This is Athen's premier and world famous landmark. It was first inhabited in neolithic times but the builidings seen today date mostly from the greek classical period of approximately 400 BC. The Acropolis towers over the city of Athens and can serve as a navigation guide.
No visitor to Athens should leave without visiting the most famous site in Greece, the Acropolis. It is home to the remnants of Athens' Golden Age and one of the most important monuments ever built, the Parthenon. The Acropolis is the reason Athens exists today.
People had lived on the Acropolis hill for thousands of years until 510 BC, when the oracle at Delphi proclaimed it should only be inhabited by the gods. Temples were built and then destroyed in 480 BC by the Persians, but Athenian leader Pericles built new temples which are the ones that stand on the hill today.
The buildings have been plundered, shot at, exploded, damaged by earthquake, and permanently destroyed by smog and acid rain, yet they still stand to greet the citizens of Athens every morning and remind the world of the accomplishments the ancient Greeks brought to human kind.
Admission is charged. Hours are 8am-6:30pm daily between April and October, and 8am-4:30pm daily between November and March. During the summer it can get very hot so bring plenty of water. Also wear good shoes. Be aware the marble steps can be slippery.
See my other tips for specific details.
Okay i guess you know that one, after all, you say Athens you say Acropolis.
Im not going to talk about its history, im not an history book and there are planty of books websites and even pages here in VT that you can read about its History and all the interesting stories..
I'll just focuse on my impressions and feeling ...
After arriving to the plaka area, where i stayed,
in the first day, i put my stuff in the room and went out to explore the area. I walked just a 2 -3 min' walk and the i saw it, it was right there above me, There it is, The Acropolis !!!
It was already afternoon and a little rainy so i decided to go up there in another day as i heard its closed at 15:00, but then no worries, in the summer its open till 19:00.
I went there 2 days after, it was a warm sunny Sunday, i found my self among so many locals and a bit of tourists, yes sunday is a day which is favorit by the locals cause its free to get in.
it was quite amazing to be up there finally, to see all this amazing historic remains, everything's so quiet but its stories screems out of it...
Admission for the Acroppolis is 12 Euro except for Sundays between November to end of March which are free of admission but then much more crowded.
The ticket is valid for the Archaeological Sites of Athens:
Acropolis site and museum,
Theatre of Dionysos
Of course, the best known landmark of Athens and even of Greece...
This huge rock in the very heart of the city deserves a whole morning visit, but go FIRST THING IN THE MORNING, as it gets really crowded and really hot as time goes by and the noon approaches.
- The Propylaea
- The Temple of Athena Nike
- The Erechtheion
- The Parthenon
- The Museum
To get there, cross Plaka and follow the signs, up, up and up...
The fee for the acropolis amounts to 12 euro. That includes all the archeological sights, I listen. Plus pee ( Don't laugh cause pee is very expensive in Italy..) Sundays from November up to February ( I think) which is the "dead" season, you pay nothing. It's free! You can do it all in one day. Visit all the archeological sights that is, since they are at a short distance from each other. In this photo, taken today you can see the rock at the back..keep in mind that acro-polis is the rock, meaning "the edge of the city" and on top of that lies the Parthenon, the temple of Goddess Athina (the virgin Athina)
This place has to be one of the most photographed places in the world.
The Acropolis still takes my breath away with it's beauty and that it is still standing.
This place has seen the coming and going many generations of people, yet it is timeless.
For those who don’t know, the Acropolis is the hill on which the Parthenon sits. The two are almost synonymous, and until my visit I didn’t realise how much more there is to the site.
This tip is just really a taster, and I’ve done a travelogue for things like the Parthenon which (to me) seem like they justify it.
So the Parthenon, the Dionysus Theatre, the Erechtheion and the Propylaia/Temple of Nike are all mentioned in the travelogue.
You buy a composite ticket which covers all parts of the Acropolis as well as other sites (such as the Agora). Costs €12 and lasts for 4 days. It does not cover entry to the new Acropolis Museum.
I was there in late December, so the heat was not a problem. I still got sweaty walking up (even at 9am) so I can’t imagine what it would be like in midsummer.
All advice is to go early, before the tour groups get into full swing. I’m not sure if I got my timing right, or if it’s just that a Thursday morning 2 days before Christmas is total off season, but it was fine.
From the port of Piraeus we reached this place after more than an hour of bus ride, then walking through the city centre of Athens, through the markets as well!
Located in the milddle of the plain of Attica, the highest part of the Acropolis, this was the ideal place to build the fortified Upper city, first rock of the king of Athens and home of the most ancient worhips! It reflected the splendour of the Age of Pericles who made it a monument to Greek civilisation and rightly so may I add!
There were lots of people when we were here as the weather was sunny and hot! But we managed to enjoy it without climbing to the topmost as we could see its splendour from the enromous rock across it!
Needless to say that it's a "must see" while in Athens. We were there last August (2009) on a Saturday and it was free (!!!), if I remember correctly the enterance fee is 12 Euro.
It is packed with tourists in peak season but we didn't mind. The place is huge and amazing.
It is hot during the summer so bring water, you can refill your bottle there. There are kiosks there if you want to buy a snock or water (obviously the price is suited for a tourst spot). A better alternative for water is the machines that are a bit hidden but try to find them, a bottle of water from the machine will cost you alot cheaper. Also pay atention to your belongings- while we were there we had a feeling once that sombody tried to open our bags.
Personally when I decided to walk up the hill to the Acropolis I spent more than 2 hours because I just wanted to enjoy the view from up there, take photos as it was a clear day but if you just have so limited time 2 hours are not enough believe me. Walk around Monastiraki and Plaka, see some old ancient churches in the area, (there is a very nice church in Ermou Street and Kapnikarea Street...you cannot miss it) buy some souvenirs and enjoy a relaxed afternoon. You can see the ruins of Palia Agora and many more in that area.
Of course you can take a picture of the hill of the Acropolis from where you are because it can easily be seen from any spot since you will be somewhere out there.
September is a beautiful month....not to mention one of the best because during June or July it gets really hot sometimes!
Get to a nice cheap restaurant and ask for some Greek dishes like -dolmadakia
which is something like meatballs with vine leafs) try some (gyro or kebab)
tzatziki, or drink some wine.
A tip from me: Avoid buying bottled wine because you will have to pay much and it is not worth it. Greece has good quality wines so ask for a carafe instead, as I think it will be much cheaper and better.
Because I visited in October, the Acropolis was not as overrun with visitors as it would be in the summer (people have recounted their stories about that). So I could have a good look at the Parthenon and other great monuments.
The Parthenon originally contained a famed statue of the Greek goddess of wisdom Athena, seated on her throne. Commissioned by Pericles, it is considered to be one of the greatest works of art ever produced. The Parthenon was also built to serve as the city's treasury. It is the largest Doric-style temple ever built in Greece. It has 17 Doric columns on each side, and eight along the front and back.
During its long history, the Parthenon has suffered much damage. The two worst single episodes were in relatively recent times. In 1687, the Turks and Venetians were fighting over the city, and the latter were storing gunpowder inside the Parthenon. A stray cannonball flew in and ignited the powder, blowing off the roof. In the early 19th century, Lord Elgin, the British ambassador to the Ottoman Empire (which then controlled all of Greece) had the frieze removed from the top rim of the Parthenon. Some sections remain in Athens, but most are now in the British Museum in London. It's not clear how Lord Elgin got away with this, but he must have bribed someone. Greece wants the frieze, now called the Elgin Marbles, back.
The Erechtheion was built where, according to legend, the sea god Poseidon struck the ground with his trident and the first olive tree grew. It's named for Erichthonius, a mythical king of Athens. This temple was devoted to the worship of Athena and Poseidon, as well as Erichthonius. Its most distinctive feature is the Carytids. These statues were modelled after the beautiful women of Karyai. This temple was completed in 406 BC, near the end of the Peloponnesian Wars.
Just below the hill stands the Theater of Dionysos, which dates from the 4th century BC. Still in use today, it was the setting for Yanni's live concert video (remember, he's Greek).
If you have time, be sure to visit the Acropolis Museum nearby. Finally, the Acropolis has the best views of the city. Be sure to look around it, not just at the monuments.
The new museum of Acropolis opened for the public on 20 June 2009! One of the basic reasons this museum was build for was that the greek governement wanted a good place to put the sculptures of Parthenon that are the last 200 years in the British museum. The 5th century B.C. Parthenon Marbles, were removed from the Parthenon by the British diplomat Lord Elgin with the permission of the local Ottoman occupation authorities that were in charge those days in the early 19th century. Elgin removed the priceless statues and sold (!!!) them to the British Museum in 1816, where they have been housed since.
The Museum is much bigger than the old one that had only 1.450 square meters of exhibition space. It houses approximately 4.000 artifacts in 14.000 square meters of exhibition space. The ground where the museum was built is part of the museum itself because during the excavation an old district revealed. There are so many things to see in the museum but the frieze of Parthenon is the most impressive for me. You can see the 130 meters in a row even the parts that are missing in the british museum (you can easily notice the original from the replica parts). Another highlight in the museum are the 5 out of 6 Caryatides statues from Erechteion are here (the 6th is on british museum).
Bernard Tschumi was the lead architect of the museum in cooperation with Michalis Photiadis. The building cost for the museum’s construction was 13 million euro and many lively discussions took place about several issues like “the giant columns slim down the statues” “does the light bring out the artifacts?” or about the stability of the glass floors. I live 3' away from the museum so I will visit it very often and I really dont think the museum should be more impressive than the Acropolis itself, what matters most is the ideal location of it, just there facing the Sacred Rock of Acropolis...
It is open tuesday to sunday 8.00-20.00. The entrance was only 1 euro till the end of 2009 but now is 5 euros (still very cheap for what you get). You cant take pictures inside (pic 2 is the only one I have from the first days before they decide to forbid it, I wish knew about this the first time) but you can take pics towards the Acropolis rock. Pic 3 is taken from the cafe of the museum.
there are some free admission days anyway:
6 March (in memory of Melina Mercouri
5 June (International Enviroment Day)
18 April (International Monuments Day)
18 May (International Museums Day)
The last weekend of September annually (European Heritage Days)
Sundays in the period between 1 November-31 March
The first Sunday of every month, except for July, August and September
27 September, International Tourism Day
"Great Zeus!," I have less than three hours before I have to meet some friends for supper and in that small time span I must see the Acropolis, get back to my hotel, shower, shave, and get a taxi to rendezvous for our meal. I cannot in good conscious visit Athens (or even Greece for that matter) and not tour the Acropolis. I'd never forgive myself. ...Nor would my archaeologist brother who would probably call me "stupid" for the rest of our lives.
The owner of my hotel points me in the direction I need to go. I head off at a jogging pace. Only two blocks later I pass a sign that says "Odeon of Herodotus". "Looks promising," I think to myself. And suddenly I am at the Acropolis entrance gates. "Thank the gods!"
I buy a ticket, take it to the gate, and I'm inside the leafy lower grounds of the Acropolis. A few stairs up and the massive marble columns of the Propylaea rise before me! Moments in life like this will bring tears to your eyes--times when you are suddenly confronted with places you have seen thousands of photographs of and have read about in books your whole life but never imagined you'd actually see.
There is historic evidence that people have lived and worshipped on this spot since 6000 BC. That's a long time ago! A temple to worship Athena was first built here around 550 BC. Invading Persians destroyed it but reconstruction began during "The Golden Age of Athens" (460–430 BC). These are the buildings we see still see here now.
The poor Parthenon--it's crumbling to bits! It is one of the world's most recognizable buildings but even a quick glance shows you what photographers don't want you to see; the entire building is being held up from the inside with scaffolding. That saddened me somewhat. I hope they find a way to preserve it properly.
Don't miss the "Porch of Maidens" statues at the Erechtheum! What a beautiful link to our human past.
The entire Acropolis grounds take only about a half-hour to walk around--even pausing to take pictures.
I head back to my hotel satisfied that I'd seen it all and I still have plenty of time to get ready before dinner.
How do you describe a world icon? How do you do justice to a masterpiece? How do you write a tip on a hill that is so much more than words can describe? Only one word comes to mind. Athens. This beautiful place on earth is set amongst the gods and for the gods. Anyone that comes to Athens and looks up sees this hill, this rock of ages. Acropolis means the highest point in town. The usage of the Acropolis may go back 1,000's of years with the Mycenaean era with the Kings of that time that built a protection of walls and placed their palaces on the Acropolis in the 14th century BCE.
The Acropolis also became the place of worship with Athena, the main goddess, having the building of the Parthenon in 400BCE be dedicated to her. Other buildings of worship are located on the Acropolis hill top and all are being fortified and rebuilt. I will not say more except no visit to Greece is complete until you have walked up the stairs to the Acropolis and gazed at man's ability to accomplish beauty while war or the threat of war exists. Mankind may learn that honoring the gods is not enough to have peace, but standing on the Acropolis makes one feel as if there is a time and place for all of mankind to live in peace.