Athens: the Acropolis

gates and queue
The Propylaia, the entrance to the Acropolis

There are so many pictures and descriptions of the Acropolis that I have felt able to avoid the standard views and show just a few odd aspects.

The Acropolis rises about 70 metres above the lower city and has an area of some 30 000 square metres. Back in the Bronze Age, or even earlier, it was a fortified citadel but in the classical period became primarily a place of worship. Seeing it for the first time, I was reminded of Edinburgh Castle; had my holiday this year begun in Italy rather than Greece, the Acropolis would have reminded me instantly of Perugia and other Italian hilltop towns, too.

Restorer at work
Restorer at work

The site’s management must be a challenge, accommodating the needs of the restoration team without making the tourists’ experience uncomfortable or unsatisfying, since the tourists fund the work.

The Parthenon, showing restorations
The Parthenon, showing restorations
Acropolis temple detail
Parthenon detail

The major buildings are the Parthenon (of course), the Erechtheion (a temple shared by devotees of several gods) and the Propylaia.

column capital
Erechtheion column detail

The fortifications are still very much in evidence and their patchwork nature, due to construction and repair over three thousand years, makes them look almost organic: if stone could grow, would it look like this?

Looking up at the Acropolis
Looking up at the Acropolis

Clicking on this last picture will take you to an enhanced-contrast view which highlights the various layers of construction.

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