ACROPOLIS ATHENS – PANTHEON

acropolisThe Acropolis and the Parthenon. The Acropolis is a symbol of Athens. You’d hardly find a place in the city, from which you won’t see the columns of its main temple – the Parthenon

In Greek the Acropolis means ‘upper town’, and actually this limestone plateau (156m in height) is the very thing that forms the Ancient town and is concerned to be the main attraction of Athens. To enter the Acropolis you are to go through monumental gates, which lead to the Propylaeum, on the left side of them there is an gallery – Pinacotheca, an on the right side one can find the smallest of the three temples of the Acropolis – the Temple of Athena Nike, which by the way is being reconstructed now. The housetop of portico of the second temple, the temple of Erechtheion, is supported by young women – famous caryatids. But the most impressing temple of Athens without any hesitation is the Parthenon. Inside it used to be located a well-known wooden statue of the protectress of the city Athena Parthenos, which was decorated with gold and elephant ivory. The Parthenon is one of the greatest architectural objects in the world. The architects took into account all the peculiarities of human eyesight and made all the planes of the building a little bit round. This deliberate curvature and also unequal distance among the columns create an impression of a total harmony: all the lines seem to be irreproachably horizontal and vertical. The Acropolis is fascinating and magnificent, especially in evening, when special light is turned on. The Theatre of Dionysus. The Theatre of Dionysus is situated at the bottom of the Acropolis, it is the oldest theatre in Europe and as a matter of fact it’s the cradle of Greek tragedy. In the 6th century first performances were acted there. The ancient scene was just trampled ground and public was sitting on grass, forming a semicircle around the scene. Some time passed and wooden benches appeared and then stone seats replaced them. It happened after some of the wooden benches fell down and killed a lot of people. As time went by the theatre slowly expanded, this process went on from 342 and 326 B.C. After the reconstruction the theatre could seat 17.000 people. Unfortunately, nowadays we can only look at the ruins of this legendary theatre. The Temple of Zeus. In about 500 m to the south of the Acropolis the Temple of Zeus (or as it’s usually called the Olympion) is situated. The temple was worked at for several centures and only in the 2nd century (during the reign of imperator Adrian) it was complitely built. At those times the Temple of Zeus was the largest building in whole Greece, its length came to 96m, it’s width was 40m, the building was decorated by 104 17-metered Corinthian columns, to our time only the ruins of the 15th and 16th columns remained. Even before the building of temple was finished Roman general Sulla took 2 columns to Rome, so as to decorate the Temple of Jupiter with them, after it Corinthian style became very popular in Rome. Imperator Adrian built the Greek temple in favor of Zeus. By his order in the temple an enormous statue of Zeus was placed. The statue of Zeus was decorated with gold and ivory by the way near Zeus there was the statue of the imperator, which actually had the same height. In immediate proximity to the temple a 18-metered marble arch of Adrian is located, it’s the symbol of the power of the imperator. The arch of Adrian divides the New Rome and the Ancient Rome, the title on the side that faces the Acropolis says: ‘This is Athens, the ancient town of Theseus’, and on the other side it’s written: ‘This town is not of Theseus, but of Adrian’.