The Acropolis dedicated to its patron goddess, Athena, has been undergoing massive reconstruction since 1975. The Acropolis is home to several ancient buildings and is situated in the center of the City of Athens. Probably the best known building is the Parthenon built between 447 and 438 BC. A proper temple with majestic columns and decorated with sculptures and in particular a statue of Athena in full armor carrying Nike to the Athenians in her right hand.
Pottery shards of the Neolithic period (4000/3500-3000 BC) and, from near the Erechtheion, of the Early and Middle Bronze Age, show that the hill was inhabited from a very early period. A fortification wall was built around it in the thirteenth century BC and the citadel became the center of a Mycenaean kingdom. This early fortification is partially preserved among the later monuments and its history can be traced fairly accurately. The Acropolis became a sacred precinct in the eighth century BC with the establishment of the cult of Athena Polias, whose temple stood at the northeast side of the hill.
Among the major remains at The Acropolis are the Temple of Athena Nike, the Erechtheum and the Theatre of Dionysus. The Acropolis Museum houses all the valuable ancient artifacts on the southern slope near the Parthenon. This is the home of many Greek lessons taught to students from all around the world.
Since 1975, The Acropolis Restoration Project has been working to bring back the majesty of the ruin rather than trying to recreate its original look. The mission is to reverse damages caused by man and not nature. Wars, vandalism and previous alterations and restoration attempts have caused considerable structural problems and further destruction. The Project is employing many modern methods using cranes to haul giant marble pieces, but also ancient Greek building techniques and materials are crucial to maintaining its integrity as a ruin.
For example, the restoration of the temple of Athena Nike was completed in 2010; you may search for photos online and compare them to photos on Greek books, you will be able to see that the new pieces only restored to temple while maintaining it as an ancient ruin. The intervention is only meant to remove current and future damage from previous restorations and restore structural integrity.
The Restoration Project may take as long as 2020 to be totally complete, but the painstaking care to restore the ancient site using methods that can be reversed in the future will help ensure that it remains the centerpiece of Athens for millennia to come. It is especially important in helping to preserve Greek language and culture by bringing to life this magnificent site for them to see.
About the Author
Greek123 and Papaloizos Publications, located in Silver Spring, MD is the oldest publisher of Greek language lessons in the United States. The company publishes text books, readers, workbooks, audio CDs, and videos for the instruction of Greek. The curriculum is written and designed by Dr. Theodore C. Papaloizos, who has been writing and publishing Greek lessons in America for over 50 years. For more information on the Greek123 product line for people of all ages visit http://www.greek123.com/ or call toll- frees 1-855-473-3512.
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