Unlocking mysteries of the parthenon of Athens

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The Acropolis of Athens is the best known acropolis (high city, The "Sacred Rock") in the world. Although there are many other acropoleis in Greece, the significance of the Acropolis of Athens is such that it is commonly known as The Acropolis without qualification. The Acropolis was formally proclaimed is the pre-eminent monument on the European Cultural Heritage list of monuments on 26 March 2007.

The Acropolis is a flat-topped rock which rises 150 m (490 ft) above sea level in the city of Athens. It was also known as Cecropia, after the legendary serpent-man, Kekrops or Cecrops, the first Athenian king. The Parthenon of Athens is one of the seven forgotten wonders of the medieval mind and one of the wonders of the world.

Once into the Bronze Age, there is little doubt that a Mycenaean megaron must have stood on top of the hill, housing the local potentate and his household, guards, the local cult facilities and a number of workshops and ordinary habitations.

The compound was surrounded by a thick Cyclopean circuit wall, possibly between 4.5 m and 6 m in height, consisting of two parapets built with large stone blocks and cemented with an earth mortar called emplekton. The wall follows typical Mycenaean convention in that its gate was arranged obliquely, with a parapet and tower overhanging the incomers' right-hand side, thus facilitating defense. There were two lesser approaches up the hill on its north side, consisting of steep, narrow flights of steps cut in the rock.

Most of the major temples were rebuilt under the leadership of Pericles during the Golden Age of Athens (460-430 BC). Phidias, a great Athenian sculptor, and Ictinus and Callicrates, two famous architects, were responsible for the reconstruction. During the 5th century BC, the Acropolis gained its final shape.

The entrance to the Acropolis was a monumental gateway called the Propylaea. To the south of the entrance is the tiny Temple of Athena Nike. A bronze statue of Athena, sculpted by Phidias, originally stood at its centre. At the centre of the Acropolis is the Parthenon or Temple of Athena Parthenon (Athena the Virgin).

East of the entrance and north of the Parthenon is the temple known as the Erechtheum. South of the platform that forms the top of the Acropolis there are also the remains of an outdoor theatre called Theatre of Dionysus. A few hundred metres away, there is the now partially reconstructed Theatre of Herodes Atticus.

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