- Street: Acropolis Museum,
- City: 15 Dionysiou Areopagitou Street, Athens 11742
- Country: Greece
- Listed: June 11, 2017 9:23 am
- Expires: 349 days, 2 hours
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The monuments of the Acropolis have withstood the ravages of past centuries, both of ancient times and those of the Middle Ages. Until the 17th century, foreign travellers visiting the monuments depicted the classical buildings as being intact. This remained the case until the middle of the same century, when the Propylaia was blown up while being used as a gunpowder store. Thirty years later, the Ottoman occupiers dismantled the neighbouring Temple of Athena Nike to use its materials to strengthen the fortification of the Acropolis. The most fatal year, however, for the Acropolis, was 1687, when many of the building’s architectural members were blown into the air and fell in heaps around the Hill of the Acropolis, caused by a bomb from the Venetian forces. Foreign visitors to the Acropolis would search through the rubble and take fragments of the fallen sculptures as their souvenirs. It was in the 19th century that Lord Elgin removed intact architectural sculptures from the frieze, the metopes and the pediments of the building.
In 1833, the Turkish garrison withdrew from the Acropolis. Immediately after the founding of the Greek State, discussions about the construction of an Acropolis Museum on the Hill of the Acropolis began. In 1863, it was decided that the Museum be constructed on a site to the southeast of the Parthenon and foundations were laid on 30 December 1865.
The building program for the Museum had provided that its height not surpasses the height of the stylobate of the Parthenon. With only 800 square meters of floor space, the building was rapidly shown to be inadequate to accommodate the findings from the large excavations on the Acropolis that began in 1886. A second museum was announced in 1888, the so-called Little Museum. Final changes occurred in 1946-1947 with the second Museum being demolished and the original being sizably extended.
The slopes, caves and plateaus of the Acropolis hill were the settings in which gods, heroes and nymphs were worshipped. The south slope was home to two of the most important sanctuaries of the city, those of Dionysos Eleuthereus and Asklepios. It was also the site of several other temples, smaller in size, yet of great importance to the Athenians.
The temple of Dionysos Eleuthereus was the site of the Great or City Dionysia, one of the most important festivals in town, which took place in the beginning of spring (in the month of Elaphebolion). It was from the cult of Dionysos, the god of wine, intoxication and ecstatic dance, that the theatre was born. On the slope above the sanctuary, the plays of the most important ancient Greek tragic and comic playwrights, Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides and Aristophanes, were performed for the first time. The sanctuary and associated healing centre of Asclepios in Athens was founded on the south slope of the Acropolis, through the initiative of Telemachos, an Athenian citizen who, in 420/19 BC, brought a statue of the god from the great temple at Epidaurus. In a stoa beside the sanctuary, patients lay in wait for their miraculous cure by the apparition of the god in their dreams. The numerous votive offerings, often with depictions of the body parts that the god healed, provide evidence of the great importance the god’s cult had for the Athenians.
Among the sanctuaries, or at a slightly lower level, archaeological excavations brought to light parts of the urban fabric of ancient Athens and provided evidence of its almost uninterrupted habitation from the end of the Neolithic period (about 3000 BC) until late antiquity (6th century AD). Houses and workshops, roads and squares, wells and reservoirs, as well as thousands of objects left behind by the local people in antiquity provide insight into the past. Most finds are made of clay, as objects made of other perishable materials have been lost to us, while the most valuable objects have been looted. The finds include tableware and symposium vessels, cooking pots, perfume holders, cosmetics and jewelry container, children’s toys and others.
Once the Sacred Rock had been cleared of the ruins left behind from the Persian Wars, the Athenians quickly repaired the ruined temple of Athena Polias and continued their worship. A new temple was not built on the Acropolis until the middle of the 5th century BC. At that time, Pericles launched a new construction program, which began in 447 BC. Architects Iktinos and Kallikrates designed the Parthenon, while for the carving of the sculptures Pheidias collaborated with his pupils Agorakritos, Alkamenes and other great sculptors and painters. The temple, dedicated to the Athena Parthenos, was constructed in 15 years. Pheidias himself created the gold-and-ivory statue of the armed Goddess which adorned the cella interior.
The Parthenon architectural sculptures, namely the metopes, frieze and pediments, were made of Pentelic marble and embellished with the addition of metal attachments and paint.
Visit the official website for complete details,The Acropolis Museum, Athens, Greece www.theacropolismuseum.
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