The Acropolis in Athens

3d model and reconstruction

The Acropolis in Athens

The set of buildings constituting the Acropolis in Athens has been reconstructed on an urban scale, although focusing a few elements.

For the statues in the Erechtheion digital scanning models were used, and the raised structures of the Temple of Athena Nike are reproduced with particular care. The whole area has been topographically reproduced; for the color of the buildings, on the other hand, our work was based on the famous table by A.Piccard, in Reconstruction of the east front of the Parthenon, 1845, Paris, Ecole National des Beaux Arts.

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Short history of

The Acropolis in Athens

The Acropolis of Athens (from the Greek akros=high and polis=city) is a rock formation 150 meters above sea level, with a flat surface of about three hectares.

It was the seat of a Mycenaean fortress, equipped in the thirteenth century BC with a massive wall about 760 m long, then rebuilt in the classical age of Themistocles and Cimon.In the Archaic period it became the center of worship of the city, housing the sanctuary of the protect and eponymous goddess Athena, along with temples and altars of other gods such as Zeus and Artemis. All archaic Acropolis monuments were seriously damaged by the invasion of the Persians in 480 BC.

The Acropolis rebuilt by Pericles is the expression of the splendor, power and wealth that the city reached in the so-called “the golden age of Athens” (460-430 BC). On the Acropolis, the goddess Athena was worshiped in all its aspects: as a virgin (Parthenos), as the bearer of victory (Nike), protector of the city (Polias) and commander armies (Promachos).On the occasion of the Panathenaic festivals, the Athenians were ascending the Acropolis along a sacred way that reached the Propylaea: the monumental entrance, that consists of two arcades of six Doric columns, one outward and one inward of the “sacred area”. On the left of the Propylaea a large hall was used as a picture gallery, while on the right is still the small Ionic temple with six columns (8 x 5 m) dedicated to Athena Nike, designed by Callicrates, one of the architects of the Parthenon. In front of the Propylaea it stood the bronze statue of Athena Promachos high 30 feet (9 m), created by the sculptor Phidias: the reflection of the spear of the goddess could be seen by ships who voiced the Cape Sounion, located about 69 km south of Athens. On the long southern side of the Acropolis stood the sanctuary of Artemis Brauronia (of the city of Braurion, a place of Attica where an important place of worship of the goddess herself was), made up of a trapezoidal enclosure flanked by a portico, and a Chalkotheke, a building that housed the bronze sculptures (Chalkos) offered as a gift to the sanctuary. A grand staircase leading to the Parthenon, the great temple built by Ictinus and Callicrates architects, and beautifully decorated by Phidias. The temple, in Doric style, has eight columns in front and 17 on the sides (70 x 31 m), the lintel is decorated with 92 metopes, while in the two pediments statuary groups in the round depicting the birth of Athena from the head of Zeus and the contest between Athena and Poseidon for possession of Attica. On the long side Southern Acropolis stood the sanctuary of Artemis Brauronia, i.e. Braurion, a locality in Attica site of an important place of worship of the goddess herself, made up of a trapezoidal enclosure flanked by a portico, and Chalkotheke, a building that housed the bronze sculptures (Chalkos) offers as a gift to the sanctuary. On the long northern side is another important religious building of ancient origins: the temple of Athena Polias, better known as the Erechtheion, the name of a mythical king of Athens or even an epithet of the god Poseidon (“the one who shakes”). It is an Ionic temple (20 x 11 m) with 6 columns on the eastern front: on the opposite side it has a colonnaded vestibule to the north and the famous subject of the Caryatids on the south. The complex structure of the temple is due to the need to enclose the inside places of worship: the porch is in fact the mark of Poseidon‘s trident, while the Loggia of the Caryatids gave access to the tomb of Cecrops, another mythical king of Athens. In the temple there was also the olive tree donated by Athena to the city and the ancient wooden effigy of the goddess (xoanon).

The Acropolis suffered over the centuries numerous destructions both atmospheric events, above all, for the different reuse and transformations: in the Byzantine era (6th c.), the Parthenon was converted into a church, in the Ottoman period (15th c.) became a mosque, and in the seventeenth century it was even used as for powder storage and bombed; however it continues to be today an ideal of beauty and sacredness rarely achieved in human history.