top of the Acropolis, you can see the Odeon of Herode Atticus, a relatively much more recent theater, built in 161 AD. Of course, the seats were restored and spectacles are being played every month in it :
And then, right after that, comes the entrance of the Acropolis itself, with the Propylea, the gateway through which you pass to access the top of the hill :
And then comes the Parthenon. Some facts : it was built in 15 years (-447 to –432) when Athens at its height, leader of the Delian League, and designed by Pericles to establish the grandeur of the Athenian empire by guarding the treasure of the League. It was in Pentelic marble and sheltered a statue of Athena made of gold and ivory.
And of course, it’s in continual restoration, so there is a big ugly crane in my picture ! Below, a picture of the West front of the Parthenon and a detail of the frieze of the fight between a Centaur and a Lapith :
Of course, you can also find another temple on the Acropolis, the Erechtheum with the famous Caryatids (by the way these Caryatids are just replica, five reals are in the Acropolis Museum and one in the British Museum thanks to the notorious Lord Elgin) :
And here is the view of Athens from the Western tip of the hill, with the Lykabettos Hill on the left :