Located in the center of the city, dominating Athens, the Sacred Rock of Acropolis with the Parthenon at its top, is one of the most important landmarks of the western civilization.
Its name derives from the combination of the words Acron (edge) and Polis (city), literally meaning the highest point of the city.
Acropolis was the centre of religious ceremonies and social events. The monuments on the hill have changed during the centuries, with the Parthenon being the most imposing. The Parthenon was dedicated to the patron of Athens, goddess Athena.
The unique masterpieces of ancient architecture combine different orders and styles of Classical art in a most innovative manner and have influenced art and culture for many centuries. The Acropolis of the fifth century BC is the most accurate reflection of the splendour, power and wealth of Athens at its greatest peak, the golden age of Perikles.
In the mid-fifth century BC, when the Acropolis became the seat of the Athenian League and Athens was the greatest cultural centre of its time, Perikles initiated an ambitious building project which lasted the entire second half of the fifth century BC.
In subsequent centuries the monuments of the Acropolis suffered from both natural causes and human intervention. After the establishment of Christianity and especially in the sixth century AD the temples were converted into Christian churches.
The Parthenon was dedicated to Parthenos Maria (the Virgin Mary), was later re-named Panagia Athiniotissa (Virgin of Athens) and served as the city’s cathedral in the eleventh century.
After the liberation of Greece, the monuments came under the care of the newly founded Greek state. Limited investigation took place in 1835 and 1837, while in 1885-1890 the site was systematically excavated under P. Kavvadias.
In the early twentieth century N. Balanos headed the first large-scale restoration project. A Committee for the Conservation of the Monuments on the Acropolis was created in 1975 with the aim to plan and undertake large-scale conservation and restoration on the Acropolis.
The project, conducted by the Service of Restoration of the Monuments of the Acropolis in collaboration with the First Ephorate of Prehistoric and Classical Antiquities, is still in progress.