Acropolis, Athens (1987)
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lllustrating the civilizations, myths and religions that flourished in Greece over a period of more than 1,000 years, the Acropolis, the site of four of the greatest masterpieces of classical Greek art – the Parthenon, the Propylaea, the Erechtheum and the Temple of Athena Nike – can be seen as symbolizing the idea of world heritage.
The Acropolis hill, also called the "Sacred Rock" of Athens, is the most important site of the city. During Perikles' Golden Age, ancient Greek civilization was represented in an ideal way on the hill and some of the architectural masterpieces of the period were erected on its ground.
The first habitation remains on the Acropolis date from the Neolithic period. Over the centuries, the rocky hill was continuously used either as a cult place or as a residential area or both. The inscriptions on the numerous and precious offerings to the sanctuary of Athena (marble korai, bronze and clay statuettes and vases) indicate that the cult of the city's patron goddess was established as early as the Archaic period (650-480 B.C.).
During the Classical period (450-330 B.C.) three important temples were erected on the ruins of earlier ones: the Parthenon, the Erechtheion, and the Temple of Nike, dedicated to Athena Parthenos, Athena Polias, and Athena-Apteros Nike, respectively. The Propylaea, the monumental entrance to the sacred area was also constructed in the same period.
||The monuments on the Acropolis reflect the successive phases of the city's
history. Some of them were converted into Christian churches, houses of the
Franks and later on, of the Turks. After the liberation of Athens from the
Turks, the protection, restoration and conservation of the monuments was one of
the first tasks of the newly-founded Greek state. This major effort is continued
until today, with the large-scale restoration and supporting of the monuments,
which started in the 1970's and is still in progress.
The first excavations on the hill were conducted between 1835 and 1837. More systematic work was carried out in 1885-1890 by Panagiotis Kavvadias.
About the Greek national flag
The striped flag has been in use since 1822, and was approved in 1832. The nine stripes are said to stand for the nine syllables of the Greek patriots' motto Eleutheria e Thanatos, meaning Freedom or Death. This motto is now the national motto of Greece. The cross in the upper left corner is said to symbolize the Orthodox Faith, which is the national faith of Greece. However, others claim that the cross is inspired by the Danish national flag, being "imported" to Greece by the Danish Prince Wilhelm, as a memory of his native Denmark, who was elected King of Greece in 1863 under the name of King George 1.
Other World Heritage Sites in Greece (on this website). Please refer to the UNESCO-listing, Greece-section, for further information about the individual properties.
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Revised 21 jul 2006