Sunday, August 7, 2011

The Acropolis a Journey Into Antiquity

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 Athens, Greece

The greatest of all archeological sites, the Acropolis dominates the Athenian landscape. Ascend 80 steps, take in the views, and marvel at such glorious monuments as the Parthenon and the Erechtheum.

Propylaea or Propylaia,  the monumental gateway that serves as the entrance to the Acropolis, is now in our sights as we walk along the path from our motorcoach.   We leave the modern world behind us as we enter ancient Greece through that doorway.

The Propylaea survived intact through the Greek, Roman and Byzantine periods. Today the Propylaea has been partly restored, and serves as the main entrance to the Acropolis for the many thousands of tourists who visit the area every year.

Erechtheum

Upon entering the complex, we see the Erechtheum or Erechtheion, an ancient Greek temple on the north side of the Acropolis. This image shows a general view of the Erechtheion from the southwest, showing the North Porch (at left), the "Olive Tree of Athena" (modern replacement!), and the Caryatid Porch ( "Porch of the Maidens").

One of the caryatids was removed by Lord Elgin in order to decorate his Scottish mansion, and was later sold to the British Museum (along with the pedimental and frieze sculpture taken from the Parthenon).

The Parthenon

is a temple on the Athenian Acropolis, Greece, dedicated to the Greek goddess Athena, whom the people of Athens considered their patron. It is one of the greatest monuments of ancient civilization and a perfect representation of Doric-style architecture.

The white Pentelic marble temple was built 446 - 437 B.C. and has served as an enduring symbol of ancient Greece.  The Parthenon has survived the passage of time, and its architectural sophistication still impresses all who study it.  A restoration project was begun in 1983 and continues today.  If you are ever in Nashville, TN, you can see a replica which is in pristine condition, unlike the real temple in Athens.

Preservation for the Future

After a century of excavations and improvements of the site, the Acropolis is now a testing ground for the most innovative open-air conservation techniques aimed at safeguarding the marble sections, which have been affected by heavy atmospheric pollution.  UNESCO World Heritage Centre is working to help protect and preserve the world's greatest landmarks.

We could easily have spent the entire day at The Acropolis, but there was much more ahead.  Read about the rest of our day in Athens and view our pictures on our Facebook Fan Page as we continue our  12 Night Greek Isles & Mediterranean cruise on Star Princess.

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