On the north side, there is another large porch with columns, and on the south, the famous "Porch of the Maidens", with six draped female figures (caryatids) as supporting columns, each sculpted in a manner different from the rest and engineered in such a way that their slenderest part, the neck, is capable of supporting the weight of the porch roof whilst remaining graceful and feminine.
You may watch my high resolution photo of Acropolis on the Google Earth according to the following coordinates 37º 58' 18.72" N 23º 43' 34.39" E or on my Google Earth Panoramio Porch of the Caryatids .
The Porch of the Caryatids is a bit misleading. It is indeed quite beautiful and that is in part thanks to the models used for the statues - all of whom were women from Karyai (Karyes), hence the name Caryatids. The lie is in the origin of the statues on display. The ones you will see are in fact plaster casts. The real statues are either in the Acropolis Museum or the British Museum (stolen by Lord Elgin). Nevertheless, it is difficult to notice the well-intentioned forgery when your on the Acropolis Rock.
The Caryatids have become the Erechtheion temple’s signature feature, as they stand and seem to casually support the weight of the porch’s roof on their heads. Their identification, or the purpose for such elaborate column treatment is lost through the centuries. All the Caryatids on site today are exact replicas, while the originals are protected by the corrosive air of modern Athens in the Acropolis museum, encased in glass. One of the six Caryatids can be seen in the London museum having been appropriated, some say stolen, by Lord Elgin along with the Parthenon marbles.
I found the lovely maidens so wonderful and photogenic.
Sometimes referred to as the Porch of the Maidens, the south side of the Erechtheion contains the statues know as the Caryatids. These are the famous statues in the image of females in gowns flowing in the wind. What you see today are replicas and the originals are located only steps away in the Acropolis Museum.
Side Note: Not ALL of the Caryatids are located there, as one is located in London.
These are only cast replicas of the original statues, five of which are now on display in the Acropolis Museum, out of harm's way. The origials stood here for twenty-four centuries, supporting the elaborate stonework above their heads. The Caryatids are named for the women of Karyai, near Sparta.
Visitors are not allowed to get close to the Caryatids. Make sure got a zoom!!
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