The Acropolis is a Top Athens Tourist Attraction to See

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The Acropolis of Athens [Grk: Ακρόπολη Αθηνών, or just Ακρόπολη] is famous worldwide for one of the most recognized buildings in the world–the Parthenon [Παρθενώνας]. The Parthenon is the monumental temple dedicated to the goddess Athena, while the Acropolis is the actual hill that it stands on. The word acropolis means “high city” in Greek, and therefore several ancient Greek cities also have their own acropolis. But due to the historical and cultural significance of the Athenian Acropolis it is widely referred to as The Acropolis.

The Acropolis itself is a flat-topped rock that rises over 500 feet high, and as such it was heavily fortified and became the place for all of Athens’ most sacred shrines and sanctuaries. Along with the Parthenon three other buildings still stand intact atop the rock: the Erectheion, the Temple of Athena Nike and the Propylaea. 

Whether it has been Persians burning everything down, Turks converting buildings or Venetians using it as target practice, the Acropolis and its buildings have seen more than their fair share of history. The way things appear today are as close to the way the famous Athenian general and statesmen Pericles had them built as possible. After the Persians destroyed everything on the Acropolis in 480BC and were later defeated in 479BC, Pericles launched an ambitious campaign to reconstruct the ruined Acropolis.

It is under Pericles’ leadership that the Parthenon, the Erectheion, the Temple of Athena Nike and the Propylaea were all built. Throughout its 2500-year history the Acropolis and its buildings have undergone several changes. The Byzantines turned the Parthenon into a church, only for the Ottoman Turks to come along and later build a mosque complete with a minaret inside of it. The Venetians, laying siege to Ottoman Athens, fired cannon balls at the hill, and to this day you can still see the impact craters in the marble walls and columns. Unfortunately, the Turks also happened to be storing their gunpowder in Parthenon, and when a Venetian cannonball punched through the roof the resulting explosion ultimately destroyed the Parthenon. The small Temple of Athena Nike has been completely taken apart and reassembled on three different occasions.

As it appears today, the Acropolis was restored with the intention of being as close to its original form and purpose as possible. Therefore many of its additions and changes from the medieval time period have been removed.

The Acropolis is and has historically been the center focal point of the city of Athens, so much so that it is synonymous with Athens. Since it is the central landmark of the city, it is one of the best vantage points to see the city of Athens in its entirety.

However, unlike the other hills, the view from the Acropolis takes back seat to the historical treasures that crown its top, because after all it is The Acropolis.

How To Get There

The closest metro station is the Acropolis’ own Akropoli Station on the Red Line [Line 2]. The station is located right beneath the New Acropolis Museum, where a visit must accompany any trip to the Acropolis. Foot can reach the Acropolis itself from the pedestrianized Dionysiou Areopagitou Street, which runs right in front of the main entrance to the museum. Coming from the neighborhood of Thisseio, the Acropolis entrance can be reached by following the pedestrianized and beautiful Apostolou Pavlou Street until it meets Dionysiou Areopagitou Street.

Word to the Wise

The rock surface of the Acropolis is extremely slippery from the masses of visitors the monument attracts, so be sure to plan your footwear accordingly!

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This post was written by GreekBoston.com

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