Acropolis - Parthenon, Athens
Will it be possible to visit Athens without entering the Acropolis? Of course not!
The Parthenon is the dominant building, but, to be honest, the visit doesn't had much to what we know from the many descriptions that came to our life in school and subsequent readings. The true achievement is the sensation of... "being there", with the feet walking across the history of civilization, towards the museum that shows... yes, the details that you didn't know before the visit.
As you doubtlessly already know, the Parthenon is the iconic symbol of Athens, and indeed Ancient Greece, Athenian democracy, western civilization and one of the world's greatest cultural monuments. I will not attempt to give you the full story of it. It is dedicated to the patron of Athens, Athena and was built in the 5th Century, BC, and replaces an earlier temple of Athena which was destroyed by the Persians. It has been used as a treasury, an ammunition dump, a mosque and a Christian shrine, but is still the most important building of classical Greece.
In the 17th Century the structure and some of the sculptures were severely damaged by an explosion. In the early 19th Century, the Earl of Elgin, with permission from the Ottomans, removed some of the surviving sculptures, now housed in the British Museum and called “the Elgin marbles.” Since 1983, when Melina Mercouri was the Minister of Culture, Greece has been trying to get them returned, but have been unsuccessful to date. They are also doing some extensive restoration and reconstruction which you can see in some of the photos here. I am amazed at how they seem to sort through the mounds of rubble and figure out which pieces fit in which column, lentils or whatever. I would not want to be in a jigsaw puzzle contest with them!
The Acropolis of Athens is the heart and soul of Athens: its name means city on the extremity and the reason is quite simple. This ancient citadel is located on top of a 150 metres tall hill overlooking the city. On the Acropolis flat-top rocky surface you can visit 21 historical sites from old Greek times, the most prominent of which is the Parthenon.
The Parthenon is a temple that was dedicated to the Goddess Athena, the patroness of the city and was once home to a giant statue of her. The temple, through the centuries, was looted several times and had many uses: first it became a Christian church, then it was converted into a mosque and then, thanks to the Venetians in the 17th century, a powder magazine. When the powder exploded, the roof and many columns collapsed, while many sculptures either disappeared or were sold.
Restoration works are underway and hopefully the temple will soon be brought back to former splendour
An Acropolis temple dedicated to Athena, the patron goddess of Athens. It's also probably at the centre of the most controversial issues in archaeology and conservation - the question of the Elgin marbles and their rightful place.
The temple was started in 447BC and completed, including all decorations, in 432BC (which is much quicker than some works in the modern world would take!). Like few other buildings, Parthenon traces the history of religions. With the rise of Christianity in the region, the Athena temple became a church dedicated to Virgin Mary. Which was quite suitable, given that the name Parthenon translates from ancient Greek as 'virgin's apartments'. When Ottomans conquered the territory, it - predictably - became a mosque, complete with a minaret.
Destruction of Parthenon
In 1687, the Venetian army was bombarding the city, and an ammunition depot - housed in the Parthenon by the Ottomans - has exploded, damaging both the building and the sculptures. Some of these sculptures were later removed by Lord Elgin to be placed in the British Museum.
It was August 2010, the heat was excessive, crowds were all around and it was about 9am in the morning.
The acropolis, which is viewable from every angle of the Syntagma / Plaka and most of Athens is the prime attraction for one's visit to Athens.
Acro-polis houses the PARTHENON, the symbol of Greek rule for the last couple of thousand years.
It can be rewached by a short walk from Syntagma / Plaka ( about 15 minutes) or by taking the metro to Acropolis and then a 5 minutes trot.
Water bottles and a hat/cap is a must from June - September.
There is a water outlet next to the parthenon from which one can replenish their bottles or have a cool drink.
This extraordinary creation is maybe the main site in Athens and for sure one of the main reasons of my short trip to Greece.
The name Parthenon refers to the worship of Athena Parthenos, the "Virgin Athena". The patroness of Athens, pure in body, mind and heart, represents the symbol of the universal human aspiration for wisdom. Not bad for a young lady who, by that time, had lost the few wisdom that she had . . .
When work began on the Parthenon in 447 BC, the Athenian Empire, ruled by Pericles, was at the height of its power. Built by the architects Ictinius and Callicatres under the supervision of the sculptor Phidias, this temple is considered to be the culmination of the development of the Doric order. The Parthenon is a Doric peripteral temple, which means that it consists of a rectangular floor plan with a series of low steps on every side, and a colonnade (8 x 17) of Doric columns extending around the periphery of the entire structure. Each entrance has an additional six columns in front of it. The larger of the two interior rooms, the naos, housed the cult statue. The smaller room (the opisthodomos) was used as a treasury.
I read that Parthenon is “the supreme expression of the ancient Greek architectural genius”. For me the Parthenon is not “Architecture” but "Art" because there is no conception of space (Architecture will born later, with the Panteon in Rome). The Parthenon is a precious jewel box made up to contain the wisdom goddess, but also to be venerated during the Panathenaia, the procession from the Pompeion until the Acropolis in honour of Athenea. The position and orientation of the temple on the sacred hill with regard to the procession tour and some details of the temple itself to correct some optic defects tell us about that.
But let me tell you what I loved here. Listen to the sound of the wind blowing through the columns: that is the same wind that mankind has listened to for centuries. It is the sound of nature meeting human imagination. And you can name that Architecture, Art, History or whatever you want.
This is why the tourists clog up Athens year after year...sure there are other wonderful sights to see in Athens but at the end of the day they are all simply side dishes basking in the afterglow of the timeless Parthenon. Even with the scaffolding that surrounds it as a result of the endless restoration work, the Parthenon still commands attention and wonder. Fortunately...at least as of Feb. 2009...the scaffolding is only around roughly half of the Parthenon so there are still some portions of it that are unadorned with signs of restoration. While the best time to see the Parthenon is in the early morning before the crowds arrive the best time to take pictures is midday when the sun is higher in the sky and the Parthenon is not immersed in shadows.
This is why most people go to Athens to see the Parthenon. And so I chose a hotel close to the Acropolis --- and from walking from my hotel, I got a glimpse of this magnificent structure! Wow, I’m in Greece!
At night, it even looks better because it is well-lighted perched upon the top of that hill which is visible from any almost point of the city. But they say that the Acropolis looked even grander in its heyday, during the time of the city of Pericles. The buildings were then lavishly colored and dotted with several gigantic statues, some of them laced with gold and precious stones.
At the time I visited, renovations were still going on. There is a lot of walking and so make sure you have good walking shoes. But I saw people who were on wheelchairs and it looks like there is a cagelift that rises vertically up the northern side of the complex.
Unfortunately, the worst enemy of the Parthenon in recent times has been Acid Rain caused by industrial and traffic pollution --- dissolving the precious marble. Hopefully, expensive efforts to restore this great building will continue and be successful so it will still be there and look even better when I visit again!
It is the most important and characteristic monument of the ancient Greek civilization and still remains its international symbol. It was dedicated to Athena Parthenos (the Virgin), the patron goddess of Athens. It was built between 447 and 438 B.C. and its sculptural decoration was completed in 432 B.C. The construction of the monument was initiated by Perikles, the supervisor of the whole work was Pheidias, the famous Athenian sculptor, while Iktinos (or Ictinus) and Kallikrates (Callicrates) were the architects of the building. The temple is built in the Doric order and almost exclusively of Pentelic marble. It is peripteral, with eight columns on each of the narrow sides and seventeen columns on each of the long ones. The central part of the temple, called the cella, sheltered the famous chryselephantine cult statue of Athena, made by Pheidias.
If you go to Athens, you must go up to the Acropolis and admire the Parthenon. Although it is under restoration and a great part of the marbles are abroad, you can make an idea of the temple as it was in the past. The magnitude of the temple, the columns, the size of the plinths...
The Parthenon must be one of the most visited and photographed spots in Europe. There are always lots of people around and it is impossible to take a picture where nobody else appears.
The Parthenon on the Athenian Acropolis is a temple of the Greek goddess Athena.
It is the most important surviving building of Classical Greece.
The Parthenon is regarded as an enduring symbol of ancient Greece and it is one of the world's greatest cultural monuments. The Greek Ministry of Culture is currently carrying out a program of restoration and reconstruction.
In 1806, Thomas Bruce, 7th Earl of Elgin removed some of the surviving sculptures, with Ottoman permission. These sculptures, now known as the Elgin or Parthenon Marbles, were sold in 1816 to the British Museum in London, where they are now displayed. The Greek government is committed to the return of the sculptures to Greece, so far with no success
The Parthenon and Acropolis are things what you must to see certainly, when you visit the Athens. I think, even if you don't like, you can't miss them.
They are symbols of Athens like the Eiffel Tower for Paris, the Big Ben and Tower Bridge for London, Colosseum for Rome ...
I didn't like the Parthenon, when I stood beside it on Acropolis. It's look different than I was seen it before on photos ... there was big restoration and reconstruction ... all it was draped with platforms.
Of course it be impressed me, so big and grandiose was it.
The best view to the Parthenon and Acropolis I found on the Philopappos hill. If you have the time, go and look it from afar ... I think you agree with me.
Especial enjoyment is to look the Acropolis and Parthenon at evening, when daylight is ending and they turning the light on at the Acropolis. You can see the short clip I've made in here
The opening times and prices look in my Acropolis tip.
The Parthenon is a temple of the Greek goddess Athena. It’s considered to be built in the V-th century BC. The Parthenon is regarded as an enduring symbol of ancient Greece.
In the VI-th century AD, the Parthenon was converted into a Christian church dedicated to the Virgin.
After the Ottoman conquest, it was converted into a mosque in the early 1460s, and it even had a minaret. In 1687 an Ottoman ammunition dump inside the building was ignited by Venetian bombardment. The resulting explosion severely damaged the Parthenon and its sculptures.
You may watch my high resolution photo of Acropolis on the Google Earth according to the following coordinates 37º 58' 16.62" N 23º 43' 38.18" E or on my Google Earth Panoramio Parthenon.
The sacred rock of Athens holds one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. Parthenon is an architectural masterpiece of Perikli’s Golden Age, when the greeks liked to build temples for their gods. Some monuments in Acropolis are under never ending restoration the last 40 years. Iktinos and Kalikratis were the architects of Parthenon between 447-438 BC with marble from Penteli and the temple was dedicated to Athena, the goddess of Athens. In early 19th century Lord Elgin transferred a big part of the decoration of the monument to British museum and many people still wonder why they are not on Parthenon!
Anyway, if you want to have a picture of you in front Parthenon or just feel the vibe of the place dont go on sundays because there will be a hundred of other tourists with you! :)
Propylaia is the monumental entrance to the Acropolis rock and you pass through it to see Parthenon. It was built by Mensiclis in 432 B.C (there was a delay of 5 years because of wars) and.the basic material that have been used was Pentelic marble and supposed to be the first monumental building in the classical period to be more complex than a simple rectangle or cylinder. Propylaia in greek means “before the gate” and you can see this name in any monumental gateway in Greece (like the one in the centre of Athens). The good thing is that you can walk inside (over a platform) and have a closer look of it (it’s forbidden in Parthenon). The building is impressive and surrounds the natural entrance to the Parthenon.
In the beginning there was a straight inclining ramp but the romans built a more dramatic ramp in a zigzag fashion! Like Parthenon it is build in Doric style although both buildings have ionic columns in their interiors
Walking throw this remain rocks, may dosent mean nothing to some people. But, is more than small peaces of marbles. These are little words, and deep travel in to the timeless history.
The "gaps" among the the colons, are step to step covered by new marble, also the iron stands are gone, as the titanium is more strong with less damage to the monument.
The temple to Athena the Virgin, also known as the Parthenon.
It seems to be built according to plan entirely based upon straight lines. Yet there is hardly one straight line in it. To achieve visual perfection it was built using sophisticated knowledge of optics. Also taking into consideration the bright sun of Greece.
The ancient architect realized that if the temple, being constructed on flat surface, had columns perfectly perpendicular to the base, we would see it a bit wider at the top than at the bottom. Also, the columns are nerrower at the bottom than at their top part for the same reason.
There are more interesting details in the contruction of the Parthenon... I'll rpovide later:))