New World Wonders Runner-Up: The Acropolis of Athens

During the Project for the New Wonders of the World, only seven were selected.  The runners-up which will be the topics of posts for the next two weeks are magnificent also. 

The Acropolis of Athens

The Acropolis of Athens was a runner-up for New Wonders of the World and a  European Cultural Heritage Monuments. Acropolis in Greek means “The Sacred Rock, the high city.” THE Acropolis, however, is a flat-topped rock that rises 490 feet above sea level in the city ofAthens.  The Acropolis of Athens is about 210 feet high, 900 feet long, and 450 feet wide.

From early times it was both the fortified citadel and state sanctuary of the ancient city of Athens. By the 8th century BC, at least part of the Acropolis had developed into the sanctuary of the goddess Athena, the patron divinity of the city. In the 6th century BC, the first Doric temple of Athena built in stone on the Acropolis was followed by two other temples. The Acropolis, however, was captured and destroyed by the Persians  in 480 BC.

Model of Restored Acropolis

Although the Athenians and other Greeks were eventually victorious over their eastern enemies, the Acropolis lay in ruins. During the second half of the 5th century BC, Pericles led the effort to rebuild the temples on the Acropolis which resulted in the most famous buildings on the Acropolis — the Parthenon, the Erechtheion, the Propylaia, and the temple of Athena Nike.  Over the centuries, other structures were added by the conquerors and the ancient structures re-purposed as residences, churches, palaces et al. Throughout late antiquity and the Middle Age up until the liberation of Greece from the Ottoman Empire in the early 19th century, the Acropolis remained a strategic and well-defended citadel.

The Acropolis at Night

Archaeological excavations, conservation, study, and publication of the monuments were begun in the 1830s soon after Greek indepedence, and continue to the present day.  The Acropolis museum contains many of the artifacts discovered during the excavations.  As a personal note, the Acropolis light show is magnificent.

 Tomorrow,  Alhambra   Rita Bay

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