Photos of The Acropolis & Parthenon, Athens, Greece
Pictures of The Acropolis of Athens.
Pictures of the Acropolis and its Parthenon temple & the icon statues of the Erechtheion. The Acropolis was the ancient citadel of Athens sitting on a rock with steep cliffs 150m above the city of Athens, Greece. The Acropolis was inhabited from Neolithic times and in Archaic times around the mid 6th cent BC a temple was built there.
During the Golden Age of Athens under Pericles, 460-430 BC, many major Greek Temples were built. During this period the Acropolis became the fortified treasury of the Delian League and its funds were used to build the Parthenon which was intended a symbol of the might of Athens. The Parthenon is considered to be the pinnacle of development of the Doric order. Greek architects used optical illusions to make the Parthenon look symmetrical. The columns bulge as they rise and lean slightly inwards. The west front is built slightly higher than the east front to increase perspective and counter the visual effect of curvature between two parallel lines of columns. The architects of the Parthenon used endless devices to bring the building close to the mathematical Golden Ratio, an algebraic equation used for geometric relationships by artists and architects, so creating and aesthetically pleasing proportion to the building and its art.
The sculpted friezes and statues of the Parthenon are also thought to be the pinnacle of Greek classical art. The sculptures from the Pediment of the Parthenon depicted scenes from the birth and life of the goddess Athena. The Metope panels depicted scenes of a battle between the Lapiths & Centaurs ( see these in our Elgin Marble picture gallery : http://bit.ly/I318LD ). The friezes depict the annual procession to the Parthenon to make sacrifice to Athena.
The other great icon of the Acropolis is the "Porch of the Maidens" on the Erechtheion temple. Built between 421 and 405 BC the temple was dedicated to the Greek hero Erichthonius. The sculptor and mason of the structure was Phidias, who was employed by Pericles to build both the Erechtheum and the Parthenon. The "Porch of the Maidens" uses caryatids which are female figures used as supports instead of columns.
Today attempts are being made to restore the Parthenon but it has been so abused over the centuries that little remains. When the Roman Empire converted to Christianity the Parthenon became a church. Its pagan artworks were damaged and cult images of Athena were taken to Constantinople. In 1456 Athens fell to the Ottomans are became part of the Ottoman Empire. The Parthenon then became a mosque with a minaret. In 1687 the Venetians attacked Athens. The Acropolis was fortified by the Ottomans and the Parthenon was used as an arsenal. A Venetian mortar made a direct hit on the Parthenon and the arsenal exploded destroying the internal building, the columns of the south side and damaging its sculptures. In 1801 the British Ambassador at Constantinople, Lord Elgin, obtained permission to make casts of what was left of the sculptures on the Acropolis and remove them. Controversy still runs high about this act today.
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