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The Acropolis is the first place a foreign tourist would like to visit when in Athens. The majestic historical hill in the center of Athens is rising above the city at a 150m above sea-level. The architectural ensemble of the temple consist of the Parthenon, the Erechtheion and the Propylaea (or the entrance to both temples), completed in 432 BC.
The Parthenon is the main temple that everybody recognizes on postcards as a symbol of the city. The ancient Greek temple was built for the goddess Athena Palade, daughter of Zeus and Hera, and a patron of the city of Athens. Its construction started in 447 BC under the government of the legendary Pericles. The sanctification of the temple took place in 438 BC during the Panatenei holiday. Some sections of the building, particularly some sculptures, were not finished until 432 BC. The Parthenon is considered a masterpiece of the ancient Greek architecture and a symbol of the Greek genius, with sculptures of Phidias who, together with Praxiteles, is one of the most renowned Greek sculptors.
The Erechtheion, part of the architectural ensemble of the Athenian Acropolis, is an Ionian temple dedicated to Athena Palade, Poseidon and Erechthea. The legend tells that it was build precisely at the spot where Athena and Poseidon had the argument about who should rule over the city.
From The top of the Acropolis a view of the stone-made Herodotus Atticus amphitheater, located on the southern slope of the hill, is revealed. It was built in 161 AD by Herodotus Atticus in memory of his wife Aspasia Ania Regilla. The amphitheater is well maintained and in a very good condition but it's not open for visitors, unless a play, a concert or a fashion show is taking place.
After you have seen the Acropolis, pay a visit to the New Acropolis Museum where most of the bass-relieves and sculptures that have survived from the original Acropolis architectural composition are preserved. This is unquestionably the most fascinating contemporary museum building in Greece and one of the most beautiful in the world. It was created by the world-famous architect Bernard Tschumi.
In the first gallery, findings from the Acropolis' slope, once inhabited by Athenian citizens, are exhibited. Beneath the glass floors of the gallery, reconstructions of the diggings can be seen. The second gallery is located on the next level. Here, exponents from the Archaic period, between 7th century BC and the Persian wars, can be seen. You can also observe pediments with images from the Hekatombedon temple on them, another pediment from the archaic temple depicting the war between gods and titans, as well as little sculptures- gifts from the faithful to the gods. These findings date back to 5th -6th century BC. The third floor is dedicated entirely to the Parthenon - fragments, marble slabs and images. Sculptures from the Classical period can be found here, including the statue of Hermes Propylaea, made by Alcamenes, slab stones from Athena's temple and the Caryatides from the southern Erechtheion. The rest of the museum's exponents include Artemis's sanctuary Vravrona, and other Classical, Hellenistic and Roman period exhibits.
After having seen the museum, you should take a walk on Plaka- the area beneath the Acropolis, a favorite location for most of the tourists. You will find yourself in a maze of small alleys overflowing with souvenir shops, goldsmith workshops, coffee houses and restaurants. If you still don't own a pair of flat sandals with laces up to your knees, Plaka is the place to get one. They are always in fashion and the quality in the Acropolis workshops is guaranteed. Another appropriate souvenir is a small gold jewel- Greek gold is of a better quality than Bulgarian, while the price is nearly the same.
If you enjoy strolling around, Plaka is the place to do it. Street artists will paint a portrait of you in front of the Acropolis, musicians will sing "Zorbas the Greek" or "Children of Pirea" for you. Plaka is the Athenian Montmartre. If you have decided to go to the New Acropolis Museum, you are already walking on Adrianu street, the oldest one in Athens. You may find amusing the neighborhood located on the northern slope of the Acropolis, part of Plaka, Anafiotika- built by immigrants from the Aegean island Anafi in the beginning of 19th century.
When you are descending down the Acropolis to reach "Monastiraki" square, you go through the ancient Agora- an open area for disputes and discussions in the ancient Greek state. This is where unoccupied men or land owners would gather to serve their military service, or listen to announcements that current governors made. Later, the Agora was used for a market with shops and stalls where merchants would sell their goods.
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