Under the cultural significance heading of the wikipedia entry it states: every four years the Athenians held a festival called the Panathenaea that rivaled the Olympic Games in popularity. During the festival, a procession moved through Athens up to the Acropolis and into the Parthenon (as depicted in the frieze on the inside of the Parthenon). There, a vast robe of woven wool was ceremoniously placed on Phidias' massive ivory and gold statue of Athena.
So basically, the Acropolis was where the ancient Greeks would party-down.
As you begin to climb higher on a stone path lined by trees, gaps in the brush allows glimpses of the spectacular view to come.
After a few minutes, you break through the trees, and on your right is the Odeon of Herodes Atticus. Which is best known to me as the setting of Elton John's Live! From the Acropolis! concert. And of course, John Tesh's Acropolis concert. Random? Yes.
In 437 BC construction started on the Propylaea, monumental gates with columns of Pentelic marble, partly built upon the old propylaea of Pisistratus. These colonnades were almost finished in the year 432 BC and had two wings, the northern one serving as picture gallery.
Here is what remains of the Propylaea today. As you can see, a huge restoration project in underway, and unfortunately, the scaffolding obscures a lot of the view.
At the same time, south of the propylaea, building of the small Ionic Temple of Athena Nike was commenced. After an interruption caused by the Peloponnesian War, the temple was finished in the time of Nicias' peace, between 421 BC and 415 BC.
The big draw of the Acropolis, is of course, the Parthenon. From wiki: a temple of the Greek goddess Athena, built in the 5th century BC on the Athenian Acropolis. It is the most important surviving building of Classical Greece, generally considered to be the culmination of the development of the Doric Order. Its decorative sculptures are considered one of the high points of Greek art. The Parthenon is regarded as an enduring symbol of ancient Greece and of Athenian democracy, and one of the world's greatest cultural monuments.
The Parthenon replaced an older temple of Athena, called the Pre-Parthenon or Older Parthenon, that was destroyed in the Persian Invasion of 480 BC. Like most Greek temples, the Parthenon was used as a treasury. In the 6th century AD, the Parthenon was converted into a Christian Church dedicated to the Virgin. After the Ottoman Conquest, it was converted into a mosque in the early 1460s, and it even had a minaret. On 26 September 1687 an Ottoman ammunition dump inside the building was ignited by Venetian bombardment. The resulting explosion severely damaged the Parthenon and its sculptures.
To the left of the Parthenon is the Erechtheum.
The temple as seen today was built between 421 and 407 BCE. It derived its name from a shrine dedicated to the legendary Greek hero, Erichthonius. It is believed to have been a replacement for an older temple destroyed by the Persians in 480 BCE.
Looking to the right of the Parthenon, you look over the edge of the Acropolis and down towards the Theatre of Dionysus Eleuthereus.
And if you look waaaaaaaay to the distance you can see the remains of the Temple of Zeus.
The Temple of Zeus at Olympia, built in 470-456 BCE, was the ancient Greek temple in dedicated to the chief of the gods, Zeus. It was the very model of the fully-developed classical Greek temple of the Doric order. The temple stood in the most famous sanctuary of Greece, which had been dedicated to local and Pan-Hellenic deities and had probably been established towards the end of the Mycenaean period. The Altis, the enclosure with its sacred grove, open-air altars was first formed during the tenth and ninth centuries BCE, when the cult of Zeus joined the established cult of Hera. (PS: I love it when wiki has things like, "the very model of." People are so cute)
And now for some random pics:
This is the radical thing about Greece. Anywhere you look you come across a random ancient temple. Here is another one dedicated to Athena.
Me and Whitney, who, along with her husband, Andrew, Chris, Kent, and I, made friends with on the ship and come to find out they live just down the road here in Alexandria!