The Acropolis of Athens

Acropolis of AthensThe Acropolis of Athens is not the only Acropolis in Greece, but as it is the best-known and the most important one, it is often referred to simply as The Acropolis. The Acropolis is in fact nothing more than a rock with a flat surface, but the monuments built upon it and the significance attributed to it are what make it so special.

The hill rises 490 feet above sea level and is symbolic of Athens, its golden age, and the ancient Greek world. The monuments of the Acropolis are mainly dedicated to the goddess Athena, the patron saint of the city. The most memorable monument, and the one that you will probably think of first when hearing of the Acropolis, is the Parthenon temple. Its construction was undertaken between 447 BC and 432 BC, but it was partially ruined through an explosion during the Ottoman Turk conquest in 1687. The Greek government is currently undertaking restoration works and trying to ensure the stability of the building. Other important buildings include the Erechtheion, the Propylaia, and the temple of Athena Nike (dedicated to the goddess Athena as the goddess of Victory).

The construction of each of these monuments was supervised by the finest architects, sculptures and artists of the time and they all reflect just how vast the resources and the skill of Ancient Greece were. The architecture is bound to impress anyone who visits the site. There are many other buildings of which the architecture has been inspired by the buildings of the Acropolis, amongst others the Brandenburg Gate and the Parliament of Vienna in Austria. This emphasizes the cultural significance of Greek architecture and style.

You could combine the visit to Athens with a visit to Istanbul and another landmark, the basilica of Hagia Sophia. Even though the journey from Athens to Istanbul can take a while – up to 24 hours depending on whether you take the bus, the train or the ferry, but as short as 90 minutes if you can afford to take the plane – it is a nice way to get to know the area of South Eastern Europe if you have a week to spare. You will need to set aside at least three or four days, however, if you really want to get to know both cities, take full advantage of visiting the landmarks and keep your stress level at a minimum.