Acropolis of Rhodes

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The Acropolis of Rhodes (Ακρόπολη της Ρόδου) is the acropolis, or upper town, of ancient Rhodes dating from the 5th century BCE and located 3 kilometers south-west from the centre of the modern city. Situated on Monte Smith overlooking the west coast of the island, the archaeological site includes some of the most important monuments in the ancient city, such as the Temple of Athena Polias and Zeus Polieus and the Temple of Apollo, below which are a stadium, an odeon and a gymnasium. Unlike other acropoleis, no walled citadel was built here.

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Overview

The Acropolis is situated on the highest part of the ancient city, sloping gently toward the east and bounded to the west by cliffs, upon which watch towers forming the city's perimeter once stood. Mostly dating from the hellenistic period, the monuments were built on stepped terraces, with substantial retaining walls. Though moderate in scale, the buildings have a rhythm and symmetry whose harmonious effects would have been enhanced by the natural landscaping typically suited to sacred space.

The city was planned in grid pattern and the upper town was no exception, though in contrast to the dense lower town there were terraced spaces of greenery according to the orator Aelius Aristides.

Archaeological Remains

circa 150 BCE

Temple of Pythian Apollo
The temple of Apollo Pythios is located on the southern end, just west of the large rectangular terrace. Though this temple structure is somewhat smaller than the temple of Athena Polias and Zeus Polieus it boasts a similar east-west orientation. Part of the northeast side of this porous peripteral temple has been restored and its retaining wall has survived. It was built in the second century BCE in Doric style and was situated in an enclosed precint. Presenting a distinct profile, in the ancient time it was a landmark for the ships sailing to Rhodes, and even today the reerected columns are visible from the harbor.

circa 250 BCE

Circus Maximus
The "stadium" located on the south-east side of the hill, is a 210 meters long circus maximus. Oriented north-south, it dates back to the third century BCE. Its surviving features include the sphendone (rounded end with turning post), proedries (seating for the officials and nobles), and some of the spectator seating. The starting apparatus used in the athletic events has also been preserved. Athletic events of the Haleion games, honouring Helios, were held here.

Odeon
The odeon, constructed out of marble, could seat approximately some 800 spectators at a time. Situated north-west of the circus-stadium it has been heavily reconstructed, as only the orchestra and a few front row seats are original.

Artemision
The Artemis cult's place of worship is situated on the northeast side of the hill, amidst the ruins of other structures of similar function.

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See Also

References

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