Acropolis of Athens

By the Editors of the Madain Project

The Acropolis of Athens is an ancient citadel located on a rocky outcrop above the city of Athens and contains the remains of several ancient buildings of great architectural and historic significance, the most famous being the Parthenon. During ancient times it was known also more properly as Cecropia, after the legendary serpent-man, Cecrops, the supposed first Athenian king.

View Site   Home > N/A
View Subject   Home > Greece > Athens > Acropolis


While there is evidence that the hill was inhabited as far back as the fourth millennium BCE, it was Pericles (c. 495–429 BCE) in the fifth century BCE who coordinated the construction of the site's most important present remains including the Parthenon, the Propylaia, the Erechtheion and the Temple of Athena Nike. Since 1975 numerous large-scale restoration projects have been undertaken; the latest is expected to finish in 2020.

Archaeological Remains

circa 432 BCE

Construction of the majestic Parthenon began in 447 BCE when the Athenian Empire was at the peak of its power. It was completed in 438 BCE, although decoration of the building continued until 432 BCE. It is the most important surviving building of Classical Greece. In the final decade of the 6th century CE, the Parthenon was converted into a Christian church dedicated to the Virgin Mary. After the Ottoman conquest, it was turned into a mosque in the early 1460s.

circa 432 BCE

Parthenon Mosque
The precise circumstances under which the Turks appropriated parthenon for use as a mosque are unclear. The shrewdest guess is that it happened under the orders of Mehmed the Conqueror, perhaps the most powerful sultan of all who reigned over Constantinople. Allegedly, changing the Parthenon into a mosque came as a punishment to the Athenians for attempting a plot against the Ottoman reign. Later on after the Parthenon was damaged in an explosion, circa 1650 CE, a smaller mosque was built in typical Ottoman style. The descriptions and engravings from the era show that it resembled to the Fethiye Mosque.

circa 432 BCE

The Erechtheion or Erechtheum is an ancient Greek temple on the north side of the Acropolis of Athens in Greece which was dedicated to both Athena and Poseidon. The temple as seen today was built between 421 and 406 BCE. Its architect may have been Mnesicles, and it derived its name from a shrine dedicated to the legendary Greek hero Erichthonius. The Erectheum was associated with some of the most ancient and holy relics of the Athenians, such as the Palladion, a xoanon or "wood-carven effigy" of Athena Polias (Protectress of the City).

circa 432 BCE

Pedestal of Agrippa
The Pedestal, now known as the Agrippa Pedestal located west of the Propylaea of Athens and the same height as the Temple of Athena Nike to the south, was built in honor of Eumenes II of Pergamon in 178 BCE to commemorate his victory in the Panathenaic Games chariot race. Its height is 8.9 meters. It was the base of a bronze quadriga, life-size robably driven by Eumenes and/or his brother Attalus II. Towards 27 BC this chariot was replaced by another one, dedicated by the city of Athens to Marcus Agrippa, son-in-law of Augustus.

circa 432 BCE

The monumental gateway to the Acropolis, the Propylaea, was one of several public works commissioned by the Athenian leader Pericles in order to rebuild the Acropolis at the conclusion of the Persian Wars. According to Plutarch, the Propylaea was designed by the architect Mnesicles, about whom nothing else is known. Construction began in 437 BC and was terminated in 432, when the building was still unfinished. The Propylaea was constructed of white Pentelic marble and gray Eleusinian marble or limestone, which was used only for accents.

circa 432 BCE

Temple of Athena Nike
The Temple of Athena Nike is a temple on the Acropolis of Athens, dedicated to the goddess Athena Nike. Built around 420 BCE, the temple is the earliest fully Ionic temple on the Acropolis. It has a prominent position on a steep bastion at the south west corner of the Acropolis to the right of the entrance, the Propylaea. The Temple of Athena Nike was finished around 420 BCE, during the Peace of Nicias. Architects Christian Hansen and Eduard Schaubert excavated the temple in the 1830s.

See Also