The Parthenon is, of course, the most renowned, although it is accompanied by the Propylaia—the colossal entrance, the Temple of Athena Nike, and the Erechtheion—the temple best known for the Caryatids. All of them were constructed during Pericles' rule, or roughly 460–430 BC, during what is known as the Golden Age of Athens. Callicrates and Ictinus were the architects. The sculptures were done by artists from all over Greece.
The Propylaia was used as a monumental entrance way into the city center, which at that time was surrounded by a wall. It was here that citizens could bring their offerings to the goddess before entering the city. The entrance is under the protection of the Ministry of Culture (and visits are restricted). It is open daily from 9:00 am to 3:30 pm except on 1st of May, Labor Day, and December 25th.
The statue of Nike was placed outside the Propylaia to mark the end of World War II. She holds a olive branch in her right hand and a sword in her left hand; above her head is a bird that represents victory.
Nike was one of the Olympians, along with her brother Apollo and her sister Artemis. Like them, she had her origin in Phoenicia. According to one version of the story, she was born without feet because her mother, Phoebe, was afraid that her unborn child would be taken away from her if she showed her feet to strangers. So she hid her legs inside the bed clothes.
Pericles directed the construction of numerous prominent temples on the Acropolis in ancient Athens. Among these was the Parthenon, often regarded as the best example of Greek architecture. The Athenians also built several other large public buildings in their city-state including the Propylaea, the Erechtheion, and the Temple of Athena Nike.
In addition to these structures, many cities in Greece had significant levels of activity at local temple sites. These included Athens, Corinth, Epidauros, Ionia, Lindos, Olympia, Sparta, and Tricaraum.
Athens was the leading culture site during its period of dominance from 4th century B.C. to A.D. 322 when it was defeated by Alexander the Great. The city was also a significant intellectual center with many philosophers such as Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, and Theophrastus living or visiting there.
Corinth was the leading culture site in the southern part of modern Greece. It was founded around 1100 B.C. by refugees from Attica (modern Athens) who were exiled for killing the king's son during a religious ceremony. The Corinthians developed an advanced culture with a writing system, laws, literature, art, and science. They also had considerable political influence since they could raise or lower other cities' tariffs.
The city of Ancient Athens reached its zenith under Pericles' leadership from 461 to 429 BC, known as the Age of Pericles. Pericles advocated democracy, the arts, and literature throughout this time period. He also constructed several of the city's famous monuments, including much of the Acropolis and the Parthenon. The building of these structures helped establish Athens as a great power in Greece and Europe.
Athens went through severe earthquakes in the 5th and 4th centuries BC that destroyed many parts of the city. However, many of these buildings were rebuilt using new techniques and materials, including marble and bronze instead of stone or wood. Today, only small portions of the Acropolis remain because it was used as a military stronghold for most of Antiquity. From 1834 to 1838, British architect John Wood designed new streets and sidewalks for the area now known as Plaka. He also restored many old buildings in this district that are used today as shops or homes.
In 1456, an Ottoman army led by Mehmed II conquered Athens. The city was then abandoned for nearly 250 years until 1770 when King Georgios Kountouriotis decided to rebuild it as a royal capital. Unfortunately, he died before any of this could be done so the work was left undone. In 1834, Greek architects built houses for themselves near the ancient site.
The Propylaia, Parthenon, Erechtheion, and Temple of Athena Nike were the four primary structures in the original Acropolis layout. Today, only these elements remain above ground.
In 1670, the Venetian ambassador to the Sublime Porte, Andrea Manucci, reported that "the Turks have destroyed almost all the monuments on the Acropolis to build barracks" for their soldiers. The Greek commander at Athens at the time, Christos Pappas, had the report printed and distributed among European governments to encourage donations for a new defense system. Only two of the temples survived: the Erechtheion and the Propylaia. In 1770, after many more years of neglect by both Greeks and Turks, Lord Elgin acquired the rights to the sculptures removed from the Acropolis and brought them to Britain, where they now form the core of the British Museum collection.
Today, visitors can see the surviving parts of the Acropolis from several viewpoints around the site. The best views are from the South Acropolis Ticket Center, the Erechtheion, and the Propylaia.
Before it became a massive pro-Athenian, pro-Periclean "billboard" in the second half of the 5th century BC, the Acropolis was Athens' highly cherished religious centre, where not just Athena, but several other gods, goddesses, and local heroes were venerated.
Prior to Pericles' Parthenon, other constructions stood, notably the Hekatompedon, the remnants of which (shown below) are on exhibit at the Acropolis Museum and date back to 570 BC. What makes Athens unique?
Plutarch relates that Pericles' transfer of the League's wealth from Delos to Athens in 454 BC, as well as his Acropolis building effort, enraged his opponents. The graphic below depicts how the Parthenon would have appeared in ancient times, replete with colored decorations.
The Acropolis of Athens The Parthenon, Acropolis of Athens (447–432 BCE). The great Doric temple on Athens' Acropolis and the classic masterpiece of Greek High Classical architecture, it is still one of the world's most important and famous structures. The Parthenon was originally built to house the Athenian goddess Athena, but after her image wasn't found inside it, it became a temple for Zeus instead. However, since Athena has now been recognized as a representation of Greece itself, the Parthenon can be considered both a religious building and an icon of Western culture.
Other notable ancient buildings include the Temple of Olympian Zeus, the Mausoleum of Halicarnassus, and the Odeon of Herodes Atticus in Athens. Today, many of these buildings are ruins, but some have been restored to look like they did when they were new.
The Romans also had a hand in shaping the modern world through their involvement in the construction of cities. For example, Rome contributed ideas behind the design of New York City's Grand Central Terminal, which opened in 1913. But the true star of the terminal is its art deco style, which you can see in many other buildings across the city. One such structure is the Chrysler Building, which was completed in 1929. It is one of New York City's best-known skyscrapers and looks quite different from how it did when it was first built.
Northwest Propylon, 2. Prytaneion, 3. Philippeion, 4. Hera Temple, 5. 5. Pelopion from Herodes Atticus' Nymphaeum Metroon is ranked seventh. Treasury 9. Crypt (arched passage leading to stadium), ten. Stadium, eleventh, Echo Stoa The building of Ptolemy II and Arsinoe II, 12 Zeus' Temple, No. 1516, Hestia Stoa, 1314 Hellenistic architecture. Zeus' Altar, 17. Roman baths, 18. Odeon, 19. Thermae, 20. Lyceum
Olympia was a city-state in ancient Greece. It is now a suburb of Athens. Although not as famous as Athens or Sparta, it was once an important commercial center and now serves as a major archaeological site. The first Olympic Games were held in 776 BC at what is now called the Ancient Olympic Site in southern Greece. Athletes from around the world traveled to compete. The Olympics are said to have been invented by Daidalos of Icaria, who in hope of winning them himself created various athletic challenges that could be enjoyed by everyone even if you weren't able to participate due to your wealth or status. The ancient Greeks believed that people were born free but became enslaved to wealth. This is why sports were so important to them; they thought that by participating in these games, someone would free them from their enslavement.
In addition to the regular annual events, there were also special one-time events called "Olympics". The most famous of these is the Olympic Games. However, some sources say that these games were held every four years instead.